Concluding Project One

I spent two months of this year recording interviews with six people in my circle, and typing them up so that I could post them online and share with as many people as possible. Honestly, I didn’t know that it would be this successful!

I learnt a lot about how people think and the way they respond to personal and impersonal questions. I also find it interesting that I could ask questions like ‘What is one thing you regret doing?’ and ‘When is the last time you cried?’ simply because I previously asked for permission to do so.

People are so vulnerable, and we put up façades to indicate to the world that we’re fine and figuring things out. However, our true selves are hiding under the surface and it doesn’t take a lot to learn more about those around you. Questions such as ‘What should you probably start doing?’ were also a great way to help people evaluate themselves and look ahead at all the things they are still yet to achieve.

Above all, I hope that even if you read just one of the interviews, you can relate to some answers, or that you even thought about how you would respond to the questions yourself. To me, the answers I have collected stand as variables that make up a group of people as a sum, and these variables are a small example of how humans all over the world think and live.

(Scroll down to read the interviews)

Keep an eye out for my next Project!

Dami

…but I still put it down, as ‘this is where I wanna be’. It’s something I’m learning now; that our hopes and dreams and God’s hopes and dreams don’t align. That’s something that I am still to accept.
Dami’s interview took place in Costa on the last day of August as we drank Caramel Ice Lattes. I love his personality and enthusiasm for so many things, and I find that our interests cross on many levels, such as social justice, music and faith. Talking to Dami is always fun because he is so open to ideas and discussions about anything. It’s refreshing to not wonder if the topic is too random or broad. He’s the kind of friend that you want to stay in your circle forever.
Here is his response:
Hi, what’s your name?
Dami.
How did you feel when you turned 18?
No different. There’s no difference in how you feel; it’s just the same.
Did you feel any kind of sadness? Like ‘I’m getting older’, or do you not mind getting older?
I didn’t really feel it until about last month, when I started buying stuff. Like there’s no free NHS in some areas… you’re an adult now. Even the way people would look at me, I’m not that child or baby boy anymore, you’re not that 4 year-old that I saw growing up. I’ve had to accept that.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Um, (He sighs sharply) I wanna go into banking. Yeah.
Who do you miss?
Who do I miss? What do you mean?
(Smiling) Is there a person that you miss?
Expatiate, are they dead, are they…?
Dead or alive, someone you don’t talk to anymore…
Um, I don’t think there’s a person but there’s… I miss Barack Obama. (I laugh) Which makes no sense at all, but –
That makes sense. I miss him too.
When he was there, things just fell in place and the problems we had weren’t as big as the ones we’re facing now. We’re not facing like, um, the problems we saw – even though he wasn’t that good a president, but the problems weren’t that big. Compared to now, where we’re dealing with potential world war, and so many things.
(I stopped the recording to make sure it was picking up his voice as it was quite noisy around us. Then we resumed.)
 
Next question. What do you miss?
What do I miss? I miss… I miss year eleven. No why am I lying? I miss year nine. It was probably the most care-free time of my life. When I look back, we had no responsibilities. I wish I was a bit more inventive than I am now.
Okay. What will you miss?
I’m gonna miss… what am I gonna miss? (He thinks). I’m gonna miss the comfort of knowing the people that I have. Does that make sense?
The people around you?
Yeah. I’ve always known them. In primary school, I knew people there. Secondary school, I knew the people there. It’s not until now – Uni, that I’m going in not knowing anybody, or anything that’s gonna happen. So I’m gonna miss that comfort of being able to sit back, knowing that I know somebody that knows someone.
Okay. That makes sense. Is there anything you get carried away with?
Um, probably music, and talking.
You mean listening to music?
Yeah. I think it’s an addiction sometimes. (He starts smiling) If I’m not doing anything… I can’t have more than five minutes just sitting without either putting my headphones in or I’ll start tapping or something.
So you always have music playing in the background?
Yeah.
That’s cool. (Pause) Can you use an analogy to describe love?
Ok. (A happy sigh) Oh, wow, wow. Love is like (he thinks for a while) love is like the moon. Oh wow (we laugh). I hope this works. Love is a bit like…yeah, I’m gonna say the moon. It’s there when we need it… but even when we don’t need it, it’s always there. Does that work?
You can’t –
Yeah, just.
You can’t see it, but you know it’s there.
(Excitedly) You know it’s there. Ooh, that did work, I’m happy!
(Giggle) What is the thing you look forward to?
I’m looking forward to actually resting properly, and being able to say that I’ve done this, and I’ve done that, and I’m just able to tick things off.
Is that like, after university for example?
Nah. After life.
After life! (He laughs) You mean when you’re dead?
No no, just before that.
Oh.
You know, when you’re reminiscing in the last couple of days you have. You get what I mean. And it would probably be a continuous thing.
But that’s with the hope that you’ve achieved everything you’ve wanted to achieve?
Yeah.
Do you have a diary?
No.
Why?
(Smiles) I don’t – my life’s not that interesting to have a diary.
You should have a diary, I’ve had one since like, year seven.
So do you look at it often?
Yeah! And it’s funny, because the things I used to write about are so ridiculous, but now it’s a good way to see how I’ve developed as a person. It’s interesting.
 
Do you believe in God?
Yeah I do.
Why?
Um, because there’s too many things that have happened where I cannot but believe in God. There are too many thing that we see around us that there has to be a higher being of some sort. They can’t have just happened randomly.
Do you think your belief is by choice?
Now, yes. But before I would have said no.
Yeah. It’s the same with me. Um, define expressing yourself.
Expressing yourself is being able to do what you want to do (the first thing that comes into your mind) without thinking of anything else.
How do you express yourself?
Um, through music.
How are you?
Now? I’m great. (I laugh)
That’s good.
My was hope to see patterns in how everyone responds to certain questions, but after hearing Dami say this, I realised that there are also similarities in people’s answers. Eboni and Femi both said that they don’t have any regrets. Dami and Jonathan both express themselves through music, and at the time of their interviews, they both felt ‘great’. Although we are respectively different, we are still quite similar to each other.
Pink or white?
Pink.
Black or white?
Black. (We both laugh, but I don’t remember why).
Have you ever been told that you’ve changed?
Yeah I get told that a lot. I don’t like it.
For the worse or for the better?
Um, both (laughs)
Aw. That’s sad. So if you’ve been told that you changed for the worse, what do people usually say has happened?
Apparently I talk posh –
How is that changing for the worse?
I don’t know. I think I’ve become a bit shut off. And, apparently I’ve become a bit more “woke”. So that’s for the worse.
It used to be for the better though.
Yeah. I don’t really like the word “woke”. Anyone can be woke, but there’s always a section where if you go past it, you’re no longer “woke”, but instead you someone with an opinion. So it’s not a good definition.
What I realised is that with “wokeness”, people turn opinions into fact.
Yeah.
So it just becomes a bit blurry. Are you aware of the crisis in Syria?
I am.
What do you think of it?
I think it’s a shame. And I think that there’s a lot more that western nations can do in order to help them. We should also help refugees; it’s the least we could do. We bring them in, and people complain that they’re ruining the country, but the demographic that complains make up 90% of the whole nation. So there’s no point in complaining.
Are you interesting in travelling?
Yeah in the future.
So what’s your top five? Where do you wanna go?
First, I wanna go to the Vatican. Also, I wanna go to Thailand. I don’t know why, but it sounds good. I wanna go to California, just for culture reasons. Where else do I wanna go? I want to go to Edinburgh as well.
What was your least favourite part of school?
Exams. I just feel that they’re not built for everyone. It’s just a memory test to be honest, and it’s about who can apply it the best. That doesn’t really test anybody. But, the issue is that there can be a suitable way to test everybody – meaning that whatever method we choose, there will always be someone that will lose out. But that’s life anyway. There has to be a loser for someone to be a winner. That’s the only thing I hate about education.
Define yourself.
Wow. Um, (he sighs) wow. Define what?
(I smile) Define yourself.
Yeah but what do you mean? (He smiles too)
Who are you?
Who am I? I’m Dami.
People I’ve asked so far have been like ‘I’m awkward, I’m funny…’
Oh ok.
You don’t have to list it though, I didn’t ask them to.
Define myself. I am… I think I’m two-faced, because I feel like certain people get different things out of me. If I’m not comfortable around you, there will be a certain part that you won’t get. I think I’m very interesting. Yeah.
I find this funny, because when I asked him if he has a diary, he said he doesn’t have one because his life isn’t interesting. However he sees himself as an interesting person!

