Here’s hope for ugly people

Beauty was not simply something to behold;
it was something one could do.
-Toni Morrison

People like the platitude that goes ‘Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder’ however there are beauties and uglies that lie in the eyes of ALL beholders. It is all about genetics; bone structure, cultural elements and mechanical incidents. I still remember when Agbani Darego won Miss World for Nigeria, finally the world recognised we were a beautiful people!

My worldview begins with God creating the world and sin corrupting creation. In light of this, it makes a lot of sense, when I consider that sin actually makes us ugly, both inside and outside. God’s love and grace heals both in His time. 
God saves the spirit which is twisted, ugly, and tending to death. Even though God will allow this corrupted body to die, allowing us to be raised in new bodies, God also saves the corrupted body (temporarily), through miraculous healings and the intelligence of doctors to correct some of these conditions.
Even if you don’t share my worldview, it is easy to see that the people we would choose as being ugly (be honest!) or not very pretty, perhaps plain, would have one deformity or the other. These deformities are usually passed down by genetic accident, e.g I inherited my dad’s jaw deformity but my sisters didn’t. Some are caused by mechanical injury, blows, fire, car accidents e.t.c.
Understanding all of this, makes me see ugliness/beauty in a new light. None of us chose our faces or bodies when we were born. Most of us did not choose to be in accidents that deform us neither to be born into cultures that do so. Therefore it begs us to be kind to one another. It certainly would not get rid of the ugliness but it will stop you from being ugly. God is the ultimate makeup artist so only God can turn ugly into beautiful and God does so through love & grace demonstrated through Jesus Christ.

It’s not about looking beyond the ugliness, which you can’t but welcoming it knowing that in the end, age and time will deal with us all accordingly, trust God.

Have you eaten?

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Facetimed my momma this morning and her words reminded me of this post I wrote in 2017. It is love in 3 words.

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Gring gring, Gring gring

Voice groggy as usual

“Hello mummy, good morning”

“How are you today”

“I’m fine”

“Have you eaten?”

Looks at the time, 10:30

“It’s almost 12”

“No, it’s just to 11, I’m going to the kitchen now”

“ok, yes, eat something o, don’t leave it too late, wanted to hear your voice, talk later, bye”

“thank you, bye”

Typical conversation with my mum these critical days. I admit that the me of a year ago would not have appreciated this as much as I do now, many Nigerians can relate.

Have you eaten?

There’s so much love packed into that question so when it hit me some months ago, I almost beat myself for not realising sooner. No, no I don’t expect this question from everyone, in fact it doesn’t occur to some people (like me) to ask this. I’m typically more concerned with someones non-physical state, and unfortunately over the years I expected everyone who loved me to be as concerned with this aspect. Thankfully I’ve been learning how to appreciate everyone’s unique gift.

That said, we were created as multidimensional beings, with a physical nature, a spiritual and moral (metaphysical) nature. It’s nice to know that while one person cannot meet all our needs in those dimensions, God who created us, can! The Bible is not just concerned with the spiritual, it mentions actual physical food over 300 times but it starts off with God providing food for all.

Genesis 1:29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.

Some other interesting things to note is how God provided manna and quail for the Israelites, Angel’s food it says! straight from heaven, amazing.

Exodus 16:4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Look, I’m going to rain down food from heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day

The Israelites called the food manna. It was white like coriander seed, and it tasted like honey wafers.

 

Honey wafers! gimme!

Psalm 78:25 Man did eat angels’ food: he sent them meat to the full.

 

Also, God asked an angel to cook food for Elijah when the man was on the verge of depression and wanted God to take his life, sometimes not therapy, sometimes food and sleep!

I Kings 19:1–9 Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree. But as he was sleeping, an angel touched him and told him, “Get up and eat!” He looked around and there beside his head was some bread baked on hot stones and a jar of water! So he ate and drank and lay down again.

 

And then Jesus, feeding thousands with bread and fish and also making breakfast for this disciples, one lovely morning after his resurrection, no he wasn’t just a spirit he had an actual body, I mean if spirit cook food for you, you go chop?

John 21 When they got there, they found breakfast waiting for them — fish cooking over a charcoal fire, and some bread. “Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught,” Jesus said. So Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore. There were 153 large fish, and yet the net hadn’t torn.

“Now come and have some breakfast!” Jesus said.

