When I was a child, my favourite activity in the world was to daydream. In fact, I have class photos of myself as a ten year-old, gazing longingly out of the window whilst my fellow students all paid attention to our maths teacher.
This dreamy quality was seen as a deficiency by everyone around me, whether it was my high-achieving classmates, my parents, or the teachers. The argument went that it was a distracting, distracted and self-destructive way to exist, and that my carefree, daydreaming essence had to be either drubbed out of me or muted into oblivion through protracted animadversion.
As I have gotten older and gained a bit more insight into own condition as a human being, as well as the psychic makeup of my inherited and chosen communities, I'm moved by what the body can hold: how we bend to rigid expectation, or reject it; how we cultivate or neglect the Arcadia of our imaginations; what we gain and what we lose during the distillation process of emotional development.
I have, rather miraculously, held onto that daydreaming child who used to stare out of the classroom window. I have held onto that pickney and nurtured his sense of wonder through periods of great grief, psychiatric institutionalisations, the indignities of immigration, and the shame of being othered in every conceivable context.
I have held onto the daydreaming child within me because, contrary to the corrosive scenarios I've encountered, I always knew I had what a dear friend once called, an original mind.
The daydreaming child within me is why I still have a good-hearted sense of humour, and why I can instantly spot the sublime in the silly. The daydreaming child within me is why my optimism has only deepened with age. The daydreaming child within me is why I'm still alive.
I hope you're nurturing yourself, beautiful reader. I hope you're finding pockets of contentment and clarity during this disquieting period in our collective history.
I hope you never stop daydreaming.
DIRIYE OSMAN is illustrated by DIEGO L. RODRIGUEZ
Song to mellow you out: 'Remind Me' by PATRICE RUSHEN.