About seven years ago, I got an idea for a book. It is about two friends, women, very successful in their chosen fields. I started writing excerpts for the book and have been working on it for a while. It has metamorphosized into something that looks rather like a short story but has an unsatisfied writer sitting at the other end of it. Each year I ask myself what to do with this piece. I intend to finish it, but seriously do not know how to mend it all together into something someone would enjoy reading.
The heading in itself sounds odd, how to plan a funeral in 10 days. In this story or book, I am supposed to give the reader ten steps into planning their own funeral. Yes, you read that right. This has nothing to do with future plans to save your family from giving you a non-warranted and non-appreciated funeral. The story is about faking your death so you can have a life away from a demanding family and society. A society which keeps pressurizing you to do things you would rather not do while they in themselves contribute zero to your life.
Okay, before you begin to judge and say this is crazy, check this out. Last year while scouring the internet for inspiration for my story, I came across a very interesting news item related to my idea, which happened in real life in Nigeria. A 19-year-old girl faked her death to avoid financial pressure from her mother. So, it did not turn out as she and her friends had planned, for they planned it poorly. The whole social media thing was a weak link in the equation. Now she lost her job and is seen someway bi by her family.
So, you get my point, there are many people living under the heavy pressure of performing to society’s expectations such that they would rather disappear into nothingness to avoid this pressure. But is this really a viable solution? Faking one’s death? Sacrificing all that is true to you and pronouncing yourself as dead, wishing death on yourself to gain peace. I don’t know. Not everyone is that strong, not everyone can do the “I don’t care” thing. Some people cannot say no to pressure and would rather crumble under the expectations. For some hiding is their refuge.
The thing is changing society and its expectations is possible, but hard work that takes time. And until then, what do we do? There are people living half of their lives because of financial pressure for people’s wants. People living in misery (some in jail, some dead) due to society’s expectations of marriage, children, or wealth. Anyway, until I figure out what I will do to this half-baked story, may we soon achieve mastery in staying focused and not allow society to wreck us into living only a quarter of our lives.
~Nana Kesewaa Dankwa