 

What’s your favourite song at the moment?
A song by a guy named Moelogo, called Shine Your Light. And the literal Yoruba translation is ‘God don’t turn off my light’. And it’s about shining your light – don’t be scared to do you. Don’t limit yourself, just express yourself as you are.
Okay. Do you think you’re photogenic?
No! (I start laughing) I’m very anti-photogenic. I’m terrible. Honestly, I hate pictures. But I need them.
I’m yet to find a person that says yes to that question.
Yeah but if you’re photogenic, you are. There’s nothing you can do about that.
Do you really want to go to university?
I’m not sure at this moment. I’m not sure. I don’t feel like I’m just going for the sake of it, but it’s the better option to working. And I think – that’s one of the biggest things I’ve learnt this summer. I’ve been around people that are twenty, thirty years older than me, and I’ve realised that I have no life experience at all. And it is so bad, because when they’re talking about this and that, I’m looking at myself thinking ‘I need to experience life for myself’.
I feel like people that are like our parents’ age, and 40 year-olds etc., seem to have lived a lot more; especially when they were teenagers, they went through a lot more than we do.
Even people that I’ve spoken to that haven’t gone to university, in a year, they have changed so much. And it’s scary.
So what do you think you need to do to change and develop like that?
I think I need to put myself out there. Take more risks. Because I play it safe a lot, and that’s my biggest crime, yeah.
How old are your parents?
My dad is 49, and my mum is 46 or 45. One of the two.
What have you learnt from them?
From my mum, I’ve learnt that you need to encourage others and you need to be there for other people. Also, that you’re never too old to learn. From my dad, I’ve learnt that sometimes you’ve just got to give everything for people, and even if you don’t get anything back, there’s someone watching. You’ll get it back eventually.
Is there anything you think about on a regular or daily basis?
I think about what I define as failure. Because the goal post is always moving for me. Like, every day I have to re-evaluate myself and say ‘okay, are we getting closer or are we getting further?’ It’s ‘am I failing?’ or ‘am I underachieving?’
What is the difference between happiness and joy?
Joy is long lasting. Happiness is temporary.
Do you often feel lonely?
No, but I’m on my own.
You can be alone without feeling lonely?
Yeah.
Okay.
(I read the next question and start laughing, and Dami starts laughing too, even though he doesn’t know what made me laugh). This question is so awkward to ask. It’s funny. Can you spill your heart out to me?
Um, what anything on my heart now?
Yeah.
Um, wow. (We laugh). Wow, okay. I feel that… I don’t wanna be really personal because I know you’re gonna publish it, so people I know will read this but… I feel that there are certain things that I should have told people at the time. But now I can’t say it, it’s too late. So I have to leave it and literally, it’s going to haunt me for the rest of my life. Yeah.
Um, name one thing that everyone but you seems to understand.
How Orange Is the New Black is so good. I don’t get it.
I don’t get it either!
I don’t like it because all of the jokes are black, but all the writers are white –
Are the jokes black?
Yeah, have you watched it?
I haven’t watched it because it doesn’t look interesting to me.
I looked and the writers and it was all so whitewashed, so I’m thinking ‘who is coming up with these jokes then?’ I don’t really like that; it you’re gonna make jokes like that, you can’t just cut out the people you’re getting it from.
I didn’t even know that. What’s your favourite word?
(He thinks for a while, then smiles) Ambience.  It’s like ‘atmosphere’.
What do you buy when you’re treating yourself?
Blazers.
What’s the most cliché thing about you?
Most cliché thing…That apparently I’m a hipster, but I don’t see it.
I feel like people classify hipsters as those that aren’t conventional. People that are just alternative. People call me a hipster but I don’t see it either.
It’s kind of a juxtaposition, because being a hipster is popular, but being a hipster is also meant to be on the edge. It’s so funny.
Yeah it’s not weird anymore. Quote something or someone.
I was on the train from work, there was this drunk old white lady and she was just raving on. She said… (He wrote it in his twitter bio so had to find it) “Family; where life begins and love never ends. She had it tattooed on her arm.”
That’s true, I feel like family should be the one place where love is unconditional.                                
Let me ask you a question. Do you think your parents have to love you?
I think they do.
I don’t think so!
I mean, if my parents don’t love me, who’s gonna love me? (He laughs)
I don’t think they have to –
So who has to love you then? No one?
You’ve got to love yourself. But I don’t think our parents have to love us. They have to treat and take care of you, but they don’t have to love you. I heard it in Fences. He said “I don’t have to love you. I choose to love you”.
What do you deserve?
I deserve nothing in life. If you don’t work for it, you don’t get it.
If you could start a charity, who would it help?
If I could start a charity… it would help working class kids. I feel like they’re the most neglected. The people in the middle – there’s no actual support for them. And I feel that they’re the ones that get the least opportunities as well.
When is the last time you cried?
I cried, oh my God. Results day. I cried. I had to call my mum to come and pick me up. I cried my eyes out on the bus. There were so many things going through my head. I started blaming God, I started blaming myself and I started blaming the system.
There were so many things that just happened. That’s another thing. I’m waiting, like ‘what’s God… what is the purpose?’ I kind of felt that God didn’t want me to be in the Uni of my choice, but I still put it down, as ‘this is where I wanna be’. It’s something I’m learning now; that our hopes and dreams and God’s hopes and dreams don’t align. That’s something that I am still to accept.
What are you tired of?
I’m tired of black kids being told that they’re special.
(He goes on to explain how especially in African households, the children follow the same university, job, marriage, kids, and nice house etc. regimen. Then he says that because of the pressure of academia, we’ve lost a generation of footballers and creatives because parents have forced their children down routes they didn’t want for themselves).
Do you have a favourite place?
Yeah I do. My favourite place at the moment is in my uncle’s house. He has a grand piano that takes up half of this room. It’s so beautiful, I really like it.
What’s your favourite type of sandwich?
Prawn and mayonnaise.
Prawn and mayonnaise? What? That’s the sandwich I avoid! (We laugh) What do you not care about?
That’s a good question. I don’t care about aliens and stuff like that. But I do believe that there’s life outside of our planet. It’s very egotistical of us to think that we’re the only ones. I think that anywhere there is water, there is some form of life.
Is there something that you don’t like about yourself?
I feel that I hold back a bit, especially in the way I dress. I think I could be a little bit more creative and expressive in what I do.
Do you have any regrets?
Yeah, loads. My biggest regret is not telling someone that I love them. And because they’re probably going to move on and they’re in my close circle, it’s going to hurt me a lot.
Is it love, or in love?
In love.
Is there something you want me to know?
That I’m supportive of what you do, and that I feel that you could do public speaking. If you put yourself out there, I actually think you could do it.
Cool. Is that it?
Yeah.
(I sing) Thank you!

