WHAT I DID ON MY SUMMER HOLIDAYS
by Niamh Keoghan
This summer I started a dance party, camped at a festival, sat by a fire and listened to ghost stories in the dark. I realised that my body isn’t a remote detached thing and is in fact something I can take happiness from- I conquered my dread of the gym, wore shorts, hiked up a hill, used up an entire bottle of sunblock. I swam, I laughed.
I had a birthday with four of my dearest friends. I stayed up all night talking to someone at the party I hardly knew, I was disappointed in love but not as much as I was disappointed in myself for allowing it to happen. I swore myself off boys, I was lonely; I opened my own eyes to how silly both those feelings were.
I went running until my lungs nearly burst out of my chest and I started painting my nails. I watched Katie Taylor qualify for the Olympic semi final in the bar at the gym, cheering her on anxiously. I discovered that dresses look really good on me, I started tying up my hair again.
I slept all day, I stayed up all night. I baked a birthday cake with my best friend, I learned to cook, I was kissed by boys and found out that sometimes that isn’t a good thing. I bought a proper pair of runners, I saw tall ships, I walked along Dollymount strand with my mam, I drank Guinness and told stories and won a bag. I did a lot of growing; I stopped letting myself be used, I stopped letting myself be patronised. I swapped clothes with a boy.
I lost sleep over results and cried when they were alright. I decided that I want to go abroad, I thought my dearest friend was going to leave and wrote a heartfelt letter telling her all the things that I wanted to be said between us before she went; she decided not to go and I didn’t give her the letter.
The summer was long and I did a lot of things, but one thing I didn’t do-
I did NOT get sunburnt.
Niamh ‘factor 50 never fails’ Keoghan