Day 20 (Tales by MoonWright)

If I wrote this yesterday, I most likely would have written about how my favourite kind of people are people generally. How I enjoy interacting with people, to pick their brains on different issues – life, faith, music, football, environment, arts, etc. To genuinely learn about them and their backgrounds. I would have also written about my love for people that communicate properly in speech and text. I take communication and courtesy quite seriously. Oh, you just punctuate well and we are friends already. And in this world of instant messaging, I’m being graced by God to forgive people that reply my messages late! I kid, I kid, it’s not as serious as it used to be. I lastly would have told you that people or carriers of positive energy and vibes hold a special place in my heart. People like me that smile and laugh easily, people that don’t take life too seriously.

Sadly, I didn’t get to write and post this yesterday because I was too fatigued to create anything. I was fatigued due to spending the day with another kind of my favourite people — kids.

I had very little experience with kids before being posted to teach the JS2 students Maths in a Secondary school in Lokoja. This was during my NYSC year. Piece of cake, I thought. How hard could teaching a bunch of kids simple Algebra be? Well I got my answer after my first day — it was as hard as the pounding effect of the noise the kids made. Nah, this can’t be what I’d have to deal with for the next seven months, I thought. But I later got moved to the SS1 students and I think that was how my interest in children began. I saw young self in them. I saw how poor some of my decisions as a teenager were.

Fast forward to when I was studying in the UK and needed to work on the side. I was back working with kids again. My first duty was to do a cover teaching job for a science class in a secondary school. What a day. I had not made proper progress with my ‘British’ accent so it was all over the place. I can’t blame them for not really taking me seriously. I remember talking to one white boy and him dabbing in response. I laughed. I still don’t know how I survived that class. I later spent most of my assistant teaching job at preschools and that was when I really connected.

Preschoolers don’t really understand Nigerian English so I was forced to brush up on the British accent quickly. And being the only man amongst women felt weird initially, but looking after the kids while they had fun in their playgrounds was pretty magical. It was like reading and watching fiction. And you know there are some fictional works you get lost in while consuming them. I felt this exact way when they’d pull me to play with them, playing along in their peaceful and innocent world of make-believe. I’m just realising as I write this that being in their world helped me heal from a breakup then.

Now I teach in the Children’s section of my church on Sundays. It’s more fulfilling than stressful. Stressful because teenagers are indeed a handful, but I get along well with them. Or I try to, at least. I believe the best type of investment is People Investment. This is why I enjoy sowing good seeds into young minds. To me, it’s like giving back to my preteen and teenage self. It’s like giving me (and them) the things I didn’t get but wished I got or wanted.

Yours youthfully,

Ayo Wright

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Day 19 (Tales by MoonWright)

My day hasn’t gone as planned. I didn’t meet anybody that needs encouragement, so tonight’s tale is just going to be about how my day went. I expected to have a chilled and relaxed day, reading Shoe Dog by Phil Knight and watching Line of Duty on Netflix. But I’m yet to do any of those and the day has been awesome so far. Very unproductive, but awesome. I had a wonderful time watching some U.K. rap videos on YouTube.

For those that do not know, I am a huge fan of Rap/Hip-hop. And I have been writing and spitting bars from time to time for more than 10 years. I owe this love and interest to my big brother, those days of having to watch rap videos on MTV and Channel-O when all I wanted was my Cartoon Network. I love the cleverness involved in wordplays, metaphors and punchlines used in rap songs. Multi-syllable rhymes and whatnot. They bring so much pleasure to my ears and soul.

My adventure today all started with being mind-blown by Stormzy’s (a U.K. rapper) recent achievements. Then I went back to watch Wretch 32 and Avelino’s Fire in the Booth on YouTube, where they dropped close to 64bars of heavy lyrical content properly laced on dope beats. Lyricism at its finest. Then I watched some YouTubers’ reactions to these lyrics and how they hilariously broke each punchline down. You see, that, for me, is one of the best feelings I get from listening to rap; discovering and actually understanding a wordplay, metaphor or punchline. It’s so beautiful.

I screamed and laughed out loud more than I expected and planned today. I loved it.

Yours lyrically,

Ayo Wright

Day 18 (Tales by MoonWright)

“Hard-work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.” – Kevin Durant

When Kevin Durant said this in a movie some years ago, I felt it. Then I remember Dr Myles Munroe said the richest place in the world is the graveyard. Graveyards are filled with a wealth of untapped potential, filled with raw talents that were not worked on or even discovered. So I see me as my only competition and work on myself daily. I find a way to work on the talents/gifts I’ve discovered daily, weekly or monthly. It gets tiring at times and I retreat, but then the message imbibed in these two sayings gets me back on track.