Jonathan

It’s caring, and being there for someone despite that whole person… knowing, serving and being there for someone; being drawn to the entirety of the person, both the good and the bad. Another thing, love definitely requires sacrifice. I feel like a sacrificial love is the most powerful form of love you can have for someone, from my perspective.
If acceptance, genuineness and love were to be found in one person, it would be Jonathan. We have grown closer over the past 4 years, and I’m glad to have such an understanding and caring person in my life. He likes my laugh, and I like his sense of humour. And his hair. Jonathan’s interview took place in a park near my house. He chose the location; it was a warm and sunny day. This is the longest interview I have conducted, and I expected that. Ours is an interesting interaction.
Here is his response:
Hi, what’s your name?
Jonath-
(I start laughing before he can finish his name. He was confused of course, I know who he is).
Do you like your hair?
Yes.
What do you like about your hair?
That it’s not the same as my uncles. (Quite a few of Jonathan’s uncles are in their 20s.)
What have they got bald spots and stuff?
It’s not bald spots, it’s just that they like to cut it low. Or they like to do wave gang…
Don’t cover the mic.
Or…
Don’t cover the mic!
(My phone, which records the conversation, is on his leg)
Okay! …I don’t know, it’s just different. Something I can enjoy – something I can take care of easily as well.
What’s one thing you wish you had done?
Wish I had done?
Yeah.
Just an open question? (He thinks for some time) Um… I guess I wish I had gone to college rather than a sixth form.
Oh wow. Why?
Um, I just don’t think A-Levels… I mean I enjoyed them, but I didn’t enjoy them that much, to be fair. I just think doing a college course in something I could specialise in, (similar to what I’m doing next year) I think I would have benefitted from it. I guess I’m glad that I got to do different subjects but I would have preferred to do a college course.
What’s one thing you regret doing?
Regret doing? Um… (more thinking) Regrets. I don’t wanna make this all academic, but I really regret not paying much attention in GCSE. I got good grades, but I could have done a lot better if I concentrated.
Did it affect your results at a level?
It affected my science results, definitely. I passed all of them, but I always tell myself “Ah, you were never really fit for science anyway”. But there are so many areas of science I look at now that interest me, and I can’t really go down that career path because I limited myself by not working hard back then.
How did you feel when you turned 17?
Nothing. I didn’t feel anything. I had a surprise birthday party which was really cool, and a lot of fun, because I felt like people cared about me (with both friends and relationships). Other than that though, there was nothing real significant. 17 is the same as 16 in my eyes. It’s 18 that I’m worried about.
I don’t know, I just feel like I’ll have to rely on myself more. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I don’t wanna burden my family and my parents with things that I can be responsible for.
When I think of 18, I think of solitude, responsibility and doing things on my own.
Do you like responsibility?
(He sighs). I like having responsibility for others. I really like being able to do things for other people. Growing up, my dad’s way of showing love – he’s not really an affectionate/wordy person, but his form of showing love was always providing. Ever since he turned 16, he cooked for himself…
Do you wanna swap places? The sun is in your eyes.
No, I’m good… My dad, yeah his mum wasn’t around for most parts, and my granddad was always out working really late. So for him, responsibility was providing for himself and his loved ones, when he couldn’t rely per-se on his parents. That’s definitely something that’s been engrained in me. That’s how I see responsibility. Just provide; do what you can. Yeah.

 

Okay. Is there something that makes you happy?
Yeah, loads of things. You want a specific example? Um, I guess close relationships with people. That makes me happy. A lot. I don’t build loads of them, but the few I have… it doesn’t depend on what I receive from the person, or what I get out of it. It’s just that I enjoy being in that person’s company. There are different forms of happiness that I get from doing different things, going places and stuff. But relationships… I guess that’s the concrete joy.
Is there someone that makes you happy?
(He smiles – hesitates). Yes. Yes, there is. There are loads of people that make me happy.
You don’t have to say their name. Is there something you don’t like about yourself?
Yeah. I’d say, I don’t like the fact that I feel things too much, or that I can be very emotional at times. I really hate that; it just gets on my nerves. Um, I just don’t like the fact that my emotions can sometimes carry my actions, if you get what I mean.
That can determine how I respond to something. And I don’t like that I understand them so well as well. Because when you understand how you feel about something, it makes it easier to respond to that.
But don’t you think that if you understand your emotions, you’ll know how to react to the situation properly?
Yeah. Yeah. I would agree with that; but I just don’t like the fact that my emotions can be so strong anyway.
Okay. Why do people like the spice girls so much?
I don’t know, I’ve never listened to them.
(I laugh) How are you?
How am I? I’m great. The sun is nice, so.
Are you wearing odd socks?
Hm? I am actually. Blue and kind of grey, red-ish.
That’s not red.
Was that a question, or did you just ask?
No I just asked (we laugh). How do you express yourself?
I think I express myself a lot through words; I speak to people. I also express myself through art and design. I like doing that, it’s a lot of fun. Another way I express myself is though music. That’s a big one.
You mean listening to music?
Yeah, it’s weird. I didn’t think it was a way of expressing myself, but by sharing music with the people around me, it leads to controversial conversations sometimes. Talking about topics that you wouldn’t talk about just to anyone.
Purple or yellow?
That’s it, that’s the question? Purple or yellow? (Laughs)
Yes.
Um, I like them both though. They contrast against each other really well.
You know what the term is called?
Hm?
Complimentary colours, that’s what they’re called.
Oh, okay.
Black or white?
Black.

 

Do you believe in God?
Yes.
Why?
Um, because I studied… I guess by studying the Bible. I am a Christian, so I believe in a Christian God. I’d say I believe because I looked into his character. Believing in God isn’t all about evidence; evidence can only take you so far. When it comes to believing in God, it’s really having a faith in him, and in his promises. And I believe that’s necessary in order to believe in God. I believe in God because of how he’s changed my life.
Yeah, that’s what I think as well. Name an opinion of yours that has changed.
(He couldn’t think of an answer straight away, so I said we can to come back to it. We didn’t.)
Have you ever been told that you’ve changed?
Yes. Many, many, many times.
For the better or the worse?
For the better.
That’s good.
Not in a big-headed way, but experiences have allowed me to grow.
What do you think of social media?
Social media? I think it’s a tool, you know? It’s how you use it; there’s no good or bad. It’s like a hammer. If you use a hammer to knock someone’s head in, then it’s not good, is it? But if you use a hammer to knock in a nail, then it’s doing its job.
So what’s its job then?
The whole idea of social media is so that you can be social. Using media. (I laugh. This boy loves sarcasm). To connect with people. It’s to create a network, where people can just talk, share videos…it’s a form of communication.
Are you aware of the crisis in Syria?
Hmm… I am aware that there is a crisis in Syria. To be honest, I haven’t looked into it.
What did you get in GCSE science?
Eurgh, why are we asking that question! No. move on, pass.
If you could live in another country, where would it be?
Finland! (He answered so quickly) The education system there is sick. And Finnish is a really interesting language. And they’re really nice people; I have a few friends there.
I like that whole Netherlands, Finland, Norway area. It’s nice. Define yourself.
Define myself. Black, British, almost 18. Like anime, like music a lot. Man of God. What else… really good at volleyball surprisingly (lol). Yeah, that’s it.
Do you think you’re photogenic?
No.
What was your least favourite part of school?
Results day. (We laugh).
Do you really want to go to university?
Yes. (A pause) Is that it?
No, there’s more.
Yay. This is fun; have you asked yourself these questions?
Not really. Well I don’t know. It’s not about me. Am I still recording?
I don’t know.

