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

Day 10 (Tales by MoonWright)

I can’t remember but I think we had just finished our JS1 exams, so we were free and noisy. Everyone was having some sort of fun. Me and some friends were playing table soccer and whenever one of us was about to use the pen cover to apply pressure on the button to score, Chico would come to disrupt the game. We’d chase him away but he’d be back with his trouble.

Our noise was increasing and disturbing a certain JS2 class upstairs. The teacher came down to warn us. She was the Home Economics teacher at the time, very strict. “Don’t make me come back here to punish you guys,” she said then went back upstairs. Her warning was followed with a thick cloud of silence in the class, but few minutes later, we were back at it like an addict, making noise. Me and my guys continued playing table soccer and Chico was still misbehaving, so after his disruption this time, I yelled, “Don’t come back here again!” This was met by the Home Economics teacher’s second coming.

“Who said that?! Who said I shouldn’t come back?!” she asked as she stepped into the class.

I was in a confused state because I couldn’t exactly say I was the one since I wasn’t talking to her. She started walking towards my corner of the class and said, “I believe it came from here.” As she said this, the guys around me began to look at me somehow, so I gave myself up.

“Why didn’t you answer me since? Oya stand up and follow me,” she said, turning her back to me and leaving the class. I followed her and tried to explain myself when we got to the corridor. “Ma, please let me explain. I was actually talking to – ”

The next thing I heard was something similar to the deafening sound your hands make when you clap a mosquito that has been disturbing you all night. Only difference was it wasn’t a mosquito in this case, it was my left cheek and it was burning after her right palm landed on it. My cheeks suddenly became moist as the tears flowed. I was too young then for the pain that followed. I can’t tell if it was as a result of the slap or the fact that I was being falsely accused.

She took me to her class upstairs and told me to ’stood down’ in the class store. So there I was, standing on my right leg that was accompanied by my right index finger, the other hand on my back, left leg suspended in air and moist eyes fixated on the ground that took in drops of tears.

Yours innocently,

Ayo Wright

Day 9 (Tales by MoonWright)

Dear Ayo,

How are you, really? I’ve missed you. I miss the old days. A lot has changed now and you’re not the same person you were few years ago. I know you wish you could rewind time and make better decisions. I’ve always known you to beat yourself up, but you’ve been doing too much of that these past months. Give yourself a break, bro. Cut yourself some slack.

This is meant to be a love letter to you, but I want to apologise to you. Since I realised your main love language is Words of Affirmation, I’ve not been loving you well enough. I’ve not spoken kind, encouraging and affirming words to you well enough. I’ve not confessed what God really thinks and says about you well enough. And as a result, you’ve sought this love from people(friends and love interests) and have been disappointed. I’m sorry. When the Bible talks about loving others as you love yourself, it also means when you love yourself well enough from God’s perspective, you won’t need to live and depend on other people’s ability to love you. It will save you from disappointments.

Brené Brown said, “Talk to yourself as you would to someone you love.” So I repent today and tell you, Ayo, that you’re awesome. You’re fantastic. You’re amazing. God is madly in love with you, despite your shortcomings. There is hope for you. He hasn’t given up on you. You are not confused. You are consistent. You bring a whole lot to the table. Heck, you are even the one bringing the table and the chairs others will sit on. You are the light of the world. You are valuable. You are relevant. You are important. You are the sauce. You are the seasoning. You are the salt of the world. Sweet boy! You are confident. You are as bold as a lion. The things you are going through are not bigger than you because He that is in you is bigger and greater than the world. Dem no reach.

I love you, Ayo.

Your biggest fan (after God),

Lanre Wright

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

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