As a part of our maudern people series, we asked New York-based Igee Okafor, for insight on modern intimacy. Okafor is the Founder and Editor-in-chief at BOND OFFICIAL and the acting U.S. ambassador for Carl F. Bucherer.
What is your relationship status?
With social distancing & quarantine, how has intimacy and human contact changed?
What we are slowly realizing is the need for differences in interaction. Social distancing and quarantining is giving us more time to really get to know people and ourselves outside of the stages we are used to seeing them/ourselves on. We have better chances of getting to connect on something real because we are all reacting to the same experience as equals in a sense.
Social distancing and quarantine are giving us more time to really get to know people and ourselves outside of the stages we are used to seeing them/ourselves on.
As someone who has heavily relied on in-person meetings and physical contact for my ideas of intimacy, the social distancing and quarantining we are all facing today has contributed to my realization of what intimacy really is. It's beyond physical contact and checking in. It's about consciously making time to connect with purpose.
In times like this, if you're someone who reflects a lot, you'll realize that everyone in your life is there for a reason and serves a different purpose - even the ones you're not very close to. Who brings you serenity, who brings you reflection and comfort? Intimacy and human contact is alive and well. In this time, it just has to be navigated more boldly through conversation and intentionally giving in time to figure out how each personality best serves the other. Interaction seems to be a bit more concentrated and mentally stimulated for me.
How do you make time for intimacy?
I say yes to most opportunities I am given to make a connection. Whether it's reigniting an old friendship, saying yes in the moment to something I'd typically say no to, or simply just helping for a larger purpose in any way that I can. It's also nice to go back to the things our ideas of intimacy are shaped by. The movies, the tv shows, the songs, the art - intimacy for me doesn't always have to be physical, it can be a memory that makes you react mentally and in abstract form. It's all about being conscious of what I'm feeling and choosing to listen and react. In a sense, it's about really trying to be one with yourself free of exterior influences. I try to do that.
How has your perspective on your home/space changed?
Having a workspace elsewhere, it's easier to go to work and then come home to relax a bit. I enjoy that separation because it gives me peace of mind. With the change of now doing everything from home, I find that I am going back to my old habits a bit but I hope it's not permanent. I mean the challenge of not knowing when to stop. I still wake up and put on decent clothes. I'm wearing them until I finish the work I have for that day, and then I change into pajamas and go to bed. I'm dealing!
What is a new activity you are planning to try?
Perhaps it's about time I learn how to cook decent meals. I've attempted a couple of times and I do not hate it. I just do not enjoy it very much the way I see other people do...but I really want to try to give it a chance.
How will you keep busy?
I consider myself a workaholic. I love collaborating with people to create new things that we can be proud of. I've never really stopped going since I moved to New York City because there wasn't any kind of restriction I gave in to. In this case, being on the flip side of not really having a choice with social distancing and quarantining, one of my focuses definitely aligns with doing it (collaboration/work) digitally.
Technology gets a lot of flack in our generation for making us lazy, self-obsessed but I believe that this is a great opportunity to rediscover and see what else we can create with the tool. It's all about searching for new inspiration in this time - being reminded of the things that got me to where I am today, and the things I enjoy in this era that will define the man I'm trying to become in the next few years. The reality is a lot of us actually need this time to rethink and reset and I'm going to try my best to do just that.
For the first time in a long time, there really isn't a plan except staying open and being optimistic about what I can actually do with the essentials around me. I run a publication that I am really passionate about and I'll be working on it until it reaches its full potential. I'll be staying in touch to stay connected with the people I love and admire, I'll be making conscious efforts to meet new kinds of people, and I'll be pushing myself to discover new talents I can cultivate so we'll see where that takes me.
What is a movie you will definitely watch? The Sound of Music is one of my favorites. I grew up watching it and singing the songs almost every day of my childhood. I end up going back to the things that made me happy as a child every time I want to remind myself of the things that optimistically could be.