 

Is there anything you think about on a regular or daily basis?
Yes. I’d say I think about religion versus faith, every day. I think about what Jesus is calling me to do… I think about love and hate every day, surprisingly. I don’t know, I think about how human beings got to the state where there are so many factors what can divide, separate or differentiate one another.
Define happiness.
Happiness. Didn’t we do this at the start?
I said what makes you happy.
But isn’t what makes someone happy their definition of happiness?
So what makes you happy then?
Um, I don’t know. I can’t be bothered. (Amazing).
Okay, define joy.
From what I’ve experienced, joy is the decision to be…I don’t want to say joyful. Joy is something that you can decide to have. It is genuine, and it’s lasting as well. It requires you to be giving, as it can be something that affects people around you as well. Happiness can come from…
Wait, the next question is, do you see a difference bet…
Yes, yes I do!
Can you spill your heart out to me-
Spill my heart out? Not physically. I don’t even know what that means, to be fair. Isn’t it just the term for being real with someone?
(Rather than actually ‘spilling his heart’, Jonathan just describes what it means. I still await some spilling!)
I can, but I’m not going to right now, because I don’t know what you want to hear.
Do you often feel lonely?
Not often. Sometimes. You can feel lonely when you’re experiencing something. (He sighs). Let me be real. You know when you go on Instagram right, and you see people going to exotic places and doing crazy things, enjoying themselves… you know, they do it with friends, and they’re out and about doing whatever. Sometimes you look at yourself, and you’re like “what am I doing?” And it’s those times that I become lonely. But not for long. I can’t take it for granted, as I have a lot of people in my life. There are people that I can open up to if I needed, so I’ve been blessed with relationships. I’m not lonely often, and not for long either.
You’ve probably heard it before, but I feel like Instagram really is a highlight reel of people’s lives. The only real social media that I’ve seen where people post their down times are probably Snapchat and Twitter (also Tumblr now that I think of it). On Instagram you don’t usually dedicate your time to making a post about how lonely and sad you are. (He laughs). On twitter and snapchat you see that all the time.
Name one thing that everyone but you seems to understand.
(He couldn’t think of an answer here either, and we also forgot to come back to it.)
Describe the best dream you’ve had.
Best dream? It’s one where (he laughs) one where I was dead (laughs again). Wait. I was in heaven, and I wasn’t stressed. I was relieved of all of the worries I have here on Earth.
Did you see God?
Nope.
What did you see?
I saw lots of clouds. And my parents. And my sister. And a lot of friends. That was my best dream. It was a few months ago; it was nice. Kind of like this (he gestures at the area around us) with greenery and the people I love were there. There were no buildings, there was no construction – there was no sadness or anything like that. It was just bliss. Then I woke up, and had to go to school. I hated that. (I laugh).
What do you want your future to be full of?
Full of? Growth. I never want to stay still; I want to be more. (He then mentions spiritual and mental growth, discipline, self-control, knowledge and understanding). Also, far into the future, I’d like a daughter. That’s not to say that if I had a son, I wouldn’t love him, but I’d prefer a daughter.
Quote something, or someone.
La vie est sol. It means life is amusing. (I later on found out that he said “life is ground”, which made me laugh. La vie est drôle.)
Are you scared of anything?
Yes.
Like what?
Moths. (I start laughing). It’s not a joke, I hate them so much.

 

Can you use an analogy to describe love?
It’s caring, and being there for someone despite that whole person. It’s knowing, caring, serving and being there for someone; being draw to the entirety of the person, both the good and the bad. Another thing, love definitely requires sacrifice. I feel like a sacrificial love is the most powerful form of love you can have for someone, from my perspective.
I think that’s true, but I also feel like when it goes wrong, it’s really tragic.
Yeah.
Who do you miss?
(Silence) I don’t think I miss anyone at the moment.
What do you miss?
I miss being a kid. I miss being 8. You’re at the age where you can just enjoy life with no stress. I do miss that.
What do you need?
Um, what do I need?… Relationships, I guess. Even though I’d like to say I’ll be able to survive by myself.
What do you deserve?
Nothing.
What’s the best thing about life?
Being able to impact others.
What are you tired of?
I’m so tired of education. Not education as in acquiring knowledge, no. I’m tired of the system, and how you have to enter for things. How requirements are judged. (He raises his voice) It’s so boring.  It doesn’t even stop at Uni, you have a curriculum for your job, and there’s a curriculum for your career. There’s a “way” you should live your life… I’m tired of all of that. It really is so tasking.
But you know there’s a reason for it right?
Yeah I guess. I don’t know if there’s a valid reason.
Anarchy.
(He laughs) You can’t just say words like that.
That’s the extreme end of it. But obviously, we need order. It just progresses and becomes more restrictive, but it’s only to help people. Well that’s the initial intention. To help. Anyway. What should you probably start doing?
Heading home. I’m joking. Um… I should probably have more drive. I won’t do crazy things to attain what I need to, and it bothers me that I am comfortable taking second best if it means that I can do it easily.
Name a thing that you think it’s too late for you to do.
Not to be depressing, but sometimes feel like it’s too late for me to make my parents proud in some areas. That’s all I’m gonna say about that though.
Are you scared of death?
No.
What do you not care about?
Snapchat.
Is there something you want people to know about you?
No.

