Day 8 (Tales by MoonWright)

It was a beautiful morning. Taking in the cold air of Kangere camp in Bauchi, I was on my way back from the usual (and unnecessary) morning parade. Heading to my room, I decided to try a different path. I chose to use the corridors instead of the pathway I was accustomed to.

While on the corridor of the room before mine, I decided to peep, curious to know how life was for our neighbouring corpers.  I mean, my roommates were funny but I wanted to see if these guys could match our banter level.

“Who be that? And wetin you de look?!” a man wearing a white vest asked.

“Chairman. Calm dow-“

“Who you de call chairman?!” he said, walking towards the door.

“Chairman, no vex. I just-“ I looked into another area of the room then I saw something. I saw a soldier’s uniform hung on the edge of a top bunk. It was at this point that I knew I had messed up.

“Na me you de call chairman?!” he asked as he joined me on the corridor.

“Ah. I no know abeg,” I said, my palms glued together.

I begged for my life because I had seen what these men had done to corpers.

“Oya begin crawl go front and back and de talk, ‘I be monkey, I be mumu,’” he said.

Without hesitating, I did it…right in front of the pathway I should have used, the pathway every guy used.

I was released after 2-4 minutes of crawling, claiming to be a monkey and a mumu, and wondering why I chose to walk on the path of curiousity that morning. It felt like eternity.

The power that resides in minding your damn business can and will really save you from a lot of crap, I thought.

Yours curiously and embarrassingly,

Ayo Wright

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Day 7 (Tales by MoonWright)

My favourite sitcom while growing up was The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. It still is. What a fantastic show. Whatever sad or bad mood I’m in, just one episode of this show and I would laugh my head off and be good again.

Rounding up Senior Secondary school then, we had our future to think about; some of us unsure of what it held, some already had it all figured out. I was in between these groups, sandwiched by certainty and uncertainty. At the time, I was too busy having ‘relationship’ problems. I wanted to work things out but I guess I didn’t know how best to do it.

I was home one day, settling into the couch for a dose of an episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air when she called my phone. Looking back now, I probably shouldn’t have picked up the call. I looked at my phone screen then looked at the TV screen. A serious bone of contention. I picked up the call, my eyes fixated on the floor.

“Hi Ayo. We need to talk. We need to discuss what has been going on between us,” she said.

“Hey. Yes we definitely need to,”  I said, while considering turning off the TV because my eyes kept going back to the screen.

She sighed deeply and was about to say something before I interrupted her with my laughter.

“What?! What is funny? I’m trying to work things out here and you’re laughing? I’m done. It’s over.”

She cut the call before I could explain that Will Smith’s silliness was the reason for my laughter.

I was very sad afterwards and for the first time ever, my favourite sitcom couldn’t get me out of a terrible mood in which it had a hand in.

Yours insensitively,

Ayo Wright

Day 6 (Tales by MoonWright)

To be very honest with you, I had already concluded I wasn’t going to write anything today because I couldn’t think of any major thing I’m particularly proud of in my life at the moment.

Then I thought about this writing challenge, how this is the first time I’ve written something consecutively for six days, how this is the first time in a very long time I’ve been consistent in doing something I’m supposed to be doing.

I am my own worst critic, so sometimes after posting some of these pieces online, I shake my head in disgust and tell myself how crappy they are. As a result, I delete them few hours after posting or I just don’t bother, “What is dead may never die.”

I’m sort of a perfectionist and I’ve been in and out of a lot of self doubt and inadequacies — a terrible combo which I’ve allowed to prevent me from writing consistently for a long time.

So, right now, I’m at least proud of this consistency in my writing; the good, the bad, the ugly…at all, at all, na im bad pass.

Yours consistently,

Ayo Wright

Day 5 (Tales by MoonWright)

Something I wish people paid more attention to?

The upcoming person. I wish that, in our dealings with someone, we paid more attention to the upcoming person. The person that our actions or inactions towards this someone will affect positively or negatively.

I wish we paid more attention to the upcoming person, so that he or she would at least have a chance in this someone’s life.

Your super guy,

Ayo Wright

Day 4 (Tales by MoonWright)

As far as favourite childhood memories go, I have quite a number, but my SS1 First Term results-day is definitely number one.

