A short story of how to kill your parents before their time

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

“Mum, Dad, I want to be a writer not a doctor.” I said.

So here are the 5 ways my very Nigerian parents would react to this;

  1. Hissing
  2. Laughter
  3. “What is writer?”
  4. “Is that what I sent you to school for?”
  5. “Go ahead, follow your dreams” (only happens in my dreams)

Honourable mention: “In my house?!”

And guess which one my father used?

“Boluwatifenisola Adesanya.” He called my full name.

“Yes, Baba?” I responded.

He dropped the spoon from his hand and released his gaze from me.

“You said you wanted to discuss something important with me. But you’ve not said anything yet.”

The air became less intense and I slowly released my grip from the table in front of me.

“Oh… Oh… Nevermind.” I stood up and ran out of the dining room before the bullets came out of my mouth, the words that could kill my father before his time.

As obvious as it was, my father did not use any of the 5 reactions. Because I did not have the guts to tell him that I wanted to be a writer.

And I don’t think I ever will.

Why? Because I was not ready to bury anybody soon. Maybe I would just tell him on his deathbed. That was the better option.

In fact, that was the only option.

Anyways, my name is Boluwatifenisola Adesanya, popularly known as Tife for short, and I am a victim. A victim of a global pandemic called ‘My parents forced me to be a doctor and I can’t follow my dreams because I’m scared of what they and everybody else thinks.’

Yes, it was a virus. A deadly one.

This virus roamed in many families around the world and it was gradually killing people, especially young adults. The gravity of the virus depended on how much pain one could take. To some, it led to depression. To others, it led to suicide. To the rest of us, it led to giving up on our dreams.

But a biology teacher once told me that a virus can be killed when exposed to antibodies. And the only way I could have killed this virus that was eating me inside was to have exposed to my parents and the rest of the world long ago what I really wanted to be; a writer.

As a writer, I have struggled with insecurity for a long time, feeling like I was not good enough to be one because of my little knowledge in literature. But I struggled more when I did not tell anyone that I wanted to be a writer because I was carrying the burden alone. And I had to carry it alone.

Because I wanted to keep everyone’s approval.

I wanted the applause to keep coming.

I wanted to be the child who always got the attention in the room whenever people looked for the “doctor” in the house.

I wanted to keep the smile on people’s faces as they called me “doctor Tife” and the only heir and future owner of the Babatunde Adesanya Clinic which was owned by my father.

I wanted to keep the pride in my father’s eyes when he told his friends and colleagues that his only daughter was a doctor.

I did not want to feel like my parents’ six years of tuition fees for my medical degree had gone to nothing, like a wind that has come and gone as if it never existed.

It was hard not to care about what people think. If I told you I didn’t care one bit, I would be lying.

But was it worth putting my mental health at risk?

No matter how hard I tried to make everyone around me happy, I still felt empty. Their cheers and approval were only temporary satisfactions to my ego, but it could not be compared to what truly made me feel alive; writing.

I loved writing. I loved learning about people. I loved telling the truth through another person’s lens. I loved exploring the world.

Writing was a passion to me. It was a strong desire in the pits of my stomach. It gave my life meaning and purpose.

But why was it so hard to let anyone know this was how I felt?

Why was it so scary to let anyone see through my mind?

I hated being the great “doctor Tife.”

Every time I walked through the hallway of the department of Medicine in school, I felt my soul drain out of my body. The classes were the worst. Every minute of it felt like a hundred years in hell. It was like there was fire all over my seat, burning my body and not letting me escape this agony.

I saw the way the other medical students’ eyes lit up every time they learnt something new about the human body. I heard the way they explained their own childhood stories that gave them the inspiration to becoming a doctor. But me… my mouth always went dry. I never wanted to be there in the first place.

As opposed to the medical department, every day after school, I walked into the faculty of Arts building to ignite the fire in my soul. It was like walking into heaven after years of being in hell.

Just like my peers in the medical department, my eyes lit up when I passed the posters of Chinua Achebe, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Toni Morrison and the likes in the English and Literature department.

I often walked pass the shelves in the library and brushed my hands along the novels that laid there and wondered what it felt like to have my own book there, with the name ‘Boluwatifenisola Adesanya’ boldly written in the front cover.

I often cried myself to sleep, knowing that the life I so desired was only a part of my imagination and that was all it will ever be.

But some days, hope sprung up in me that being a doctor would only last for a short while. I could start writing again when I am 60, after my children have all grown up and I’ve retired from the medical field. But then, it felt so far away. Would I be able to bare the pain of longing for another 35 years? What if I die before then? The thought of it stung me.

Coming into a life with a God-given gift and passion but never fulfilling it was like a cheetah knowing how fast he could run but is chained inside a cage for the rest of his life.

I did not want to be that cheetah. I wanted to be Boluwatifenisola Adesanya. The one who God created me to be. Not daddy’s Boluwatife. Or mummy’s Tife. Or doctor Tife. Just Boluwatifenisola Adesanya.

Just Boluwatifenisola Adesanya.


It wasn’t until I turned 27 years old that I found out that the world did not care about your well-being. Everyone only looked out for themselves and whatever opinion they had for you was based on their fears, insecurity and experience.

It wasn’t until I overheard my father tell my mother that he wished he had a son that could take over his clinic because he didn’t think a girl could handle his clinic well.

It wasn’t until my male colleagues blatantly ignored every point I made in the board meetings and treated me like I was invincible.

It wasn’t until I realized that almost every patient that came to the clinic only wanted to be treated by an older male doctor over any female doctor available.

It wasn’t until all these had happened that I realized I had been performing for an unattentive audience. An audience whose eyes and attention were on their phones and everything else but me.

After all was said and done, I finally made a decision.

It was time.

It was time to start digging my parents’ grave.

It was time to stop performing for an absent-minded audience.

It was time to start living like Boluwatifenisola Adesanya.

A day after my 28th birthday, I walked into my father’s clinic in my grey sweatpants and white T-shirt that had the inscription “Try dey enjoy, problem no dey finish” on it, along with my bathroom slippers and messy cornrows, intentionally leaving my wig at home.

I didn’t care anymore. I didn’t care what people had to say as my colleagues and patients stared at me in dismay as I walked up to my father’s office.

As I got to the first floor, 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 a small white envelope on top of my father’s desk. It was 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 without looking into my parents’ confused eyes.

“Mama, baba,” I looked at both of them, “I want to be a writer, not a doctor.”

And that was the beginning of a life changing conversation. I don’t know what is going to happen from here but I know I have made a decision and I will stick with it. No matter what my parents say, no matter if I kill them before their time.

Because I am going to kill them with the best version of me.

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