Anthony

I think it was about a year or two ago when I really stopped. That was a result of realising that a lot of things are out of my control; a lot of people’s perceptions of me were out of my control, so there was no point caring.
As I’ve grown older, I have had more and more conversations with my cousin Anthony. Over time, the conversations have increased in depth and intrigue.  I admire Anthony’s ability to encourage people to follow the path they desire and try new things; he was the person that sent me books for aspiring architects back when I actually wanted to  be one. Such qualities aren’t easy to find in many people. By having a conversation with him, one may visualise his mind as wide; one that considers the various sides to various things, and that is open to new concepts and opinions. This sincere and honest interview took place shortly after Charles’ interview, also in the same room with the same people. It was a fun day.
Here is his response:
Hi, what’s your name?
My name is Anthony.
What did you eat for breakfast?
Erm, for breakfast I had…what did I have? Shreddies.
What’s one thing you wish you had done?
(Silence)
Most recently, I saw this guy I recognised from a TED Talk, walking down one of these streets in Oxford. But I kind of pussied out.
Of talking to him?
Yeah.
What’s his name?
I’ve forgotten his name now actually.
Um, what’s one thing you regret doing?
What’s one thing I regret doing? Caring too much about what people thought about me for a long time.
How old were you when you think you stopped caring?
I still care a bit, but um, I think it was about a year or two ago when I really stopped. That was a result of realising that a lot of things are out of my control; a lot of people’s perceptions of me were out of my control, so there was no point caring. When you get into that Uni environment, you kind of come across a wide range of people from different backgrounds. They’re all going to have different perceptions of you.
Okay, is there something that makes you happy?
Loads of things make me happy…like working…
(His voice trails off then rises again)
Are you even enjoying this?
(I laugh)
I am enjoying it. you’re just taking long but I can’t force you to speed up.
Do you want me to make it quick-fire and say whatever comes to my head?
It doesn’t matter!
Cause I usually like taking a bit long to…
Just don’t think too hard.
Okay. So what was the question?
Is there something that makes you happy?
Yeah, going to the gym.
(I laugh again)
Is there someone that makes you happy?
Loads of people make me happy.
Can you name one of them?
You.
Oh, thanks!
(How sweet)
When is the last time you read a book?
Um, two days ago. It was called ‘Economic Development and Globalisation’.
Why do people like the Spice Girls so much?
Because they represent a rebellious, “don’t give a f**k’ attitude that a lot of people wish they could emulate.
Do you care for 90s Rnb?
I love it – because it’s just so wavy isn’t it? (He smiles) It just makes you feel…good! (Then we laugh)
What’s your favourite song?
Right now?
Mmhmm.
Probably Rough Soul by GoldLink.
I like that song. I won’t sing it though. What is the one thing you look forward to?
Depends where I am; like a given time, it varies.
Okay…what do you want to be when you grow up?
Immortal.
(Someone sighs in the background, then we start laughing. On the Christmas of 2015, Anthony told us that he would like to be immortal and none of us have let it go ever since – including Anthony himself. Such an aspiration is new to me. ‘I can’t wait for this!’ Says my sister.)
So if you were to be immortal, how would you achieve that? Do you think it’s possible?
I think science is working towards it; I’m not the best qualified person to speak on the technicalities. But, I hope that it happens.
(My sister: ‘Really?)
Okay. Can you use an analogy to describe love?
(Anthony starts laughing, as does everyone else)
I’m just thinking of Charles’ answer… I don’t know how I’m gonna top that!
It was so beautiful!
(He smiles) Refer to Charlie’s answer, that’s all I’m gonna say! It was more of a description than an analogy, but it fits perfectly I think.
Yeah. Who do you miss?
Um, most recently, my ex-girlfriend.
Aw cute, (my smile was so wide) have you ever been in love?
Yeah.
Aw (I started giggling) okay.
(My sister: ‘Are you meant to be giving your opinion or not?’)
I don’t know sometimes I write it down, and sometimes I don’t. How are you?
Tired. (Pause) Actually, I’m excited.
And what are you excited about?
Um, I’m going to Camden tonight.
Tonight? It’s 9:30pm! Are you going to a club or…?
Yeah it’s a special Kanye West night, and they just play Kanye West music. It ends at 2 or 3am. If we get going now, I could probably catch the last hour and a half.
Oh, I’ll make this quick then. Black or white?
No, take your time, we’re not going anywhere. Black.
Red or green?
Green.
How do you express yourself?
…I don’t think I fully have yet.
Okay. Do you believe in God?
No.
Why?
I believe in an ultimate creator, because that’s what makes logical sense. But if we’re talking about…
A Christian God?
Yeah, the reason why is because there are too may conflicting pieces of evidence in the Bible.
Fair enough.
(I agree with him on the conflicting parts, but I believe nevertheless) Name an opinion of yours that has changed.
(Another pause) Shoot, this is a hard one. An opinion of mine that’s changed? Um, can we pause it for a second so I can think?
We can come back to it.
Okay.
Have you ever been told that you’ve changed?
Yep.
When?
A lot, recently.
What do you think of social media?
It’s a double – edged sword.
As in?
There are positives and negatives. It just depends on how the individual uses it.
Okay. Are you a fan of museums and galleries?
Yep.
If you could live in one other country, where would it be?
Um, anywhere that was sunny, had a beach close by, and cheap to live in.
Do you think that school is bad for your mental health?
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with education, if that’s the deeper question you’re asking. But I think that the way it is delivered can be changed, for sure.
What was your least favourite part of school?
Waking up every morning.
(I laugh)
Favourite type of sandwich?
Ooh. Right now, probably Salmon and cream cheese.
Do you think you’re photogenic?
No.
Oh.
(I turn to my cousins and say ‘everyone love yourself man, everyone is photogenic’. I didn’t realise fast enough that not seeing oneself as photogenic doesn’t imply that you don’t love yourself.)
I’m not saying that I don’t love myself, I’m just saying that I don’t think I’m photogenic.
I think everyone is photogenic, as long as you get the right angle, you know? Define happiness.
I don’t know if you can define a feeling; that would be subjective. So for me, it’s just a feeling followed by positive thinking, I guess.
Is there a difference between happiness and joy?
Uh, by textbook definition, yeah. But for most people it’s indistinguishable.
(I agree).
When you’re joyful, I feel like it is more intrinsic… you know what I mean? No?
What do you mean by intrinsic?
(Charles in the background: ‘Like an internal state of being.’)
Yeah.
Joy is like, on the inside.
Yeah.
Okay, that’s what I think as well. (I smile) Can you spill your heart out to me?
Nah. (Laughing again)
I love that question. Do you ever feel lonely?
Um, yeah.
What do you buy when you’re treating yourself?
Pizza.
How old are your parents?
46 and I think 48.
Name one thing that everyone but you seems to understand.
Crisper technology. (The confusion at this answer leads Charles to say ‘It’s a gene-editing technology.’)
Oh. I don’t know what that means! But back to this question, name an opinion of yours that has changed.
I haven’t been thinking about it.
Oh ok.
But hold on, I actually want to give you a good answer for that one.
(He sits and thinks for some time)
I don’t know if it would be an opinion, but it’s like a shift in perspective. I’d say, just realising that people are a product of their environment and when you’re interacting with people, you have to always take that into consideration.
Equality of opportunity or equality of outcome?
Ideally opportunity…actually, I don’t even think that’s an ideal situation. But I’d say opportunity.
Okay, is there something about you that you want people to know about you?
Um (another long pause), without coming across as shallow, no.
Okay then. End of interview!
Is that it?
Yeah.

 

Anthony is a cool person to speak to – I wish you could meet him.

 

Charles

Let’s see. It’s like you’re driving down through canyons and the beautiful mountain passes and you’ve just got that music that takes you…and you get the scenery just perfect, you know? …You have the wind in your hair.
This interview took place in my cousin’s house during a family BBQ. there were five of us in the room.
Charles is my cousin, but I call him Femi. I like our relationship because he introduces me to new things whenever I see him. I’m a fan of the Bourne Series because he long-term borrowed the collection to me a few years ago, and I’m able to look at politics through a different lens as he encourages me to do so. He’s in the Military, which is always a great conversation starter too. Charles is one of the first people I told about the interviews I planned to conduct and he said it was a good idea, so I ran with it. I guess the interview itself is a tribute to him.
Here is his response:
Hi, what’s your name?
Charles Olorunfemi Fadipe.
What did you eat for breakfast?
I had a croissant and two bananas.
Do you like your hair?
Yeah!
Why do you like your hair?
Because it doesn’t give me any fuss. I just wash it and go, and that’s it.
(In the background, my sister shouts ‘wash and go!’ I believe she means a different type of wash and go).

 

What’s one thing you wish you had done?
Today?
Whenever. It’s all down to interpretation, so try to ask me as few questions as possible.
Um, one thing I wish I had done…appreciate the times I had when I was back in Uni, especially for the first time. You never really know how much you enjoy it until it’s gone and you’re actually working. So to appreciate the times I had, especially with friends. Once you get out of that college and uni space, everyone starts to part ways, and you just meet up occasionally. You really don’t get to have that feeling or experience again.
What is one thing you regret doing?
I don’t know that I actually have any regrets, because everything that I’ve done – whether I have succeeded or failed, I’ve always learnt from it. So, I don’t actually have anything that I regret doing.
A few people have said that which is really good; I have so many regrets. Do you find politics interesting?
I find politics very interesting.
Why?
Well, one is part of my job description. Being in the military, you have to be aware of the geo-political space around it. The military isn’t just going and fighting. The people that send you in are the politicians, so you have to know what they’re thinking, why they’re thinking it, and how what you’re going to do is going to further advance what they’re trying to do.
Interesting. How did you feel when you turned 18?
Like I was finally an adult. I could vote, I could drink if I so wanted to… everything that you can do as an adult is on you, and up to you.
Is there something that makes you happy?
Erm… I think I’m happiest when I am in a peaceful location, and as an introvert… sometimes I like to go hiking on my own just in the hills and mountains. The peace I find there is really tranquil. Wales, Scotland, or even going somewhere else…
Is there someone that makes you happy?
My family, my friends, that’s pretty much it, yeah.
Ok. If it’s meant to be, it will happen. If you want something go for it. Which statement do you agree with the most?
If you want something go for it.
If it’s meant to be, it will happen?
‘If it’s meant to be, it will happen’ is kind of saying that because you have a dream, then somehow, it’s going to happen. But a dream remains a dream if you don’t act upon it. So you have to strive to make something happen.
So you agree with ‘if you want something go for it’ more?
I do.
When is the last time you read a book?
Today.
What book did you read?
Parts of Animal Farm…
I love that book!
 …and parts of The Israeli Solution. Caroline Glick; it’s very interesting. I didn’t get to a Bible verse today.
Oh.
I would have, maybe later today.
Okay. This is quite a deep one. Is there something you don’t like about yourself?
(A long pause ensues)
That is a tough one actually.
Yeah.
I tend to be quite satisfied with myself, but I guess if anything I’d probably say I’d like to improve my mental strength a bit more. There are certain times (and this is more in the military side of things), there are certain times when you have to push, and you’re in pain, and then you have to push even more. There’s always that time when you want to quit. So it’s not something I don’t like about myself, just something I want to improve, it’s to be able to increase that mental strength, just so that pain is easier to break through.
It is nice to have someone speak about where they can improve, rather than focusing on the things they feel like they will struggle to change about themselves.

