April 2016 Writing Challenge


April challenge

 

Friday April 1st 2016 – 1. Your Biggest Dream

My biggest dream? I was wide awake standing in Miami overlooking the most beautiful city I have ever seen with my own eyes. I saw the buzzing lives of people of all ages, I saw the power of people. I stood there wondering what did I have to do to be happier? I was surrounded by people who lived similar lifestyles to me but yet it seemed we had very little in common. Was it the fact that London had no sun? That it only had trees but yet Miami had palm trees that brought this instant vibe to the landscape? Or maybe the people, London was full of buzzing people too but it was all about getting somewhere, my impression of the Miami life is that of course you should have somewhere to go but you should enjoy the journey it takes to get you there. So I promised myself I’d enjoy my journey a little better. There are places I’d really like to travel to, things I’d really like to do. I’m not changing the path I currently walk, I know where my destination is, I just want to enjoy the journey a little better. This planet we live in is not to be taken for granted, so beautiful is its every inch, I want to dedicate time to appreciating that. That is my biggest dream.

 

Saturday April 2nd 2016 – 2. What place do you consider home?

This is an interesting question. I think home has always been where I could feel safe, somewhere where I can escape things that hurt me or make me feel vulnerable. Somewhere I have made my own, and that portrays who I am on the inside. My literal home I feel belongs to my mum, I’ve always been keen to move out in order to decorate my own house and have those responsibilities for myself. But since I have always lived at home I take pride in just a room, my own space, my little think tank. My room is my hide out, my sanctuary nearly. Enclosed behind these four walls (probably more) are memories of me no one else will ever know. I change my room around regularly, redecorating and lately, since I got into a relationship (7 months ago) I have had the urge to redecorate. I have re-organised things, change the bed location, brought new items, but nothing drastic. I think it may be time to take my little home and redesign it to portray the new elements of me that has been brought to life in the last few months. Until I move out though, there is no place on earth I can escape to, I’ll always miss my whitewashed walls, the warming images and quotes that lay on them and the thick comfort of my duvet on my bed. They say there is no place like home and it is true.

 

Sunday April 3rd 2016 – 3. What are you most grateful for?

I am most grateful for a lot of things right now, it would be dishonest if I didn’t mention that from the outset. But I think I’m going to dwell on something that I know many would say and it is not because I am trying to  hit familiar grounds with you all – I’ll explain exactly why. This is from the heart. I love how in the last few years my family have been there for me, how they have been supportive and haven’t judged me but rather helped me in any ways they saw possible. I haven’t felt I was completely deserving of the love I have been shown, but they gave it nonetheless. When I say family I also mean friends, these ones who choose to stay by you and never leave. They picked me up when I was down, some of them even carried me; physically, emotionally, and financially. It has been such a hard year but thankfully I have some amazing people in my life who do not dismiss my mistakes but still do not dwell on them. I also have others in my life who do dwell on my mistakes but manage to do it in a way that it encourages me to not make them again, this is a humbling experience for me and I think if it wasn’t for those ones I’d try putting it all behind me, which is good to some degree, but a level of acceptance must happen first and I don’t think I truly accepted things. Lastly there are two main people I think deserve to be called out and that is my Mum, she is amazing, in her everything. Our relationship has always been strong but it’s also transparent now, we speak honestly and openly and I enjoy this privilege. Secondly, my boyfriend (Christino). It has been 7 months and I must admit it hasn’t been easy (we’re not perfect). He always get’s on to me for saying that, but we are not! I need him to always remember that just as much as I do. It’s not an excuse, it’s the reason why we need to try that extra bit harder always. I have high hopes for us and he is very special to me, there is a reason our paths have crossed. I’d like to just say thank you to everyone who played a part in my ‘feeling appreciated’, because no matter how strong I can claim to be, without these ones progression would have been impossible. They are truly “God-Sent”, and I love them dearly.

 

Monday April 4th 2016 – 4. The most important qualities in a friend?

