Something Is Happening Here

Something Is Happening Here

It’s getting easier to share my writings and as comments pour in there is a new found motivation happening. So far the topics that seem to resonate the most are fitness/wellness and health, beauty, faith and spirituality, and a few of the life lessons learned.

While this is an assumption, it informs me that the writing needs to be relatable and not always offer a solution-  but perhaps invite someone to share their experience, thoughts and opinions. A common ground really.

But something else is happening as well, showing up to my blog allowed me to talk freely (where I felt comfortable in sharing publicly) about myself, my struggles, fears and dislikes – but as new people come along for the journey I know I don’t wish to sound like I am rambling. It’s forcing me to choose my topics a bit more intentionally.

But my writing were (selfishly) for me. A place to clear my head, improve my writing style, “find my voice” as people like to say and just explore. But more people are peeping in. Curiosity is striking and I see you! 🙂

One thing I believe is that we have one life and everything is interconnected. From the choices we make, to the people we meet, the seasons of life and everything in between its there with and for purpose.

I want these writing to help me articulate better and help me in finding clarity – especially when it comes to designing for people. This thing thats happening has only come through experimenting, showing up consistently, and being authentic.

Perhaps a crowd is forming- and I’m not gonna lie – it’s interesting to take note, to point it out even. Perhaps an audience is forming.

 

Opinions Are Like Belly Buttons…

“Opinions are like belly buttons, everyone has it but they don’t really matter.”

I got that from a YouTube-er that I admire.

Earlier today another person I follow online – and whom I still admire – shared their experience in the design and technology space. At this point I may have given this thing way too much energy and should probably let it rest – but I can’t. I decided to share my experience within the design industry and I’d like to believe mine matters – especially when you are addressing women in design and technology – that are black, which you can’t seem to find.

This was my response, and for some reason it was canned/blocked/deleted something – but ok.

I’d like to share my experience. For some reason my comment wasn’t loading publicly from my other channel so I decided to repost. Again this is my experience I’ve since read a few other comments and I see that we can’t force things. If it’s not a diverse community or people aren’t in the network then yes there will be a gap – here’s what I wrote before.

Hi Charli, This might be opening a can of worms….. but as always I love your transparency and I’d like to share my experience. I saw when you asked about women in tech on twitter. Now that I think about it I do know women of color in tech – just not in the specific area of tech and design. As you know I am a designer (packaging and product design for anyone else reading), and I think I can share some of my experience being in the design industry. I went back and listened to your video to address the points you’ve made.

0:15 seconds you speak about being lucky about not being discriminated against through out your career – my first encounter with discrimination in design was on campus in class. The instructor (a white male) decided to change dates for a final and my flight was already scheduled to return home from school. I’m a black woman and you know what he said? “see me after class in the parking lot” as though to want to fight me. Originally I thought the professor was joking….. it wasn’t until someone else got offended and pulled me aside that I was swayed to think differently. Discrimination happens not only because of gender but because of color, ethnicity, HAIR – this is the world we live in, some people have yet to experience it but it does happen, some people are blind to it and some people just aren’t aware of it. In my first design job I was working as a production artist creating artwork for packaging products. One day I wore my hair in an afro, the next day I was let go. When I called to find out why I wasn’t given a realistic reason.

0:35 – I agree there is a gender gap. My background – industrial design – I haven’t seen many women in the field, let alone black women. During my studies there were three black men in the college of design. THREE!!!! One my graduating year and two black men two years ahead of me. I went back one year to visit and there was only one black person in the class. Just so you know, I went to a technology based college – if they wanted to open the doors for an opportunity of diversity for design and technology they surely have the platform to do so. While I was in university I was lucky if there was another woman in the class, let alone a black one. There was a total of three of us – but one person transferred out after one year. Additionally, the costs of university are ridiculous, in my experience I had to work multiple campus jobs to afford the tools I needed to get through the years for projects – there were resources I didn’t have access to of knowledge of because of my “lack of privilege”. This Lack of privilege comes more from systemic oppression considering finances, tools and resources – let alone the knowledge these things even exist. In order to see the different faces in technology and design people need to go into the black communities and teach there. Point blank period. I became aware of the choices in design due to after school programs in high school that no longer exist due to “budget cuts”. These are things that are readily available to schools in non-urban/black communities. I’ve faced subtle discrimination time and time again from my hair, how I speak – its not expected for a black woman to speak proper English if your from Newark – and the smart (but really disrespectful) comments that come from male coworkers. I’ve faced people not knowing how to even teach what they know and continue to face learning curves. I have to find ways and opportunities to reach out and ask for help. I believe if people are willing to learn there needs to be opportunities for that even in the work place. Confidence also plays a huge factor. I’ll admit I still struggle with that. When I started at the company I am in now I was one of seven designers. Two of us are black, I am the only black woman in the office. Black designers both male and female form their own communities to connect. Just search black designers in tech.

At the end of the day you can’t knock people for their experiences, we need to learn to

  1. agree to disagree.
  2. really listen to what people are saying and not take offense. Sometimes people just want to express their experiences or be heard. Nothing more and nothing less.

I believe in transparency – but when it comes to the world wide web there’s no real such thing. We project the person we’d like to be seen as. So block/hide/remove my comment when the first sentence is you’re looking to see other peoples experiences – yet when its not as you hoped to be all rainbows and butterflies – this is the issue that I have. Yes there are very few women in technology and design, but there are even less that are black and women. I don’t believe my comment was trolling, or offensive. I’ve learned to teach from the scar and not from the wound.