 

It’s not just to human beings, God provides food for all creatures. It’s such a lovely lovely thing, and I’m super glad for all those who provide food, from the farmers to the people who give. I have two friends I can name who give me food! I should have married you guys hehe.

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I just realized in reflection on this in 2020 that God in infinite mercy gave me a man who gives me food…I just can’t even….

And yes, I’m going to eat right now! ^_^

The Hope

I’m thinking,

Why are we afraid?

What is it you fear, mother?

Why am I afraid?

Isn’t it eternity that matters?

Everyone destined to vacate this home

Why are we afraid?

If we have a forever with Father, what can be better?

If Father has always kept His promise, won’t He keep this?

Why are you afraid?

Soul, Hope in your Lord.

 

Psalm 42:11

2 Peter 1:1-11

 

Holding the MBTI loosely

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A popular topic on my blog is the MBTI, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which tries to explain certain aspects of our personality. I saw a conversation which mentioned it was ‘Old school’ funny.

When I learned about and took the MBTI in 2010 while at university, it was like wow, here was a description that fit me to the T. 90% of the time when I take the test, I report INFJ. It explained some of the inner workings of my mind, how I took in and processed information. It explained the discomfort I felt towing the line between your typical introvert and extraverted types – I wanted to be alone with my thoughts but still sought out people.  My interests and likes being very broad and seemingly never being able to fit in with a particular group, I was always looking for my ‘tribe’.

The MBTI instrument is good, but it is not the good. I would apply this is to any so called personality type tests. They do not have the final say on who we are, on who we shape ourselves to be everyday. This is because there are two important things that matter in our world that the MBTI cannot account for.

1. Our motivations, our will

2. Subsequent behavior and how we relate to the world around us ( esp the living things)

This was when I realized that we needed something truly transformative not merely descriptive. We can’t rely on the descriptions because we change, because they can be self fulfilling, this must be the way I am, so what? what does it mean for the next person?, does it mean you cannot change if there is a negative element?’

This is why I find the truth of God’s word important to hold strongly on to.

  1. We are all made equal, have the same worth and value regardless of what we do or not do. (Genesis 1:26-30)
  2. Our will and motivations are prone to corruption so we need a new source to fuel it (Psalm 51:5, Romans 3:23)
  3. Love is the only viable source for our will and motivations – Love for God and our neighbours. (Matthew 22:36-40)
  4. God has made a way so we can have a new spirit and a new heart through Jesus manifesting in the flesh (Ezekiel 36:26, John 3:5)
  5. These will lead us to act in ways that seek the good for people and give God the glory deserved. (Romans 12)

Beautiful!

I’ve recently done a refresher on what the MBTI type dynamics are and yes, INFJ still holds true in many ways but what is most important is that I can praise the Lord for making me who I am, and that I can love others through the unique way God has made me! Amen!

 

To the One who sits…

It’s a very tough time for me, my family and in praying for encouragement, I got a notification in Medium about a post I had written in 2016. It was a vision/dream – can’t remember, that I had at the time of how I was feeling. It was a very vivid picture and Since 2016, this is the first time I have felt like myself in that image. So the encouragement God led me to write about has come in handy for today! God’s word is always relevant.

This is the post, and I hope someone finds strength today in the timeless words of God.

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For the first time in my life, I can see the bottom of my heart. I feel the depth, hollowed out like a secret place inside a cave. Down there I see two seats, there’s only space for two seats.

I see myself sat, in the dark – the bottom of the heart is a very dark place.
Who is supposed to sit here with me?, I ask myself. I look around and summon, my mother, Mum? Mum?…my siblings, “we are sitting too”, they reply. My friends, “We don’t know how to get there” the lover, “I’m tired of looking”

Catastrophic waves of tears begin to flood the depths. Glad I learned to swim but those skills don’t apply here. Then I remember there’s someone I haven’t asked. My eyes close, my head bowed as the tears threaten to choke me.

A shining light and the presence of someone near, who sits. I open my eyes and realize as the light begins to dry the tears, only One can sit here, only One can shine light into the dark, only One knows the way to the bottom of my heart.

Sometimes the tears come and threaten to flood but because the One who walked on water sits with me, I sit, joyful, grateful, never alone.

Psalm 69…

“Save me, O God!
For the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in deep mire,
Where there is no standing;
I have come into deep waters,
Where the floods overflow me.
I am weary with my crying;
My throat is dry;
My eyes fail while I wait for my God.

