some kind of light – a map


Omikemi shares a map of their path to finding care

Photograph of writer giving a speech


The rules: you will get lost. You will learn to distrust yourself. You will become that bird, not the one you confined to skin through gun and ink, but the one with reluctant wings, afraid to trust its element. You will feel like complicated directions given over bad reception and winds

You will strive to find a clearing, to reach the mythical state called health: it will become apparent that someone without your social co-ordinates invented this, that no such thing exists. You will ignore the warning: forget digging a railroad back into yourself, other have clawed, earth ate up their nails

You will notice a hammer swing in the distance — its thud and fall captured in the disc-shape on the wall. The wall will have a crack that points to a corridor leading to a set of rooms. The rooms will appear to be empty but will be full of people conjured from fantasies soon-comes never-reach, brief-meets and never-seens; the rooms are cavities

You will decide on a room and say, for argument sake, it started here – at a dinner table with a maths book, and ended in you’re stupid, you’ll amount to nothing, which aren’t numbers, they are letters although both are carried over. You take to drawing portraits. In this one your body is a triangular shape with arms falling like diagonal rain

You will rub the image out and start again, you will do this over and over, this act of portrait. You will create a genealogy of habits, addictions, patterns that become a map. You will use stones, flowers and the dead sheep you found with the crown of flies decorating its head, its guts dislodged, the flesh still wet, the gossip of insects, and other objects, to create a timeline of the events

You will notice you have a body that goes into immediate defence against what appears to others, to be innocuous gestures, events and benign cells. You will start to experience the following symptoms: muscle-wasting, protruding eyes, palpitations, mood imbalances, hair-loss, paranoia, rapid weight-loss, excessive social avoidance, anxiety, self-hatred, depression, insomnia, night-terrors, generalised emotional turbulence, affective flashbacks, thyrotoxic shock

You will live in a body that creates polyester, colonialism, genocide and others kinds of torture. You will remove your thyroid. You will be disappointed when you discover this does not stop many of the symptoms listed above. You will begin to wonder if capitalism is an auto-immune condition

You will engage in psychotherapy; you will continue to be lost. The realisation will deepen that the healing you need will come from relationships, the artifice is a practice run, a bridge to normal living, and not a replacement for the “real thing” (not that you know what the “real thing” is)

You will begin to be less afraid of yourself – your kin. You will move towards what you will name, intentional healing partnerships. Some of these will be with bodies of water and trees. Many will be with people who have some experience and skills navigating these spaces. Most will be with those with a deep willingness to try and hold each other by the scruff instead of in between our hungers

You will have days when what you feel is both, too much and not enough. You will doubt and conflate dreaming with hallucination. You will sense all the psycho-educational awareness, hyper-empathy and ability to track experience is nothing more than another level of trauma response – skills creating less choice, more isolation

You will be reminded of something a fellow twelve-stepper once said – the better you get, the sicker the people around you get. You will be in firm disagreement but reminded, some kinds of light have no kindness in them

You will become less afraid of yourself and take the pigeon of English inherited to break sentences and cast new spells. You will make it a daily practice to talk with them. You will slowly feel yourself getting free of the teeth of circumstance

You will take steps into the room where kin have been calling you, laughing, eating, dancing, waiting for your arrival. You will consider yourself to be part of the circle and the circle might be what you need – to receive, season, marinate and activate your gift

You will consider that the hole was always nothing but what surrounded it