Thursday, February 23, 2017

Nigerian Men and Homophobia

In my experience of interacting of Nigerian men, I've discovered that one common ground that most (read: 100%) of them share is their views on gay men. I've polled both ends of the spectrum and found that whether the man was raised in the trenches of Nigeria, or he was raised abroad and otherwise considers himself to be open minded, when it comes to the topic of gay men, they all think along very similar lines. In summary: Very deep rooted homophobia.
What I've found pretty interesting is how lesbian women get a pass and these men aren't as averse to the idea of two women together...but a man and man? God forbid! Even the Lucifers amongst us will bust out their moral compass on this matter.

A while ago, I was discussing the gay people topic with some folks and one of the guys said that people like Bobrisky should be definitely be imprisoned because they are sending the wrong message to young men. He then added that "homosexuality is not part of the Nigerian culture and values", to which I scoffed and asked what exactly the Nigerian culture and values are. I mean, there's old ass men marrying underage girls, a lot of men and women who sleep around for money, plenty embezzlement and corruption in the system, etc, so I highly doubt that gay people are any threat to the so-called Nigerian culture and values when there's bigger fish to be fried. How is a man who chooses to date another man a part of Nigeria's problem? Chileee, the thing pass me abeg.
Another man in the group stated that no gay man would ever be allowed to visit his home (but please note that lesbians absolutely got a pass). He then gave a ridiculous recount of when he worked in Nigeria as a supervisor, some gay dude came to the office to visit one of his subordinates and he walked the man out of the office and told him never to come back. When the subordinate asked him why he did such a thing, he told her to shut up and face her work or else she would get written up. Brethren, I was speechless.

What really baffles me about the Nigerian man's view on homosexuality is how hypocritical it always is. Ninjas who are not even prepped and primed to see the Kingdom of Heaven instantly start to preach and quote scripture whenever whenever the topic comes up. As I've asked a lot of people, "if you are out here fornicating. What makes you better than them?". And one man's response? "In my book, fornication is not a sin because sex between a man and a woman is natural". I ain't eem have a response for that one. I no fit shout.

Seeing that pretty much all the men I know want to choke every time homosexuality is mentioned, the question that I always pose to them is...how would you react if you found out that your son is gay? The varying responses always always go like these:
"God forbid, that will never be my portion" 
"Then from that point, he is no longer my son"
"What? I will send him to Nigeria so that they can pray the gayness out of him"
"My son ke? I will drop him in a whorehouse for 2 months so that those women can cure him of being gay"
etc etc

I tell you that absolutely none of them wants to entertain the with the idea that hey, this could happen. And I get it to an extent. I'm sure that as a Nigerian parent to a gay individual, life will probably be hard because no matter how open minded and loving you are, you still have to deal with the opinions of Nigerian society and try to protect your child from any backlash. But still, there are Nigerian gay men in our midst...some of who were probably taken to MFM for prayers and then pressured to get married because their parents hoped that prayers and marriage would cure their sexual orientation. We all know how stories like that end...

Sha, after all the outrage and "chillaligans" ontop this matter, according to what I hear, there are still plenty gay/bi-sexual men roaming around Nigeria. I'm sure they are not sleeping with themselves. So much for our so-called culture and values.

And that is all she said.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Kiss and Don't Tell

When a woman gets into sexual relations with a man. It can go a few ways:

A. It will remain strictly between you two (your best girlfriend doesn’t count, hehe) and the man will lock up your business and you will never hear pim from anybody about it.

B. The man might have the best intentions in keeping the relations discreet but somehow can’t resist telling his homeboy. Now depending on the type of homeboy, it might either stay there or spread far and wide.

C. The man have served in a town crier role in his previously life, and currently has a PhD in bitchassedness. As a result, the whole world will know that about what went down, and how it went down.

Two Scenarios recently come to mind that illustrate one or more of the type of guys highlighted above:

Scenario #1 – Maryjane and Tom
There is this babe that I know who is always carrying face anyhow. For purposes of this gist, let’s call her Maryjane. I don’t care much for Maryjane…and neither do a certain group of friends that I have. I mean, to be fair sha, she has no real offense besides the fact that she is always squeezing face but still…who she be sef?