Matt 28:20

I am with you always

Enjoy this wonderful song by Jars of Clay – Flood.

Love is a pot of beans.

Beans are a staple in the typical Nigerian household. It is a dependable meal packed full of nutrients, proteins and much more. We tend to use the variety called Ewa Oloyin “Honey beans” it’s tasty without you needing to do much. It’s great for winter days, eating it warm feels like a hug from the inside out but one thing I do not expect beans to do is – make me cry.

I was wrapped tightly under my sherpa taupe blanket, under a duvet in bed but I heard him call out to me. Slowly I opened my eyes and saw my Mr ready to go out for work. I had woken 4 hrs earlier and managed to go back to sleep but I was still feeling heavy-headed. “Don’t bring back any virus” I joked as if drunk, after prayer and a hug, he was off.

20 minutes later, I got out of bed to start my day proper. Wore my favorite housecoat and headed to the living room for sunlight and daily bread. Next, I got on my computer to help a friend figure something out in digital design. Soon hunger struck and I went to the kitchen, that’s when I saw it.

It’s the sort of thing I cannot explain, but tears flooded my eyes, my heart became large and full, humbled by the sight of a pot of beans – warm, brown, delicious, on the stove. Where did he find the time? I thought, wiping tears on the sleeve of the housecoat he bought me.

 

Global Talent Visa: A Lifeline

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5 years ago ^_^

When I first came to the UK, I had one thing in mind, learn how to become a great designer. I even started this blog to document those learnings. Soon after, it became home and where I developed as an adult, totally responsible for my own choices, paths and bills.

5 years ago I had to leave a toxic job which was sponsoring my visa (Tier 2) and it felt like falling into a black hole, anxieties and poor health followed, I needed a way out. Going back to Nigeria was an option but I didn’t want to give in easily after building 6 years of adult life here. So with nothing to lose I applied for the UK’s exceptional talent visa. Nothing could prepare me for what was ahead but this visa was a turning point of sorts.

Before applying one might have asked, what makes me exceptional? “Good thing they changed the name” one applicant said, “thought I might have had to cure cancer first” I had done a few things in my career and the tech community but I was passionate and ambitious, I looked forward to running businesses and doing work for women in technology and so forth.

When I got the visa in December 2015 it felt like freedom, (Snapshot from 2014 about life as an immigrant: Don’t talk about immigration on the tube ) I immediately registered a business and was on track to pursuing my ambitions, got a nice contract job and things could not be better. But I had my world crash when my father passed in 2016, I will forever be grateful that I could afford to get on a plane with short notice and finance to get to my dad a day before he would slip into a forever coma, I got to speak to him and he saw me. I was unable to work for many months after that, before getting a similar diagnosis to what killed him and my world kept tumbling.

Thanks be to God who pulls me through all of this and made the visa possible, because I can’t even imagine what it would have been like dealing with poor mental and physical health then struggling to get a job that would sponsor me or burdening my family with medical costs we won’t be able to afford. God continues to be my rock as my priorities change and I walk through these times slowly, doing life one day at a time but thankfully no longer needing visas.

So if you are thinking of applying, just do it, feel free to contact me if any question.

UK’s Global Talent Visa

No this is not propaganda for the UK, this is the reality of life as an immigrant, one they are not likely to show in their promotion. It’s not just about ambitions, financial or economic prosperity, sometimes it is real hard living, no health, no wealth. Life can be broken and rocked in minutes, so these visas can become a lifeline you never thought you needed.

 

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
  • Drop the arrogance of youth, you don’t have all the time in the world, do what needs doing today.
  • 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

Hello 2016

2016a

 

Even numbers make me feel optimistic and 2016 comes with a lot of significant ones. I do know that while life always has ups and downs, 2016 will be better than the last. Continue reading

Goodbye 2015!

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Women in Tech Africa (London) End of Year Event Dec 2015 (I’m in the middle!)

 

Oh what a year it’s been. I have to say it’s one of the most challenging years I’ve had in recent times, I also lost all the weight I gained in 2014 and now trying to put it back 😦 . I learned much more about life, love, and business. I’ve been taught to count my blessings and I’m happily doing so. Too much to be grateful about.

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This is Your Work-Life Balance

JD Hancock

JD Hancock

No, I’m not here to give you advice on how to achieve a work-life balance. What I’d like you to do is rethink the way you view work.

