Sometimes when I tell people that all I see myself doing is writing, directing and producing movies, they always raise their brows in disbelief and ask me,
“So, what are you doing in Law school?”
Like am I not supposed to go to an art school, more like a movie school since it’s my dream? Why waste my time and money studying a course that I won’t practice? But then, are we not in Nigeria again? Here, most parents don’t give a damn about the dreams harbored by their kids. They are so obsessed with their kids studying one professional course or the other. Everyone wants his or her child to become a lawyer, a doctor, a nurse, an engineer. My dad isn’t an exception.
Story had it that, before I was even born he had already made plans that his first child would be a lawyer. It didn’t matter what talent or passion I was born with; his own was, “My first child would practice the law”.
As a teenager, my flair for writing pushed me to keep a diary. Each day, I made sure I wrote something, from how my day started to how it ended. I wrote about my crushes, the annoying moments at home and in school. My dairy was just like a place where I confidently poured out everything going on in my mind without fear of being judged.
So, in that diary, I wrote about my dreams of being a flimmaker someday. As young as I was then, perhaps 13 or 14 years old, I was so sure what I wanted in life. I don’t know how my mum stumbled on the diary. Being a very curious woman, she read the diary, page after page. She must have been shocked when she came across the page I wrote,
When I grow up, I want to write and produce movies. But I have no idea why dad wants me to be a lawyer”
Lol. This was the exact stuff I wrote in that diary.
Mum couldn’t believe it. Before I knew what was happening, she had already poured out everything to my dad.
I remember my dad calling me into his room that night. I remember the deep frown he had on his face when he asked me to sit down. I remember his deep voice asking me, “Nneoha, what would you want to do in future?”
I remember replying with all confidence that I wanted to go to a Flim school and be a flimmaker. I remember his deep throated laughter, more like mockery. I remember feeling so bad that I almost worked out on him. I remember his deep voice asking me to choose between being a doctor and a lawyer. Lol, typical naija parent.
It was as though I was sitting on a hot seat. I knew I sucked at anything science not minding that I made A’s in subjects like mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology. I was a bookworm that was so obsessed with having an excellent result. Anything less than a B made me traumatized.
So, when my dad noticed that I was having a hard time choosing, he went ahead and gave me reasons why I should be a lawyer. According to him, I will make so much money and then, there is this prestige that comes with the profession, especially when people call you the “Learned one”.
You see, I don’t regret studying law. No, I don’t. If not for anything, it made me more enlightened. But when it comes to building a career around it, working in a law firm, filling motions here and there, appearing before a judge dressed in my wig and gown, defending my client…. I don’t think I can do them. I know if I study really hard, I will make a good lawyer but then, law doesn’t thrill me. I don’t want to live the rest of my life, waking up every morning with little or no motivation to go to work.
No matter how much we try to downplay it, as a person, doing a job you have no passion for fucks up your psyche. I am already making plans on how to attend a film school which I might finance. I tell some people about it and they think I’m being stupid but that’s not my business.
People must laugh at your dreams but don’t let the noise of other’s opinion drown out your inner voice.
I remember braving the rain just so I could attend a flim festival/workshop. And it was fun and inspiring because passion is everything.
You see, we have a very limited time here on earth so why not pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you?
It won’t be an easy journey though. No, it won’t. At some point you will be so broke and frustrated that all you want to do is throw in the towel. But hey, nothing good comes easy. The Bible even says that whatever you find your hands doing, do it very well. You should strive to stand out.
Now, take a deep breath and ask yourself, “If I die today, what will I say I was happy doing?”
It’s one thing to have dreams, it’s another to work towards actualising them. You can’t climb a ladder with your hands in your pocket.