The 2016 Review

On the first day of 2016, I set out to achieve a few things in the new year. As I’ve done every year since 2012, I spelt them out here. This time they were:

– Start making wristbands again
– Start writing fiction again and blogging more frequently
– Properly develop my website and move my blog there
– Get my instagram activity back up and kick off certain projects
– Write the exam for a digital marketing course I took in 2015
– And somehow, still travel. A lot.

I reported during my mid-year review how well I was doing – poorly – in the hopes that it would help me hard reset and get my year on a productive track – it didn’t.

  • I haven’t made a single wristband since 2011.
  • I wrote fewer times on my blog than I did last year
  • I managed to move my blog to olatoxic.com but I didn’t develop the rest of the site like I planned
  • My activity on Instagram is pretty much at par with what I managed last year.
  • I neither studied nor took that exam. I’ve kissed the opportunity to earn that certificate I’ll probably never need goodbye.
  • I managed to travel a lot, but not much to the places I hoped – new places.

2016 was beautiful to me. I see people talk about how rough it was for them and talk about how it should come and be going but while I feel bad for them, I’m content with everything this year brought my way.

Of course, having set goals and failing to achieve the majority of them is mildly depressing… however, I’m glad that, erratic human being that I am, I managed to achieve a few other things that I didn’t set out to at the beginning of the year:

Most notably, I painted the mural below, my first ever, and somehow beat the deadline I spontaneously set for myself to do it. I’d dreamed of doing something along the lines after seeing the tons of dope large-format work international and local artists were putting out. And with some ass kicking from friends, I finally made some progress with it.

Another really notable thing I managed to do this year was to conceptualize, shoot and edit a (really) short film I titled Diversity. This came about as the culmination of everything I’d learnt on a visual diplomacy course I took in May.

I was also able to kick off the #30DaysPurposeful project. Every year, throughout January, I host folk in a guest blogging series (just like this one) where we share our hopes, aspirations and dreams for the year. However, I’d never figured out how to help these people (and myself) actually achieve the things they hoped to. Sometime during the 2016 iteration, I finally figured it out – we would host everyone again for a mid-year review session where we all get a chance to review our progress and reconfigure if necessary. That worked out great, I believe, as you’ve seen and read from those who went on to review how 2016 turned out for them here on stories.ng

At work, I managed to put out two issues of Crossroads magazine within a time frame in which ideally, I should have put out three. But that’s something that my predecessor never managed to do, so I’m just going to bask in the euphoria of having done such a good job on those two issues (if I do say so myself) and not beat myself up too much over unavoidable circumstances.

My finances are in better shape that they’ve ever been in my entire life. Truth is, sometimes, I take a closer look and feel I could have done so much better. But then I step back and remember that I moved to a different city last year and had to set up a new apartment. Also, I took on new responsibilities and I’ve been blessed enough to be in a position to give loans and assist financially in ways I couldn’t before. I’m not going to wish I’d said no to friends and family when I had the privilege to say yes. So I’m grateful for that.

All in all, I’ve chosen to not be too hard on myself for how 2016 turned out. Yeah, I made plans I didn’t eventually actualize, but the year still somehow managed to be one of several firsts and for that I’m terribly grateful. I’ll just make a better attempt at making 2017 a more fulfilling one.

Join us as we try to make 2017 more productive by spelling out the things we hope to achieve.

30dayshopeful-17


XXXII

Two years ago, to mark my 30th birthday, I embarked on the biggest art project I’ve ever managed till date.  You can still see it at olatoxic.com (for a short while)

img_2920

Following that was this period of depressing, abject nothingness. Sure there were tiny moments of artivity from time to time, but nothing really worth mentioning. A small blip showed up on the radar in May this year when the last edition of Crossroads magazine was released. Crossroads is the publication I’m charged with producing quarterly by my employers. While I was (still am) very proud of the work I did on that issue, it wasn’t my project.

It wasn’t an olatoxic

You see, a major issue I have with creating and putting out my art is that majority of the time, I can’t decide in what medium I should be working. At any given time, there’s a million ideas swirling around my head, each trying to be the one to pop out and find fulfillment. Due to this, I’m too often in a perpetual state of indecision on what to do. In the rare moment that I might pick up a pencil, or a pressure tablet, or a laptop, it’s that overwhelming sense of unsureness that gives me pause and causes me to yield nothing.