So one day I was gathered among that group of friends and Maryjane randomly came up in the gist.  And the conversation kinda went like this…

Jerry (part of the group of friends): Forget that babe jare, always acting like she no dey see pesin. That’s how she smashed Tom but be boning face like she say she no sabi am.
Some of us: Wait…whaaaaat? How do you even know this?
Jerry: Yes na. Remember that baby shower that Mike hosted a few months ago? Apparently Maryjane ran into Tom there and acted like she didn’t know him and so in annoyance, he told us that he had smashed her in the backseat of his Honda a few years ago.
Mike: Yeah, he told us that day…boys were amazed mehn!
Some of us: [A mix of different reactions ranging from “Tom is such an agbaya” to “dayummm, Maryjane gets down like that??”]

My personal stance was that for one, Jerry was a fool for bringing it up. And Tom was definitely a bigger fool and major fuckboy for telling Jerry and the boys about relations that happened years ago. Ol’ boy is a married man with 2 kids so Maryjane’s matter should not even be on his radar. Shouldn’t he be facing his front and thinking about how to provide for his family rather than exhibiting major foolishness and “exposing” babes about relations that happened years ago, all because they see him and don’t greet him?

I mean, like I said ol’ girl’s main offense is that she too dey bone face. Did that warrant such exposure on her palzonal marras? Just like that, I an innocent bystander (along with a few others) knows what ol’ girl did in the backseat of a Honda about X years ago. I wither o.

Scenario #2 – Chris Brown, Rihanna, Drake and Kid Ink
In another scenario, I know this guy called Chris Brown. Once upon a time, Chris Brown was always parading one babe named Rihanna up and down the place. I mean he was with her at weddings, parties, babyshowers, get togethers…you name eeeeet! Then all of a sudden, we went from seeing Rihanna all over the place, to never seeing her again. Babe just faded like she was never there.
One day, among a gathering of a very small group of friends, I asked Chris Brown “Yo, whatever happened with you and Rihanna? Babe just dropped off” and he responded “I really liked Rihanna and thought she was awesome but I couldn’t get past the fact that she had smashed the boy Drake so I had to eventually drop her”.
Please note that Drake lives in North Dakota and is NOT even friends with Chris Brown. I mean, they know about each other but they aren’t boys by any stretch. So, what screwed things up for Rihanna, you may wonder?
Apparently, a few years ago, Drake came into town one weekend and was introduced to Rihanna by a mutual friend – Kid Ink. Somehow, Drake and Rihanna messed around, and apparently, Rihanna was so fire inna di bed that Drake was very impressed and went and gisted Kid Ink about every single detail of the hookup.
So, how did the gist reach Chris Brown na? Wellst Kid Ink and Chris Brown are best friends so umm yeah, that’s what happened.

Down the line, Rihanna crossed paths with Chris Brown and as a yeye man he remembered her gist and wanted to sample the goods and check out the hype for himself but he had absolutely no grand plans for her. So when she started asking questions about “where is this going?” “what are we?”, Chris Brown pulled the classic “it’s not you, it’s me” and dropped the poor girl. At least the boy Kid Ink had the nerve to admit his mistake in interrupting Rihanna’s potential destiny when he said … “I know I messed up. I told Chris Brown too much…”. Smh. All this could have been avoided if Drake had carried his excitement to fry yam as opposed to going to gist Kid Ink about the chillaligans.

So like I say to my ladies, the minute you decide to climb into bed with a man, it can go a variety of ways. Which is interesting, because I don’t think that women are into that kiss and tell life. Half the time, I think women are trying to code their business and won’t be out there saying “Yeah I climbed Johnson on the backseat of an Okada so how dare he see me and not say hi”. I wonder whether our coding is because we truly are discreet or because of the double-standard that goes with women and sexuality. Who knows.

And that is all she said.  

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Packaging

My first real crash course in packaging was in 2012. I was in Nigeria that Christmas chilling with a friend and we decided to hit up a new bar that had just opened and was touted to be this cool and swanky spot. It was a hot afternoon and we were dressed in what I thought was appropriate hot afternoon attire - a maxi dress and casual sandals for me, and since this spot was literally down the street, I skipped the makeup. Ol' dude also kept it pretty simple in jeans and a polo shirt. I didn’t think anything of our baffups, after all it was in the afternoon and we were just going for regular ol' drinks. So that's how we landed at the spot looking very casual and unbothered, and the bouncer gave both of us once-overs and dismissively said "Sorry, only members are allowed inside". Hollup, Hollup! We had so many questions: Members? I didn’t realize one had to be a member to get into a lounge and cool off with a drink. Everything screamed BS but what could we do? The bouncer wasn't giving us any face despite all our questions so we jejely chopped our ela ojukan and carried ourselves elsewhere. But the thing peppered me small sha...like ahn ahn, a whole Mgbeke like me getting bounced? Did they not know who my father in Heaven was? Some real nonsense and ingredient.

