Today we interview kezflake who is one of our longest serving members - having been here pretty much since we launched over a year ago!
You started off your career training to be an architect, yet you now focus on web design - why the big change?
It’s that old cliché I suppose ‘I just fell into it’, after graduating I wanted to be working in the design industry, actually designing real products for real people. My partners a web site programmer with bounds of confidence, he had little trouble attracting clients but with limited design skills he needed help with someone with a little artistic flair; that’s when I stepped in to help him and people seemed to like our work. So while I would still bite the hand off anyone offering me a position in a drawing office I am loving the creativity of designing for the web.
Most young people struggle when it comes to establishing a career path - and for many, confidence is a barrier to them getting or even applying for their ideal job. You’ve mentioned in the forums that this issue has affected you - how do you deal with it?
I am guilty of going into a situation and assuming I am lacking in some way, skills or knowledge mostly feeling like an impostor to the industry but if anything this has pushed me to work harder, in a sense this may be one way that a lack of confidence has helped me. I have learned to deal with it now by just getting on with what needs doing or a least try and training myself to stop negative thoughts when I first sense them. This may seem silly or obvious but many times it would seem that there was nothing to worry about in the first place.
During your upbringing you certainly had your fair share of challenges. In particular one of your parents suffered with serious mental health issues. How did this affect your childhood and shape you as an adult?
My dad had a form of personality disorder, I didn’t really understand the reason for his often erratic behaviour at the time and after witnessing other relationships in my family break down I suppose I developed a distorted image of what family life was all about. As a child I didn’t trust people and it took many years to restore a belief that being part of a happy relationship was something that could happen to me too.
You seem to be very close to your mother. Would you say she is in inspiration to you? Why?
My mum like any mother wanted to give the happiest life possible for me but to do this meant some tremendous scarifies on her part; I know she loved my dad but our home environment was just too unbearable anymore and to leave took an incredible amount of courage and strength. There have been a lot of tough choices she had to make that I don’t think I could have done yet this never stopped her from putting me first and working hard to improve our lives.
Family seems to be very important to you - you’re also very close to your brother. Why the close relationship? Do you feel you are both ‘kindred spirits’?
Before his birth I had all but given up on the possibility of a sibling, well at 19 I think most people would have so I was determined that despite our age differences he would know I was part of his life. We are both fairly similar to our mum but in completely separate ways, he has her fiery stubbornness and I have her patience and artsy streak.
You’ve mentioned on the forums some strange ‘experiences’ - do you believe in ghosts and the paranormal? Do you think this is something you will explore, or are your experiences things you prefer to forget about or ignore?
I am very open to the idea that there could be other possibilities of existence in this world; I have had some pretty hair raising nights living in the house I grew up but this had just made me all the more curious. I would definitely love to explore this further in fact once my boyfriend finds out what holidays he can take next year one of our short break ideas is to go up to see the medium Derek Acorah, yes I am quite fascinated by the idea of the paranormal.
Although you are still young, you seem to have put down some roots and are now settling down. Did you always plan on doing this at a young age? Do you associate settling down with security?
I was brought up to believe in independence which was the example my mother had set for me. I don’t think I entered this relationship with any grand plans, I was 17 and in love sure but I was more excited about university life than setting up home. I adore my partner but he never really wanted me to leave the city to study, in truth the main reason I stayed was because my mum was pregnant and at the time alone. If I had left certainly I wasn’t about to abandon my relationship but I do wonder what would have become of us. Looking around I don’t think I’m all that young to settle, most of my friends and classmates already had mortgages and children years ago, I feel more like the odd one out for not.
How do people react when they see you are settling down at a young age? Do you find people are surprised? Do you think there is some kind of stigma attached to those that have decided to go ‘against the grain’ of partying and wild abandon?!?
Thank you Martin I like all this talk of young! I think people are more surprised that we have been together for the length of time we have more than our ages now we are a little older.
This stigma was never really a problem for me as having a long term partner even as a teenager never meant a complete end to going out with friends and having fun. Had we never met I doubt I would have ever been a wild partier anyway, I am far to introverted for that. There are those who make spiteful comments which does bemuse me a little as I am not trying to prove a point or appear as virtuous or smug. I just find little point in acting on some suggestions for me to play the field; maybe I am missing something but why leave a happy relationship!
Does ‘settling down’ involve having children any time soon?
Oh gawd not another one! I am asked this question quite frequently but while I’m not really all that maternal that’s not to say I won’t ever have a child, just not quite yet.
Thank Chatterbox for this one: When it comes to freelance design projects, how do you correlate what your clients have in mind with your own artistic aptitude?
I have to set the reins with this most of the time but this is for the benefit of the project as a whole, my earlier work was mostly about the design while content and site purpose came secondary and looking back now I think it shows in the overall usability. I like to take my time now to find out what the client wants to gain from their web presence and gather as much information as possible; the design needs to fit the purpose of the website and sometimes this means sacrificing certain design elements I may have included.
What part of your life makes you the happiest right now?
I feel like I am in a good place, everything might not be perfect there is still plenty to achieve but I have good relationships with my family & friends and I feel positive about the future.
What part of your life do you find the most challenging right now?
The weeks when I am working from home can be tough as some of my family seem to equate this with sat at home doing nothing and will expect me to run their errands. I am far too nice and easy going to set them straight so I would probably say assertiveness is real challenge for me.
Name one thing you love about Female Forum
We are all just so close as a community and I love that, we have developed so much beyond these threads even following each other on twitter and facebook. I have never been part of an online community that is so close.
What could Female Forum do to become an even better community? You can’t say ‘Nothing’!
I think as a fairly new community a little dedication from us members has gone a long way, so far we seem to be going from strength to strength so we just need to keep up our good work.
Finally, which member of Female Forum should we interview next and what’s the one major question you would like us to ask her?
I am going to nominate Cat for the hot seat next; Cat is a talented photographer but has made a bold change to study for a career in medical admin, I would like to ask if she feels a sense of loss after deciding to no longer pursue her original dream of an artistic career?
Thanks for your time and for a very personal and honest interview, kezflake. Oh and Cat - don’t go answering your question until we get your interview sorted out!!