On Coming Up for Air

It’s spring, a season of expectations and the morning smells fresh. Light conquers as the cold, dark and long Nordic winter finally relents. Even though the surface remains slippery, I dare come out to play.

I had decided not to start the year with laments, for I know not of anyone who hasn’t been bandaging wounds or scars left by 2020. So, instead I plunged myself into water, even though I’ve never been a good swimmer. It was a leap of faith, an expectation that I’ll come out mentally and emotionally strong. Because I’d have learned to not try grab hold of water but float.

It’s often said people gravitate towards poetry for comfort or getting through a tough time. I’m one of those who don’t gravitate but planted in it. Because as Rosemary Nissen-Wade once wrote, “Maybe the only person your poetry will save is yourself.” But now that I’ve finally written an epitaph for my dad-in-law, I’m coming up for air.

And the question I ask, have you been leaning into poetry or running away from, during these hard times? Why?

note: This piece was inspired by a number of recent events, a poem I wrote years ago, Rosemary’s quote above & I’m also linking to Writers’ Pantry at Poets and Storytellers United.

For the Courageous

As I write this piece, I think of courage and determination. Of stories I heard as a child about courageous women, who chose to challenge the status quo despite the risks.

I think of the kind of courage that saw my mother uproot us as young children from the elusive comfort of the city to plant us deep into the reality of a rural life. Dissatisfied with inequality in employment opportunities and advancement, she was determined to become her own boss. And so, armed with a nanny and a gun, she eased into her new role.

I can’t claim to have near as much the courage as my mother possessed. But I’m always determined in my small way to challenge gender stereotypes, biases and assumptions that still persist even today. So, as we celebrate women’s achievements the world over, I think of how far we’ve come and still to go.

To think of courage is to think of all the remarkable women, who keep dismantling boxes we often find ourselves lumped in. Women, who occupy spaces that were never designed with us in mind. To think of determination is to celebrate all you courageous women, who keep asking “What if?” and “Why not?”

Happy International Women’s Day, in advance!

p.s. Photo by Fionn Claydon on Unsplash. I’m also linking to Writers’ Pantry at Poets and Storytellers United.

The Catharsis of Tidying Up

There comes a day in every gadget owner’s life, when a latest version of an app declares your precious thing obsolete. Kindle recently proved incompatible with my iPad. I panicked at the thought of losing my book collections and not to mention random notes as well lists of all sorts (I’m a list freak) collected overtime that serve as inspiration for new writing. But I breathed a sigh of relief when I realized I could simple transfer all the stuff from the old iPad to the new one.

Nonetheless, in the midst of tidying up these notes, I came across a list of names I’d written down years ago. A list of my own Aragorn, Gimli, Legolas, Galadriel and all creatives I regard as friends and acquaintances I could reach out to for support. A handful of these names still pop up in my inbox, after all these years. These individuals continue to help me become a better version of myself and grow as a writer. That’s really something to cherish. And to quote Tolu Agbelusi, if I ever said I made it this far alone, I lied.

note: It is after all the month of love, and one of the ways I love myself is to be constantly aware of the company I keep. This piece was partly inspired by 12 Types of People You Meet as a Writer. I’m also linking to Writers’ Pantry at Poets and Storytellers United.