Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Beauty in the Alter Ego

I have an alter ego. No. Better yet, I have a few. A few weeks ago, I posted a photo on Instagram that somewhat picked at the heart of my struggle between them all-- well, this is the full fledged detailing.

There's the Dara who's this supposedly ambitious computer scientist trying to create the next big thing in the tech world, who wakes up to daily Tech Crunch feeds and finds joy in sharing her passion for telling the computer what to do and having it actually do it. Who can spend 30+ straight hours coding given a few espresso shots and who sheds tears when her lines of syntactical rubbish actually work. Who also hides her femininity so she doesn't appear different from her colleagues. Then there's the girl who doesn't believe in day jobs and wants to live life traveling the globe taking pictures of everything and everyone. Who writes down quotes and ideas and random musings in a cliche moleskine notebook. Who'd rather use a series of "and's" instead of commas and who puts spaces before the last period just for the sake of breaking grammatical rules. Who can imagine life in a minimalistic studio in New York working as a fashion photographer. Who loves creating and art and words. She's the avid reader, the muse, the creative, the modern day definition of a hipster flower child. Then there's the other, sometimes jokingly referred to as Darbie, who's not the hipster, not the nerd, but rather somewhat of a diva. The girl who pours over fashion blogs and can spend hours shopping online on the hunt for the outfit she'd imagined in her mind. Who'd describe her favorite colors as Brink Pink and Mint. Who finds confidence in her strut while she's wearing a pair of bomb heels. The girl who loves her lipsticks whether purple or deep red, even a little bit of orange from time to time.

I'd always hated the question, "what do you want to be when you grow up?"

Why the heck do I have to pick?

For the past couple of years I'd always thought that these identities had to be unique and separate. I experienced what it felt like to walk into my Algorithms class all dressed up (hair, nails, everything done) and not be taken seriously by some of my ignorant world of warcraft playing peers. I think that's what my Instagram post was really getting to the heart of. I'd forever struggled with these different passions and where or how they could or could not overlap. Even my three personal websites each tell a different story. There's my self-titled site which beckons the tale of a young undergrad techie, then there's the photography portfolio containing my journey to achieving that Vogue editorial dream. Then there's this little plot on the web, which is now (finally) in someway interweaving all of them together. That had a large part to play in why this blog is less about style, beauty, and whatever else -- those only told part of whole story. And as much as those parts are still significant, I didn't want to look back on my blog in a few years and only remember what I wore, I also wanted to know how I felt and thought.

I'm going to credit a lot of things over these next few years to the fact that I am now in my twenties. Starting with this: the blurring of those lines. I feel less conflicted over the fact that I have different passions. I realize that I was trying to fit the basic portrait of how I thought people who did this or that were supposed to be. I was fighting the very things that made me unique.

A couple of weeks ago, I spoke to my older brother about this and I knew I would eventually quote his wisdom. His words:
"All your alter egos reside together in your heart and your brain. They together encompass you and make you who you are; there's nothing more harmful than separating them". 
Find the beauty in your alter egos. Your craziness and your sanity. Your unconventional essence that makes you, you. I'm finally finding the beauty in mine.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Watch: Nigeria, the Beautiful

I just wanted to share this amazing video celebrating the one hundred years of beauty of my home country, Nigeria. For those who are wondering, the 100 years that's being celebrated relates to the 1914 unification of the country (the British formally united the region as Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria). As a country, Nigeria has been through much adversity, but we're still moving forward and overcoming.

Fun fact time! Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and the 7th most in the World and it's economy is currently the 2nd largest on the continent.

Enjoy the video & share!

One love, Nigeria.

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

My Valentine's Happened a Little Later than Usual + What it Reminded Me About Love

My valentine's day happened a little later than normal -- you can thank the US Postal Service plus a federal holiday for that. The calendar date for the day of love I adore so much was February 14th, yet my valentine's day was celebrated on the 18th --  it couldn't have been better timing.