I must not contribute to the wealth of the graveyard that my dead body will reside in.

Yours diligently,

Ayo Wright

Day 17 (Tales by MoonWright)

My WhatsApp profile status says, “Resist the temptation to stress me” and Lord knows I mean every word. This is because I get tired of things easily, especially when some form of stress enters. I’m ‘stressophobic.’ I think this is the reason why I could relate with my brother from another mother, Jon Snow, when he kept saying “I don’t want it.” Like, if it’s going to stress me, please I don’t want it. But I can’t completely say this is a bad habit because it sorta solves another problem I grew up with.

I grew up being quick to commit to things, primarily because I didn’t know how to say no. I’m too considerate of other people’s feelings especially if it’s someone close. I just jump on it then get stuck along the line, having to drag myself through it for the sake of the relationship. As a result, I had learnt to tolerate a lot of crap. But I guess I reached my breaking point some months ago. Too many things happening at the same time and I lost it. I lost my ‘ability to can.’ I didn’t have it in me to take on as much as I was capable of taking on before. So I began to opt out of and give up on things, commitments and whatnot. Heck, I even directly or indirectly told God I wasn’t doing again. Having faith became stressful. And that wasn’t the first time anyway, it was worse in 2017. But thank God He’s not quick to and doesn’t give up on His loved ones like this guy that’s writing this. He keeps pulling me back.

Now I’m trying to change. To trust the process of things,no matter how stressful the process seems and despite the microwave generation I live in. To be consistent with staying on the things I need to stay on. To give myself a chance with really living again and not giving up so easily.

Pray for me, please.

Your retired giver-upper,

Ayo Wright

Day 16 (Tales by MoonWright)

You probably checked what today’s challenge would be about and looked forward to reading about someone greatly inspiring, an icon or a legend perhaps. A shaker of nations. An overcomer. A great achiever. Someone with a story worth writing and reading about, someone that has seen the unseeable, heard the ‘unhearable,’ and faced the unfaceable. Well, if that’s the case, you are definitely right.

That someone is you. You, reading this. I am not trying to flatter or gas you up unnecessarily. You inspire me and I will tell you why. You have weathered many storms and yet, you are still here, alive and well. Your trust has been betrayed, your heart has been broken a couple of times and you thought you would die because you told him/her, “I can’t do without you. Without you I am nothing. You are my everything.” Yet, you are still here, alive and living your best life. You are going through a lot that most people don’t know about, yet you are joyful everyday, radiating nothing but positive energy.

You are in school, studying hard to get that degree. You are through with school and you probably don’t even know what to do next with your life, but you’re hopeful still. You are serving or have served Nigeria. You wake up everyday to go for your 9-5. You survive Nigeria (Lagos especially) everyday. You are a CEO, an entrepreneur. You are chasing your dreams. You are fulfilling your purpose. You create stuff. You sell stuff. You are working on yourself daily, either physically, emotionally, or spiritually.  You became the head of your family earlier than you planned but the family is still okay, still living well.

I see you, I see all you do. You inspire me. And finally, I know I have said this before, but let me say it again, the fact that you actually read what I write inspires me.

Thank you for being you and doing you. Thank you, especially, for all the good things you do which no one sees or appreciates.

Yours gratefully,

Ayo Wright

Day 15 (Tales by MoonWright)

I have been in church services where when the leader enjoins the congregation to pray for people, the tempo is low, but it suddenly increases when asked to pray for our destiny helpers to locate us. Our voices increase as though the higher the volume, the quicker and more accurate the GPS of our destiny helpers. But the voice volume isn’t even what I’m worried about, I’m worried about being able to locate the people I’m supposed to help.

I worry because in the process of trying to make ends meet, making enough money and whatnot, I can lose sight of those I have been called to. I’m worried because I can end up being seemingly successful but not impactful. You know, ending up being a big man, touching enough currency notes but not touching lives.

I started my reading journey with the late Dr Myles Monroe series on purpose and potential. I was immediately hooked on the idea of having a purpose, an assignment, dying empty and all. I had been primarily focused on that for years until I entered the ‘labour market.’ I know one can align fulfilling purpose with making money. But I can’t lie, expenses and bills de choke person passion sometimes.

