priscaPrisca Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez Contributing Writer


This is for those moments of dissonance.  This is for those moments that you cannot name what bugged you about someone’s statement, but you know it was not right.  This is for those moments that leave you silent, when you’re that person who never shuts up.  This is for those moments when you are left with thoughts and no words.  This is for those moments when they made you feel dirty, dumb, and voiceless.
I was recently having a drink with bae, and he received a text from one of his good friends saying they were coming to the bar that we were at, and so we waited for them.  His friend is recently engaged and we had not officially congratulated them in person so it was great timing and a necessary time for us to celebrate with them.  They arrived, we had a toast to their happiness and their love, and we were talking for a good while. Then his friend said, “Gus is coming.”  To which I stopped in my tracks, because Gus is that friend of a friend that makes you question your friend because why are they even friends with them.  Gus is that friend that says racial insensitive things, fatphobic statements, and even homophobic statements that are drenched in insecurities so you both feel awful for him but also want to read him till next Tuesday.  Gus is that friend that needs love but as a brown immigrant living in the south, you know that is not going to be you.

Gus is that friend that says racial insensitive things, fatphobic statements, and even homophobic statements

When Gus arrived, I did the cordial niceties of asking the questions I did not care to have answers for, and then we all sat down again.  As we are sitting, and talking, bae’s friend starts talking about her stray cat that she feeds, and takes care of but generally the cat stays outdoors.  She says that it doesn’t come often to the house, because when she was remodeling her bathroom, it is possible that the noise scared her.  To which Gus asked, with a straight face: is it because [the workers] were Mexican?”
This is for those moments of dissonance.  This is for those moments that you cannot name what bugged you about someone’s statement, but you know it was not right.  This is for those moments that leave you silent, when you’re that person who never shuts up.  This is for those moments when you are left with thoughts and no words.  This is for those moments when they made you feel dirty, dumb, and voiceless.
I sat there, and thought about a million things I could do and say, and how absurd his statement was…What has ethnicity have to do with anything related to this stray cat not wanting to be around?  What about this type of labor makes you assume that it was Mexicans who were the ones remodeling your friends bathroom?  Furthermore, how much do you hate people who look like me?
I was sitting on one side of the table, bae’s friend in the middle, and Gus on the other side of her, and when he said this I raised my eyebrow.  I did not flinch, I did not move, I did not even squirm; I simply raised my eyebrow.   He picked this up fast, and started to adjust his statement but I was done, I have been done with Gus.  Gus cannot surprise me, but he will shock me into moments of feeling every inch of my brown skin. People like Gus exist in Nashville in abundance, and I have learned to handle it – to write about it – to heal from those moments.  But quite frankly, I have to still learn to not let those moments disarm me.
This is for those moments of dissonance.  This is for those moments that you cannot name what bugged you about someone’s statement, but you know it was not right.  This is for those moments that leave you silent, when you’re that person who never shuts up.  This is for those moments when you are left with thoughts and no words.  This is for those moments when they made you feel dirty, dumb, and voiceless: you do not always have to “handle” it.