Hippie In A Suit

Episode 1: Embracing My Creative

Expectations! Responsibility! Career! These are weighted words that have followed the average African child in my generation since their childhood. Words thrown around by family and society that have directed the career path of the average child. Well, at the age of 31, I’m finally taking charge of what those words mean to me, changing the narrative between the expected and the chosen, and creating a world where corporate and creative can co-exist healthy, excitedly and happily. My name is Labara, my friends call me Larai, and I hope you enjoy my stories as I share my creative adventures and experiences in the corporate world.

I grew up with semi-liberal, Yoruba and Hausa, Nigerian parents who encouraged me to be myself and live my best life, as long as it was within the parameters of lawyer, doctor, engineer, accountant and all those traditional career paths.  You know what I mean?! I actually had it easier than some of my friends who were told exactly what they should be, so I thought I had won the parent lottery (and I still do, my parents are awesome).  However, as much as I wanted to make my parents proud, I absolutely loved dancing. I can dance for Africa and I danced whenever I could, church programs, nightclubs and even joined dance groups at Uni.  When I told my parents I wanted to dance professionally, I was told “ṣé ijó ma fi oúnjẹ sóri tábílì rẹ” and “rawa za ta sa abinci a kan taburinki?!” (will dancing put food on your table?).

So, like everybody else, I got that degree, found a career as an Investment Banker, but I kept on dancing. In fact, my love for dancing evolved as I took up pole dancing as a passion and part of my fitness regime. Needless to say, my parents are STILL not happy about it and after feeling like I’ve cheated my artistic nature, I am finally getting over the guilt and embracing my creative side.

There’s no rule that says I have to choose one or the other, and that’s how I stumbled into Salsa dancing at Bottles VI, Lagos. Now my weekends are mostly found with me doing some kind of activity, from dancing, to poetry readings, to playing volleyball, to live bands…pretty much anything that means I get to meet new people, vibe out, eat good food and inspire my own creativity.  Proudly killing it at work and killing it outside work too.

So this is just a quick get to know me story, stay tuned to see more stories on my adventures every Saturday and my encounters with other people in similar situations In fact, lets share our stories and build this community of creatives together. See you soon!



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