In line with this worry of losing focus of what matters most is the worry of ‘majoring in the minor and minoring in the major.’ Having more than one interest or talent comes with this worry. One time, I feel like writing and rapping bars is the major, while writing stories is the minor. Another time, I feel like the opposite is the case. And then there’s talking to/teaching pre-teens and young adults, which I also find fulfilling. Yes, I know I need to ask God for clarity and direction. I have been doing this and I wish He could just lay everything down straight up, because other people’s destinies are tied to the fulfilment of mine and time is going. But what’s the point of faith in God if He shows me everything from the get-go?

Anyway, in spite of these worries, I choose to rest in and on these:

“Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:27-30‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:28‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Yours purposefully,

Ayo Wright

Day 14 (Tales by MoonWright)

I was almost not going to write anything today. This is because I couldn’t think of five or even any thing outrightly weird I like. Wow, I’m a sane and normal person after all, I thought. And ‘weird’ is relative. Person wey de crase no sabi say im de crase. Anyway, I finally remembered one ‘weird’ thing I like to do.

Whenever I quench a long-lasting thirst with a cold drink, I often deliberately think of a very happy place. I like to imagine I’m somewhere exciting I have been before or would like to be as the coldness pierces through my throat. Few things in life can match the bliss I feel from this combination.

Your weird guy,

Ayo Wright

Day 13 (Tales by MoonWright)

I miss playing football. I also miss playing video games. These two, growing up not exactly being an only child but also an only child, felt like family to me. I didn’t know it then, but as I write this, it’s all coming back.  They were my escape from the things I was exposed to and had to deal with then.

I think it began to feel this way for me in Secondary school. I looked forward to break times and Fridays. The day we could play football till whenever our legs allowed us to. Usually, the class periods before the closing time bell rang were for team selection and tactics. Whatever the teacher said in these periods entered one ear and left through the other.

I could kick anything — leather Health ball, felele, plastic bottle, paper-taped ball, anything kickable. And this got me famous amongst my juniors (including primary school kids) because I didn’t mind. I didn’t let seniority hinder me from getting the dose of happiness I got from playing football. This was why I always played with a smile on my face. This was why Ronaldinho was one of my idols growing up. I was privileged to be part of the set that had and played with some of the greatest players in the school’s history. I wasn’t even bothered about being the best. My above average level was okay for me. Just give me a ball to kick around to take me to my happiest place, please. Oh and the days I scored or assisted a goal were my truly happiest days; I couldn’t really sleep. I would play everything over in my mind, smile and shake my head at how much of a genius I was with that pass, dribble or shot.

Returning home to my PlayStation console, either to my career mode on FIFA/PES or an action-adventure game was always a beautiful experience. It was something like a war soldier returning home to his family. I would always try to reproduce something I had seen from live football into the game. I would give the players in my FIFA/PES the exact boots they used at that time in real life. I was very finicky. I would also try to reproduce matches with the same conditions they were played in real life. And the action-adventure games I played? I was indeed the protagonist(s) I used. The good guy killing all the bad guys in my life; that was me. That was an entire realm I was totally zoned into.

I thought it was always going to be like this. Play football and video games weekly till I grow old and die, but I guess life has been happening to me. Some of my close friends I grew up with still play weekly, and sometimes I go to their homes to play some FIFA with them. I still own a PlayStation console I play like every three months, it still takes me away from worries sometimes. Time and fitness no really de again. And even when I get to do these two things, it’s hard to replicate the happiness they gave me then.

Your ex-football and video game addict,

Ayo Wright

Day 12 (Tales by MoonWright)

Nothing fascinating has happened today, but let me tell you about something that happened some days ago on my way to work.

I prefer taking the BRT buses these days, especially the new blue ones. They have that ‘abroad in Lagos’ experience. The red Lag buses have failed me more than once — developing an issue on the way, forcing passengers to find another bus. I usually opt for the red ones when the queue for the blue is unbearable; I’ve had to wait for 30-40 minutes sometimes for one to arrive. This was the case on this day, so I bought a ticket and got on the red Lag bus heading to the island.

The bus was somewhat empty, just about 5 people inside. I sat next to a lady seated on the window seat, earphones plugged in. While on the bus, we could see the queue for the blue buses just across us. The longer it took for our bus to get filled, the shorter the blue bus queue was getting. The lady beside me tapped me and asked, as she pointed across, “Sorry please, where is that blue bus going to?” I told her its destination was the same as our bus, and for the same price. She was surprised, then she continued listening to music. The few passengers on our bus grew impatient and started getting down to get another bus. I understood that they were probably more in a hurry than I was, so I wasn’t fazed by their exit   The lady beside me joined them.

