I never imagined I would be pursuing a career in writing as an adult. Not at all. It’s either you become a doctor, an engineer or a lawyer as a child born into a typical Nigerian home. Those are the noble professions one’s parents can be proud of. I did imagine I could be a pilot though. Maybe because I thought that flying an airplane fell in the category of noble professions. I cannot recall where that dream went and what brought about my fear of heights.
In primary school I’d rewrite stories I’d read. Or what I watched on television. Mostly cartoons and more of the fairytale variety. Back then I didn’t think much about writing. I just read a lot. Romance was my favorite genre. Still is. During my secondary school days I gave no thought to writing. I simply continued to read anything I could get my hands on and was inseparable from the school’s library.
And then came the time to apply for a university. I’m pretty sure you can guess what I applied for as a child born into a typical Nigerian home; Medicine. However another course was given to me by the school; Medical biochemistry. I thought ‘Hey, I can make this work.’
My first year studying a course whose relevance was oblivious to me, word got around that studying the course was practically a waste of time. That once we graduated there would be no jobs for us except if we go for a masters program, preferably abroad, to back up our practically useless degree. Another solution was to quickly write a special application to the Dean to study another course. Pharmacy was highly recommended.
This rumor had been passed down from those who had recently graduated to us first year students. I thought nothing of it at the time. We all did.
Somewhere between a professor laughing at us for proudly calling ourselves medical biochemists and laboratories rejecting me and my friends’ application for internships because our course was not all that recognized in the country, I began to write again. It was much more interesting and fulfilling than learning about amino acids and trying to isolate DNA.
My only aim after struggling to get an internship became to graduate and focus on what I realized I really wanted to do.
Finally putting pen to paper was me coming out of a dreamless purposeless ocean and taking a big gust of fresh air into my parched lungs. I felt like a child again scribbling into notebooks without a care in the world.
I write because it gives me a special kind of joy nothing else can. I write to bring my imagination to life and be able to share it with the world. And even now as I am continuously doled out heavy doses of how harshly life really works, writing is the wind beneath my wings.