 

Nice. Why do people like the Spice Girls so much?
(He sighs) There was a generational change, you know? They were like the advent of this whole ‘Girl Power’ thing coming up.
(My sister disagrees in the background. This question was her idea.)
You guys are thinking ‘what is he talking about?’ But back then, you had boy bands and you had singles here and there, but you didn’t really have any iconic girl group or anything like that. The Spice Girls swept in and they were having fun; their songs were catchy and they attracted a lot of women to bands and music in general.
At that time, Spice Girls were bigger than Destiny’s Child.
Do you care for 90s Rnb?
Of course. It takes me back to my childhood.
Can you use an analogy to describe love?
Let’s see. It’s like you’re driving down through canyons and the beautiful mountain passes and you’ve just got that music that takes you…and you get the scenery just perfect, you know?
(Femi starts smiling) You have the wind in your hair.
(We were all so happy with his response and someone asks why he answered the question so sincerely. Femi replies ‘We care about you guys, so we do things properly with you. That’s why’).

 

Why don’t all friendships last forever?
Well, all friendships don’t last forever because not all friendships are friendships. Some friendships are what you’d actually call acquaintances. So when you’re in school and college, you make acquaintances with whoever you hang out with there, but you wouldn’t actually get to know them outside of whatever it is you’re doing.
Mm.
So you talk about the subjects that relate to you, but you don’t know them deeply. Your real friends are the people you get to know; you get to know their deepest fears and they get to know yours. You’re comfortable sharing your hopes and dreams with them. That’s why those friendships last longer.
So it’s basically friendship versus acquaintance?
Pretty much.
Who do you miss?
This is an interesting question, because I don’t tend to miss people. I always feel I’m going to see someone again. For example, my brother Justin. He’s been in Norway doing a PhD for two and a half odd years and I don’t really miss him,
You don’t miss him?
Not really. I’ve seen him once, when I went to Norway – but I don’t miss him. He’s always chatting on the phone with my sister… I always know what people are doing. Maybe that’s why I don’t miss him so much.
What do you miss?
What do I miss… sometimes peace and quiet.
(I laugh)
Again, it comes with being an introvert, especially when its gets really busy and there are a lot of people around, it saps my energy to be around them for too long. Almost like today. I need that peace and quiet to regroup.
How are you?
Right now, I’m actually pretty good. I’m back into this thinking space because of this (the interview), so I’m doing well.
Do you believe in God?
Yes.
Why?
Because everything I’ve seen in my life at the moment points to it. There’s no evidence that points to a lack of the existence of God.
Ooh. Good one. Have you ever been told that you’ve changed?
No, I don’t think I have…no.
Name an opinion of yours that has changed.
My politics have changed. When I was younger, I thought that everything could somehow be fair and that there’s a magical solution for everything. But as I’ve grown up, the realisation has set in that not everything is fair.
So equality of opportunity or equality of outcome?
Equality of opportunity. It depends on personal responsibility after that.
(Femi and I had a conversation about these terms once. It’s an interesting way to look at politics and the manifestos of various political parties.)

 

What did you get in GCSE science?
Double A (AA) back in my day.
Favourite TV show?
I have a few. The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Grey’s Anatomy…Power.
(My cousins start shouting in the background. We didn’t expect him to say Power)
Billions, Gilmore Girls…
(Then we all started talking about TV shows to watch)
Define yourself.
I feel that that I am a spirit, with a soul that connects to my mind; the mind controls the body, and that produces the essence that you see before you.
Do you think you’re photogenic?
I don’t really care, but you know, people say that I’m quite photogenic. Um, I was at the bus stop one time, just waiting as you do. And this woman comes up to me and gives me a card, and was like ‘have you ever thought about modelling?’ I was like ‘me?’ and she said ‘yeah if you ever think about it, give me a call.’
(I’d never heard that story before)

 

What’s your favourite type of sandwich?
I don’t really eat sandwiches that much, but anything with meat in it, and I’m good.
What is the difference between happiness and joy?
Happiness is an emotion that comes and goes – it fluctuates. Joy is something that’s within you; more of a constant.
What do you buy when you’re treating yourself?
Books. I don’t really buy food, or clothes. As you guys can see… I’m not that stylish!
Can you spill your heart out to me?
Spill my heart out?
(In the background someone tells him to not do it, and just say no like everybody else. Femi ignores her.)
At the moment, I’m just very happy that you guys are all around here, because this is one of the memories that I’m going to keep in my head. When I’m going through rough times, I’m going to think about these moments…
(One of my cousins speaks about how not many people are honest like that)
…You have to take the time to appreciate the moments you’re in because they’re going to go before you know it. It will carry me through tough situations and give me strength.
Name one thing that everyone but you seems to understand.
That’s difficult. I don’t know, but it’s something that will require a lot more thinking. It’s very hard to be able to discover something you’re ignorant about that everyone else knows. By definition, you don’t know what you know, so you can’t really say what you don’t know because you don’t know it.
Okay. Last question. Is there something you want people to know about you?
Hm. I mean, there aren’t things I really want people to know about me…not really. Just that I like my family.
(‘Aw!’ says everyone in the background)
Except from my sister. I don’t like my sister.
(I believe he was joking).
It was a nice drive back to London from Birmingham; I look forward to the next time I’ll see Femi. Or Charles.

 

Kahlea

I want to believe in something higher because it makes you feel like someone is always there for you. I haven’t seen anything to make me believe, but I just want to believe. Does that make sense?
This interview took place when we were on our way to a restaurant in early August. The one thing I love about our friendship is how real we are with one another. I often find her encouraging me to be more open and social, and this has helped my journey to becoming a more well-rounded person. Kahlea and I talk about random stuff like this sporadically, but the interview allowed us to talk about it all at once.
Here is her response:
What did you eat for breakfast?
Nothing.
Why?
Cause I don’t eat breakfast. I’m not really a fan of it, it’s pretty boring. It’s always the same stuff: eggs, bread and butter.
(She laughs)
Is there anything you think about on a regular or daily basis?
What I would do in the future – I think about that a lot. Especially with the subject I’m choosing for university; it’s not really a conventional subject so it’s really hard for people to understand sometimes.
What subject is it?
Drama and performance.
What draws you to drama and performance?
Um, I’ve been doing it since I was young and it’s the only subject/hobby that I can express myself the most without feeling embarrassed. Especially when you put yourself in a different character’s perspective. The most rewarding thing about it is when you see how the audience reacts to you; either good or bad. It lets you know when to do better.
Define happiness.
When you smile. (She laughs) When you feel euphoric.
Define joy.
Isn’t that the same thing as happiness? To be joyful?
Do you see a difference between happiness and joy?
No. They go in the same category. Just different versions of saying the same thing.
If I asked you to spill your heart out to me…
No, not on the train.
We both laugh, because we’re on the district line in the middle of the day; I can’t blame her. But I await an answer to this question!
 
