Updated: Nov 17, 2022
Ten years ago my mother won a photography competition. The picture was put in a calendar. It was of my younger cousin and myself on a go-kart. We were laughing because my cousin who was three years old at the time was pretending to drive the steering wheel. I had Patch the dog in my arms. I still remember his nails digging into me and having to pose for this photo. Behind us were the Wicklow hills with blotches of green and yellow, almost like a patterned quilt. Sheep were always scattered around the place, and there was a white cross in the distance that lit up at nighttime.
I don’t use calendars anymore. They used to be sentimental to me. Last December I specifically went shopping for calendars but none appealed to me. I should have just settled for any old calendar. I still find myself flinching my neck towards the door in my bedroom where my calendars have hung over the years. There’s nothing there now except stickers from concerts; they can’t tell me what date it is.
Perhaps it is some kind of coincidence that I didn’t buy a calendar for the year that’s in it. Sometimes I’m glad I didn’t waste my money on one. Maybe I cursed this year. Last year I had three calendars. I mainly used my David Bowie calendar that had pull-out posters of each of his personas. The second was a desk calendar that my friend bought me. I used this one for work-related events. It made me feel important. The last one was a Chinese calendar that an old lady gave to me in a chipper after a night out. I thought it was hilarious that I got a calendar with my Pad Thai. I don’t know if I even said thank you.
Our photo was on the April page of the calendar. It was put up in our dining room on that April page. I think it’s still there. Whenever people would see it they would laugh; thinking my family had either been lost in a time warp where we constantly believed the month was April or that we were too lazy to flick the page. Then they would see the photo and smile, knowing why the calendar was stuck in April. Everything about that photo screamed the month April; the budding flowers, the lambs, even the clothes we were wearing.
I make associations and connections with months. Each month has a different aura in my perception. I hate February and July because almost every single person I’ve lost has died in February or July. January and September are similar. New beginnings. Although September comes with bucketloads of stress. Whereas January feels forced, sometimes I only like the month because of my birthday. April makes me think of the calendar competition and purple colours, but April always passes by quickly. May on the other hand is superb. I find myself appreciating every single element of my life. June is quite contrary; depending on how old you are. August is a month of beauty due to its Celtic myths and sagas. November is magnificent; nights, breathing in the cold air, wearing my long coats and scarves. December is December. Overrated, but not the worst.
Every single October I crash. I can never handle what is going on. This has happened for years now. I would say I cry more in October than in I do in the other eleven months put together. I don’t sleep, I can’t focus, I fight with people, I act reckless, I can’t think straight. One of my friends has this catchphrase: “my brain is on holiday”. My brain goes on holiday every October. It’s happening again this year.
I wrote everything on calendars. Television characters’ birthdays, exercise, sleep. At one stage I would colour in dates depending on what day I had. Green was the best. Yellow was a good day. Orange was a bad day. My orange marker was running out, so I decided I would use orange in this instance to prevent me from having bad days. It didn’t work. I had to buy a new orange marker.
I laughed the other day when I saw a calendar on the October page. “Whoever owns that calendar must be awful unorganised,” I thought. I was the unorganised one. For some reason, I still thought it was April. At least I know now why I felt so low.