SO, I AM TURNING THIRTY THIS YEAR and I am more scared of it than our government is scared of efficiency. I am fraught with trying to get to grips with the nuances that characterise being three decades old. It is fear of both the known and the unknown; the known because of how the bitter taste has become familiar, and the unknown because of the powerlessness that accompanies it.
The future by no means disappoints, until you’re in its present. Fear wasn’t a concept when I was a child. I used to dream big, alas this was also a period in my life when I didn’t have to deal with that brackish and vinegary obscurity called “responsibility”. When words like STIs, bills, leave forms, deadlines and security did not exist in my vocabulary. When stress only referred to homework or missing an episode of Power Rangers. When I found the taste of Gordons gin pungent and repulsive and the night was not for work but nourishing the heart with stories of princes, peace and sleep.
Unlike the Tanlume I thought I would be at thirty as a child, I am not thrilled or celebratory about how old I am turning. I don’t have millions in the bank, nor a Lamborghini that drives on land and under water. What I do have though, is anxiety- lots and lots of it. And zeros; zeros in my bank statements, zeros in accomplishments, zeros in the amount of cars I own, zeros in the amount of consequential relationships that still exist in my life. This is the legacy I’ve dragged into my adulthood.
I have a pot belly now. The shame. All my life I’ve eaten whatever the fuck I want and it never mattered. It didn’t seem to bother my body at all. I never touched water or vegetables. I have always been the burger and coke type of nigga. I could eat at any given time of day and night but ageing does not care about your late nights bruv.
I am slower now, can barely keep up with the pace of my industry, the pace of new technology and information. There is new shit everyday and I can’t use almost all of them. iPhone, iFuckin anything really, Snapchat, Curiouscat, Migos what what…. What? And I can’t disregard them even if I tried.
I am not a father or a husband. I dread going to that one uncle’s house, where every question or statement revolves around concerns about how I am either gay or mentally ill. And if I dare mention things like “career ambition” or “travelling the world first” as feasible rationale, I am most likely to get a sighe as a response. What he doesn’t seem to realise is that I am dealing with more significant concerns for my age. Like, owning my own damn house, in my name, or earning enough to be on a reliable medical aid scheme. Or keeping a job.
Thirty looks scary from where I’m standing, but then again, my whole life has been like that. And look… I’m still here.
Creative Direction, Styling & Words: Tanlume
Photography & Art Direction: Giancarlo Calaméo LaGuerta
Assistant Stylist: Ludo Chalashika