Now the funny thing about this cool story was that my sister and some of her friends had planned to meet us at that same "member-only" bar. So when we got dismissed, I sent her a quick text, telling her not to bother going to that bar and to come and meet us at the other place instead. Darris how my sister rolled up to the spot looking fly in heels, a nice outfit, and makeup on fleek. Her friends were also looking just as nice and put together. Me sef I come shame small, like kai I no even try sha. In all their flyness, they rallied me and my boy up claiming that we should all go back to that bar since they really wanted to check it out. And while I was so skeptical that we would get another round of bouncing, we got to the door and that same bouncer who claimed members only, let all of us in just like that without any wahala at all. No hassle, no questions. I was quite amaxed.

That was how I truly learned that sometimes in order for people to take notice, you have to package yourself accordingly. Best believe that for the rest of my trip, I made sure that every time I left the house, I was looking as takeaway as possible. The fear of ela is the beginning of wisdom.
Since then, I have seen/observed how packaging has helped some people's cases. A girl/guy might not even be that fine, but the way they carry themselves and pull things together just gives them that extra oomph factor that definitely gets them noticed and opens doors for them (literally and figuratively).
You know how sometimes you see people in the airport dressed to the nines just to fly, and you're wondering why they need a full face of makeup and need to be so dressed up for a simple plane ride. Well, my family friend once got upgraded to business class on an international trip for no reason, and she swears that it was because of how she presented herself at the ticket counter. Personally, I'm all for traveling in true comfort i.e. some comfortable shoes, leggings ('cos comfy leggings are forever the truth), and a make-up free face but if some nice baffs and a beat face will get me that business class upgrade, then please show me the way so that I can comply.

I also learned so many lessons about packaging in the workplace when I transitioned from working for the Government to the non-Government sector. The former is definitely way more casual than the latter. The first few weeks at my first post-Government job, I used to look around in awe at the falshunz in the office. From my experience, I quickly learned that a lot of times, people tend to take more notice when you are well dressed. You might not even be that smart, but by the time you dazzle them with nice baffs, you have won half the battle. Whoever came up with that "dress for the job you want" idea sure was onto something.

Even with all my observations and lessons learned, I still don’t have the packaging game down pat on a consistent level. Some days I step out looking like I made some real effort, and some days I don't.  But to people are consistently on their game, I say please keep it up. I absolutely enjoy seeing well-packaged people…It just so aesthetically pleasing. I appreciate the babygirls and babyboys out there who give me some visual candy to admire with their packaging game. Keep up the good work guys, and remember…if anyone is beefing you for doing too much, just wave them off and remind them that it is better to be overpackaged than underpackaged #Mgbekewisdom.

And that is all she said.

Happy New Year folks!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

2016: My Year in Review

I started out the year in Aberdeen, Scotland. In my usual tradition, I went to church with my sister and enjoyed bringing in the new year with the good Lord Jesus. I don't know if I've mentioned this, but I have always spent my new year's eves in church. I don't even really go to church during the year (don't let my mom see this), but it's just a mental thing where I feel like I haven't started the year right if I don't start it off in church.

As the new year kicked off, I spent the first few months of it in a relationship that gave me "anxiety". He wasn't a terrible guy but we definitely weren't right for each other, and I initially heaved a sigh of relief when he dumped me we broke it off early-ish in the year.
Besides the uncertainty of my relationship, my job was another thing giving me stress. I felt over-worked and under-appreciated, my new boss got on my nerves, and in general, I was just really over it.

In June, I went to Nigeria for 2 weeks after a 4 year hiatus. I can say that entire trip was my happiest moment in 2016. I truly felt peace and happiness at being back home and away from the "chillaligans". Besides my Portharcourt home base, I went to Abuja to visit family, and went to Lagos for a wedding. As my first Lagos wedding, it was definitely a lot of fun. The turnup was real and unparalleled...now I truly believe it when people say "ain't no party like a Lagos party".

