Little Dreams

A little girl finds her way as her dreams get smaller
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Created by themelaninartist

Published on May 28, 2024
a little paper boat in a glass container
Simone Viani on Unsplash

Little Dreams

an image depicting a little girl with braids writing something in a book with a swirling galaxy in the background

As a young girl growing up in West Africa, while the idea that you had the power to decide who exactly you were growing up to be wasn’t a novelty, depending on the household you were born into, it could be considered less a right and more a privilege. I was born into such a household. While I was nursed on powerful stories of great women including the likes of Queen Idia of Benin kingdom, The Suffragettes of Great Britain, Eleanor Roosevelt and Angela Davis of The United States, it was always heavily implied that I had to strive to be just as strong, accomplished and powerful as these women in order to be worthy of their work and sacrifice.

This wasn’t entirely a bad thing and, as a child 8 or 9 years old, I was enamored with the idea of growing up to be a doctor, or a lawyer, or a politician, someone important, perhaps even the president. Every few months or so, I had a new life goal, each grander and more impressive than the last, and my parents were happy to encourage these dreams. I was going to be a great woman one day. I would build schools, fight injustice, and maybe even cure cancer. But then, I grew older, and my dreams grew less grandiose, more intimate. I discovered my local library. I read more, dreamt less and started to draw. I fell in love with Art. 

They were over, those grand dreams and plans for a future where I changed the world, fought corruption, and commanded respect everywhere I went. Suddenly, all I wanted to do with my life was create. Bring my imagination to life with words and brush strokes. I stopped having big dreams. My family would say I lost my way. After all, I was going to be great, Queen Idia come again. I was to change the world… 

But aren’t even the little dreams worth having?

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