Claudina Sarahe

Radical. Co-founder 2013 YC Finalist. Alumna @TheStartupBus 2012. #NYCSass Meetup Organizer. Co-creator @SassConf. Dominicana. Sudanese. Queer.

Claudina has a blog. And also, you can follow her on Twitter @itsmisscs.

Published Thoughts

R&R. That's for Reflection & Refinement.

I'm not sure what I'm doing or where, exactly, I'm headed. Admittedly, as someone that has designed her life to maximize freedom and choice, I'm grateful to be where I am despite the unsettledness of uncertainty.

November 2015 marks 10 years of professional time in web development. While I have been making websites for fun and record and concert buying money since I was 16, I never thought about it as a full time profession until 2005 when I was taking a one year—turned life— sabbatical from Wellesley College.

In the past ten years I've worked as a front-end developer and architect; strategist; project manager; CEO and CTO; business developer, (community) organizer; teacher; speaker; and producer. The sum of my work is a portrait of...well, me. A portrait of this woman as...a doer?

A doer of what?

Herein lies the issue. If the whole is the sum of its parts then I am...what? What I am does not package neatly into titles.

If I'm to be defined by what I do then I want more than ever to do things that truly reflect where I am in life, what I believe in, and above all what drives me and keeps me waking up with excitement and passion. To to clear, I do feel that my doings and projects up until now do illuminate my self. They most certainly must because (sub)consciously this is how I've designed my life. However, I'd be misleading, setting us up for a false year together, if I did not let you know that I'm not entirely content, for I feel like I have been drifting. And while these projects do amount to my portrait, to me they lack a cohesion that can define me, Claudina Sarahe. I am yearning for something that I'm not getting in my current approach within my profession.

Reflection is an important and necessary part of what we do. It is an indispensable part of observing, developing, digesting and being in dialogue with our creative self [1]. We often gloss over reflection, citing lack of time as a reason—excuse—to move from one thing to the next. Reflection is challenging because it’s active.

And so 2015, my year of developing a reflective practice, what Donald Shön calls, reflection-in-action, where one does not "separate thinking from doing" [2].

I'm excited for the little things; a somewhat prolific note taker, I want to review my compendium of jots, both digital and analog, for clues; comb my bookmarks for ideas I may have buried under the pressures of life; analyze my archives to begin to pull out the colors for my next portrait.

I'm incredibly excited for the opportunity to write for the Pastry Box Project. Prior to Alex asking me to join the project, I had set an internal goal to write this year. Developing a habit of writing has been on my mind for quite some time. I regard writing as a key part of the reflective process and my own personal advancement. I've kept journals since the age of 8, but I've yet to embrace a public voice. [3] Having this outlet of accountability suits me, the self-motivated and driven autodidact.

What else about this year excites me? In no particular order:

  • Speaking and teaching more workshops
  • GothamSass V2—growing a new wave of organizers
  • Expanding SassConf beyond New York and North America
  • Launching an identity that encompasses my projects past, present, and future
  • Spending more time with my family
  • Travel as experiential learning
  • Learning Node and developing a comfortable mastery of JavaScript
  • Getting more involved with education and tech in less advantaged communities
  • Developing a writing habit
  • Embracing my alter ego aka not letting things I love get buried under life's todos
  • Publishing
  • Training and running a marathon

Thank you Elyse Holladay for your open and honestly beautiful 2014 retrospective—the inspiration for this post.


[1] Reflection as creative process (blog post)

[2] The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think In-Action _(book) _Don't be discouraged by its 1983 publication date. This book is wholly relevant and insightful. 

[3] Noah Stokes' wonderful (first) post says it all