I came back from my Naija vacation refreshed and ready to take on the world. I felt great and a lot of people said that I looked like I lost weight, I said "who me? I swallowed eba almost every day but I'll definitely take it". My skin was refreshed, my post-Naija glow was on fleek, and I was unbothered and rolling in post-vacation bliss...till work resumed getting on my nerves, AND I ran into my ex on two separate instances with 2 different wimmens and I was like whaaat? He moved on that quick??
This led to a series of episodes over the following months where I sat and over-analyzed the entire relationship:
"Well he was a good man, so where did I go wrong?"
"He said he was simple. Sheesh so I can't even keep a simple man happy?"
"Where did I miss the plot?"
"Why does he look so alive when he's with that particular girl that I always see him with. I don't think he was ever that alive with me"
and etc, etc.

To be honest, the analysis hasn't stopped. I have since seen him out and about living his baby boy life and I'm still writing a bunch of research papers in my head but trying to push through it.

Actually, let me just say that the remaining half of 2016 has had me in some sort of a 32.75/33yr life crisis.

I remember a few weeks before I turned 33, I sent a teary message to my sister telling her how I felt like 33 was around the corner and I wasn't dominating any single thing in my life. Not my relationships (obviously), not my friendships (because I suddenly became more self-aware and started questioning some things), not my career, not my purpose/passion, not my goals, not nada, zip, zilch.

Work got crazier, I realized that I was definitely not appreciated in my environment and I was starting to feel drained and truly miserable.
My friend died in August, and I still feel like it's been one bad dream.
And in general, I lost my zest/zeal for a lot of things that used to ginger me.

But it wasn't all gloom and doom. Some good/interesting things happened this year:

1. I passed the Project Management Professional (PMP) exam.

2. I checked off a bunch of things on my DC to-do list. I realized I've lived in the DC/MD/VA area for 15 years and hadn't been to a bunch of museums and sights. So I set out to do some of that this summer and I did great!

3. After whining to a friend about how my ex had moved on so fast, she suggested I join Tinder, and so I did...and deleted my account after one month. But it was an interesting experience overall, and I went on one date! I have absolutely no plans of reactivating my account in the near future, but to any curious minds, I'll say give it a shot. At the very least, it's a good ego booster.

4. I did some travel besides my Naija trip - Puerto Rico for my friend's birthday, and Atlanta for Christmas.

5. I got a new job! And 2 months in, I really like my new client and can say that at the moment, I feel happy going to work. My work schedule is also so much more stable and less stressful.

6. My mom and sister came to visit me twice this year. I always love and appreciate time with both of them. My mom spent 7 weeks for her second visit, and when she left I really missed her. Such a far cry from the days when I thought 3 weeks was overkill, Hehe.

So yep, definitely some pretty good highlights in the year.

Overall, it wasn't a bad year, but it wasn't a great year either. It was just aight. But I'm definitely thankful for the small mercies, for good health, for my new job, and for life cos mennn here today, gone tomorrow...it's crazy.

In the spirit of living life as best as possible, my goal for 2017 is to wake up. In all my reflecting of 2016 and even 2015, I realized that I have been sleeping. Even my mom commented on how I lost my spark and wasn't the usual dorra that she was used to seeing. So I need to wake my ass up and start living my life.

In a nutshell, that was my 2016. How was yours?

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

How to Meet a Man 101: Slide up in his DMs

I have this male friend who has the best intentions in offering suggestions to get me snatched up and off the dating market. Some of his "award winning" advice that I have gotten in the past included tidbits like "Wear more bodycon dresses and form fitting stuff so that men can see your shape, you know we are visual creatures", "Attend more events and don't worry about the other women who may be your competition, package yourself well and present yourself like a winner", "Switch up your hair and style often, keep men guessing" etc etc. I have received all of his advice with nothing but amusement as I generally find them quite hilarious. Like bro I know you mean well but nope, nope, nope.

