#Opinion: Life’s Expectations; Don’t Let It Stifle Your Creativity – By Ucheoma Onwutuebe


It is a fine thing that you have learnt how to make do with only four hours of sleep, without the usual grumpiness that comes with it, for no one got from here to there by being buddies with their mattresses.

It would be another dreary day at the bank today. The doors would open by eight and watch the people arrive like relentless swarms of locust about to devour a field and they would keep at it till around four in the evening. Do not think too hard about it as you sit in bed clutching your head in your hands, it is too early to put your mind through these uneasy thoughts. Get up, boil a kettle of water, let us go and beat this.

I watch you function out of yourself at the counter, plastic smile always at the ready; stifling the urge to scream at their insane questions (whose signature should I sign?) and swallowing their insouciance and insolence, (moreover it is their money), and all I can say to you is to hang in a little while. We would save enough to leave and write full time.

Only do not let the humdrum routine stifle your creativity. You said at 25 you would have put together your manuscript of fake memoir and so far, no good. Do not use this job as an excuse for non-productivity. Like your grandmother would always say, “it isn’t easy”. You would not be the first writer to hold a full time job. You are trying but you need to grind harder at your ploughshares.

I do not like to pressure you. You are young, with ample time in your sails but a little tough love and self rebuke and constant reminder would do no harm. I am not pressuring you like your Aunty Nkoli who reminded you last Xmas when you went home for the holidays that at your age, your mother already had your twin brothers and you. I was proud of you when you told her that your mother’s shoes were too old for you to fill and in its time, the breadfruit would fall to the ground.

You have begun to wax your legs. Hmm. I have noticed how deep your laughter runs and your new craving for abacha. You are happy, aren’t you? Is it a boy or are you just feeling yourself? There is something you are not telling me, this girl.

Have you met someone? Have you finally decided to settle for one, just one? I thought we were not buying the whole pig just for a sausage? It is interesting that you have begun to wink at the concept of one, and only you have dropped your shopping basket.

Does he inspire your loyalty; make you want to be better? Does he remind you to wrap your hair at night; make you learn new words? Do you think of him when you paint your nails red? Does he respect your boundaries? Please stop that coy smile and tell me.

Well if you are happy, then be happy. These things are beautiful to experience. Only do not lose your originality. Do not let your ideas be drowned in his voice.

But do not trust yourself too much. Know your body like you know the meaning of those big words you spew so often. Wasn’t it last month that Lolo, your childhood best friend came over to your place and you held her rocking shoulders as she cried and cried, and together you watched the clock and waited for her monthly visitor like a bride waits for her drunken groom who got too wasted at his bachelor’s party and forgot to turn up for his own wedding?

She kept saying, “But an unwanted pregnancy is so juvenile, and at 27 I can’t read my own cycle?” at that point all you thought of were, “but Lolo is more put together than me. If this can happen to her….”

So think on these things as you moisturise your skin lavishly this morning. May the sun kiss your menalin so lightly that it glows. May you learn to love your mother and crave to hear her voice each passing day. You are the product of her faith and her steely belief that no child of hers is a nobody.

May the name of your father not cease to be mentioned in your prayers and may you remember to give your little ones stipends this month.

If it is a lover that makes you wax your legs, may his eyes be trained enough to notice, but if it is not a lover, may your love for self run deep and deep like the tap roots of a mighty tree.


Happenings Media