I have wanted to write to you for a while, but I was drowning. B explained to me that when you revisit a place, it's more than the land; you revisit the memories it holds and relive them. I did not realise how afraid I was of what I had tied up in ‘Nigeria’ till I found myself unable to write for weeks. Anxious and stressed yet without present reason.
“You can change that by creating new memories,” she said.
The first afternoon, each time I kicked my foot off the pool wall, I forgot to push my body forward or relax, and so I sank, bending knees in search for floor, hands flailing in panic that he would be distracted that moment and I would drown.
“Allow the water to carry you.” He must have said it three dozen times that day. “Allow the water to carry you, then slap your legs.”
Last year, sitting in traffic while driving to work one morning, I watched birds glide through the sky over the Lekki toll. I wondered how they stayed up without flapping their wings. Then I saw the flap. It was quick and short and the birds continued to glide.
I have been thinking about how life is like flying or swimming, learning how to giving myself over to bigger things even as they threaten to swallow. Letting the tide carry me till I balance, then doing the work I need to move through instead of working amiss, fighting, and losing energy till I find myself drowning.
Allow the water to carry you. It was made for you. Everything was made for you, your good. Even the detours and the things that threaten to swallow and make you fight for ground. Sometimes I get cocky and think I've grasped a life lesson, then I get home and realise I forgot to open my eyes all through.
Spending time here, going out and doing things instead of waiting for time to pass till I leave again is itself allowing the water to carry me. It feels good to finally be unafraid of water.