I’m going to give you two stories. One professional (such as it is) and one personal; and both are true :0)
A graduate of Interior Design (Dip ID 1990) Wanda worked in Ottawa for different large retail furniture stores employed as an in-house designer.
By 1996 she started her own award winning magazine and website called Energy Medicine focusing on mind body medicine in the greater Ottawa areas.
By 2006 she was ready to return to interior design again and became the interior designer for the largest furniture store in Ottawa. At last leaving interior design behind with the birth of her daughter.
By 2010 she was ready to study again and attended Algonquin College obtaining her certification in Technical Writing. She felt exactly the same way she did when entering design school–like she was in the right place!
Information architecture and interior design are very similar. One calls for order and editing before a communication can be shared. The other is editing, reorganizing and supporting the communication that wishes to be told. Both share unique reality, style, content and structure; both (ideally) communicate with strength the authentic nature of what’s crafted.
One excels at external content, the other internal content. The job of the writer and the designer is to make sense of the content in a way that allows the truth of the communication to shine through.
The Patterns of Structuring Documents and Space Planning
“I think we try creating order out of chaos to understand—ourselves, our lives and the world around us—where organizing patterns are attempts to make sense of the world. We’re attempting to exercise some sort of control–thinking control is analogous with safety.
The creative process is the opposite. It too can look chaotic requiring order but in fact it already has one—a sacred order, where things appear random but aren’t–and you’re not in control.
Both require technical mastery, and artistry but soon enough you become aware the ordered chaos is contrived illusion and the sacred order is real dynamic (life).”
My Personal Story
After ten years of marriage I had a son with developmental delay and a bunch of other neurological disorders. At the time I was told by the geneticist that if I had another child I would have a “a one in a million chance” of having another child the same.
That was incorrect. Nowadays a geneticist would tell me I had a 25% chance of having another child the same. Anyway six years after Max I had a daughter just like him.
When I realized my daughter was “the same” I couldn’t accept it and where the grief over my son had felt like shattering heartbreak, finding out about my daughter flattened me. I didn’t know how or where I’d get the energy or mental presence to go through it again; and so, I didn’t.
I checked out but no one knew—not even me—at first.
You see the biggest problem I had was that I thought my intellect was the greatest gift I had to give them. Everything I’d ever fantasized about teaching my children went out the window. Neither of my children spoke until they were six years.
I spent three years in sign language classes so I could teach my children how to communicate with the rest of the world. To me, just another sign I was rendered a useless mom with nothing of value to offer.
Parenthood, my life, became hollow, not something to enjoy, or be proud of, but something to endure by whatever means available, and I took full advantage of those means while watching my husband get angrier by the second (although I think he was pretty angry before then).
So, I added that failure to my long list of “things I’ve done badly and feel guilty about”. What I didn’t want to admit was before the children I thought I’d lost my value as a wife, and after the children I lost my value as a mother.
I began a not-so-secret downward spiral into addiction, which wasn’t pretty (but what addiction is?). By the end of it some six years later my 23 year marriage was over, my home gone with both my beloved cat Libby and car dying on the same day. Life as I knew it was over, but my children were still my forever children.
And so, I began the long walk home—back to myself and my children—and came to realize you can’t become who you already are; and remembering who I really was, underneath all that pain, wasn’t as hard as I imagined it’d be (but it did take much longer than I wanted).
I joined DA and went to meetings weekly; saw a shrink weekly (yet again); tended the children and paid the bills. Repeat. The years rolled by with me learning to put one foot in front of the other, to stay upright and (painfully) present until one day it didn’t hurt quite as much, to stay awake, present, and upright.
Maybe life hadn’t floored me; maybe I did have something to value to offer my kids; maybe my kids were even a gift helping me to remember what life was asking of me.
Ha! Wouldn’t that be something?
I learned things during that walk back to myself (truth be told, I knew I few things from before) but here’s a few little ones:
- Compassion and connection are vital
- Find people you resonate with and stick with them
- Show up—so speak–for yourself and others (no matter what)
- Kindness means everything—practise it often
- Compassion is required—in all things
- Give generously of yourself—it’s a sound investment that pays huge dividends
- You’re like a snowflake—one-of-a-kind, incredibly beautiful with a great gift to offer the world
Each of us have immense value to offer and it’s up to us to recognize what that is, allow it blossom, accept it’s fruit and share it with others.
I’d spent a lifetime resisting mine and miscalculating what it was too. Now I’m learning to accept myself and the value that is inherently me–which means mine to cultivate and share.
If so read along when I write, I’d love the company. I post about once a week and, send out other stuff from time to time.
Do you know someone this story might interest? Want to share it on social media or with your BFF? Feel free and drop by and say hi! sometime. I’d really like that. :0)
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