Somehow. Somehow… I’ve finally gotten my act together and done something. Jux a lirru something. A little big something.

This little something is big for several reasons. Because I procrastinated on starting it for so long. Because it took the separate but much appreciated motivation of Atim (aka Afrolems) and Captain Quest to get me off my butt and do something. Because it caused me to work in a medium I’ve always been uncomfortable working in. Because it’s quite literally big.

I painted a wall mural.

You might not understand how big a deal this is, so here, some context… I hate paint. I’ve always wanted to be an artist, but somehow, every time I found I had to work with paint, I hated the experience. So I embraced digital arts, and sculpture, and word-smithing and several other media, but always ran from paint. Then I stumbled on the art of mural painting on Instagram and I was mind-blown. Then my course mate from uni, Osa seven leaves the cocoon of paid employment to become a full-time graffiti artist… becoming an almost instant success at it and suddenly, my mind is seeing how I can extend my artistry to this medium. Then I move to this new apartment and all the walls are white. They’re all one long blank canvas just begging for scrawls and stains and strokes and… paint.

Yeah, paint again. Ugh.

I didn’t just hate paint, in particular, I hated the arduous task of applying paint to any surface with a brush. The mixing, the back and forth between palette and canvas. The messiness. UGH!

But then I came up with a compromise. These huge ass murals I constantly devour on my IG feed are often applied with just spray cans and a wide variety of spray caps. I also stumbled upon the magic that is acrylic markers. I’d use those instead. Except none of these can be found in our beloved Naija so yeah I’d have to order them online. However…

Recession. And as you know, time is money.

Once I figured I didn’t have enough of either to get quality spray paint, spray caps and acrylic markers in time to meet the deadline I’d set for myself to embark on this new journey, I decided “Screw it!” and went and bought brushes and wall paint and here we are.

I turn 32 today and the thing that brings me the most joy in celebrating another year of existence on this insane planet is the fulfillment that comes with (nearly) finishing my first mural in my own living room.

And there’ll be more. Many more.

czes2cgw8aacue9

The sketch

czes7ocwqaaxwjj

The gear

czes_jjxgaacwdt

Process

img_2883img_2900img_2923img_2928img_2933

20161207_070656

The (almost) end result

 

Two more murals will go up shortly. I’ll be sure to update here as those come along.

Now let me go find some cake.

A Dance ‘pon the TL

The following exchange began very randomly and continued surreptitiously.

The above exchange is a work of collaborative fiction and does not refer to any occurrences in reality, past or present. This may possibly occur in the future, in which case we make no claims of clairvoyance.

These Are The Ways

I’ll kiss you in front of your parents while you’re pregnant with our first child. I’ll remind them of the day I met them and how terrified they were of the idea of me and how far we’ve all come from then.

I won’t tattoo your name on my skin, but I’ll ink the date we first meet over one of my ribs. The one you replaced that day.

I’ll paint you a picture. Not a picture of you, or of us. I’ll paint you a picture of your future. The one with me in it.

I couldn’t possibly sell you a dream. But I’ll embody the faceless person you’ve dreamed would sweep you off your feet so many times. Tell me your dreams.

I’ll write you a song. I’ll write a song only you would ever hear. I’ll write you a song of you. I’ll write you into a song.

When you cry, I won’t make you smile. That’s not my job. I won’t cry with you either. I’m no sissy. When you cry, I’ll understand. If I don’t understand, I’ll help you understand why I can’t. Then I’ll kiss away your tears.

You’re going to get mad at me. A lot. I’ll apologise every time I’m wrong. And sometimes when I’m not. And once in a while when you are. I’ll still let you know you’re wrong though. Just not then. Because world peace is important.

I’ll cook. With you. For you. For our kids. I’ll do dishes. I’ll dice vegetables. I’ll clean up. I’ll turn the amala while you make the soup and grind the beans after you’ve scrubbed off the skin.

I’ll take you on dinner dates. Wine and dine you. Then I’ll silently laugh at you from the other side of the door while your tummy runs because you ordered that lobster we both knew would run your tummy.

You’ll take me on dinner dates. And I’ll let you. Because you want to. And because I like it when you do. Because you like balance. And so do I. And because every now and then, only rarely, I’ll be broke.

I’ll call you sexy. Because you are. Even when you think I’m lying (I won’t be), I still will. Even when I’m mad with you, I’ll call you sexy. I won’t call you sexy when you’re mad with me though. World peace is still important.

