Category Archives: Essay/Speech

Bankrupt Chameleons

Bankrupt Chameleons
We are all chameleons in a colorless world or dreamers, stargazers, humans: 7 billion extras pacing on the lens of your life. Here, I am auditioning for 284 seconds: a cameo, a chameleon.
Chameleons are eccentric beings. A few years ago, my mother and I bought one for my older sister along with a cage, a utopia of artificial grasses, paint-on trees, and clip-on mates. That April, he remained anonymous since we argued over his name. He left rather frequently morphing with my bedroom walls (cyan), the sofa (mauve), the countertop (ebony), the windowsill (green) often dazed. No wonder, he ran away after a month into our backyard.
This anecdote, however, parallels the destinies of my family: I am a colored man. My mom is an immigrant. My sister is now a young woman. I am a colored man.
I went to a waspy, all-guys school for several years during my childhood. In many yearbook photos, there was me: shapeshifter. I was taunted because of my immutable characteristics: race, voice, looks, religion and so I tried acting white. I modified my speech, switched my name to Jake, bought new clothes and a crucifix, lost thirty pounds and cut my hair. Eventually, I moved to a lyceum with mostly colored students.
My mom is an immigrant. Way back, my mom was employed with an English-speaking firm. She was underpaid, overworked and mocked for her accent and clothing by her coworkers. She went for speech therapy, English enrichment classes, abstained from utilizing Russian and volunteered at the local hospital through the workplace remained hostile. Soon after, she quit and joined a Russian-speaking law firm.
My sister is now a young woman. In middle school, several boys bullied her over her looks and weight. As a coping mechanism, she acted androgynous for a short time: cutting her hair, dying it, buying pants, trashing skirts. She was like the word: a phantom. This harassment never ceased and soon after she transferred to an all-girls school.
We three are like the chameleon. Us, who ensconced our habitats, after changing our coats infinitely because we came to understand this was futile. We had to leave, but did we? These were but microcosms: not every species can survive in each. Outcasts can be extinct there and plentiful here.
Today, my family and I have begun to assimilate for better or worse. I am here in a mainly Caucasian environment. My mom communicates with her clients in English along with the carry-out of her daily activities. My sister is coming to the realization that she will be in a co-ed dorm next year in university. She has a caring boyfriend as well.
All this change in 10 years.
Yesterday was 2006.
Today, I can see someone like me on the news and in magazines.
Today, I am less likely to be frisked at the airport.
Today, I can get paid ⅘ of a white man.
Today, my sister can walk alone late at night and take taxis.
And, my mother can write her name on a job application without fear of rejection.
And in 2026?
We as humans must realize how much more we are than names or bodies. Humans are not tickets, numbers; the body is but a set of clothes, a cage around the heart. We all have the same blood, stare at the same stars and sleep under the same moon. I am brown, you are white, she is yellow, he is black, but inside we all are: bloodied, toiled. I used to call myself a chameleon. Never did I realize: we are dreams, not dreamers, stars, not stargazers, mirrors, not chameleons.


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Life is a Metronome

Life is a metronome.

Somebody dies and someone is born.

Somebody does something every second.

Somebody goes to bed.

And somebody else wakes up.

A guy drinks a glass of water with four cubes of ice in it.

A boy makes a chocolate cake with pink icing.

A guy wears a pink shirt to school and he is not afraid.

A man directs a short film where a zebra and a lion eloped to the moon.

A girl discovers a new star and names it after her dog.

A school girl wins the spelling bee with the word “hopeful”.

A woman writes a poem about two countries eating a border for dinner.

Life is a metronome.

A queer kid just gets put out onto the street because her parents didn’t accept her

A girl’s privates are mutilated because she was a girl.

A woman has to pay for a tampon.

A guy discovers he has cancer.

A woman discovers her cancer diagnosis was wrong.

A minority didn’t get the promotion.

A guy writes lies on his resume about finding the cure to AIDS

A girl finds out she got rejected from her dream school.

A guy tries alcohol for the first and last time.

A gay man gets sent to jail for loving another guy.

A kid dyes his hair sky blue.

Another kid gets his ears pierced.

A girl orders the wrong textbook online.

Life is a metronome.

Some school opens up for rural kids.

A house gets foreclosed because a man left his family.

A vegan cafe opens up.

Thousands of animals are slaughtered for burgers.

A thousand trees get chopped down.

A Japanese garden opens up.

A river gets polluted.

A lake gets clean.

A town legalizes pot.

A coal mine shuts down.

A bus crashes into another bus.

A rocket ship lands on Mars.

Life is a metronome.

Somebody says “I love you”

And somebody responds “I love you too”

And someone walks by his crush knowing he wasn’t gay

And some guy on tinder swipes by a minority girl

Two people fall in love

And two people break up.

Two people become three people.

Life is a metronome.

A book just starts to be written with the words “He loved her”

And a baby takes her first steps.

Some kid fails a math test

And across the world another kid aces his math test.

A dad packs a pb and j without crusts for his son.

A woman visits a psychologist and talks about clouds.

And a son visits his dad in the hospital.

A girl votes for the first time.

And another girl is proud she is Muslim.

Life is a metronome

Somebody kills herself because she was bullied.

Some girl is slut shamed even though she is beautiful.

Some guy is fat shamed even though he is beautiful.

Somebody comes out to his immigrant parents.

Some girl takes her girlfriend to the prom and they are happy.

A woman ses her child for the first time.

A man sees his child for the last time.

Life is a metronome.

Some stupid video about a cat falling in love with a dog goes viral.

Some movie about two people driving from LA to NYC comes out.

And another movie about a white man buying a mansion in Upstate New York.

A song comes out about a victim becoming a survivor

And another song about a sky and an ocean having a kid named earth.

Life is a metronome.

A police officer shoots a black man.

And a black man gets shot by a police officer.

A woman throws out her letter for jury duty.

And a jury sentences a black man to life for a crime he didn’t commit.

And acquits a white man who committed the crime.

A mentally ill man is executed.

A woman is acquitted of raping a man.

Life is a metronome.

Somebody wins the lottery.

Somebody buys $10 worth of lottery tickets and won nothing.

Somebody buys a pair of jeans.

And somebody else buys a loaf of bread

Or a pack of cigars

Or a puppy

Or a pregnancy test.

Life is a metronome.

A latina gets her green card.

An asian guy gets US citizenship.

An asian guy and a latina fall in love.

An asian guy and a latina have a kid.

A kid goes to school.

A kid writes a speech.

A kid reads a speech.

Life is a metronome

And every human is a single note

In the song that is called