“Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs.” – Farrah Gray
When I was 7 years old (probably 8 years old, I can’t remember exactly), I dreamt of being a Lawyer. It was all I ever wanted to be. I dreamt of myself in the full Lawyer’s regalia; wig, gown, and my tiny bip in place. Screaming “Objection, My Lord!” and defending my never ending list of Clients.
At 9 years old, I got a modeling contract to be part of the kids to shoot a calendar for a publishing house. It wasn’t anything special to me until the day of the shoot when I was ushered into this room with dark walls with the only lights being shone from a number of light equipment. Curious as I was at that age, I left my daddy’s hands and walked to the lights. And ‘bang!’ There it was in all its royalty. There were lots of other things on the cloth rack but all I had eyes for was the shiny black gown on a hanger with the cream-coloured wig on it. I remember crying until it was given to me. I was the Lawyer for the shoot and my dream was fulfilled, albeit for a day.
Years down the line, I bagged a University degree in Law, conquered the scary Bar Final examinations, and was called to the Nigerian Bar (let’s save the story about how my mummy danced and cried that day for another post). I began practicing as a Lawyer in Nigeria but found little of that mind-boggling excitement I had had at that photo shoot for the publishing house earlier, or that satisfaction that was shown on the faces of those Lawyers in the foreign legal movies (thank you Suits and Legally Blonde!) For lack of sweeter words, I was disappointed in myself. I felt like a Fraud. Like I had failed myself by not being happy in this path I had chosen for myself.
My wakeup call came one day though, while I was working as a Lawyer in one of the Law establishments in Nigeria. It was a good job with a fair pay but I was not fulfilled. I was not being treated the way I felt I deserved to be treated, and worse of all, I knew that there was better for me out there and I was just at that establishment contributing to someone else’s dream with nothing to show for it. I woke up that day! Yes, I did!! Packed up my things and left with a picture of the future I wanted for myself and the resolve to get it. Did I get that future? I’m still in the process, but I’m closer to it than I was, with my dignity and confidence intact.
Hidden within all of us is a dream of what we want to be, a vision of what we can be, and a hunger for that satisfaction at the end of the day after we have accomplished all we have set out for. Don’t let anyone, even yourself, convince you that you should not go for it. No matter how big or little your dreams are, they are valid (thank you Lupita). Whether you dream of being the best staff at your establishment or starting your own business, you definitely can do it. Stay the course, be honest with yourself, and you will see every dream of yours fulfilled.