Ultimately, I now understand why its important to share your experiences because people that look like you, that have been through similar situations – they need to see you in spaces they’d like to be in.

If you are looking for black women in tech check this out. And if you are looking for black women in design – hi my name is Keshna, let’s chat.

A Life Of Waiting

How many times have you said these things?

I can’t wait until I’m an adult! 

I can’ wait until I’m older!

I can’t wait to get to high school, college, graduate…

I can’t wait until I’m 21 

I can’t wait to have a boyfriend

I can’t wait to get married

I can’t wait to have children

I can’t wait to get that promotion….. 

As you get older the “I can’t wait turns into something else. Other people are waiting to see your life transform. Maybe its so that you can share experiences and stories (that’s the positive spin on it – but not everyone is for you). It doesn’t help that when I walk into certain premises the “expectations of other people in their waiting” are reinforced.

All too often I hear, “When are you getting married?” – excuse me but I can’t propose to myself.

“When are you having children?” – see the above.

“It’s time to change jobs.” – Are you hiring and willing to pay well? 

“You should buy a house.” – I believe in no debt, and I’m working my way out of it.

“You Should move to get a better job.” – Family is important to me, If I move it has to be worthwhile.

“You should go back to school.” ….. But should I? Will you give me the funds to go? Will you create the time in my schedule for me to attend? I am an advocate of education – it doesn’t always have to be in the school system. Besides the world is changing, technology is emerging, yet it seems that our systems are not evolving. 


 

One of the best quotes I’ve heard while indulging in youtube videos is this:

Opinions are like belly buttons, everyone has them but they don’t really matter.

This dialogue that I constantly hear translates into a life of waiting. I don’t believe that life is intended to be lived that way. It causes anxiety, unnecessary stress, and you never know what you may be imposing onto other people. I believe that life should be lived to its fullest. It should be filled with lasting experiences. People need to learn to develop their own thoughts. They need to understand who they are – and yes I realize people are “developing later” i.e. moving out of their parents home later, having children later – just every thing extended later in life.

Rather than impose on people see where their hearts and minds are, see what their dreams and aspirations are. Get to know them.

While hoping and expecting for certain life experiences is a good thing, I personally don’t need the constant reminder that I am aging and that “time is running out”. Yes life is short, but its also life-long.

Things I wish my mom taught me sooner… Part 1

Things I wish my mom taught me sooner…. Part 1
Let me start by saying I am not a parent.
While I hope to be one in the future I hope that this post would come back to me as a reminder to my future parent self.
Now that my formality introduction is out the way here are a few things I wish I learned sooner in life.

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Emotionally Dumping On People

You are responsible for your own happiness. 

I think this is a known fact that everyone is aware of, yet rarely practiced. It’s this thing that people know – it’s no one else’s responsibility to make you happy. Its funny though because it can be quite easy for someone else to make you upset or transfer the set of emotions.

If there’s anything I’ve learned this year is that mindset is everything. I was going to name this post happiness, but I figured I’d talk a little more about the issue I’m facing behind the post.

So yes – I am well aware that I am responsible for my own happiness but growing up in an environment where people constantly dump on you – their emotions issues, their financial issues, medical issues; it takes a toll on you (on me) mentally physically emotionally. I know as a Christian I ought to be willing to hear other people out, the issues they face and sometimes when people vent they aren’t looking for a solution. Often times just a listening ear and this is the problem I’m referring to: dumping on people.

So what determines venting/ toxic venting/emotional dumping vs seeking advice?

I didn’t quite know how to explain it until searching google and another article came up,

They want us to listen, but not to offer anything in the way of opinions, suggestions, advice, consolation or insight.

I know I’ve been guilty of this. Yet now that I am aware of it I try to distance myself from family and friends until I’ve gotten over the situation. Better yet, my boyfriend called and wanted to go to target but I just preferred to stay alone. I didn’t feel like talking about what was or (is) bothering me and I’m not looking for sympathy, empathy, or for someone to fix my problem.

In this article Judith writes, …“Why do you always have to fix it? Why can’t you just listen?” That question opens another can of worms. But for the moment, suffice it to say that one of the really good reasons is that it’s not just a man’s problem — it’s a human problem that exists in relationships of all kinds. Listening well is hard. We’re not born knowing how to do it.

But offering an ear or a shoulder is just a small part of it. Good listening is an art form. It elicits not just release, but exploration. It is not passive, as some would imagine, calling to mind that banal and silent Freudian nod. Good listening seeks to understand. It asks questions. It ponders. It examines. It searches for both manifest and latent meanings. It requires openness and bonafide availability. It is fully present and interested. But it is not always silent, and it does not automatically dismiss accountability. And, as a result, it is decidedly not what some people are looking for: a toxic dump site.”

At the end of the day, relationships are hard, they are complex, they require time and commitment. And the choice to be happy is up to you in making that decision – if even for a moment.

If there’s anything I’d like for you to get out of this post – its to be mindful of unloading the emotional baggage that you’ve been carrying around. You never really know what’s been going on in someone else’s day any you may not be sure of what your dumping can lead them to do. I really do think its important for people to invest in therapists – and with the recent issues surrounding people like Kanye its nothing to joke around with. I think people only think of mental illness as something they can see visibly. We lack general concern to help other people before they reach the point of dumping. Don’t do it. Seek out a therapist to help with your life problems.

For me this post was a way for me to simply share what was on my heart. I am upset about a situation that just occurred but I’ll talk write about that in another post.

If you are curious to read the full article I’ve linked it for you here..