Thursday afternoon at Indian Head Camp, I found myself embroiled in a game of basketball with my husband. This isn’t the norm for me, firstly because I don’t know how to play very well and secondly because my husband typically doesn’t like playing basketball with me, for that very same reason.
The game was actually very valuable for me. In that, whilst I was playing I realised something important.
My husband had always wanted to play in the NBA. It was his dream.
But the only dream I ever remember having in life was the dream to make my mum happy. And by happy I don’t mean ‘la la land’ type of happy.
I mean the type of happiness money could buy. I wanted to buy her a house, a car, take her to places she could only ever dream of and provide her with anything and everything she ever desired.
Growing up at home, I saw she didn’t have much and everything she did have she gave to us, her children.
She literally fed the ones she loved with golden spoons but asked for a plastic knife to slice her bread.
Even at a young age, I understood this; more than that, I internalised and ingested this. Every move that I made, every thought that I had; my entire being was influenced by her and what she wanted.
All my life I’d been attempting to convince myself that this was normal. That, I was normal for doing this.
But I wasn’t.
Later on in life, I started having conversations with other children; other daughters, other sons about their dreams.
Yes, they too wanted to give back to their parents but what was alarming was that they had hopes and dreams beyond this. They had dreams of their own.
They had dreams of what they wanted to be when they were older. Dreams of travelling to this country and that country. Dreams of living in this place and in that place. Even dreams of where they would get married, how many children they would have and what names they would call their children. They had dreams to leave their mark on the world.
I did not.
I legitimately did not.
Of course, I wanted to be successful like them but I didn’t crave success for me I needed to be successful to gain enough money to help those around me to succeed. To help my mum.
Now I am not saying that it’s impossible to have dreams of both nature but for me, the fact that I only had dreams of one nature (of pleasing my mum), in hindsight really stifled me. It made me feel like I could only take the path that everyone else was taking, that I couldn’t afford to try new things, fail at them and try again.
And this is not me blaming my mum, far from it. Nigerians are a very, very practical people. And while I admire practicality, I feel we need to make a space for dreaminess!
This post is more me acknowledging where I went ‘wrong’ in my journey and sharing this with you. I often make the mistake of thinking that something that is obvious to me is obvious to everyone else but that’s not the case. The fact that it took an impromptu basketball game to realise this was just a coincidence.
I really only began to have my own dreams probably like three to four years ago, when I accepted that I wasn’t limited by everyone else’s thoughts.
Let me be clear, dreams for me are different than goals.
Dreams are where you have no idea how it is going to be achieved but you know one way or another it has to happen. Goals on the other hand – I kind of feel like everyone has these and to me, these are a lot more ‘realistic’ or ‘practical’ than dreams. That’s not to say, I don’t get a good feeling by accomplishing a goal such as running a half a marathon, but I get an even better feeling when realising my dreams.
The funny thing is that when you start having your own dreams and then seeing your dreams turn into reality, it’s the most overwhelming experience ever!
I never knew this. But now I do.
The amount of pleasure writing brings to me is inestimable, and yet so simple. This is why I continue to write because this is my dream.
You can’t write a script in your mind and then force yourself to follow it.
You have to let yourself be.
You have to have your own dreams and follow them, if not for you, but for the people who are relying on you for their dreams to be fulfilled.
I hope to do my part, within myself and within the world, to bring about a shift that lets us live more authentically, more lovingly, more intuitively, more creatively, and more collaboratively.
Would love to hear from you below what dreams you have or have had.
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