You’ll look at me from across the crowded room and I’ll get the message. I’m not telepathic but I get you. Even when I wish I don’t.

I’ll swallow my pride. I’m (a)n adult male hu(man), and that means I’ve got an ego. It’s not big or strong or hard, but I’ve got it. For you though, I’ll put it aside… as much as possible.

I won’t look through your phone.

I’ll let you look through mine, if you care that much. It’s no big deal.

I’ll never lie to you.

I won’t tell you you look fat when you ask if you do. Even if you believe you do and you believe I think you do. That won’t be me lying to you (see above). That’ll be me dodging an obvious trap. Because I’m wise (not a liar).

I’ll break the head of any man who insults you. Except when I can’t or when you started it or when it’s avoidable… Which is every time. Okay, I won’t be breaking anyone’s head on your behalf so don’t pick any fights. That’s not how to love you.

I’ll do everything within my power to make sure you come too. Every time. At the very least, it’ll always be worth your while.

We’ll cuddle.

We’ll argue and bicker and fight sometimes. And when we do, it’ll be your fault. But I’ll never tell you it is. That won’t be me lying, it’ll be me not telling you the truth (at that moment). World peace, remember?

Let me be honest, I won’t be honest with you aaaaaaaaallllll the time. I’ll be entirely honest most of the time and every now and again, I’ll be partially honest. Never dishonest. When will I not be entirely honest? When you don’t want me to. Remember, I get you.

There’s 22 ways to loving you
And I will show them all to you

Bemyoda

Watched Bemyoda perform Forever last night and as he sang those lyrics, the idea for this piece hit me smack dab in the face.

ps I created the cover illustration 😁😁

bemyoda_forever_art

The Bleed

I faltered, I don’t know how
This was not the plan
I choked on the plot
A hacking cough assaulted me
Rattled through my rib-cage
Flecks of pain travelled from my lungs
Mottled my cupped hand
I bled

Ink
Bloody ink
Dried up and flew from me
But missed the sheets

I wrote
I scribbled
I dictated
I swyped
I hit send
But the pages of my drafts
Remained those
Drafts
Never published…

Until now

blood-ink

Day 1: olatoxic

*strolls unto stage and sits on stool, staring into the distance for a few moments before tapping the mic*

Testing, testing… One, two, three…

It’s been a hard couple of days. You know those days where you make plans you consider fool-proof… Until you see them collapse like a pack of cards.

Oh well, we dust ourselves and move on.

I had grand plans for how this series would start – with a several-day-countdown and an intro – before I would graciously tick off a list of things I had bravely accomplished before the middle of the year…

Alas.

Here I sit, doubled over, upon this porcelain throne forcing out dollop after dollop of… Yeah, you get the picture. Oh well, might as well dive into it now. Smelly and yamayama as it might be.

I’ve been dodging going back to read my #30DaysOfHope post and recall the things I expressly expressed that I’d do this year. But man can no longer dodge it as the dreaded July has now arrived and the music must surely be faced.

Toxic has achieved nothing. Not one single thing from the list I wrote at the beginning of the year. Not even a first step. At least, not yet. I decided I’d keep it short and real simple…
– Start making wristbands again
– Start writing fiction again and blogging more frequently
– Properly develop my website and move this blog there
– Get my instagram activity back up and kick off certain projects
– Finally write the exam for a digital marketing course I took last year
– And somehow, still travel. A lot.

😂😂😂😂

If I don’t laugh now, I might start crying.

Let’s take these one by one and see just how poorly I’m doing. (Don’t worry, I’ve already judged myself).

– I haven’t made a single wristband. I’m still wearing the tattered one below every chance I get, convincing myself it has a cool “vintage” look. (Shush. It does, I’m just trying to ginger myself here 😑).

IMAG0011

A ‘vintage’ olatoxic wristband

– I haven’t written a single story in *counting fingers* exactly a year and a half. I don’t want to believe my oil has dried up in that regard. I just can’t seem to put a whole story together in my head, much less on paper or screen. I’ve already tossed the book project idea out of the window. Not going to happen anytime soon at this rate. I’ve never been able to write medium-length stories. Only shorts. But now, even those… Sigh.

Worse still, I haven’t even been able to write anything else. Thought pieces, poetry, rants, reviews, journal entries… even, ideas. They frequently flutter away before I’m able to trap them on paper or behind a screen.

