Spoken Word: ‘See Me Mom’ by Mabrissa Zuniga

This piece placed third for spoken word submissions in the 2022 Ánimo Voices Writing and Art Competition, which invited students to respond to the open prompt “I’ve Got Something to Say.” The competition is an opportunity to motivate, recognize, and celebrate our strong student voices through writing, spoken word, and art.

See Me Mom


I am grateful for what my mom has done for me. But we don't have the perfect relationship.
The. Perfect. Relationship.
6 words- oh too common, 6 words
Dividing 2 generations. --are we even mother and daughter?
How many of US don't have the perfect relationship with our parents?
How many of US struggle to speak to our parents?
How many of us don't speak to our parents at all?

SILENCE. so much silence.
SO many unsaid words.
I grew in her stomach for 8 months, coming oh too early. Was I too early in order to be seen? W
as I even planned? Was I a mistake?

I don't speak to my mother because I am afraid of that feeling of inadequacy
I'm that girl who constantly makes mistakes:
I made the mistake of coming into this world too early,
I make the mistake of not saying "I love you,"
because I'm afraid
I'm afraid that I won't even do THAT right.

I still remember the day your words scarred my heart.
My baby brother, Sebastian, didn't want to be in the online after school program-- who does? Who wants to be on the computer any more than we have to after the last two years?
I said, "Sebastian, tell mom that you don't want to be there! I can't advocate for you.''
As he was going to get his computer, he remembered that my uncle was working in the room, And he didn't want to bother him.

Not enough space.
No where to go.
No where to breath,
we have to face mom.

She screams,
"Sebastian, you have to go, You have to go."
A fire was burning my chest.
My brother is quiet.
He struggles to speak.
Am.  His.  Voice.

"Mom, he doesn't even want to be there. I don't know why you are forcing him to be there!"
"I don't want him to be like you." she said.

"I don't want him to be like you."
"I don't want him to be like you."
And I started crying.
And Crying, and crying, and crying. Is it true?
You're not proud of me.
What did I possibly do so that you aren't proud of me?
Tell me!
But like always I bite my tongue-- I walk away.

Silence. Silence Silence-- between 2 generations--
Think for a second about how the pandemic cut so many families in two.
So many sisters forced to be mothers
and tutors
and teachers.
So many of us
Good enough.

But should our generation really blame our parents?

I don't. Not. At. All. My mom is a giant.
I'm broken from a pandemic, and from my parents divorce.
But my mom's story?
My mom has moved mountains.

My mother was flooded with pressure, restrictions, responsibilities:
the oldest sister to three and the translator for her migrant parents,
All of this for:
She tried to break through a cloud of doom,
She tired tired tired.
Tried and tried to not be so
tired tired tired
So tired
Tired of being poor.
The story of poverty repeats itself, and my mom is ground tired of carrying everyone,
Carrying the world. She needs a break.
She needs to be heard.
So many of OUR parents weren't heard.
Our mothers.
Our fathers.


Our parents are living in the shadows of their parents.
We are weighted down by a history of shadows,
and the truth is, that gen z --
we are unaware of our parents struggles,
Self absorbed

But I'm facing my mom, today,
--who had me when she was young, and in college.
young, Naive-- and as I grew older, I grew to blame her for my father leaving...

I'm sorry mom.
We all need to apologize to our parents, and move on.
I love my mom for her history.
I love my mom for her beauty.
For waking up every morning to take her children to school,
Providing a roof over their heads,
and giving up her life for her our lives.
I am not naive no more mom.
I see you Mom,
Now I am asking you mom please see me.
I am Marbrisa.
I am known for my voice ,
my smile,
my loudness,
my emotions, and most importantly
my honesty.

We need to all get educated.
We need to learn our parents' history.
We need to walk miles in our parents shoes, sit down, talk with our parents, love them, and teach them that it is beautiful to speak
-- to share heart break
--there is beauty is disagreement--
in not going with the status quo--
by standing up,
and speaking up,
I am creating real change.

I promise to no longer be silent.