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Artist and designer Sofia Cope on Energy Care

What do you do for a living, and what are the things that make you feel more alive?

I am a designer and an artist. Designing is something I enjoy doing, and what really makes me feel alive is seeing when my team produces visuals that affect people in a positive and hopeful way — these people can be my clients, their audience, or someone’s grandma or grandpa. Our projects range from brand identities to home artworks and we always look at what we do as a form of strengthening bonds between humans through visuals.

How old are you?

I am 33 years old.

What do you think is the biggest challenge, and the best thing, about being your age?

I used to see people’s expectations of women my age as an obstacle. It is deemed ideal to have children and settle down at this age and that used to put some pressure on me, but I’ve grown more understanding of this type of thinking and the contexts and influences they come from. Now, whenever I get asked about marriage and procreation, I see it as a chance to educate the inquirer about factors that affect our status in life such as choices and conditions that are sometimes out of our control. I guess that’s the best thing about maturity — you’re more proactive and you’re able to express your thoughts with both firmness and sensitivity. You also get good with boundaries — setting, communicating and recognizing them.

How have you grown wiser in the past two years?

I have become more aware of my energy — how I spend it and how I tend to it. We often say that we need more time but really it’s more energy that we need. And to use that energy for something that matters is the goal. This realization of the importance of energy has shifted the way I spend my days and how I make decisions and it helped me value creating thoughtful work systems that allow play and honor rest. Some time in the past two years I experienced a major burnout alongside my pandemic blues and it distorted my perception of life in general. I experienced an onset of bitterness and depersonalization that started to affect the way I worked and related in a negative way. I attributed it to my exhaustion. I was very careless of my use of my energy. Fortunately, my curiosity and desire to heal led me to some literature on the psychology of burnout and I recovered. It was such a great relief. I’d like to believe I am wising up because of this experience.

Energy care is an imperfect and slow process but it is a practice you definitely get better at.

What are the best pieces of life advice you have ever received?

  1. Sometimes the bravest thing you can do is to ask for help.

  2. Honor space and simplicity — applies to both life and design.

  3. "Watch carefully the magic that occurs, when you give a person just enough comfort to be themselves."—Atticus.

What are the different creative ways women can empower other women (specially underrepresented women- transwomen, women of color, women of indigenous background)?

Know the stories of women — write about them and ask: how do their lives, their struggles, relate to and affect the bigger picture? Stories are empathy machines. Unlike opinion pieces that are often suggestive, they allow us to think for ourselves and really reach in and inquire. I think this is the beginning of empathy: inquiry. It also helps to consider that our current reality is highly visual and highly virtual so leveraging art, design and tech can help us not only know these women’s stories but also inhabit and finally understand the challenges they have to withstand. And it doesn’t stop in representation, we have to go deeper and show specific ways others’ suffering affects us too. I am of the mind that storytelling paired with accurate imagery can inspire a shift in consciousness.

She Talks Generations celebrates wisdom-sharing among women, and highlights the different perspectives and unique strengths that we bring to the table at every life stage.

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