Well, I’ll not give up so easily. In 2014, I started a ‘project’ where I tried to put up a post every day of October. I think I managed to do 20 days. I think I’ll get back on that. This time though, I’ll try and stock up on material leading up to that.

– As for olatoxic.com, that’s going to take a ton of pedal-to-the-metal grit and hard work that I’m not sure I have in me right now. If anything though, that’s something that absolutely must be done before #30DaysOfHope next year.

– Finally, something positive. I’ve somehow managed to get my activity back up. Though I’m still far from any form of regularity. Also, haven’t quite figured out how to (re)package the ideas I’ve been toying with for a while now. All in due time, I guess.

– From a small high to a big low. I procrastinated so bad that I never took that exam. I hate studying so much that I never did, and so never took the exam. The deadline came and went and I kissed that opportunity for a certificate I hope I never need goodbye.

– Finally, the only thing here which really gives me a cause to smile. I’ve been traveling. A lot! The target was three new countries and three new Nigerian cities/states. In February, I hit Senegal. In March, Kano and then Ghana, which doesn’t really count cos I’ve been to Accra before. It should though, cos we (Yellow Mitsubishi) also did Kokrobite, Elmina and Kakum. But no, Ghana doesn’t count. An neither do Benin republic or Togo, seeing as we went by road through them. But no, I didn’t visit those yet so they don’t count *sniff*. In April, I attended a training in Vienna, Austria. That definitely counts, though Germany doesn’t. Because odeenari layover. Mscheew.

IMG_4547

Because Viennese blue skies and centuries-old, spell-binding sculptures and architecture.

So I need to visit one more new country and two new Nigerian states to achieve my target. Looking good. The only sad thing about all this is how I’d been hoping to begin properly documenting these experiencing by doing some travel-blogging, but nah, such lazy. Sigh.

Oh well, I’ve got another six months to try to get all these done. I really needed this mid-year review to hard reset and force myself to look back and see that I’ve only been given excuses to why I haven’t gotten more done. I can honestly say I have no valid excuses and I sure plan to do better.

Hopefully, these plans won’t crumble again like a house of cards.

Ladies, gentlemen, welcome to 30 Days PurposefulTomorrow, we play catch up with Coco and Lo.

Day 1: OlaToxic

Thank you for the journey, 2015.

It’s brought me a mighty long way. It was unplanned and took me unawares, but it didn’t meet me unprepared. I’m still adjusting into the new fit. Still settling into the road. Still eager to see where it takes me.

Read the rest of my 2015 review here.


Hello 2016

It’s the first day of the fourth edition of the 30 Days of Hope project and this time, I’m going first.

I’ve never gone first.

And this is the first indication of something I plan to do differently this year and going forward – Go first more often. Just go. No more dilly dallying, no more foot-dragging, no more churning things over endlessly in my head.

Last year, there were no projects completed. There were no projects started even.

This year, several things will happen:

I’ll begin making and selling wrist bands again. Maybe make a proper, structured business out of it. I dunno. But even if it’s just as a small side hustle, is about time to get back to doing this thing that I really loved.

I’ll get my writing back up. Not like I have a choice. Writing and editing are a big part of the new job description. But that isn’t what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about fiction. There are so many stories swirling in the head that need to be told. Time to begin that book project.

olatoxic.com is going to be fully developed and this blog moved over there.

I’m going to get cracking on those instagram projects. All this professional social media managing experience and training kennot weist. As an extension, that digital marketing exam needs to be taken and aced. No more last minute rushes.

Love will happen again, somehow.

Project 40 before 40 begins. @son1ao inspired me a big deal when she declared she’d attained her goal of visiting 30 countries before she turned 30 someone last year. E pain me die say I don already turn 30 by that time. But oh well, life serves you lemons, you make lemonade right? I hope to have conquered 20 countries and 20 Nigerian states by the time I turn 40. Lay-overs and pass-throughs do not count.

My progress thus far?
Countries –
Ghana
USA
The UAE

Nigerian states –
Lagos
Abuja
Ogun
Oyo
Ondo
Osun
Ekiti
Kaduna
Katsina
Enugu

That’s 13 over 40. Let’s see how many more we can notch up this year. The goal is 3 new countries and 3 new states.

No pressure, man. No pressure.