"It's the idea of complete presence and vulnerability with yourself, the world and the things around you (on joy)"
Though currently residing in Paris, Ifeoma could call many places home. Building global communities and forging meaningful connections is what she does, so her natural element and experiences are typically full of vulnerability, gratitude and joy.
Often going back to the insight from Bishop Jakes that ‘unstable environments activate core strength’, her unique path is all about the odyssey that brings us together.
Growing up, she spent more time visiting her mother’s side in Saint Kitts than her father’s in Nigeria. So, in deciding to experience the culturally rich and populous land as an adult, Ifeoma returned after nearly twenty years.
I associate vulnerability with joy, which I think are two things that oftentimes don't go together. But for me, on the journey that I've been on, they've been two things that I really need to sit closely.
“In 2019, I decided to go. There was a connection and calling I felt for no particular reason, or at least unbeknownst to me,” shared Ifeoma. “I think there’s sometimes a perception as to what it’s like as a diaspora kid going home, some are great, and some are more negative. I felt unsettled about going there, but the minute I landed, I immediately felt home and welled up with tears.”
Imprinted with this feeling of unforeseen embrace from somewhere that felt, smelled and sounded different– Ifeoma was overcome with stunning emotion.
“I felt tears of joy and presence. Of course, I visited family, but it was a personal trip too. There’s so much talent on the continent, but when thinking about West Africa specifically and what’s happening in Lagos and Accra, I’m inspired by the art and creativity coming out of those places.”
Her connection to Tear came from its unpredictable nature in design, similar to this resplendent memory.
“When I look at this jewel, there’s unexpectedness to it combined with femininity that I find beautiful. I think we all have a sense of femininity, despite where we are on the gender spectrum. And when I look at this, the lines are so beautiful, it reminds me of the human form,” shared Ifeoma.
“This tear, these moments of joy, I think about the idea of how can we be present in a moment where things are a little quieter, and we can be vulnerable and think about where we are in that moment? It’s this idea of complete presence and complete vulnerability with yourself and with the world and the things around you.”
Ifeoma is the Vice President of Global Membership at Raya and has spent the last fifteen years building communities worldwide. Follow Ifeoma at @ifeomajuliska.
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