My closest friend who I have known for nearly 15 years moved to Mexico in February. This was hard on us both because we saw each other a lot. She was only a 7 minute drive away! Now she is 5,454 miles away! I learned throughout the months so far that the only thing that separates us are those miles, and that is by no means enough to take away what we have. So the most important quality in a friendship needs to be love – it’s our care for each other, our sincere concern for each others happiness that keeps us so close. The time difference doesn’t affect us much, technology means I can still contact her free of charge and so I don’t feel like it’s impossible. She returns in May for a bit before travelling back for good. The test of our friendship has been done and true love and concern has proven victorious! I am so proud of the steps she has taken to make her goals come true and it motivates me to stay focused on my own goals. She will be working on her Spanish while she is there, my only wish is that when she returns we can both speak the language confidently, it has been our goal for years now and so even I have gone back to learning it! Hasta Mañana!

 

Tuesday April 5th 2016 – 5. One thing you need to stop doing

I need to stop delaying the changes that I need to make within myself. There are qualities I want to posses but I am finding it so hard to stay true to that passionate side of me that is driven to being better. I often talk myself out of things or worse, I talk myself into them. I wish I’d stop being so weak. I know what I do wrong though, I rely on my own strength. There is an amazing scripture in the bible which highlights where our strength should come from. This scripture brings me so much comfort when I feel I can not go on. 2 Corinthians 12:10 “So I take pleasure in weaknesses, in insults, in times of need, in persecutions, in difficulties, for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am powerful.” It’s the holy spirit given by God that will give us the strength that we need. The bible warns “Keep your senses, be watchful! Your adversary, the Devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking to devour someone”. That ‘someone’ is many, and so we all need to be watchful. The bible, hasn’t always governed my steps, at a young age I dismissed the teachings, leading to some detrimental outcomes. But what a mistake that was in itself, it now serves as a protection, what a privilege to have a book inspired by God. I now have the power I need to stop, I just have to believe in it; having faith that if I ask for it, it will be given.

 

Wednesday April 6th 2016 – 6. One thing you need to start doing

On a lighter note I need to start learning Spanish. This time though, demanding with real results! My friend who moved to Mexico will be strengthening her Spanish speaking and listening skills and so I need to be working on mine too. It has always been our goal and so it is imperative I make it happen this year. I have a few Spanish speaking people in my life that I can utilise and so I think it is time! Listo!

 

Thursday April 7th 2016 – 7. How are you feeling today?

Today started with no energy or motivation to get up but with an interview at 9:30am I had no choice. Before I knew it I was enroute. I think it went okay and I generally always leave interviews with a sense of accomplishment. I then got home and felt drained, that’s been a common theme for me as of late. It’s very unusual. In between some bits and bobs I had a good couple of hours rest before having lunch and preparing for my religious meeting. By 7:00pm I was out the door. Which began the best part of my day. I left feeling motivated,  encouraged and happy to say the least. It doesn’t last forever as I enter back into my routine of life in this life-sucking system, and soon I remember all my troubles.  I close my eyes with still a glimpse of hope however that maybe if I try a little harder I may actually get what my heart desires, but that’s for another journal entry! Oh and I won the brown prize on McDonald’s Monopoly. My second win since I’ve been playing this at the age of 16, the last time was headphones – way better than an extra value medium meal *sigh*. So that’s today.  To answer in short, how do I feel today?  Hopeful.

 

Friday April 8th 2016 – 8. Three things you and your best friend have in common

I’ll keep this short and sweet. My best friend (Christino) and I share these common denominations.

  • Similar life experiences
  • Creative mindsets
  • Love for God

 

Saturday April 9th 2016 – 9. Your life story in 5 sentences

  1. My mother raised me
  2. My experiences made me
  3. My challenges tamed me
  4. My blessings changed me
  5. My future is just as crazy

Not what you expected right? Well that’s all you’re getting. I doubt I can put my life story into 5 sentences even if I wanted to though. What a roller coaster!