Few minutes later, our bus gradually getting filled up, I saw the lady walking up and down across. She seemed to have joined the wrong queue for the blue bus (there was another one for Oshodi). I shook my head and thought, if only she was patient enough, she’d be inside our bus which was about leaving. The bus left the park and I couldn’t stop thinking of this lady’s impatience. Patience is really a virtue, I thought.

Ojota was unusually and unnecessarily traffic-laden that morning. As I began wondering what the cause of the traffic was, the bus stopped moving as we slowly approached Ogudu. The engine was on, but it just wasn’t moving. Clutch problem, the driver said. People started coming down, but I sat still, unfazed again, believing everything would be fine soon. About 20 minutes went by and still no solution. I finally got impatient and got down and walked to the nearest bus stop, looking back a few times to see if the bus had been worked on. While looking back, about four blue buses passed and an elderly woman said if she had known she’d have gone with the blue instead. I continued walking. I got to the bus stop and struggled my way into a danfo going to the island. I shook my head and watched some Netflix on my phone.

Thirty minutes later, I got down and was a bike away from my destination when it began to rain cats and dogs. I was beaten by the rain and got to work soaked.  I narrated my morning to my colleagues as I settled in. As the ‘sorry ehn’ and ‘eyah’ followed my narration, I remembered the lady and wished I had followed her ‘impatient’ steps of leaving the red Lag bus.

Yours patiently,

Ayo Wright

Day 11 (Tales by MoonWright)

“Everything is not always as it seems.”

⁃ Charles Westmoreland, Prison Break

“A mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone.”

⁃ Tyrion Lannister, Game of Thrones

“There’s nothing more powerful in the world than a good story.”

⁃ Tyrion Lannister, Game of Thrones

“I don’t want it.”

⁃ Jon Snow, Game of Thrones

“You do too much, you’re not Superman, you know.”

⁃ Aunt May, Spider-Man

“Either you die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”

⁃ Two-Face ,Batman: The Dark Knight

“The only time success comes before work is in the dictionary.”

⁃ Harvey Specter, Suits

“I learn from the ones that made it first place, but the ones who came in last teach the best lesson

It’s not about the speed that you run your race, but how you maintain in your progression

Don’t you ever look down on your come-up, there’d soon come a time when your stories ain’t free.”

⁃ Melvillous, Game Plan

“I don’t get it. Over all these kids, why did God give me such influence

I still ain’t got my life together

Can’t name a struggle I ain’t been through yet

Told my girl, I think that I’m depressed

She said regardless how you feel, you blessed.”

⁃ Melvillous, Break My Heart

“Too much hope is not good for people like us.”

⁃ Nights of the Creaking Bed

“Fool me one time, shame on you

Fool me two times, can’t put the blame on you.”

“I’m so ahead of my time, even when I rhyme about the future, I be reminiscing.”

⁃ Jermaine Cole, No Role Models, Fire Squad

“They preying on me, I gotta pray more.”

⁃ Andy Mineo, Friends

“How do you terrify a man that ain’t scared to die?

So while I got a mic, I’ma air the lies that paralyze my people

I live by the fear of God

The only way that you get acceptance is when you know you don’t need it.”

⁃ Andy Mineo, Desperados

“It’s amazing, the most beautiful pieces of art come from the ugliest situations,

So I praise Him, rejoicing in my suffering cause I know

He’s got a masterpiece in the making,

and I ain’t scared of death nor Satan,

cause I know who’s hand that my name is engraved in,

this right here is a proper statement,

I am not the artist, I’m the canvas that He’s painting.”

⁃ Andy Mineo, Ex-Nihilo

“Good is the enemy of greatness.”

⁃ Andy Mineo, Say Less

“What if who I hoped to be was always me?

And the love I fought to feel was always free?

What if all the things I’ve done

Were just attempts at earning love?

‘Cause the hole inside my heart is stupid deep, stupid deep.”

⁃ Jon Bellion, Stupid Deep

“Long live the underdog, as long as he’s under God, rest assured the sun will shine after the thunderstorm.”

⁃ Ghost (SDC), Rise of the Underdogs

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

⁃ Tec (SDC), Rise of the Underdogs

“My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in your weakness”

⁃ God, 2 Corinthians 12:9

“Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?”

⁃ Jesus, Matthew 7:3

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son and whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”

⁃ John 3:16