10 things for 10 years

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Oh hey! it’s a new decade! As one looks forward we also look back, not to remain in the past but to appreciate and learn, hindsight is 2020 😀

I’m still writing

This blog is 10 years old, yes, my first posts documented something of my life on a Masters of design course and discovering the MBTI which I no longer hold on to as I did then.

I’ve read a few things I wrote over the years and I could pat myself on the back for some, others make me grateful for the opportunity to mature. I’m still very much about design but priorities have changed. Who I am is way more important than what I do, that’s what will reflect in my writing now.

Design is my thing but there’s more

I have been privileged to practice design in the digital sector for 10 years. I’ve been a Service Designer, UX consultant, Illustrator, UX designer, architect, researcher etc then I realized that titles aren’t it, I need to focus on my skill set and how it could be applied in many other areas. So I decided to take a break, focus on my health and apply my skills to an area of passion, caring for other people – person to person.

I’ve gone from wanting to save the world with design to focusing on my neighbourhood – one person at a time. This is where I am finding the greatest needs and fulfilment.

My permanent home is now UK

It feels like 2 years ago when I picked up my red suitcase and got on a British Airways flight straight to London. 10 years gone and there is a relief to no longer being subject to immigration control. I did not know at the time that this would be where I call home but God had plans.

My Family has changed

Papa died and it rocked my world. There is nothing to prepare you for such, that was my first heartbreak and it broke my body too and my mums. Things will never be the same again.

On the upside, I now have 6 nieces and 1 nephew, so awesome, I love them all. I got a new family! with 5 nephews and 2 nieces (in-law) and they all love me, hee hee.

My Body has changed

I used to think I had a masculine figure growing up, sometimes I was glad, sometimes I wasn’t, the main thing was, I didn’t want to be skinny. When the big C came along my weight plummeted to 43kg or so, shocking. When I got on the mend, I appreciated my womanly figure more which is strange for someone who has 1 and a half boob and for the first time in history I’m at a healthy 60.

Marriage actually happened

Can you imagine, I wrote the husband in his notebook at 17 –

“…you have a good heart and someday you will meet a wonderful woman and you would make a wonderful husband lol, sometimes I say it is a pity we are mates”

Such dolts! We found each other again 10 years after leaving university and my stomach just buzzes thinking of what we share. Still, every day I wake up and cannot believe it is my reality, such an awesome out-of-nowhere thang.

Relationships evolve, without me.

I’m grateful for the many who have come alongside me over the years but it continues to be a sore point for me after learning about myself and much prayer. I think my main struggle is with my expectations and learning to let go of them. 10 years later I still don’t feel closer to most people, how the heck did I get married, I didn’t even date, haha, he is special indeed. I look forward to breakthroughs in the next ten.

I’m not rich but I’ve never been broke

Learning how to manage money living in London is no small feat. After the year of grace as a student I was left to fend for myself so it was about survival. I’m grateful that God provided for me whenever I needed it.  But I did some outrageous things in trying to save money like, taking a bus for an hour then walking 20mins from the station home to avoid tube fares and leaving a man behind so I could jump on the train home before peak time. ah.

Now I’m able to provide for others and if I wanted to stop work for 2 years, I can actually do it and to be honest, I deserve that break.

Got to travel the world

While I saved money, travel was my biggest pleasure. I took my passport and went through all the stress of applying for visas. The US even rejected me twice but here I am, got to visit 10+ states and visited 10+ countries. I do love travelling in the USA, Turkey was a surprise, Italy is a fave. Learned I’m no good at solo trips and had the blast of my life in a small town in Florida.

My belief and trust in God is true

When I got on the plane to the UK with that red suitcase, I was super glad I was heading to what I thought was a secular country, I was looking forward to not going to church. But God, in infinite humour, decided to make sure that the family that would pick me up from the airport would invite me to a bible study that I couldn’t say no to.

10 years later, I’ve been through the mill, God has been gracious and patient with me, breaking down the hardness of my heart, gifting me with a Spirit that counsels, comforts and reminds me of God’s great love. I’ve seen it and can testify, Jesus is Saviour and King indeed. There’s really nowhere else to go. If this God isn’t the truth, nothing else is.

G   R  A  T  E  F  U  L  !

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♥♥ Welcome! 2020 ♥♥

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Losing my hair was the fun part

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It was in October I first felt it, lying in bed leisurely, the promos and ads work I guess. No panic though because the last time I found one it was a cyst, phew almost scared me. October was exactly 6 months since I called my parents and before I’d speak to my father, tears were streaming down my face and I didn’t know why.

