In Eloghosa Osunde’s new column, Melting Clocks, she takes apart the surreality of time and the senses.
My memory of my childhood is a black hole, save for the moments and ages marked by revelations and miracles. Take age six for instance, the year I learned to call things that are not (yet) as though they are (already.) It’s a biblical lesson, this, and my brothers were born from inside it, after years of waiting. Leaning on those words from the mouth of my mother, I prayed nightly for twin siblings, and soon started to talk about them like I knew them already. In a sense, I did. One, because they were real before their bodies were formed, and two, because my requests were already cool wax on the inside of God’s ear. I was taught things about holding hope unswervingly, about manifesting with laser focus, and the veracity of those lessons raised the hairs on the back of my neck even when there was no one there. I sealed prayers with amens and had them delivered swiftly; fleshed wishes out in my heart that stumbled into my life, already breathing. The pattern begins in my first name, directly translated to mean “it is not hard for God to do.” As in, nothing is. That name leads my head. My family took my dreams seriously, because God put the future behind my eyes often, but when the seeing got too heavy, I gave one of my many eyes back to God—the one that got visions, that put the weight of knowing on me—saying, This one is too much. Age thirteen, I believe, the year I learned that God understands consent, that They will never force anything on me for the sake of it.
The spiritual controls the physical, so everything breathes there before it ever lands here. I’ve never lost this lesson, which is also an inheritance, as in drooling through the genetic code. A gift, as in given freely. I did hide it though, so as not to look unhinged. For a long time, there was nothing I wanted more than to be normal, to be as a person should, to be young, to unknow things. It still takes work to release the weight of normal, of should.
Time isn’t real, that’s true, but years are time capsules in a sense. This year just gone shook the ground, took people in numbing numbers and cost some of us more than others, because nothing is equal. At points, I experienced consistent blocks of happiness, despite the world. A big part of that was made possible by safety and the privilege of a home with a roof and walls that disconnected me from nearly everything, but the other part was a dogged refusal to believe the world I want to see isn’t born yet. It is. That’s not hope; it’s faith, which Hebrews 11 defines as the “substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.” Twenty-twenty turned me six again, treating stories like my life, the future like the present, the present like the past; stacking surreal on top of real, time on top of time. I don’t know what it looks like from the outside. But it feels a lot like peace if you’re wearing my skin.
I’ve been wearing my skin.