As the son of a very brilliant man who usually topped his class in his days (I remember him telling me how depressed he was when he placed second), and a close friend of the most intelligent guy in the class in our time, I had my inferiority complex battles. My Mum would often seize my PlayStation console, because gaming was my life then and Dad would tell me interesting tales of his time in school to inspire me to be like him – to be as bookish as he was. He’d practise the tenses in English and French with me (I wish I had listened to him then) but I only wanted to return to my League mode on Winning Eleven. I also had lesson teachers in school, so when my mates were imitating Ronaldinho’s recent skills on the pitch after school, I was buried in some scientific crap I wasn’t interested in. We were about 40 in total and my position at the end of term was usually between 16th – 28th. I was okay with this. Heck, me and some of my guys would compete. There was a time one came 19th while I placed 21st so the goal was to beat him the next term, and that was what I did. I beat him; I finished 19th while he came in 21st place.

We transitioned from JS3 to SS1 and till today, I still don’t know what happened to me. I can’t put a finger on what I did exactly that got my test scores up. The switch to long sleeves, perhaps. Anyway, results-day came. There was always a shift in mood from the point of the collection of sealed results to unsealing the results. Some of us ensured we had partied hard enough before knowing our fate. If it was good, we’d hang around and have more fun. If it was bad, we’d find somewhere to sit down to have a moment of intense reflection on our lives. I collected mine and unsealed it. 5th. There must’ve been some mistake somewhere, I thought   I had to cross-check like twice to be sure it was mine. At last, I had made my parents proud! At last my position was a single digit! Although four people had finished better than me, to share that space with friends that I looked up to was truly surreal. I listened and sang along to R.Kelly’s World’s Greatest for weeks. I was on top of the world!!

Yarn spinna,

Ayo Wright.

Day 3 (Tales by MoonWright)

This isn’t exactly about someone I met today but about an unfamiliar part of someone familiar.

He’s old enough to be my dad so I’ll call him my uncle for tonight’s post.

He told me and some friends today about one time(way back, like the 80’s or 90’s) he attended a PTA meeting at his children’s school. A particular parent was ranting about how the school’s decision to give the kids grass-cutting duties was unnecessary. “I didn’t send my kids here to become labourers,” he said. A good number of the parents there supported his view/complaint, so when my uncle raised his hand to give his contribution, the complaining parent must’ve been sure he was about to get more support.

My uncle began by saying they should all feel privileged to be able to afford sending their children to such a school. He said they should feel privileged for being successful enough to afford the fees. One could’ve easily observed the sudden protruding of their heads and their shoulders being raised to power 10 as a result of these statements. But these heads and shoulders must’ve been quick to return to default settings as my uncle continued, “Therefore, we shouldn’t be selfish by not letting our children go through the paths that led to our success.” Silence swallowed the room immediately, but he eventually also got some support in the room after saying this. I stop here on this.

In concluding his tales for the day, he said back then when they flagged them, they never bled. So he wonders why the kids of nowadays bleed easily. Someone else in the room replied, “Maybe it’s because people of those days had thick skin. Children of nowadays have soft skin.” We all laughed, but I left there pondering two things which I’d like to get your view(s) on:

1. Is the idea of parents not wanting their children to go through what they went through really selfish or growth-hindering?

2. This thick skin hypothesis about people of those days, can it be the reason why most African parents downplay depression and other mental health issues in the air these days?

Your yarn spinna,

Ayo Wright

Day 2 (Tales by MoonWright)

Thinking of how to approach today’s topic, I was actually going to write about my U.K. experience(roughly two years) since that’s the ‘farthest’ I’ve been from home. That would’ve been perfect if, mathematically and actually speaking, home = house.

Anyway, the farthest I’ve been from home was just for three weeks. It was at the NYSC Kangere camp in Bauchi state. I’ve never missed home like I did there and then. Screw that, I’ve never hoped to make it back home alive like I did there and then. I sorta had myself to blame. I was the one that rebuffed my parents’ efforts to ‘work’ my service to Lagos after all. I desired exposure and boy did I get more than I bargained for when a friend told me my call-up letter was sending me to Bauchi. North-East. North-East where Boko Haram guys were terrorising heavily. Like, make floor just open make I enter because how I wan take yarn my people for house?

They obviously didn’t take the news well and even threatened not to allow me go. But in spite of my fear, I had faith in God to protect me and convinced them to let me. I went. My reputation of overpacking dealt with me on my first night. And there’s a lot to share on my experience about that night and the following weeks, but that’s for another day. I’ll tell you about a particular night in my room — which happened to be the highlight of my experience because it was always lively; banter everyday. Oh I remember the liveliest guys found me interesting for some reason and wanted me to try smoking a blunt or two. lol Another story for another day.