 

Sunday April 10th 2016 – 10. A place you have never visited 

I was trying to think of one specific place I’ve always wanted to go but have never been and I couldn’t choose so I’ve picked one tourist attraction in London and one place abroad. Firstly, in London,  I would love to visit the London Eye and have champagne whilst in one of those V.I.P booths (I have convinced myself that they exist). Secondly, I would love to visit America (again) and I’d be cheeky and say I’d like to do a road trip around all of the States. That would be awesome! I’d love to write about my journeys and keep video diaries.

 

Monday April 11th 2016 – 11. How important is fame? 

I have a very unique view of famous people, I see them as normal human beings and I generally think of doing ordinary things with them like playing ps3 with Justin Bieber (unless he is #teamxbox), Bowling with Mile Cyrus,  Food shopping with Lorraine,  Grab a Pinkberry with Kristen Stewart and visit an Art gallery with Scarlett Johansson. So fame to me is not important,  I think it’s the person themselves that count. I would only want to have fame because of the financial stability – honestly everything else acquired with fame is overrated!

 

Tuesday April 12th 2016 – 12. What is a ‘perfect’ day? 

A day spent with people I love and care for – catching up,  laughing  (sometimes crying) but generally just being happy. I live for those perfect days where you sit back in the moment and think “I want to remember this forever.” And most often, you do!

 

Wednesday April 13th 2016 – 13. How do you make decisions? 

If I’m honest I’m not one to be known for making the greatest decisions in life.  But because of that, over the past few years I have been working hard to improve. So now my decisions often are slow and thoroughly considered. I take it before my best friend, Jehovah. I get a second opinion from my Mum and then follow up with more valued opinions from my human best friend (Christino). It’s now a process rather than impulse and I’ve seen great results. I used to think learning from experience was the best lesson but with age I’ve realised bible accounts and family/friends could have been great examples. I don’t need to touch fire to know it’s hot anymore.

Thursday April 14th 2016 – 14. Describe kindness 

Putting their needs before yours. When you get to the front of the line and let the person behind you go first. When you have loads of things to say that may hurt someone but choose not to say even one. Having natural affection for others you may not even know. Inviting someone to accompany you somewhere even when you think you know that the response will be – No. Knowing you’re better at something then someone else and deciding to teach them to be just as good if not better. When you remember to say hello to someone every now and again despite lately drifting apart. Forgiving someone even when it will be hard to forget. Accepting a quality in someone and helping them to be better rather than avoiding them. When you say or do something selfless and never regret it. That is kindness.

Friday April 15th 2016 – 15. 10 things you should always have

10. A bath

9. A goal for the day

8. A favorite number

7. A phone

6. A mentor

5. A hobby

4. A positive attitude

3. A savings account (even if there is £1 in there)

2. A future hope

1. A smile on your face

 

Saturday April 16th 2016 – 16. A word that you overuse 

“Awesome”.

 

Sunday April 17th 2016 – 17. A pun 

Here’s a few of my favourite puns;

“I’d tell you a chemical joke but I know I wouldn’t get a reaction.”

“I’m reading a book about anti-gravity. It’s impossible to put down.”

“I used to be a banker but I lost interest.”

“Claustrophobic people are better thinkers outside the box.”

 

Monday April 18th 2016 – 18. How would you like to be described? 

I guess I like to be considered as a friendly, approachable and generous person. I try to help people as much as possible. I also like to entertain people, make them feel at ease or at least be a familiar face for someone who may feel a little out of their comfort zone. I struggle with many good qualities,  who doesn’t,  but I would like to be known as the person with great intentions and always sees things through when it’s within her means.

 

Tuesday April 19th 2016 – 19. Your favourite song to sing

Peter Andre – Mysterious Girl. I don’t know why but the chorus of this song always comes to mind. Not ideal I know as it’s not the best song to sing but if I’m honest that’s my guilty pleasure. When I was younger I never understood the lyrics, I don’t think my mum did either. On the other hand only the Kingdom Melodies have the power to change my mood, give me hope or to make me be extremely self-reflective.  I love that about songs of worship.

