Stranger, if you passing meet me and desire to speak to me, why should
you not speak to me?
And why should I not speak to you?

-Walt Whitman

I am incredibly grateful that I recently discovered the works of Walter Whitman, specifically, Blades of grass. I took some time to gloss over the work and found this poem called, “To You”. I completely love this poem and think it indicative to the mindset that what we as designers and creatives must have to showcase ourselves and bring attention to our “brand”.

Walt Whitman was a consummate self-promoter. His relentless self-promotion led to his own discovery by Emerson, and I think that this poem really sums up his mentality.

I believe myself to be a decent communicator. This was a skill that was honed, forged in a lifetime in sales, kitchens, and construction. I always had a knack of opening up and being vulnerable to “break the ice” and be able to form new relationships. One thing about Whitman that really rang true to me was how ol’ Walt reached out to his direct sphere of influence to launch his career. This was a quality that I admire and something that I am working on right now.

We all have foreground or past events that set the stage for the present. My own foreground has brought me here. It reaffirmed a lifetime of moments in which design and communication were intermingled.

Of all things I have learned so far, I am incredibly grateful to have learned critical reflexivity. By understanding that my own biases and perceptions, my own assumptions are socially constructed through my location, positionality, and intersectionality I can truly be present. I aim to challenge my own assumptions and biases by continuously using my own privilege and opportunity to bring awareness through inclusive design, and to create opportunities and equity for the marginalized in society.

The best way for me to begin in this journey of self-reflection is to acknowledge that I have bias in the first place. I must have compassion and empathy for my past self to reflect on my biases and to bring my possible ignorance’s to light. From there, by relieving my own suffering I can help relieve the suffering of my fellow human beings. Something I value above all else.