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?
(I start laughing before he can finish his name. He was confused of course, I know who he is).
Do you like your hair?
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.
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?
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)
Um, I like them both though. They contrast against each other really well.
You know what the term is called?
Complimentary colours, that’s what they’re called.
Black or white?
Do you believe in God?
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.
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?
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.
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?
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?
Moths. (I start laughing). It’s not a joke, I hate them so much.