 

Wednesday April 20th 2016 – 20. Would you like to know the future?

I feel like I already do. I don’t know life’s processes and so therefore can’t predetermine the unforeseen occurrences. However I have faith and hope in better for the future. I also have a clear idea about what I need to do to have a full share in that ideal future. I think that about all I should have an understanding of at this point. It is all I can manage. So the complete future is not for me but I just try to make my next step my best step until when I look back at my journey, at least for the most part, it’s a pleasant path I’ve created. Something I am working on and hopefully will accomplish.

 

Thursday April 21st 2016 – 21. How do you show people you care?

First of all, I hope that those in my life do feel cared by me. I think sometimes we over complicate the act of care. There are so many levels of care but generally the foundation is love. In many ways I try to remind people that I love them,that they matter to me. It could be a thoughtful word, deed or gesture. I think there is always room for improvement and I think the number one rule to showing you care is to identify what the individual needs in that moment and then try your hardest to fulfill that. You may not be able to fix everything but effort goes a long way.If they feel cared for you are doing something right. I think hugs are great too, you can really show you care for someone when you put your arms around them and hold them close. Something special is exchanged and it is priceless.

 

Friday April 22nd 2016 – 22. Your last important decision

I have always wanted to be married, I have always felt like I have so much love and affection to show that and that I would never be able to live knowing I didn’t give it to the right person. Marriage to me was the most wonderful bond that couldn’t be faked. It was the epitome of love. The vows, the commitment – it was something extravagant! But when I hit 22 and I saw the years fold beneath my hopes and dreams of being in a relationship that marked true love, I became scared. I genuinely feared marriage. Did I have what it took to be the wife I knew my husband would deserve? Would I be honorable before God enough to earn his third folded chord to bless my marriage? What would make someone commit forever to me? I had so many doubts. But then I met someone, it took me months to convince myself that I deserved this one and when I finally did I was still left with the decision to make. I have found a potential mate, but is marriage the path for me? Will this person be able to love me how I have always dreamed? Will they bring true happiness to my life? Will they battle doubts with me, for me and because of me? Soon I realised I will never have the answer to any questions I have written here, in fact the only moment I will actually have even a glimpse of a clue to the answers is when we say “I do”. So what drives people to marriage, to that stage, to that life journey? Hope. Hope that the answers won’t scare them even if they did find it out, hope that there is no such thing as a mistake in love. Hope that the chords we had faith in are so robust that there will never be a fear of wear and tear. What a beautiful prospect. My last important decision I made was to have hope.

 

Saturday April 23rd 2016 – 23. Something that is always easy for you

I always say please and thank you. This is something that I took for granted until I realised how many people in the world were not courteous, generous or grateful. They were not pleasant! I’ve seen ladies not feel special, not know what it felt like to be treated with the respect and value they deserved. I was once that type of young lady. But then I decided to be the gentleman, the pleasant human I wanted more people to become. My friends feel valuable and important around me, they never expect a door to hit them on the way into a venue, they never expect me to not be grateful for the things they do and they surely can now recognise respect and often return it. This doesn’t stop at friends neither, every human I meet, I try to show them the same respect and value I wish I had received. I show gratitude to men, I hold doors open for women and I take interest in kids. I find it easy to recognise ways in which I can be more pleasant and I enjoy it. On the other hand I also find it easy to drink a 500ml bottle of water in under 17 seconds. It’s an art!

 

Sunday April 24th 2016 – 24. A motto to live by

I have always loved this quote by Katherine Fulton – “We don’t want to continue thinking our way into a new way of acting, we want to act our way into a new way of thinking.”

I personally like the fact it requires effort, energy and will power. You need to be determined and focused and you have to have a drive, a passion beyond your own means. It eludes team work and consistency and encourages change and result. A transition we as humans have been striving for, for centuries.

