I was never one for labels, clothes or otherwise; nor was I much of a joiner. As soon as I find out I am about to be inducted into any kind of club, I immediately start to plot my exit strategy. Instead of joining a sorority in college which felt too cliquish, I chose to join a co-ed educational fraternity that allowed me to maintain some semblance of independence. My friends would call it the contrarian in me or say it’s the old Groucho Marx adage: “I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept people like me as a member.” It’s neither of these things; I just like to keep my options open. It’s a lesson I learnt from my “I would never do anything like that” twenties as I’m now on the firm side of my thirties and find myself saying and doing things I would never have imagined was very “me”. It’s all sobering and very mature; as my friend Chris likes to chuckle and say, “We had such Ideas!”
Thus, it’s with an odd pang that I must admit that calling myself A Gallivant has turned out be quite useful. When I’m confused about what particular approach to take regarding money, friends, or a job, I’ve been asking myself: what would the Gallivant in me do? Within a few short minutes, a sense of calm descends and I have a pretty good idea of how I want to proceed. Who knew that my casual adopting of the moniker Gallivant would have such benefits? It’s been an odd journey to comfortably wear a label I eschewed in my childhood.
From age 3 to 10, I was raised by my paternal grandmother in Jamaica. My days consisted of going to school and going to church. I didn’t balk, because the former is just what you had to do and the latter is what I loved. I was a miniature version of my grandmother in training: temperate, modest, and refined. I have held these qualities in high esteem for years. The worse judgment to pass my grandmother’s lips was the suggestion that you were frivolous, wild, or unfocused. If I heard her say, with a subtle curl of the lips, that someone had been “gallivanting in the streets,” I knew immediately that it was not a compliment. Yet, years later when I sought a name for my blog, I chose to call it, She A Gallivanting, a patois phrase meant to respond to questions about my whereabouts.
While naming my blog, I didn’t even try to find the definition or etymology of the word. I adopted its use as a reaction to my then state: heavy, constrained, and apathetic. I had hoped to cultivate an approach to life that was lighthearted, curious, and engaged; a part of my personality that had gone underground and needed to be resurrected. Now that I’ve been finding such comfort from my Gallivant label, I perused the dictionary and found the following definitions:
1. To roam about in search of pleasure or amusement.
2. To play around amorously; flirt.
I am happy to sit with this one that has served me so well during the last year. I’ve even gone so far as try to identify other Gallivants and highlight them in my blog. What do you know? I may yet find a club that I can call home.