Now recently in a bid to get me married off soon so that he can come and turn-up at my 2017 wedding (Please don't forget to use the hashtag #Mgbekeandthemanyettobelocated2017), my dear friend has suggested that I broaden my horizon and look into social media as a tool for meeting men. In fact, to quote him directly... "Try some of these social media ways, people seem to be connecting through those mediums these days. You just have to diversify your portfolio and adapt to the new ways of finding niggas". Oooh but I had a very good response for him, because if anyone is looking for a diversified social media presence (or absence), I think I have my bases covered: 
  •  There's a Facebook account that I log into every 2 months or so to do my amebo and bounce.
  • There's a Twitter account that has lain kinda dormant in the recent past but I'm doing much better now (I think)
  • There's a Pinterest that I don't check
  • There's an abandoned Tumblr
  • I don't have a real IG account. But I be knowing.
So I laid out my "impressive" presence on social media, and said "I am on social media but I still haven't gotten chose so your point exactly?" and the rest of the conversation went like this: 

My friend (henceforth referred to as Him): Facebook is old news. Instagram is the place to be.
Me: Udonmeanit. How so?
Him: With an active IG account, you can make headway in meeting somebody. But you also have to get out of your comfort zone and message guys too.
Me: Wait, what? Like you want me to slide up in random nig's DMs?
Him: Yeah, what's wrong with that? Isn't that how Nkechi found her new man?
Me: Oookay. Not happening bruv. I'm not that thirsty.
Him: You are approaching this the wrong way. Messaging doesnt mean you are desperate. It's just a conversation starter and you can access the person from there.
Me: Abeg this your advice get as e be o.
Him: Na just simple conversation starter. Keep it light and see if it grows.
Me: I'm just cracking up over here at this ridiculous advice. Message ko, message ni.
Him: Don't dismiss it. You gotta get outside your comfort zone and do something different.
Me: Don't hold your breath on this one.

(End of conversation).
And in my usual fashion, I was nothing short of amused. Like Hollup! Did this man just advise me to go start DM'ing random nigs from out of nowhere? Choi, this is what happens when you are 33 and don't have no prospects in sight. Good Lawdt! 
Guys just imagine scenario naaa...one fine boy will post a picture of clear blue skies and I will creep up in the DMs like "lovely blue sky innit?". Is it from there that we will launch our forever after because ham so confuse. Real hilarity y'all. 
But I also found it extra amusing that the advice had shifted from "attending events" to "using social media" to meet men. What is next? "Go to the village in Nigeria and find you an Okonkwo?" I'm sure this one is coming next because these days everything is fair game.

The conversation with my friend also had me thinking about how a lot of us offer the default advice about meeting men in the typical places - weddings, parties, online but hey, they exist in other random places too. I met my ex on the train - my normal commute to and from work. I met another guy that I dated in a parking lot - an unexpected meeting place. I met one other guy that I dated at a festival, to be more specific, while waiting in the suya line, etc etc. Dudes can be located anywhere but the weddings, events, and now the DMs are the more obvious choices for suggestion (which to some extent makes sense I guess).  
Anyway sha, advice on attending more weddings and events I can stomach. DMs is a "boy you tripping" and like I told my friend...DM ko, DM ni. Abeg that one pass my power o.

And that is all she said.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

For Petty People Who Do Not Know How To Let Things Go

This one is for us.

I’m one of those people who considers herself to be pretty self-aware.  I know my strengths and I know my weaknesses in equal amounts.  I try not to live in denial about who I am and will gladly tout both my strengths and weaknesses if asked.
In that token, I have to acknowledge/confess that one of my biggest weaknesses is my petty, unforgiving, I will hold a grudge and remember your matter nature.  Back in the day it was called “keeping malice”, haha.

For some reason, when I was younger I lived in self-deception thinking that I was quick to forgive. All lies. I think that as I grew older, I started to realize that although I was cool or had supposedly moved past old hurts from my “enemies” (as I secretly think of them as), I still was not over whatever it was that they did. For instance, for the longest time,  I held a slight grudge against an ex for breaking up with me 2 days before my  birthday AND not buying me the red Blackberry that I was supposed to get for my birthday gift. Hellooooo, Blackberrys were the rage then and I was supposed to be part of the cool kids club but it wasn’t even about the gift, it was more about the principle.
Who breaks up with someone right before their birthday??? Needless to say, It’s been well over many years and we “moved past it” but I haven’t completely forgotten his matter. I’m going to remember to point him out to my kids in 15 years and say “You see that uncle over there? He pissed me off in 19 gbogboro and I haven’t forgotten so don’t greet him and don’t play with his kids!” *chuckles*...I keed, I keed.

