#WFH Diaries: Maya Thompson of Deutsch LA

With the coronavirus pandemic surging anew, most folks are still working from home. We're continuing to check in with creative professionals to see how they're faring. Below, we chat with Maya Thompson, strategist at Deutsch LA.

Give us a one-line bio of yourself.

I'm currently a strategist in advertising, but I like to think of myself as more of a truth teller, or as the late John Lewis said, a "good trouble" maker. 

Where are you living right now, and who's with you?

My boyfriend and I currently live together in Inglewood, California, but I will forever be a proud Southside Chicago chick <3.

What's your work situation like at the moment, and how is it evolving?

My days are currently spent sitting on my bed while Zooming (like all day) with my laptop propped on a huge wedge pillow. You would think by now that I would have accommodated my space for the new work condition, but nope (that should be changing soon). At the beginning, my mornings, evenings and nights felt the same, but now I've implemented boundaries so I can have moments that are non-work related. I believe the last thing that anyone needs to do is work themselves to death.

When you do you expect to return to the office?

I'm not expecting it because I'm hoping to stay working from home *fingers crossed.* Of course, that means fixing my space sooner rather than later (I swear it's coming soon). I heard talk of September-ish, but who knows with so much changing every day?

Describe your socializing strategy.

Honestly, it's not that much different than before when our lives were normal. My group chats are still humping and occasionally we may hop on FaceTime. We just don't gather for brunch and other activities anymore, but we may meet at a park to do a socially distant walk. 

How are you dealing with childcare, if applicable?

I'm not dealing with this personally. But shout out to all of the working moms, especially the single moms. Y'all are amazing! I was on auntie duty recently with my two small nieces while trying to work, and the struggle was real.

What are you reading?

I'm actually not reading the news and never actively sought out the news. The news can bring you into an instant downward spiral, so I limit my intake of it. Lately, I've been looking up journal articles to read about Hoodoo after a recent trip to New Orleans. The media imagination has made Hoodoo and Voodoo to be this dark entity, but the truth is so enlightening.  

What are you watching?

Lately I've been watching a lot of documentaries about my multifaceted history. From the Black Panther Party to African American history before slavery to the religion of Voodoo in Africa. The current race relations of the world have just increased my thirst for the true history of my people and stories told from our gaze vs. the dominant white gaze. Many fail to realize our minds are in bondage from the narratives we were told, so I'm in the process of unlearning the indoctrination. I suggest you do your research; it runs deep. 

What are you listening to?

If you were to log into my Spotify, you would see that my days are mostly filled with meditation music such as Binaural Beats Meditation playlist and Solfeggio Frequency playlist. Your mental diet is important, just like the food you eat. I usually start my day by meditating and have meditation music playing in the background while working. But most of the time I switch it up and put on some Nipsey Hussle or other rap artists to get me going. It's all about balance.

How are you staying fit?

I really try to walk at least 30 minutes a day. In the beginning of quarantine, I would take walks for lunch, but my workdays don't allow for that now. So, I try to get my walk in before the workday as early as possible to make sure I have time to meditate.

Have you taken up a hobby?

Actually, I have but it's more like a dormant passion that I've rediscovered. I was once an art major with aspirations to be a graphic designer. That didn't work out, and I ended up pivoting in college. I realized I love making things, so I've started to take online graphic design classes. I finished the first module, but it is time-consuming because, like anything, it requires practice. Between work, side projects and graphic designing, I had to pause on it, but I'll be returning to it soon.

An awkward moment since all this started.

No true awkward moments, really. But it's always funny when my boyfriend makes a guest appearance on the Zoom shirtless by accident thinking he's successfully out of the camera frame.

An aha! moment since all this started.

My aha! moment is that this current situation is a lesson to man. We think we know everything and in order to be a fact it must be backed by science, stats, etc. We look for the hard proof and data, but this is showing that it really doesn't matter. Science is trying to give us concrete answers, but ultimately, they're not sure. Facts about this are changing by the minute. To me, it just proves that something can be intangible but have a real effect. No sight or proof of it, but you can feel it. The feeling/belief is the fact. No matter what you call it, there is something bigger than us that this situation is pushing us to see.   

What's your theory on how this is going to play out?

I think we're going to overcome this like every other situation that has presented itself in history. Once we understand that somehow the shittiest moments are always for the better, we can ride this wave easier.

See the full #WFH Diaries series here.

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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd was editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio from 2018 to 2023.

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