For a while now, It has seemed like I have run of ideas on what to write about. The words just swim around in my head in a chaotic swirl and constantly fail to make any meaningful connection. The ideas I manage to get seem very shallow and I find myself giving up on post after post. I was in a state of dilemma; I had totally lost my mojo and getting it back was going to be really rough and tough. I thought of the source of my problems and in a moment of clarity, I was able to fixate on the problem, the source of my mind-block: Pressure. I am under too much pressure to deliver and meet up certain expectations and it is definitely taking its toll on me. Let me explain.

So, over the past few weeks, it dawned on me that I have finally reached the stage in my life which I really dreaded; that which I feared has finally caught up with me. I am finally at the age of accountability, the age where I stop growing up and start growing older, the age where I finally start taking full responsibility for myself, the age where I start thinking about my own future and what it holds. I had really dreaded this point because I had not envisaged how it would come or really made any serious preparations for it. Granted I had already laid the basic foundations but it has till come and swept me off my feet and knocked the wind out of my sails. Too much is now expected of me and under a lot of pressure to deliver. I have my whole family looking up to me and a whole lot of other folks out there who are monitoring my every move. There is only so much pressure a nigga can take without cracking.

Being a serial people-pleaser, it becomes too much when I have to put on a happy face as I shred myself to bits trying to please other. I have built that reliable reputation and so many people expect a really nice Ikechukwu to do this or do that. In the comfort of my room, my body lies in serenity while my head constantly tosses about trying to see how I can be the nice guy I have portrayed myself to be to everybody. I have to come up with the humour that makes people laugh while I am having a dilemma inside. I have to smile in public and put on a calm décor while everything is turbulent on the inside. This I can handle, this I have perfected but with the other sources of pressure, I am beginning to suffer in this aspect too.

Coming down to the family, I am faced with the greatest task of all. Being the first of numerous grandchildren, all eyes are on me. References are constantly made with my life milestones. My speed at which I raced through life too is not helping. Everybody wants to be like uncle IK who finished school really early. My cousins still think I am the genius I once was and I constantly try to be that for them. I try to be their source of inspiration while pushing them away from the paths that ultimately led to my decline. I am a hero; a hero should always be there for the people even at his own peril. I find myself teaching the ones I can teach and advising the ones I can advise. At a little age, I became the real big brother. And to the adults, here comes IK to join us in the hustle. Of recent, I spoke at length with my grandmother and from her tone, I could draw out the fact that she no longer saw me as a baby. There were even talks of a great-grandchild and even though I laughed about it, I knew the time was fast approaching. My aunts and uncles have all talked; all into the ears of IK. He must hear and listen, they feel. The other day, just before my nap, I received the strangest call from my aunt. She was asking me about my plans for the future but the way she played about the subject, I knew there was really another sub-topic for discussion. Then came the bombshell, “What of your girlfriend? Do you have one?” Now, I have been a little bad at home but that’s it. There are things I do not bring home for anybody to notice: alcohol and girls. So far, no girl has made it to the footsteps of my house and asked for me. I keep my business separate from the house. If my parents have any idea, then they should be handed Oscars because they have acted oblivious so far. So when that question came from an aunt which I rate as the strictest of them all, it was like a grenade in my head. If I thought I had heard enough, I was a joker because she went on to add that she had this really nice girl down there in Abuja and she had already spoken to her aunt and blah blah blah. I just kept laughing and asked her to keep the issue between us. I asked for the gir’s details which I’m yet to get and tried to go back to sleep. As you can easily guess, my siesta was ruined; I could not sleep. The pressure is too much and that’s just from my relatives. My parents can pressurize on an entirely hellish level.

My academics and career life too pose another source of pressure. Being an almost-graduate, I’m at crossways on what to do with the rest of my life. My age still makes it possible for me to chase another degree and come out at a good age (though the boo still has complaints about this. “Time is fast going”, she says. I have lofty plans and ambitions. I want to be at the pinnacle of everything. Nobody wants to be left behind by their peers, certainly not me.

In all, everything count and adds up. There are still minor ones too. I have completely left out my love life. That one is a different story; I am not built to handle the emotional stress for that one and I am still in the learning process. I have lots to think of and lots at the back of my mind. With all these, it feels impossible to make sense out of anything. But then, there is God to make things easier and even in my darkest moments, where it feels like I am the filth and scum of the earth, he has never failed when I have turned to him. The pressure is still on though and is going nowhere. I have decided it’s time for me to carry my own weight and start pushing back.

P.S: In unrelated news, I am now occupied with the World Cup. A lot of this pressure has been relegated to the background to make space for the beautiful game of soccer. The World Cup is here, I must enjoy it…

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