Words swords words.

Q: What do emoji have to do with self-care? A: Me missing re:publica.


That’s right. I’m gutted to announce that due to illness, I’ll be missing my scheduled session at this week’s re:publica 2019.

The session will go on as scheduled with my awesome co-speaker Nicole Christ talking about the design and technical aspects of emoji. Please check out the session, support and hear about her fantastic research into emoji!

How Do You Speak Emoji? Decoding the visual culture and linguistics of emoji
Tuesday, May 7
on Stage 8 from 15:00-15:30

🤔”So what about the self-care part?” 🤓Well, thanks for asking…

Turns out I’m either very good or very bad at it. I’ve been travelling for work and presenting at conferences at least 10 days of nearly every month for the last 3 years. That’s a lot for someone with a chronic illness and anxiety to manage — but I’ve been determined not to let it make my life small. I’ve always chosen to test the limit of what I’m capable of at any moment. Oh, and I hate disappointing others and myself.

I thought about this long and hard, laying in an Airbnb bed in Ljubljana in October, covered in hives from a reaction to… S-T-R-E-S-S. When I got back to Berlin my doctor ordered me to lay off the travel and take it slower until my next big trip in February. I cancelled some trips, took more time off, and decided that this year I was going to slow it down (relatively speaking — baby steps). I decided to skip the Polyglot Gathering, I missed out a couple of work trips. I was making an effort to do things a little differently.

So when I went on tour with my brother and his band last week, and woke up in Hamburg with bronchitis I thought I’d just power through and see what happened as usual. When I lost my voice, and it showed no signs of coming back just a couple days before my presentation then I started to stress about getting healthy again, like yesterday. I was stressing about getting better. And then I realised, that’s no different than what I was doing before.

With the support of some friends who have been watching me give talks while recovering from pneumonia, with broken ribs, or just hours out of the hospital and hardly able to see, I told my incredibly understanding co-speaker and the re:publica organisers that I had to back out to take care of my health. It was hard. But the idea of thinking I might get better and then not and leaving them in the lurch at the last minute was a worse prospect.

So this is what emoji have to do with self-care. They helped me to do something differently, to test out changing a pattern that wasn’t helping me right now. I’m still disappointed and having FOMO — but I’m also relieved that I won’t leave my collaborators stuck at the last minute and that I can focus on getting better.

Remember that short, anonymous survey to collect people’s experiences with and insights on emoji, that I made? Well, I’m keeping it open so that I can include it in the talk when I finally do give it. Please check it out so it will represent a diverse data set!

🙏🏽Thanks to everyone for your support, patience, and participation!