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The Functional Development of an INFJ

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What or Who is INFJ?

According to Myers-Briggs, the INFJ has a high preference for introverted intuition (Ni), it is the preferred way they perceive information. The inner world of the INFJ is much richer than the outer to them. They trust their intuition. Insights are sought from being able to process and connect ideas, feelings, thoughts in their mind.

The INFJ has a preference for making decisions based on Extraverted Feeling (Fe), the ‘feel’ of the situation, a value system based on the people involved. High on empathy, there’s a need to connect and harmonize surroundings, it’s more ‘we are the world’ rather than ‘I am the world’.

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The Value in Diversity of Minds

“Different Not Less”

Temple Grandin is an Inventor, Innovator, all round amazing person who is on the Autistic spectrum. Probably the best person in the world to tell you about Autism. You just have to read more, and listen to her talk. Claire Danes acted in a movie called Temple Grandin which you have to see.

As someone who knows autistic children, this really drives me to tears, the way we treat others without trying to understand them.. Listen to her.



 

“Boys who cry can work for Google. Boys who trash computers cannot. I once was at a science conference, and I saw a NASA scientist who had just found out that his project was canceled—a project he’d worked on for years. He was maybe sixty-five years old, and you know what? He was crying. And I thought, Good for him. That’s why he was able to reach retirement age working in a job he loved.”
Temple Grandin, The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum

On Design

Every design problem I’ve ever solved started with my ability to visualize and see the world in pictures. I started designing things as a child, when I was always experimenting with new kinds of kites and model airplanes. In elementary school I made a helicopter out of a broken balsa-wood airplane. When I wound up the propeller, the helicopter flew straight up about a hundred feet. I also made bird-shaped paper kites, which I flew behind my bike. The kites were cut out from a single sheet of heavy drawing paper and flown with thread. I experimented with different ways of bending the wings to increase flying performance. Bending the tips of the wings up made the kite fly higher. Thirty years later, this same design started appearing on commercial aircraft

“Now, in my work, before I attempt any construction, I test-run the equipment in my imagination. I visualize my designs being used in every possible situation”

“My first step in designing a better system was collecting all the published information on existing ‘wheels’. Before doing anything else, I always check out what is considered state-of-the-art so I don’t waste time reinventing the wheel.”

“That idea, like many of my best designs, came to me very clearly just before I drifted off to sleep at night.”

Don’t talk about Immigration on the tube

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Once upon a train

Generally, I don’t talk on the tube. It’s one of those unwritten London rules so I read. However, when you haven’t seen a friend, an ex-colleague in months it’s easy to throw conventions out the window. Due to our busy schedule this was the only time we could catch-up during the week, after work. So there we were on one of the fastest trains, hurtling north and we were talking much.

We talked about the past few months, our present and the future. We talked about the changes we had been subjected to. Being both ‘Expatriates’ or Immigrants as those of us from developing countries are usually called, we talked about our immigration status, and being away from family. Perhaps we were talking too loud, enough for someone to get angry and they did.

I had only heard of such things in the news or read them on blogs, So when this man, standing close to me, said “You are not even British” I could not believe it was happening. Looking at me, his face already turning a certain shade of red, he addressed the both of us. My friend was shocked speechless, (she’s white, so I wasn’t sure this was racism).

“You have better jobs than me” he continued, my heart started to beat so fast, my legs began to fade away, scared of where this might escalate to. “How do you know that” I asked, (my extroverted feeling at work). “We are in this country because we’ve got useful skill” I tried.  “You are not even British” he continued. “You come here and you take the better jobs”. I looked at this man, and knew that a rational conversation was not possible. Luckily the train stopped at the next station shortly so we scrambled to get a seat while others got out. “I’m sorry I couldn’t say anything”, my friend said, “I was shocked”. I told her it was ok, but I was so shocked I had to say something, we deal with things differently.

Please, be kind

The life of immigrants is not an easy one by any measure, especially those of us who have left family behind. We constantly have to weigh our current status and all we had to give up to be here. I’ve been in the UK for 5 years and non-EU migrants like me for the most part depend on companies to sponsor our visas, we cannot collect government benefits. So it can be difficult especially when out of work.

