I’m Carmen (hi!). I was born in Nigeria, and raised in Niantic, CT. I’m a food photographer and cookie enthusiast – best known in the gym for bringing cookies for the staff and climbers when I’ve been baking. I moved to Brooklyn a bit over a year ago when I started working at a food website in Flatiron.
How has climbing changed your life?
It turns out climbing was just what I needed to peel myself away from long hours at the office. I felt my disposition change for the better and I was taking better care of myself. Climbing is a great stress reliever for me. It’s one of the only times of the day where not only am I away from my phone, but I’m not even wondering what messages I’m missing. I also noticed that my relationship with my body changed pretty soon after I started climbing. Simple motions like climbing a ladder or reaching for something have transformed. I’m aware of my body in ways I was not before. I’m still fascinated by little things I notice day to day. Plus, using my body and brain simultaneously to solve a problem, like playing the cello, is a great challenge.
What are your current biggest projects, on and off the wall?
On the wall: eliminating “can’t” from my climbing vocabulary. Sometimes it’s such a mind game, and it really is all in my head. “I can’t dyno”, “I can’t support my weight on that hold”, “I can’t pinch” etc etc. I’m working on trying new things and taking risks. You can’t climb anything, literally or figuratively, if you’re afraid of falling!
Off the wall: Amidst the country’s political turmoil and sustained fill-in-the-blank-phobias, I want to contribute to the voices speaking up against the ignorance. I’m working on a photo project with my Islamic community at NYU around Muslim-Americans, to combat stereotypes around Islam, an often misunderstood religion. The goal is for people to understand that Muslims practice a religion of peace, and their experiences in this country spread past any “box” others may try to put them in.