Do you often feel lonely?
Yeah. I’m an only child.
Does being an only child make you lonely though?
No, not necessarily. For instance, I didn’t feel lonely when I was younger, and everyone used to say to me ‘I didn’t know you were an only child, I thought you had like 6 siblings!’ They say I’m so social.
But sometimes it does get lonely when you’re by yourself and you want to be with other people.
Has it become more prominent as you’ve grown older?
Yeah. Especially in exam season when you’re stressing out. It’s not that easy.
What do you buy when you’re treating yourself?
Hmm… (She smiles) Twix, Wotsits, Maryland cookies, Chinese food, McDonalds…
What’s your favourite Chinese place called?
Snax.
How old are your parents?
I don’t know, they don’t tell me.
Name one thing that everyone but you seems to understand.
That’s a very broad question.
It can be something simple, like a subject or an opinion that people have.
(She sighs)
Can we get back to that one?
Yeah. Is there something you want people to know about you?
I don’t think there’s anything interesting to know about me.
It doesn’t have to be interesting…
I don’t know. Um…
Or is there a thing that you wish you could tell someone when you meet them, but you can’t tell them straight away?
Not really. I don’t know, I’d have to think about that one too.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I do not know. But, I would want it to involve something to do with the skills that come with acting.
Can you use an analogy to describe love?
Um, love is like your favourite food; you always want more.
Aw! That’s cute!
(I found that so simple and nice.)
 
Is there anything you get carried away with?
Having fun. When you have fun, you don’t want to stop. So you just get carried away with it.
Why don’t all friendships last forever?
Kahlea uses her relationship with a primary school friend as an example. They have reconnected and lost contact multiple times since they were 10 years old. They recently spoke a few weeks ago.
It could be circumstances. It could be that you lose interest in the thing that made you two connect. Fall-outs, and just moving on with your life. Loads of things actually.
What do you miss?
How creative I used to be. Because I don’t draw as much as I used to. Actually, I haven’t drawn in years. So when you gave me that book, it made me want to get back into it.
I gave her a sketchbook for her 18th birthday to encourage her to start drawing again.
 
Who do you miss?
I don’t know, it always depends. I can’t really think of someone right now. If anything, I miss a person if I haven’t seen them in a while – not if I haven’t spoken to them in forever.
Do you have a diary?
No. I did when I was younger, but I’d forget and never go back to it. I can’t commit, that’s it.
What do you think of social media?
Scary. Because you put yourself out there, and you can always compare yourself to other people. And sometimes you get carried away with likes. When I first posted on Instagram, my cousin was like ‘Don’t worry if you don’t get many likes’ but I’m happy with how much I got. But now it’s like I’m constantly looking, and I don’t want to because I didn’t do that before.
I think that what social media does is give you something to think about when you can really live without thinking about it! When I deleted Instagram during exams, I didn’t even miss it. And when it’s there, it just feels like an extra way to waste time.
What did you get in GCSE science?
(She scoffs) Actually, for the ISA’s, I got an A and an A*. But overall, I got a C, because of how I did in the actual exam.
If you could live in a different country, where would it be?
That’s hard because there are a couple of countries that I love. Hawaii – anywhere that’s tropical. I was born in Jamaica, I’ve always loved the heat.
How are you?
Fine, thanks for asking. (Laughs again)
Define ‘Expressing yourself’
Being able to open yourself up and allow people to understand you on a deeper level.
How do you express yourself?
One way is definitely through acting. Um, another way is by meeting new people in general. First ex-, first um… what’s it called again? First expressions influence people?
Oh first impressions count?
Yeah first impressions count, but that’s not always true. You can meet someone like me and find me very annoying, but after a long time you get to like me! So, I don’t know, that doesn’t even link to expression.
I think you can express yourself by meeting new people.
Yeah.
Or how you approach people. Because you can just show the truest form of yourself. Every time you meet a new person, you have the opportunity to be you, or to be somebody else. Choosing to be yourself is the best option, because you don’t want to lie. If you express yourself whole-heartedly whenever you meet a new person, that just shows you’re of good character, so I think that’s cool.
Purple or yellow?
Purple.
Red or green?
Red.
Black or white?
Ooh. Black goes with everything.
I wanted to see if hesitation would be the most obvious with the ‘black or white’ question. I think it depends on if the person thinks about race or just colours.
 
Do you believe in God?
Yes.
Why?
I just want something to believe in. I don’t just want to be walking around this Earth and think that this is it. I want to believe in something higher because it makes you feel like someone is always there for you. I haven’t seen anything to make me believe, but I just want to believe. Does that make sense?
Yeah. For me, I believe in God because I think of it as ‘If I don’t have God, what do I have?’ Praying for Results Day is an example. If I didn’t have God, I’d just be nervous.
Exactly. It’s like an alternative person to turn to.
Name an opinion of yours that has changed.
Um, you don’t always have to be nice to people just so they like you. During sixth form, I always tried to be nice to people, and I realised it’s not that beneficial. You can’t be close to people if you’re just nice to everyone. You’re just mutually there with everyone.
Have you ever been told that you’ve changed?
Yeah. But it’s usually from people in church saying ‘You’ve grown taller! You look prettier!’
Favourite TV show?
Can I give you a list? Teen Wolf, The Walking Dead, Riverdale, 13 Reasons Why, Scandal, How To Get Away with Murder…
Most of these shows are about death!
(She laughs.) I also like YouTube videos.
Define yourself.
Awkward, bubbly, easily embarrassed, open.
Do you think you’re photogenic?
No!
I realise that it is hard to claim yourself as photogenic.
 
Favourite type of sandwich?
Tuna and sweetcorn.
Do you really want to go to university?
Yes. At first I didn’t because I thought I wouldn’t get in due to how I was in Sixth Form. Getting in with a subject I like really makes me want to go.
Okay. We’re gonna go back to the two questions you skipped.
Name one thing that everyone but you seems to understand.
I don’t get it when people hate people that they don’t know. I also never understood assuming that someone is mean just because they’re pretty.
Is there something you want people to know about you?
Um, I’m a sensitive person, so don’t be mean to me. (She laughs) get to know me!
Okay. That’s good enough.
Then we got  on the Overground to Shoreditch High Street.

 

Eboni

Happiness is when you are surrounded with people that you like, and you are content with yourself. You have self-peace.”
The first person I interviewed was my friend Eboni. We’ve been friends since year 7 and it’s safe to say that we shaped each other’s sense of humour. I was excited to interview her because we don’t have serious conversations all the time, so I wanted to find out things that aren’t casually mentioned. This conversation took place in a gallery. It is long, but so good.
Here is her response:
Hi, what’s your name?
Eboni.
What did you eat for breakfast?
I ate – well this is quite interesting, are you ready?
Yes
You know when you go to the shop and you can get Cod that’s in breadcrumbs, I had that with an omelette.
Ooh. (She laughs)
Well, I was supposed to have my dinner from yesterday but I left it in the oven instead of putting it in the fridge so I couldn’t eat it anymore. I also had jollofrice.
Was it nice?
Yeah, I put it in the microwave but it all stuck together.
Do you like your hair?
Love it.
Why do you like your hair?
It’s friggin amazing, that’s why.
(She laughs again). What’s one thing you wish you had done?
That’s a hard question. I don’t know what you’re trying to aim at.
It can be a small thing or a big thing.
I wish I started dance earlier, because now, I’m at the university stage and I have to take a gap year to actually do what I want. There’s more opportunities for kids as well.
What is one thing you regret doing?
Um… I literally don’t regret anything, I won’t lie. To be honest, I don’t really do bad things, and I’d like to think that I always do the right thing.
Do you find politics interesting?
Yep.
Why?
Because it controls your life whether you like it or not. You can say ‘I don’t like politics.’ But either way, it’s gonna affect you.
Interesting. How did you feel when you turned 18?
I didn’t feel anything. I just thought ‘I need to do my exams’, because my exams were like the week afterwards, so I didn’t actually get to have a fear about being 18.
Did you realise anything?
You mean when I was turning 18?
Or did you come to any conclusions about life?
No, because my whole life was just focused on exams at that moment. It was quite stressful. I felt overwhelmed about my party as well.
Oh yeah, your party. A good overwhelmed or a bad overwhelmed?
Both, because I was thinking that I should actually be doing work.
On the day of your party? It was one day!
I know, but exams were so soon.
At this point, we had walked into another section of the gallery.
 