It was one of my least favorite days yet. The sun had long gone down by the time I left work, my stomach had started to beat me up for thinking I wasn't hungry earlier, and... was that a rain drop? Heck no. Work had been stressful -- nothing worked, I was sick, the bus was overcrowded like never before, and I had just about had it with the rude population of San Francisco, California. The next person to ask me to "move" without decorating the term with "please" and "thank you", might have gotten more than a few words. In all transparency, I was near tears by the time I reached my final stop. I was through, emotional, and more deep pangs of homesickness started to hit as I walked the .1 miles to my apartment building, fighting back whatever tears were forming. Then, at my door was a package. Before I got closer I knew who it was from, I had been expecting it but daily losing faith that it would ever arrive. The mystery though was what it contained.

I deliberated over opening the package while I was in such a despairing mood, but I did it anyway. My valentine's day was celebrated on the 18th --  it couldn't have been better timing. Those tears I was holding back started to roll (simp moment), but they were of joy more than anything else. My day had been turned around.

I think we all undermine the value of showing love and compassion. It's amazing what a single act of kindness or a reminder of love can do for someone who you may not know needs it.

To those you love -- When I was probably about eleven, Maya Angelou spoke some truth in one of her books that will remain in my heart forever.
"If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love. Don't be surly at home, then go out in the street and start grinning 'Good morning' at total strangers." 

We do it all the time: take our aggressions and frustrations out on those who mean the most to us while putting on a smile for the outside world. Remember to say your "I love you's" even when you're not in the mood.

To those you don't know -- Never underestimate the power of kindness. In my daily morning and evening commutes, I encounter hundreds of strangers. Strangers who I may never meet again, strangers who live a life and experience things that will forever be unknown to me. In his book 'Love',  Leo Buscaglia resonated every single thing I want to convey in this post.
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
I challenge you all to go out of your way to show love to someone today. You never know who needs it.

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A Day in the Life: SF Edition

This post is part of the Wildflowers Unscripted February Challenge, read more here. You all know I absolutely fail at blogging challenges, so I'm randomly choosing topics from this awesome set and going along with it. Let's see how this goes!
The following consists of a play by play of my life as it exists today. It's not very interesting and the large part of it is consumed by work of some sort. I chose to write this simply because of my obsession with watching people and wondering what their story is. I wonder where they came from, where they're going, and how their day went. So here's my version, a day in the life.

7:45 AM - This is the time my alarm is set for, the alarm label reads, "Greatness is a choice. Wake up child!". I hit snooze every morning.

8:00 AM - That fifteen minutes must've done something for me, I finally begin to wake up. I start checking and replying quick emails, glancing at texts that I know I'll forget to reply, and mentally picking out my outfit for the day while checking bus times to decide when I want to actually get out of bed and still make breakfast at work.

8:25 AM - If I'm ambitious, I'd have gotten up at 7:45 and been heading to the bus by now. More than likely, I'm getting out of bed, doing my stretches and a couple squats. Time to get ready for the day!

9:03 AM - Running to catch the 5L headed downtown

9:35 AM - Get to HQ. Breakfast is served at work so if it's Monday or Thursday, I toast a bagel, slop on some cream cheese and head to my desk, grabbing a cup of medium roast coffee on my way up.

10:00 AM - Standup aka I tell my team what I'm doing for the day.

11:45 PM - Anxiously waiting for lunch, so I check what's on the menu.

12:00 PM - Favorite time of the day.

6:45 PM - Until now, I've been working and coding 'til I drop + meetings, meetings, meetings. Now it's time to pack up and head to dinner downstairs at the office.

7:30 PM - Catch the 5 to Ocean Beach, sending up a quick prayer that I actually get a seat on the bus. Or, Uber home if I'm feeling fabulous (a habit that needs to end).

8:00 PM - Home, shower, respond to emails, open up Photoshop and design, watch Shark Tank.

Before K.O. - Cuddle up in bed with my The Message Bible, watch chaseGodTV or my favorite preacher online. This is probably the most calm part of my day. Then sleep!

As you can see, I spend the majority of my day at work, even eating all three meals there (yay for free food though). This is pretty much my standard Mon - Thurs schedule -- extremely exciting.

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