In the same token, I think I hold grudges against 90% of the men in my past. Ironically, we never even had crazy bitter endings and if I currently relate with any (which is rare ‘cos I generally believe that exes = Ex-communication), then we are at least cordial. But none of them should expect me to save them if we were combating world hunger and I had an extra piece of bread *evil laugh*
If I have to be honest, I will admit that I secretly or not so secretly hold these grudges because for the most part they were the ones to do the rejecting in one form or the other, and another major weakness that I have is my pride/ego. Like ehnnn, you want to reject a whole ME??? Do you know who I am?? But that's another post for another day...

Speaking of ex-communication, this totally works for petty people like me. I remember one of my coworkers crying about some dude who had wronged her and I was like wellll I hope you’ve blocked him off every form of social media, deleted his number, and if possible deleted his existence from his life…and she said nope. I was confused, as for me this would so be the default thing to do. Delete, delete, delete.  I used to date this other guy who was every thoughtful and did nice things like make a CD of “our songs” (how cute), and some other kain nice gifts. When things abruptly ended, I broke the CD and tossed all his gifts in the trash. I want absolutely no reminders of you sir. Now be gone while I try to move on. And best believe he will definitely not get a piece of bread if he was dying and I had the last
Disclaimer: If na expensive gift i.e. phone, bag, shoes….honey, you can remind me anytime!

Men and their matters aside, my “I remember your matter” attitude is generally equal opportunity to the sexes.  A friend of a friend pissed me off in 2004, we got into a screaming match, and now it’s 2016 and I still don’t like her ass based on that incident. I doubt I ever will.

I’m sure most of us have experienced those friends who have coded certain things that happened in their lives – new job, engagement, baby on the way etc. I’ve definitely made a mental note of all those types of people and have oh so pettily planned that when my own celebration comes in any shape or form, I will treat their misbehavior. Oh, you waited 6 months to tell me that you were having a baby? Best believe that when it’s my turn, you won’t even hear PIM from me until a friend of a friend tells you about the baby’s christening (you won’t even hear about that from me sef).  My general mantra is = treat people as they treat you, and if you have to, go above and beyond in showing them pepper.

In this journey of pettiness, I’ve had a lot of well-meaning people advise me to “be the bigger person” and “just let it go. And I just want to say that I don’t think people realize the true and legit struggle that it is for a petty person like me to be the bigger person and let things go. Whaat? Impossicant! I want to plan how to deal with my offender’s f-up. I want to fantasize about their downfall. When I'm truly in that zone, I have absolutely no desire to embrace maturity and let things go.
In my opinion sef, maturity and calm is so overrated and doesn’t get people very far anyway. Why do you think crazy, bitchy people stay winning in life? Hmm hmm.

Aniwoos, I can’t say that I’m working on this character flaw of mine, cos the truth is that I’m not. I think I was born petty and will die petty and it is what it is. To people who can truly live life without bearing grudges and remembering people’s matter, I doff my hat to una o. That’s definitely an admirable trait in this world that we live in.

And that is all she said.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

How to Deal with Life’s Pressures: Cook Them in Your Internal Pressure Cooker

One of the huge complexes that I had when I was a bit younger was the amount of time that I spent in College compared to my peers. To provide context, I got into Community College in September 2001, and graduated from a 4-year institution in May 2007. So that was about 6 years vs. the standard 4-year college career.
I started out with most of my “mates and juniors” and it was all good till they started graduating one by one…some as early as 2 years before me. Then it hit me like ahh my mates have left me behind, and I’m still here dulling. It also didn’t help that I would run into folks at random events and they would ask questions like “ah ah, you haven’t graduated yet?” or “when are you graduating?” and finally when I did graduate, a couple of people definitely told me “Congratulations. It was about damn time”. 

As with most other pressures in life, there was that societal aspect which contributed to the pressure of feeling like I needed to be done with school ASAP. There was always that well-meaning aunt/uncle here and there who would ask “Sooo when is Mgbeke graduating?” And in turn, my parents were always anxiously asking/commenting… “Soooo when are you graduating?”, “Is this your last semester?”, “I ran into Nkechi’s mom, and she said that Nkechi just graduated and got a job with Bill Gates”. Eeyah, I can’t blame them sha. I’m sure they must have indeed felt some type of way because their friends’ kids were graduating and going onto big things like shiny new jobs and/or advanced degrees while I seemed to be stagnant in my perpetual college student status.