I wrote an article based on this quote years ago. If you have time feel free to take a look. I have always wanted to give a presentation at somewhere like TED and so wrote this as a speech/presentation. It was actually a freelance job for a speaker but it wasn’t used in the end. Enjoy! This Is The Time To Act!

 

Monday April 25th 2016 – 25. Happiness Is…

Happiness for me lately has reshaped into something different. This year only the thought of attaining the following three things or states of being has contributed to my happiness but recently attaining them has helped me to wake up with more motivation and focus than ever before. Simply, Happiness is…

Stability , Companionship, Progression.

 

Tuesday April 26th 2016 – 26. Organised or messy?

I  support both – an organised mess! My ideal think space is the bare minimum, I like white walls with colourful wall art , the fewest items touching the floor and the comfiest furniture. There is no mess! However my room has to contain my pretty much “everything” except my wardrobe. Therefore organised mess is pretty acceptable. Thankfully my room is not messy, I have plenty of floor space, allocated storage space and an organised regime for everything. That’s what I call an organised mess!

 

Wednesday April 27th 2016 – 27. A recent compliment

This month a few friends and family have mentioned that they have been following this challenge and checking out my other work and that makes me feel happy and supported. The biggest compliment ever, it’s so nice to hear feedback and doesn’t make me feel like I am writing into space. Even though I quite like the fact I’m generally doing just that.

 

Thursday April 28th 2016 – 28. Where you want to be?

Back in Miami, soaking up the sun, exploring the sights and being lazy on the beach with something cool to drink. I’d go back and visit Wynwood and I’d like to get a burrito (or was it a Taco) from Bodega. With friends and family, definitely not alone.

 

Friday April 29th 2016 – 29. A happy moment

Today was the end of my first week (4 days) at my new job and the last day of the month and so the CEO gave me a little shout-out at the boardroom meeting and we got to finish early. The sun was beaming outside and I went back to East London, picked up my mum and took her shopping, picked up my Boo when he finished work from a nearby station and then dropped my mum home. We went to get oven pizza’s from Tesco, Mcdonalds Cheese Bites and Rekorderlig ciders to watch an old school western film with my mum. A simple, cheap night-in with my favourite people! I practically fell asleep but they loved it and that moment… just existing, was a happy moment.

 

Saturday April 30th 2016 – 30. Your preferred method of communication

Talking on the phone is powerful because you can hear inflection in the tone of voice, you can feel the laughing, you can sense the nervousness and you can enjoy the awkward silence. But writing has always been the ultimate method of communication for me. It is when I am able to be the most honest, the clearest channel of my thoughts and the very passion from my heart. I think that when someone writes to me and I can sense the inflation, hear the tonality, and feel the excitement – that is communication. At its, best I connect with people on a very different scale. It’s unique and private, can be revisited and can be stored. It is the extension of my fascination with words and there is nothing like a hand written letter. Those are beautiful. I still have my first ever letter. My first telephone conversation however – gone.


THE END

What an amazing challenge this has been! I really feel like it has taken its own form. It began as a challenge but became somewhat a journal, an output. A huge thank you to all who have been following from day 1. It’s my first challenge and I learnt so much about my style of writing from doing this. I would recommend this for anyone looking for something to extend their writing habits. It was hard to keep consistent and near the end I started falling behind. Although it was always on my mind and I’d answer the questions daily, I would delay on posting it. So it was a very healthy test of discipline. I also found it hard not to use the phrases; lol, haha or smh. With no emoticons I had to rely on painting more vivid pictures and being more descriptive, I think I will try to do this from now on, even when messaging. The formal style of poetry is very different to journal written work and so it was definitely challenging.

If you have enjoyed this all I ask is for you to share it with someone, a friend, a family member, your twitter, your blog, anyone, anywhere! Help me decide what to do next:

 

 

Thank You and Goodbye until the next challenge! x

– Eli Oko –

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