We also get discriminated against when it comes to employment. I’ve been rejected immediately I brought up the fact that I’m Nigerian and would need a visa. It is understandable in some cases, but when it takes at the least, 2 days to get a visa you wonder why recruitment doesn’t take the chance. Is it even legal to discriminate this way?

I feel lucky to be in London, which is currently the most desired place to work in the world, and grateful that companies have agreed to sponsor me, and though I’ve never been denied a UK visa, I know people who have and it is one of the worst feelings in the world. Rejection is one thing, but to have a whole country reject you, horrendous.

Please be kind when you encounter an ‘immigrant’, you don’t know their story, give us a chance. The UK visa is actually very straightforward, don’t be afraid of sponsoring and employing one of us.

Thank You.

3 Signs You Have a Great Leader

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We all need to stop and ask ourselves every now and then; Who am I following? is it worth following them? how do they treat me, and/or other people?

I hardly expect my church to teach about management and leadership in the workplace but this is so important I have to summarize what I learned there. It really is about looking to the best known human that ever lived, Jesus. Forbes explores the question in this article, Jesus, as the greatest leader of all Fast Company also has a go, The skill that made Jesus a great leader

Back to the workplace, it does seem like there is an abundance of bad bosses than there are good bosses. Someone says it’s more a case of people who are bad at their job than anything. Some of us have even felt the pressure of ‘bad bosses’ the memories quite painful however, we still aspire to be in those positions one day. Why and how do we think we will do any different? If we don’t embody or aspire to embody the following, we may one day end up in the ‘bad boss’ box.

Great Leaders are Trustworthy

“let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’’ – Jesus

A leader who is able to establish trust by setting a vision and carrying it through by themselves or with the help others is gold. Nobody wants to follow someone who is always wavering, says A today and B tomorrow, if they double-cross someone today, it could be your turn tomorrow.

A leader who is able to admit when mistakes have been made and accepts responsibility for the outcomes is given respect.  When workers trust their leaders, they demonstrate loyalty. A leader worth fighting for is the one who has fought for you. The trust built holds businesses together and creates an environment for success, helping in the intense battle against competitors.

Great Leaders Serve

“He did not come to be served, but to serve.”

Leadership is about service and great leaders know this. Jesus had no qualms about washing the feet of his disciples which in that culture was a huge WHAT!?, but I can’t even imagine my Boss ‘oga at the top’ doing this today. Great service draws on humility and respect, you really do not want someone that lords their service over you. Power should be used for flourishing not diminishing.

A great leader not only serves their followers but also their peers. How does your boss treat their mates? do they talk down or make snide comments behind their back? Great leaders always want to bring out the best in others and do not seek self-promotion.

These leaders are committed to the needs of others before their own, courageous to lead with service at the risk of ridicule in the organisation, always looking to develop others, invites feedback and when they don’t know something they can say ‘I don’t know this but I am eager to learn’

Great Leaders Make Sacrifices

“The good shepherd lays his life down on behalf of the sheep”

Leaders must be willing to make sacrifices for those they serve, those who trust them. Sacrifices reinforce commitments to people in the form of  e.g time and money, two of the most important things in the business world. Being willing to spend time to teach someone something or to help someone out of a financial bind without expecting anything in return is the mark of a great leader. They will always put people over the ‘organization’

In conclusion, authority is not something to be grasped it should be received with the full weight of responsibility that it deserves. The humble servant’s heart that is trustworthy, serves and makes sacrifices is hard to develop but we must start somewhere and we can start today.

Stay Bright.

Back to Square One

Welcome to 2014!

Seven years ago, I was on an Industrial Attachment from Engineering school. At the time, I had already been designing, illustrating on my own and wanted to explore career options in design not engineering. I got to meet with a couple of animators, illustrators who had just started a media house and I thought it would be a good place for me.

One Sunday afternoon, I went with one of the illustrators to an eatery. I was going to show him the storyboards I had created, on my Macbook and he was hungry. In less than 30mins of being there, armed robbers stormed the eatery. I couldn’t believe what was happening, until the guy with the gun pointed it at my head and told me to get down. Lying flat on the cold floor, I watched my Macbook and my wallet fly into the robbers goody bag.

I was traumatised for a long time, while grateful to be alive. All my work was gone and I couldn’t bear to look at any design software, I just couldn’t. After earning my Bachelor degree in Information and Communication Engineering, a year after, I decided to try for a design programme in the UK.

