October was a month of flailing health, undulating psyche and unfinished essays. Of starting, finishing and trashing. Of allowing my mind to be bullied by time because of a calendar date. Now the month is gone, hopefully with its attendant wahala.
Because of its subject and, really, everything about it, my love for Rosa Lyster’s essay, The Year I was 25, increases with each reread. To extract the parts I like would imply posting all of the essay here, so I’ll just quote a part below:
“That first swim at the Women’s Pond was one of those, where I saw as it was happening that it was going to be a thing in my life. First I stood on the jetty and looked at the water. Little midges skidding around on the surface, and dragonflies having sex. Women with their tops back on were doing measured, head-above-the-water laps. I thought about diving, and then worried about drowning. I stood on the jetty for ten minutes in Mae’s old swimming costume before I realised that I wasn’t thinking about anything for the first time in perhaps a year. I was just looking at the water and wanting to be in it.”
I am thinking about diving, but worrying about drowning. Looking at the water and not wanting to be in it. This fear, for want of a better word, is clearly not because of an inability to swim. It’s different. It’s an apprehension I can’t seem to account for properly.
I’m also thinking of Tolu Oloruntoba’s 30.
“30 is a checkpoint asking
all you’re carrying-
How much man have I in my kit?
How jointed is my money
for these sharp alleys? How worthy
is my shadow behind me,”
I’ve read this poem over and over again this past month. I’m fascinated by the image of the dogwhistle in its third verse, and how a potentially pejorative term can be owned and appropriated. Like the writer, I also want to become a dogwhistle before 30.
I spent too much time in October pondering about my (lack of) strategy, and the things I’ve (not) achieved. I asked: “Where’s my land deeds?” Well, now I’ve said my goodbye to October. I’ve crossed that checkpoint. I’ve emptied my carryon, examined my luggage, and stuffed it all back in, ready to move, dive, swim.
Featured image via Flickr by Holly Occhipinti