I’m glad I can go anonymous on this one…so I’m going to write like I deem fit and bare it all. If you find a typo, close your eyes to it. (Senses numb by the way not from the influence of alcohol neither from the influence of coke nor snort).
I wonder what my life would have been if I wasn't looked up to, if the pressure wasn't this intense. Would I have fared better? Would I have been more confident? Unafraid to explore? Unafraid to play and be less rigid? You think I am strong? No I am not. That smile is just a facade, a pretty disguise worn to put off more questions. People who really know me would agree it doesn't even last that long but the emptiness and blankness in my eyes sure do. I truly wonder what my life would have become...what would it have looked like without the constant nagging, the frets and fears? I am only remembered when it is bad news. I know I've always prayed to be a peacemaker but can I be a recipient of good news too? Every call is picked with trepidation and received with anxiety...who's beating who now? Who is dying? Who is losing his/her mind? Who is hungry? Who is sick? Who is naked and in dire need of *Tonia to come cover her up. Like I am some protector dropped from heaven? Like I am unfeeling and don't have a life too? Can anyone share good news with me for once? *Tonia this. *Tonia that. Can they call someone else? If it's bad, pass me over please. Tell someone else. I am atm deaf to them all.
My days start on a glorious note only for them to be ruined by messy news. Like I will drop everything that is 'mine' and start hailing back home? But of course they know I will...after all I am the first. Responsible me. Their big sister. Their sane daughter. Softhearted and kind. Never one to leave them to rot and writhe in pain. The last time I did, mama died. I'll starve myself even deplete all of the savings to keep them well. I am the predictable one never for once forgetting my people. I'll listen to all the cries, my eyes to the world is dry but deep inside my blood burns, not for passion but in pains. Tears turned blood. Unsettled. I try to think of any one time I have heard good news but I truly can't. Honestly, I can't. Even when dada shared the news of my younger step-sister giving birth to her second child, it was still a sad gentle reminder of my singleness.
I worry. I am burdened. Secret tears. Silent anguish.
Suddenly having a child out of wedlock is normal, walking out of a less than two-years marriage is normal. Physical abuse and cursing is normal. Verbal abuse is normal. Name-calling is normal. Public disgrace is normal. Mediocrity and failure is normal.
They come at me with their warts and all. They come at me with the entire plea to marry...how many of their blasted marriages is working? Until I enter one and follow in their trail? Leave a child behind in several homes? Many open their big mouths and make reference to my killer ambition, but of course I am the first and we are generally studious and ambitious. How else would anyone have been able to turn to me for support?
You wish you were me? Think again! Well I guess the saying is true...never wish to be someone else because you don't have the faintest idea where the shoe pinches.
I daresay having a mobile phone is one of the ills of modern day technology, if not handwritten; posted letters would take weeks in this country. The stress of sending one sef will cause them to zip the news.
Ha! The curse of being the first born child. Who laid a blasted curse! I have been a parent for as long as I can remember. Late nights tending baby to sleep. Doing all the hard and dirty job-chores. From ice-cold water tied in nylon to sachet water to chilled soft drinks. How I escaped the manhandling from the garage dudes, I don't know. Fast forward few years later...standing 8-9 hours on heels chasing rude and uncouth customers all in the name of lead prospecting just in the bid to earn an honest living. Men leering. The stupid looks they give. The ones that hit your bum and grope your boobs because they know you can't scream rape? After a first degree you get a job running around the airport like a headless chicken because sick mama must eat. Sister must go to school. Your friends pass you by in their fine cars, looking all dapper and all you can do is wear a smile! Thank God for a pretty face, it's all anyone sees and they forget you jumping buses or flying bikes. Don't pity me I'm just venting. I am truly strong, just not as strong I guess.
One day later after writing this which was expressing my state of anger at a bad news, then came another. I can’t even begin to describe the content of the latest news, next thing I was clutching my chest. Air zapped out of me. A state of breathlessness. Tightness in my chest. Cold hands…my first thought was high blood pressure, paralysis (I have since cleansed my mind of every negative thoughts & I was only having an asthma attack after about 7 months and it was a terrible one, not even the inhaler could suppress it). I couldn’t even walk. Legs scampered. Office was in total disarray as I got carried and rushed to a hospital. My colleague drove like a mad man; I know he was brushed severally. If they were women they would have cried at the state I was in…even I don’t have the words to describe it. In less than 1 hour, it could have been a different tale. Battling for my life only to get to the hospital again and all they could utter first was deposit? Ah! A life versus money??? Honest truth, I lost hope for those seconds. Prayed in my heart for God’s acceptance.
This was two days ago. As much as I hate to be a pity focus, I am glad when people called me it was my voice they heard at the other end of the line. Mine. My voice. My strong voice. My very strong, grateful voice.