Seven years after, I am still in design, grateful for every second of what I do. The incident took me back to square one, though I had been self-taught up till that moment, it made me reconsider my options. Through all of it, I got to  understand design properly. It also taught me the value of backing up your stuff asap! So square one is not a bad place to be, embrace it, turn your pain to gain.

Cheers to the New Year, Best wishes xxx

The Day Runneth Over

Happy December! Can’t believe it’s already here, this time last year I was preparing for my Graduation ceremony in Newcastle Upon Tyne while it was snowing like crazy. Now, I have spent two months at my current place of employment (so official..ok still on probation so not quite ‘official’) yet.

It’s been a nice ride so far. I am in sector I knew absolute zero about, in terms of operation, before going in. However as a Designer and a UX-er, you deal with people, and there’s people everywhere, so it makes it easier to move from sector to sector. I have learnt so much on the job, especially being in an Agile environment. What I didn’t expect was to have a second German Boss in a row lol, it’s all good. I love that they are stickler’s for accuracy and pay great attention to detail without losing sight of the big picture. It sure takes some experience to get there. Presently for me, the big picture is what I see clearly, and if I get into details I can get lost easily. Learning otherwise won’t be easy but will be definitely, definitely worth it. One other thing I love about work, is the people around me, Italian, Spanish, French, Swedish, South African…not a single Brit!..I kid. It’s a lovely atmosphere to be in 🙂

It hasn’t all been dandy, My ‘boss’ has done things I’ve had to forgive him over, and discuss with him, while I have done things which have angered him, and I hope he has forgiven me (i’m sure he has) It is a learning process after all. I mentioned to him that he has to call me out if he saw or felt like I wasn’t making some progress in my work. Even having a day off today due to illness grates on my nerves (:P).  I am anti-stagnancy.

One more month before I’m off probation, and it will be a New Year. I look forward to wonderful things, a better workflow, better relationships and maybe even moving closer to work (50mins commute is no joke :O) I look forward to the best, a life without regret.

An INFJ Designer

 

I came up as an INFJ on the Myers Briggs Type Indicator test and I agree with this up to 90%

What’s it like to be me?

1. The quest for more knowledge

The meaning of life, the philosophical questions—my mind is always occupied, and what’s exciting is when I get to follow through with an insight and do something. I am an abstract future thinker, looking at things from different perspectives. I’m about the relationships and possibilities and enjoy anything with deeper meaning that leaves me wondering, with more questions to ask and things to untangle. Connecting for me means being able to intuitively ask questions of people to get them to go deeper into the things they are talking about.

2. Inspiring others

Helping people find their purpose or meaning, being a different kind of leader from what’s traditional—that’s really gratifying. I just do that naturally. The challenge is opening up people’s minds to have their own original thoughts. I’m a listener and guide.

3. Structure and Plans

I tend to approach my day with a structured way of getting things accomplished. People see me as organized, thorough, and easy to get along with, pulling my own weight and eager to help out when called upon. But I’m not as outgoing or as critical as I may sometimes appear. I need a balance between people contact and working on creative projects and will break away from interactions when I get tired out. If I don’t have some long-term goals, then what’s the point?

4. People Connections

I tend to intuitively read people very quickly, but I have to be cautious not to make assumptions. I’m an observer. I get a feeling when people are interesting, and I watch from a distance, make some assessments about the situation, and then approach them and engage in conversation. I put a little bit out and a little more and see how that goes. Do I trust and like them, are they who they say?

I have a few deep friendships. A friendship comes best when it is worked to develop that investment. I quickly pick up on sincerity and withdraw if the person is superficial or obviously doesn’t care. When I see people who abuse their power or won’t stand behind what they say, that ticks me off. It’s about integrity. I feel other people’s feelings, and taking on that burden can make me too intense and serious, where I can’t be spontaneous and fun loving…

5. Life

Everything revolves around growth. Caring is about the ability to help others grow. What I bring is caring about people, not things. If we spent more time trying to understand each other’s point of view, to communicate more effectively, we would grow. In an honest, open, sincere relationship, I can accomplish anything. My challenge is to create those kinds of relationships.

I respect most the person who is willing to come forth and be an individual—to make the world a better place, or make a difference in a person’s life, where we reach each other’s hearts.

 

Adapted from Linda V. Berens and Dario Nardi, The 16 Personality Types: Descriptions for Self-Discovery (Telos Publications, 1999)