I would go to events and people would ask “what do you do?” and I felt embarrassed to say that I was still in school when other people were giving more interesting responses like “I just got a job at so and so company” or “I’m getting a Masters degree in this field”. Everyone just seemed so mature and accomplished and I felt very much inadequate and insecure in my regular college kid status.

In retrospect, I don’t know why I made such a big deal about spending an extra 2 years in school. I don’t know why I didn’t just enjoy the moment as opposed to tacking on 18 credit hours most semesters and paying for summer classes because I was so pressed to be done with college. Till today I still regret not taking advantage of study abroad opportunities, and not doing more in general with my college experience because I was so focused on G-day aka Graduation day. 

Well…I’ve been out of college for almost 9 years and I still ask myself: what was all this hype to rush out of school and get a degree for? Besides the perks of getting a real salary and not being a broke college student anymore, the post-college transition into the “Real world” is generally quite overrated. 
To be honest, I might have thought that getting that much coveted Bachelor’s degree next to my name and graduating onto to the real world would solve everything and fix all my insecurities. But nope, cos apparently nobody told me about the next pressure which was the one about getting a “good job” compared to my peers in my industry…*sigh*

As I quickly learned, graduating from college was just a minute piece in one of the pressures in life. There are so many other “graduations” in life where other people seem to be progressing to the next stage and unfortunately, some others seem to be behind in the race. The most commonly discussed one among the young wimmens of my generation is marriage. But as I learned from finally obtaining that Bachelors degree (i.e. having one wasn’t the answer to everything), I’ve also come to realize that contrary to popular belief, graduating to the level of “Mrs” is not going to solve all your problems ‘cos there are more pressures awaiting you down the line.

- There’s the pressure to have kids. For some, as soon as you’ve said your “I dos”, the womb watchers emerge from the woodworks. Heck, I’ve been to weddings where in the speeches/prayers, comments like “we can’t wait to celebrate in 9 months” have been not-so casually thrown in. 
Even if one is blessed/lucky to have a child, there is that pressure to add more to the breed. I know someone who had a child and was trying to conceive for 3+ years. And she definitely felt the pressure because a lot of her friends who had also conceived their first-born kiddies around the same time that she did, had already moved on and were well into their Baby #2s.

- And even in having kids, there’s that “I’ve had 3 girls but my husband really wants a boy” type of pressure. This definitely still exists, 2016 or not. Again, I know somebody who felt this weight on her shoulders but we praise the Good Lord, she finally bore a baby boy for her Igbo husband.

- There’s the pressure of metamorphosing into a “yummy mummy” soon after childbirth. My people, these new moms these days are not shining teeth o with their #Teamsnapback and tinz. I’m sure some of them definitely feel that pressure to fit into their size 6 pants well ahead of schedule. They will be saying to themselves “Ah ah, if Nikky can do it, why can’t I?”. The tension dikwa very real.
Shoot I don’t blame them jare, these yummy mummies are even tensioning me with my never-had-kids self. I saw one mom of 4 wearing a croptop the other day and I said ehn? #ThatcouldbemebutItoolikepoundedyam

It truly doesn’t end…

Marriage aside, there are other graduations taking place. Your mates are buying houses, but you are still apartment living. Your mates have discovered their passions and know what they want to do with their lives, but you are still in limbo trying to figure it out. Your mates are managers and supervisors, but you are yet to supervise a cockroach. Your mates in your industry all seem to have great jobs and are making 7 figures and you’re still floundering in the same position. Sidebar: Man, Linkedin can definitely serve as a source of tension o. Some days I just be browsing profiles like wow, everyone else on Planet Earth seems to have it together with a high-flying career, 3 Masters degrees, and must be making like 7 figures with that really impressive resume. And I’m just like winging it and BS-ing on this job and wondering whether I’m underpaid.

Life is indeed a revolving cycle of pressures. It’s always one thing or the other. Ever wonder why some of our parents pressure us so much over somethings? Cos even they feel the pressure compared to their mates. Their friends’ children seem to be graduating to new levels, while their children seem to remain stagnant in the same position. But after my college experience and dealing with that pressure plus the other ones that came after it, I have learned that the best way to deal with pressure is to cook it and try not to let it consume me. Worrying about what I can’t control (if indeed I can’t control it) doesn’t help much.

No matter the specific pressures that each of us is dealing with, my prayer for us all is that all that we desire will come to us in Jesus name…but in the meantime, keep cooking those pressures and don’t let them cook you.

And that is all she said.