Friday, December 26, 2014

I’m still here…

Wow — it has been a long time since I wrote something for this blog. Ouch…

My primary excuse is that I’ve been swamped teaching User Experience Design for General Assembly, something I began to do at about the same time as my most recent post in April. Most of that teaching has been of the immersive course, a 10 week, 5 days/week, 8+ hours/day intense adventure. I’ve written about teaching the fall cohort in “Disrupting the UX design education space.” It is hard to do much else when teaching that course.

However, I have done a few other things, including starting and running the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of Medicine X. I’ve written about that elsewhere; I probably should have included that post in this blog as well.

Attendees of events of that chapter have had the opportunity to hear the stories (and analyses and calls to action) of others. But during the Medicine X conference in September, I recommitted to telling my story, largely because of a talk given there by Marie Ennis-O’Connor (@JBBC). Here are a few tweets from the conference that reveal what prompted my recommittal:








Oof… Had I begun to worry about how I would be judged?

I’ve just completed reading “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.” In it, Sheryl Sandberg talks about when she struggled with the concern of how she would be judged if she were to continue talking about gender bias and about the time when she learned that she “should keep speaking up and encouraging others to do the same. It is essential to breaking the logjam. Talking can transform minds, which can transform behaviors, which can transform institutions.”

During the Medicine X conference, I tweeted:


But just when was I to find time to share more of my story or my story more? In my teaching and other writing, I do include short references to my story and relevant analyses and calls to action for user experience designers working in healthcare, but…

Yesterday, I ate my Christmas meal at the St. Vincent de Paul Society dining room where free meals are served to those in need. I go there for lunch once or twice a year, usually on a holiday. I used to eat there almost daily when I was living on the street, an experience I’ve documented in this blog twice (here and here) and elsewhere. Now I go to remember that experience and to once again rid myself of fears and misconceptions that build over time in this society when living mostly removed from that way of life. And this all reminds me of how my contributing to addressing homelessness was once very important to me as well — see, for example, “Reflections on gratitude.”

How the hell am I supposed to do all that I want to do and be effective at any of it? Obviously, I can’t, but I still care. I’m still making a contribution to addressing the ills of the healthcare system (see above). I’m not doing all that I wish I was, but I’m trying. And I’ll continue to do so.

I’m still here.