Is there something that makes you happy?
Erm…when I get a dance routine.
Does it take long to master one?
You get an hour and a half.
Is there someone that makes you happy?
Probably my parents, I guess. When they’re happy to give me money! But no, my mum probably, the person that makes me the happiest.
What do you like about your mum?
She’s a joker, she’s funny.
Ok. If it’s meant to be, it will happen. If you want something go for it. Which statement do you agree with the most?
They both work together.
You think so?
Yeah. Cause if something is meant to be, it will happen, but you’ve still got to work for it. That’s the thing, when you pray to God for something, you can’t just wait for him to do it. You’ve got to work hard for it as well. You need to do something about it, and it will happen if it’s meant to happen.
Is there something you don’t like about yourself?
It took her a long time to answer this question.
Um, maybe when I meet new people, I feel like I shy away. I feel like I’m not who I really am when I meet someone new.
But do you become yourself as you get closer to them?
Yeah.
I think I’m the same
Is it? It’s not a bad thing though…
It’s not a bad thing.
Some people just don’t care and they go for it straight away; I wish I was more like that.
Why do people like the Spice Girls so much?
Ridiculous question.
(We laugh) Do you care for 90s Rnb?
I love it. It brings me back.
Back to 1999? (Note my sarcasm)
Yeah, cause they were still played after the millennia!
Is there anything you think about on a regular or daily basis?
Um, I think about dance, every day. And different goals that I have to achieve. And ‘What class should I take today?’
There are different classes?
Yeah, every day there are loads of different open classes.
Which ones do you usually go to?
Well there’s this guy called Andy and today is one of his last classes in England. He does hip-hop.
Define happiness.
Happiness is when you are surrounded with people that you like, and you are content with yourself. You have self-peace. Actually you don’t always have to have self-peace, because sometimes you can be depressed then go outside and be with people that you like. When you have a good time with them, you forget about being sad.
When that happens though, are you no longer sad or have you just been distracted from it?
You’ve been distracted from it.
Define joy.
Hmm… I think joy is like a short moment of happiness. Say you win the lottery, or it’s New Year’s Day and it’s just reached 12 O’clock, you’re like ‘Yay!’ and overcome with joy.
So what’s the difference between happiness and joy then?
I think happiness lasts for a long time, and it’s… ok, joy is like an explosion, like when a bomb explodes and suddenly it’s over.
Like a firework?
Yeah. But then happiness is like a sunrise, and it’s beautiful and lasts for ages.
That’s interesting, because I think it’s the opposite.
Really?
Yeah. I think joy is really really hard to acquire, because joy never leaves. I think that very few people in this world would have joy.
Is joy when you’ve reached a goal?
I just feel like joy is happiness in spite of circumstances; like a happiness that never ever goes away.
I don’t think of it like that; it’s crazy how people think of it differently.
Can you spill your heart out to me?
(Eboni laughs)
I can’t!
I knew this question would cause people to make a double take, it’s basically me asking them to become completely vulnerable with no good reason to do so. I’m interested to see if anyone will take the leap and actually do so.
Do you often feel lonely?
You know what this sounds quite sad, but I have my phone on me, so if I feel lonely I just go my room and go on my phone. It makes me feel like I’m connecting with people when I’m not really. I’m just looking at their photos.
What do you buy when you’re treating yourself?
I buy clothes. I don’t even buy them to be honest – my mum buys them for me. But yeah I like to buy clothes. But now that I’m working, she’s not gonna buy me anything!
How old are your parents?
My mum is 51 and my dad is 55. What about you?
My dad is 54 and my mum is 50.
So it’s like a 1 year gap.
Yeah. Name one thing that everyone but you seems to understand.
The thing that really annoys me at the moment is black people not loving themselves. I mean, I understand how it happens cause it could be because your parents haven’t taught you how to. But I surround myself with people who love that they’re black, basically. Also that light-skin and dark-skin thing. Oh my gosh, I hate it so much. As a race we’re already separated, and if we just stuck together, how powerful could we be?
When I was doing my hair this morning I thought of something. I felt one part of my hair and it was soft and I felt another side and it was kind of rough because my hair is different textures. I thought to myself ‘I like this feeling’, then I thought, what if we were taught that a rough feeling is nice as well? Black people would probably love their hair more. I don’t know why I thought of that!
Ok, last question. Is there something you want people to know about you?
Hmm… I’m a cool person if you come and talk to me.
(She laughs.)
No, not really. Oh, back to something about myself. I think that I try and do too many things at once, like I wanna dance, I wanna skateboard, I wanna have a YouTube channel as well…
What’s wrong with that?
I wanna do so many things, but I have to focus on one.
No, I think you should try and do as many things as you can. You’ll fail at things that you aren’t supposed to do and you’ll succeed at things you are supposed to do.
That’s true. I just wanna do everything and be the best at everything. I don’t know.
Is there anything else you want to say?
No that’s it. Peace out!
We laugh, and I end the interview.

My First Project

I made my first blog post in November, but allowed myself to forget about it since then. Hopefully, the next few posts are the start of consistency and a collection of good reads.

Some time ago, I realised that as humans we love to talk about ourselves. I gathered this from my conversations with various people; noticing a lot more passion on their side of the conversation when they got the chance to speak about themselves. The only problem is that sometimes we restrain ourselves when speaking to someone, as too much mention of oneself puts you across as self- centered.

So, my upcoming blog posts will be conversations I’ve had with my friends a family, in which I ask them many questions about themselves. some are personal, and some aren’t.

The aim is to allow people to talk about themselves freely without feeling the need to stop in order to be polite. Also, I hope to find out more about human behaviour and responses to certain things as I ask people challenging questions.

I hope they’re enjoyable reads, and that you can relate somehow to their responses.

The Sun Trilogy

I remember that I’d rather write about the sun, and how orange it is today.

Not like the fruit in the bowl on the wooden dining table, but more like the gold you imagine heaven to be. I don’t think heaven is white; I think it’s gold.

This is the kind of sun that dwells in the back of your eyes for 5 minutes until you look at it again and it happens once or twice more – once so far.

The sun isn’t hot from where I am; it’s 10 degrees here outside. But I never experience this sun with the wind that drives me to the refuge of my bed, broken and cold too.

*

I hardly saw the sun today, but I did see it in the reflection of the bus window.

It’s like God got a colour somewhere between Peach and Periwinkle Blue, and used a wide and thick brush to gently swipe over the burning sun. Although,  the only thing about the sun that burnt was its colour. I wasn’t that hot.

And God has carried on this brush  past the sun to its left and right; more so to the right. I’m not good at painting, see, I’m not sure how he executed it so well.

The rest is a blur of sky that you’d see on a day with an average sunset.

But that side, where I found the sun today, still illuminated my area, and my mind.

*

I didn’t see the sun today; not once. Although, I knew of the supermoon that was seen in Eastern Standard Time.
When the sky looks like this, I wonder where the sun is because I can’t feel it’s warmth – that’s why I’m cold, I know.

So, let me create a sun as a result. Today’s sun is dull as God continues to drag his paintbrush across it. We can’t tell if it’s the kind of sun that gives you a headache at 4:30pm.

But, it’s omnipresent and powerful. A thing in the corner of our eye, the elephant in the room (GMT).

It will fade early and intensify late, like it would at this time of the year. I’ve probably seen this sun before.