DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fiction and not based on a true story (I think).

On my 28th birthday, I walked into my father’s medical clinic with my boxing glove. Today was the day.

The day I buried my parents alive.

The day Channels TV, NTA, AIT, BBC and CNN would broadcast one of history’s most notorious murderer,

‘Boluwatifenisola Adesanya, The Girl Who Killed Her Parents Before Their Time’

Maybe years after the story has died down, Netflix would release it as a docuseries and call it, ‘The Nigerian Predator: The Butcher of Parents Dreams’. In that way, my legacy would live on forever.

Anyways, back to the crime scene.

As I got to the first floor of the clinic, I stopped in front of my father’s office door, knowing he was seeing a patient at the moment. But I didn’t care.

I took a deep breathe in and out before opening the door. And to my surprise, my father’s patient was my mother. Talk about perfect timing. 

“Ah, Tife. You’re not working today?” My mother looked at me up and down in confusion.

I didn’t say anything but dropped my boxing glove — a small white envelope— on top of my father’s desk. My resignation letter. 

“What is this, Boluwatife?” My father asked me while opening the envelope to remove the piece of paper inside.

I stood at the corner, avoiding my parents’ confused eyes.

“Mama, baba,” I said, “I want to be a writer, not a doctor.”

It was like the world came to a halt. Everything froze, even my parents. There was a moment of silence before my father abruptly stood up.

He looked at my mother and grumbled something like, “Talk to your daughter.”

Typical baba. When I was a doctor, he was my father. When I was a writer, I was somebody else’s daughter.

With that, he left his office, leaving my mother and I alone. She beckoned for me to sit next to her before she turned her body to me.

“Tife dear, where is this coming from? Writer?” She asked as she tried searching for the right words to say, “This writing… or whatever you call it, you can make it a hobby, you know?”

I sighed in frustration, not surprised by her reaction. My mother did not get it, neither did I expect my father to. I was not trying to be a doctor. I never was. I was trying to become a full-time writer, didn’t they understand?

“Look, we’re just concerned for you. That’s all.” She added.

I looked at her, “If you’re really that concerned, then can’t you accept that I want to be a writer not a doctor?”

She sighed and looked away. The kind of look that says, “mo ti pari (I am finished).”

“Have you finished a book?”

I shook my head, “No… not yet, mama. I haven’t started writing any.”

“Then how are you sure that you want to be a writer? You know, sometimes, these hobbies look delicious on the outside. But it takes more than just daydreaming about it to be something.”

I nodded my head slowly, because she was right. For once.

I had no idea what it was like to be a writer. All these years, I had only fantasized about it, but never really put in the effort to be it.

“Look, I’m going to try and talk to your father.” My mother said, “And here’s what I want you to do.”


My mother gave me one year to figure this writing shit out. If after one year, nothing panned out, then I had to figure out another way to make money for myself and my family.

And according to the words of my father, “Passion no dey pay oh!”

The first two months of my writing journey were emotionally draining. If not my mother’s constant deliverance prayer to break any curse over her daughter’s head, it would be my father’s constant outburst of how I was lazing at home and wasting my life away.

I had lots of story ideas to display to the world, but I didn’t know which one was more suitable for the Nigerian market. I tried my way through countless love and heartbreak stories because that was what sold best in my country. But I loved thrillers, I loved detective stories.

Agatha Christie was my role model. She wrote incredible detective stories, and she was all I wanted to be. I wanted to write like her, I wanted to be as famous as her. But I was Nigerian. Nobody liked detective stories, especially not in a Nigerian setting. Hell, do we even have detectives in Nigeria?

I wasted those first two months writing love and heartbreak and marriage stories. But they turned out to be the equivalent of Chief Daddy 2. No shade, but I wasn’t about to present another terrible story plot to my people. They deserved better.

By the third month, I restarted again and began writing a detective story in Nigeria. A story about a detective in Lagos who investigated several high-rising deaths on Third Mainland Bridge, the infamous spot for suicide. I wrapped up the story by revealing that all the deaths that took place in the three months of the story were not suicide, but a series of serial murders by a serial killer who killed his victims by throwing them from the Third Mainland Bridge into the lake. I titled the story ‘The Third Mainland Bridge Detective’. A banger, shebi? That was what I thought.

But then came the daunting part.


I applied to agents and publishers from Nigeria, UK and America. But it seemed like nobody wanted my story. Each rejection made me feel shattered, it was worse than a heartbreak.

Was my story not good enough? Or was my writing that bad?

I questioned myself over and over again. And that messed with my self-esteem. And I felt the world closing on me. My world felt dark. I woke up each morning feeling the same way; hopeless. 

I had given up everything to become this big shot writer. I wanted writing but writing did not want me, like I was some toxic ex.

And just like that… one year passed by.

I was back to my father’s clinic, in my white doctor’s robe and that ugly stethoscope around my neck. 

I broke down in tears the first day I returned to work. I felt like a failure. No, I was a failure. I was not good enough, I would never be good enough. The signs said it all.

