This is a speech from my new play hippopotamus. In hippopotamus four moms all have kids in the same pre-K. Their attempts to navigate a motherhood/work balance are complicated by being the stay-at-home mom in a two mom family, being married to the object of an adolescent passion, becoming a newly single mom in a mean separation and the promises made to one’s self and to what lengths each will go to keep them.

Cameron sits on a bench in the school yard.

I don’t want to sit here and think about how deep down I don’t feel good about myself. It’s not revealing, it’s not some great truth to beat up on yourself, to badger yourself about how
badly you’ve failed at every solitary endeavor you’ve undertaken. I’m not doing that anymore. I’m not going to go around being ashamed of everything. I’m not gonna let it pierce my heart anymore with all the things I wish I’d done some other way. And those things that I do wish I’d done differently: I’m going to do them differently from now on. I’ve started leaving notes for myself. The other day I woke up to an email that said “you made good decisions today Cameron.” I can’t tell you how good it made me feel to know that I thought I’d done a good job, that I’d made the right calls. I was like, alright, Cameron thinks I made good decisions.
It felt like a legit pat on the back, like, okay, I’m not under someone’s control anymore, I’m not programmed anymore to think that if he thinks I made a bad decision then that was a bad decision. He’s not in my head anymore to tell me, to pressure me, to make me feel like there’s only one right answer and it’s his right answer. I made good decisions today. I’m doing the right thing for my family. I’m invested in my actual self after feeling so– strongly for so long that I was not measuring up, could not ever hope to measure up, had just consider my self damn lucky that a guy like Mikey would even take an interest in me. Deep down, the thing is, I feel good about myself. I like myself. I am not a drone, some shepherdess forced to the hillside with the flock, I am like an actual, total complete person. I am a person. I have earned my breath and I will breathe it.

She sits up straight, rolls her shoulder back, closes her eyes and takes deep breaths.

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