So this particular night, we were back in the room resting after a usual hectic day. Normally I’d listen to the gists flying around, laugh a bit then listen to some music before praying and sleeping. I followed my routine that night and as I listened, the gist for the night went along like this:

Guy 1: Omo naso I de follow one sojo yarn today. Een clear me say some sojos de normally hang for trees inside camp. Say dem de on the lookout for Boko guys…in case dem show up anytime.

Guy 2: Ah bro. You no mean am!

Guy 1: You don forget say e de news say dem bomb one area for this Bauchi even as we de here so? You don forget say na why we no do endurance waka again? Leave that one first, you know wetin burst my head pass?

Guy 2: Guy you don de fear me. Wetin?

Guy 1: The sojo talk say as for him o, if dem Boko show, een go run o. Fly fence straight unto say een get family for house o.

Guy 2 (and some other guys in the background): Ah! People wey supppse protect us? Every man for himself o. We sef go ja one time. Na fence go sure pass.

That night, as I listened, imagined all I had heard and full of fear, I wished I didn’t follow my night routine. I wished I was at home. I plugged in my earphones to block out the remaining gist and said a prayer that I think was laced with some ‘God abeg.’ I believe it’s safe to say that moment was the farthest from home I’ve ever been/felt.

Your Bauchi camp survivor,

Ayo Wright

Day 1 (Tales by MoonWright)

If you know me well, you would know how proud I am of my surname. “Wright” – the surname that seasons every other name, even Sharafa. But my first name has done more for me than Wright has. “Ayobami” – Joy has come to me or joy don jam me. A name that has somehow gotten me through and out of sad/depressing times. Sometimes I’m lost in worry then from nowhere, I just laugh at myself. I laugh too easily; problematic sometimes but yeah.

I’ve tried to tame this inherent joy just to be seen as a calm guy. You know, cool as ice, man of few words etc., but every time I’ve done this, my well-being has been questioned. So I’ve stopped trying to tame it and decided to be grateful & to spread the energy.

I bring joy to the table everywhere I go and that is the most interesting thing about me.

Your joy bringer,

Ayobami.

Day 0 (Tales by MoonWright)

I realised a while back that faith and prayers are only as powerful as the conscious efforts that follow them. So I’ve decided to stop believing and praying alone to be consistent with writing something everyday…but to actually also write. Thing is, I always want my writings to have a message. Something to take home. You know, deep guy and all that. But I was inspired by a friend today to just allow it. Free the fake deep and just show up.

I’m going to call it #TalesByMoonWright just because I can. And I’m asking you, my prospective daily reader, to hold me accountable.

Lastly, I don’t intend to box my expressions. Call it a journal or memoir or whatever. And I’ll be starting with the #30DaysWritingChallenge below.

#TalesByMoonWright

Your super guy,

Ayo Wright.

HERE

I’m here. I’m here in the present. I’m here in the present wishing I was in the future. I’m here as a result of my past decisions; as a result of my past thoughts; as a result of my past confessions. I don’t like where I’m at. I feel like I’m not supposed to be here. I feel like I’m in a place where I’m supposed to be prepared but in reality, I’m still getting ready. I feel like there’s more.

Sometimes I wish life was a video game where I can just restart from the last checkpoint. You know the action-adventure video game scenario: having failed in some areas, taken notes of those areas, then going again with better decisions to overcome the obstacles that stopped me before. Action-adventure video games…where you are most certain that the next level is going to be tougher than the last. But you can still restart from the last checkpoint if you can’t handle the difficulty of the new level.

I’ve realised that as much as I wish life was a video game so as to right my wrongs like nothing ever happened, life and video games are ironically similar in that you don’t get to move to the next level until you’ve defeated the enemies or greatest enemy in the present level. It brings me back to…here. I’ve also realised that even if I defeat the enemies I complain about, but fail to defeat the greatest enemy, I will still remain…here. The greatest and constant enemy I have to overcome in each level is myself.

Self-doubt, Self-esteem, Self-control, Self-discipline, Self-destruction.

“I really see nobody as a threat except the man in the mirror when I’m dealing with the flesh.” – Wale Davies

To make the best of what I have now, to move from here to there, I must submit to a higher power, a higher source – God. To be more specific, a higher power that has hands-on experience in successfully dealing with self when He was here. A higher power that is Jesus.

So while I’m here, I need to learn to let Him. I need to submit to the One who conquered and overcame here.