I was back in that same cycle of sleepless nights with hospital shifts. The same cycle of my male colleagues blatantly ignoring every point I made at the board meetings. The same cycle of patients only wanting to be treated by older male doctors over any female ones available. The cycle of my parents downgrading my dream job to be a mere ‘hobby’.

“This is the life, Boluwatife!” My father would say enthusiastically when he sees me in my doctor’s robe, “This life is destined for you. Many people are praying for what you have. Stop being ungrateful, Boluwatife.”

My mother would look at me, feeling like she conquered with her one-year plan, she would say, “Don’t deceive yourself, my dear. This is reality. Dreams are only for Americans. Maybe when you retire, you can continue writing.” 

No, mummy, nothing would happen when I retire. Because I have given up. 

It was clear the universe had other plans for me, and it was time for me to stop living in my head. If I could not make it past my applications to agents and publishers, then I would never make it out there.

I didn’t care if J-K Rowling was rejected 12 times, or Agatha Christie’s first and second manuscripts also got rejected. None of them were living the reality of Nigeria. The system was not built for people like us. Even if I started out on the right foot, where would I end up? How could I be so sure I would be making money every month? Who was I deceiving all this while?

Soon, I began to realize my parents were right.

Writing was just a hobby.

Passion no dey pay.

Dreams were for ignorant people. 

A creative’s success was only based on luck.

Could I really survive an entire lifetime doing a job with an unpredictable income?

At the end of the day, everything boiled down to money. And one thing about passion, “it’s not about the money.” Yen yen yen yehn. Because what matters is “doing what you love and you will never work a day in your life”, abi?

But what about the rejections? What about the career-shaming from people around you? What about the anxiety of the future? What about self-doubt? What about when the excitement wears off? What about feeling left behind while your mates have two cars and a house?

What were we supposed to do about them?

But then… it didn’t take me long to realize that I wasn’t the only victim, too.

My mates with the two cars and a house were suicidal. 

My friend that owned a thriving business was dealing with imposter syndrome. 

The bankers, the lawyers, the musicians, the nurses, the civil servants, the traders… most of them were like me; miserable, confused, anxious and drained.

Then I said to myself, what is the point of all this anyway? The hustle, the passion, the stability, what are we trying to prove? 

Then something began to shift in me again. A light bulb. I got on my laptop and began to write again.

But this time, a different story. Another detective story.

I wrote a story about the banker, the lawyer, the singer, the nurse, the civil servant and the trader who were all the detectives. No, they were not hired to be detectives, but they solved a mystery of an old man who died being nothing. He didn’t belong anywhere, neither did anything belong to him. The old dead man never became anything because all he did was live in his imagination. All 70 years of his life, he was a banker, lawyer, singer, nurse, civil servant and trader… all in his own head. 

At the end of the story, the banker, the lawyer, the singer, the nurse, the civil servant and the trader came to one realization; they, themselves, were stillborn— dead spirits that never existed. Because even at death, they were still an imagination of the old dead man who wished he had become one of these things. But didn’t become any of them while he was alive.

I didn’t write that story for the market, or the money. I wrote it for myself. 

I shared that story on the internet and continued to live my life. And no, I didn’t quit my medical practice right away, neither did I stop writing stories on the internet after then.

But one thing I didn’t do… was live in self-pity. 

Everybody was living their own struggles, so who was I crying to? Who was I begging to look at my sad pity miserable self? Everyone was busy looking out for themselves, even my parents. So what stopped me from dusting off my clothes and looking out for myself too?

And like a wise man once said, “If good things are coming, they will be a pleasant surprise.”

And indeed, I had my own share of pleasant surprise when I woke up one morning to the six life changing words of the century,

‘Congratulations! Your manuscript has been accepted….’

I jumped on my bed and covered my mouth in shock. This wasn’t happening!

The day was here. The day an agent finally accepted my manuscript for the old dead man’s story. Despite all my past rejections, I still applied to many more literary agents and look where we are.

I was still a bit heartbroken that the Third Mainland Bridge Detective story never got accepted. Maybe it was not destined to be published and that was okay.

But this right here… this acceptance for my other story was a huge surprise to me. It wasn’t luck, it was consistency.

I mean, you could say the acceptance was expected since I never gave up. But was it really? After countless rejections, could you really predict the outcome of anybody’s decision anymore?

That day I got accepted, I went to work at the clinic like I normally did. But this time, with another boxing glove. No, not another resignation letter. 

My new boxing glove was the light— hope. Hope that a new beginning was on its way. Hope that all it could take was one simple ‘yes’ to change my life.

Whether I became famous or not, that was up to God… or the Universe, like the Americans call it. What matters was that I refused to let the writer in me become another dead floating spirit that never existed.

At the end of the day, we’re all just trying to survive. At least, not me. I am here to live. And not end up like the old man who died being… nothing.

——— THE END ——–

“The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream.” – Les Brown

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