I am a former pressure addict. I was always under pressure. Not from anyone but myself. It is why I find myself doing too many things at the same time. It makes me wonder whether I was trying to prove a point to other people or myself. Perhaps the successes of certain endeavours mask and compensate for all those mundane insecurities.
Then I beat myself up when I don’t attain the feat I expect, or anticipate. The most part of my University years were spent in the library and working on extra projects that weren’t even part of my allocated school work. Although it paid off, but I reckon I could have done with getting drunk a bit more, hung out at more bon-fire parties in the woods, and indulged in more mindless gossip, a few campus flings more pub quizzes and costume parties.
Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a complete square. I was still very sociable but sadly that pressure muscle in my brain was always working overtime in a dire attempt to get that Janet Jackson six pack.
I realised a little latter that life seemed to be passing through me. Like Ekene Onu described, I was becoming one dimensional. Completely obsessed with achieving huge heights at my then chosen field and anything contrary to that made me a failure. It was a do or die affair. At its extreme, I would find myself sinking into manic phases of depression because it all wasn’t going as fast as I wanted it to. As far as I was concerned, I worked my backside to the bone so it’s only natural that it adds up the way I expected and wanted. Of course my manic dejection was a sign that the pressure veins were about to rupture and this inadvertently became my “Intervention”.
Pressure rehab for me involved a bit of “cold turkey” and a re-wiring of my thinking process. The experience of living is fun, perplexing and exciting all at the same time because you are surprised by the events and activities that life throws at you on a daily basis. You never expect it, but life expects you to trust it, challenge yourself, step out of your comfort zone and just work with it. Because you either learn or gain unbelievable pleasure in the end. I did realise that most people don’t get to even indulge in things they love but I got to do it for a living. Whether it was on the side at times or full throttle. What more could anyone ask for than to do the things they enjoy.
It’s not always easy keeping these demons at bay though. Recently, I almost had a relapse. An older friend of mine said to me, “ lets talk”. He said “what is your long term plan and what are you working on right now”
I found myself replying “I have registered my content provision and production business and im working on changing my blog to a mini website to enable me incorporate a few more features”. I started detailing the futuristic possibilities of different projects I would be working on. Then he said “you seem sound and focused. Don’t let me ask next month and you say they are still working on the website ”
My friend's question and answer session almost got me feeling a little neurotic but somewhere along the line I re-enforced the re-wiring.
As part of my rehabilitation, I had substituted full plans and blue prints for pencil tracing on disposable paper. So lets say before, I had fully built miniature models in my head but now I just have erasable outlines on tracing paper.
Sadly, a few deaths had kept me “Pressure Clean” and age made me understand that I would discover newer and more exciting things and all that excessive pressure pill popping was a bit unnecessary.
A young high school girl sent me a message saying she watched my TV show and liked the way i dressed. she said she wanted to know what to wear because she was "FAT" too. I haven't replied yet but i think i will tell her to wear what she feels like wearing because those so called fashion faux par memories she will accumulate will become priceless. I will tell her to enjoy being a kid and forget about the pressure of being cool. It's all overrated and impressing other people is purely undue self-imposed stress, which lets face it you don't even get paid for. I wish she could see me on a normal day, she might just have rethought sending me the message.
I once used to write poetry, then I started writing on the web, then magazines, and newspapers and now I am trying out short fiction and screen plays.
Once I used to make documentaries on the radio, then I co-hosted a breakfast show, now I co-anchor a drive-time show and present a style programme. Maybe soon I will teach, or become an art dealer, or indulge in interior décor or own a restaurant, perhaps open a theatre, make a French or Hausa film,
or even become a stay home mother who performs trip-hop induced spoken word with a band on weekends.
All I know is that I discover new gifts, and new interests and I try to dedicate sometime to explore, at times build and most of all enjoy them.
Two year and pressure clean. Sobriety is a beautiful thing.
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