My father died in June and was buried in the front garden of our house in Uneme-Erhunu. I flew to London shortly after and I was restless, couldn’t bear to be alone so I got on an aeroplane to the US. After celebrating my thirtieth birthday and visiting a hair supply store (as they call it), I got on a plane to London in September armed with 8 different wigs and a mannequin head thrown in, I was ready for new beginnings as if it would be that simple. In December, I made my way back to Nigeria. Anxiety had dealt with me but there were bright spots, for example, I got to see my friend get married in Lagos. With the new year in sight, I knew it was time to cut my hair again, so when the doctors told me I’d need neoadjuvant chemotherapy two months later, I couldn’t believe I had prepared for this.

The marathon took off, I’d come to quickly learn that there was more to Chemo than a glistening scalp…..yet I was glad I didn’t have to wear the Aladdin style wig that the cancer wig shop gave me, they need to stock wigs for black women (another post, sigh)…..all my hair, my teeth, my mouth, the fatigue, the sick feeling…oh my days. I became neutropenic one time which marked my lowest point, I was in hospital for 5 days, most mornings I’d wake up with blood in my mouth, on my pillow, I could not eat. I thought if this can happen on earth, I don’t want to imagine hell because this feels like the thick of it. I was wrestling.

I wrestled with my faith. I wrestled with anxiety, life, dying, God, the realness of it all.

But God chose to use this period to heal me, from anxiety, bitterness and unforgiveness, I had nothing left to hold on to. God chose this period to teach me about trusting the only eternal one who created humans and the universe out of a love so deep that God became human to redeem all of creation.

The marathon continues and I’m glad I’ve had more time since then and I do pray for more time as frightening as the statistics are. I want to encourage anyone going through tough things and even those who might have everything going well, yet you feel an emptiness inside… don’t dwell on the temporary, use the time to build for eternal, think about love, how best to love your neighbour. You are certainly not alone, Jesus, King of Kings is alongside you every single moment.

Tough times don’t last, Loved people do.

Romans 8:31-39

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Letter to a Young Lady

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My birthday was celebrated last month with the most sumptuous chocolate cake and man, then a trip to one of the loveliest parts of the country, I’m grateful. In the midst of the mooing cows and calm of the biggest natural lake I began to think about 10 years ago when I moved to another country to start a life – one I didn’t have much plans for. But I’ve learned loads along the way and would like to say a few things to those just embarking on that journey.

A letter to myself 18-23

Hey girl!

How are you, did you know you are all that and more…you really are, you have wisdom beyond your years but don’t drink your own kool-aid :). These are a few things you will find useful for life now and ahead

  • Give yourself to prayer, about every single thing, your community, your family, your schooling, your future…everything
  • I know you are are still questioning what is means to be Christian, don’t stop…an answer will come
  • Pray for Godly women to come into your life who can guide you around what it means to be a woman today. I’m sorry you didn’t get such guidance growing up, it’s not too late and you sorely need it.
  • Pray for healing and forgive, don’t let bitterness thrive in your heart
  • Ask God to teach you practically what it means to love, remove your eyes from yourself, seek community and practice love there.
  • Again, you are searching for an identity that makes sense, the tools are ok (MBTI etc) but don’t get lost in them, your identity should be grounded in Christ.
  • Learn about God’s great design for marriage and family. Savour it.
  • I know you aren’t sure about marriage and family right now, and your feelings haven’t even been turned on but pray for wisdom and discernment to choose right. ( Desire to be with a man that does God’s will, every other thing can be learned over time – Proverbs 24:1)
  • Learn about your female body, your hormones, your cycle, it’s fascinating
  • Read good Christian books like Hughes’ Disciplines of a Godly woman, Keller’s Meaning of Marriage. Listen to Podcasts.
  • Immerse yourself in God’s words, be cautious about what you consume in terms of advice, lots of toxic things on google
  • Take care of your health, eat right/exercise
  • Travel if you can, get some skill in cooking, decorating, diying etc
  • Let go, you can’t force someone to love you in the right way, also love is not “I’ll do for you what you’ve done for me”
  • Your curiosity is one of your strong points, but it must have boundaries
  • Giving in to someones/your sexual needs/demands will only leave you worse of, racked with guilt and they are still likely to find someone else. God really does want to save you and your future spouse the heartache of intimacy outside true commitment. Sexual expression outside of a real life commitment has no gain.
  • Learn contentment in Christ
  • Don’t take up any old job, pick up something where you can learn the ropes and get to try a wide number of things.

No matter what you will be fine because you have a Father who never sleeps nor slumbers, One who loves you fiercely and has gone to the depths of death to bring you home.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His and only Son, so that everyone who trusts in Him will not die but will have an eternal life”

John 3:16

I love you.

How to become Responsible.

User Experience is about responsibility, I once wrote an article that UX is Responsible design.

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Here is one of my current favorite person’s take on responsibility. Jacques Ellul writes-

In a society such as ours, it is almost impossible for a person to be responsible. A simple example: a dam has been built somewhere, and it bursts. Who is responsible for that? Geologists worked out. They examined the terrain. Engineers drew up the construction plans. Workmen constructed it. And the politicians decided that the dam had to be in that spot. Who is responsible? No one. There is never anyone responsible. Anywhere. In the whole of our technological society the work is so fragmented and broken up into small pieces that no one is responsible. But no one is free either. Everyone has his own, specific task. And that’s all he has to do.

Just consider, for example, that atrocious excuse… It was one of the most horrible things I have ever heard. The director of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp was asked at the Nuremburg trials, “But didn’t you find it horrible? All those corpses?” He replied, “What could I do? I couldn’t process all those corpses. The capacity of the ovens was too small. It caused me many problems. I had no time to think about these people. I was too busy with the technical problem of my ovens.” That is the classic example of an irresponsible person. He carries out his technical task and isn’t interested in anything else.

Become interested in people today.

Out of Touch

In view of Wanna Cry, which is a wake up call on the dangers of poor security systems and an over-reliance on Digital systems. I’m posting this dream I had last year and originally posted on Medium, Dec 11 2016. Humanity. We still have a real chance of designing around and for a future where such doesn’t cripple us. Let’s look at ourselves through human not digital lens and lead with love for the next person and nature.

———wannacry

It was one of those nights where I was finally home from the boringest party and no longer had functioning brain cells. Inane web browsing, what a gift. Suddenly, I tried to swipe the screen on my phone and nothing happened. I tried again, my thumb going frantic now, fingers tapping, nothing. Ok, this phone! I restarted it but I still could not get any action. The glowing light pissed me off the more, so I switched it off and went to bed, tomorrow is another day.

On my way to work the next day I decided to stop at the phone repair store, but to my surprise there was a large crowd. This is the weirdest thing, I thought, did I really have so much Pinot Noir. What’s happening?, I asked the nearest person. Phone repair, she said, screens not working, she continued. OK, wait a minute, this is crazy, I better get to work before I’m late. Went to grab myself a cappuccino, another surprise, the contactless isn’t working. Since when Starbucks, since when, as I tried to remember my pincode.

What a morning, I’m no longer going to Sallys parties, such weirdness. I got to work, and again, I see a huge crowd stood outside and in the lobby. It’s too cold to just be standing about, fire drill or what. I went for the friendliest looking face. Please what’s happening?We can’t get into the building right now, as all the touch screens are not working. My phone isn’t working either.

Bloody hell, I found a piece of concrete and sat nursing my coffee, silently praying the day would just come to an end.

Many hours later I am at home, my TV switched on for the first time in the year. News reports said a virus had been released which shut down all touch screens around the world, there were video clips of the chaos and destruction from Singapore to Sokoto.

I sighed and returned to my book, this is it, this is finally it

Designer, Design Thyself

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This was a completely different post when I started writing a week ago. I wanted to critique the Design and Exclusion conference that I attended. Talking about inclusion, exclusion, diversity etc is tough because the attempt to include every single point of view in every single space is futile. However a discussion was started which should be commended. Even though I felt excluded in some areas of the conversation, I trust that design doesn’t give up, (I discovered someone also!), so I look forward to a better conference next time.

As the ideas and words for the critique percolated in my head, I came across Ayse Birsel’s book, Design the Life You Love and it was exactly what I’d been thinking, but now on an individual level. We have with us a powerful tool, design, that can bring about positive change even in our own lives and that’s what this book seeks to help us to do.

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Basically, while we attempt to design the world around us, we should not neglect ourselves and our lives. Being able to stop and assess what is, ‘deconstruction’, as Ayse calls it, is the important first phase of the process. This also fits well with the Appraisal theory and to an extent, mindfulness, but it also provides the tools to help in the ‘reconstruction’ process.

“Deconstructing and breaking current reality is necessary to enable us to shift our perspective to see the same things differently in order to reconstruct a new reality that is more than the sum of it’s parts “

I got my copy a few days ago, and I’m excited about going over it. I need it so much in my life right now as I deal with so many moving parts, and I don’t want to lose the ability to see myself in relation with others (partly why I decided not to go ahead with the critique, I needed to take care of the plank in my own eyes).

This is not just for professional designers, it’s for anyone ready to take a step to becoming a better person and having a life where you love and love.

user you

Enjoy.

 

Unexpected Gifts from Grief

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2016. When they told me S’s dad had been diagnosed with abdominal cancer, I wept. He was even younger than my dad, but the same thing will take them away from their loved ones this year. 2016. Continue reading