Reflecting on The Afropean-Self: How Moving to New York Allowed me to Emancipate Myself from Expectations

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Art by Daphné Essiet

Michele Obama wrote “Becoming” and Alicia Keys “More Myself”, and over the years women of all ages and life paths have been uncovering their genuine selves. It is a sentiment I am myself familiar with and have been seeking for a long time: a quest for authenticity.

I often tell people that moving to New York allowed me to emancipate myself from the strong societal pressure and expectations I was feeling in France. Not that France is a bad place to live, but it was not an environment for me to thrive at the time. I did felt silenced and expected to be someone I was not. Of course, it took a long time to even realize how significant and life-altering this move had been, how the cultural shift impacted how I showed up in the world: moving to New York allowed me to distance myself from who I thought I should be and procure me a safe space to explore who I truly was and why: how infinite possibilities could be.

At this point of my life, I feel more “aware” even tho I know there is still a lot of work to do: I am still figuring this out and struggling to “undo” all the programming that has been done to me. Letting go of self-criticism and judgment is the hardest part – as well as forgiving yourself. One day at a time. It is a daily hustle and a mindf* – mainly because I want to remember how much I have accomplished and overcome without letting my trauma pull me to the past and prevent me from being present and/or plan for the future. It is a balancing act for sure.

Six years ago, in 2015 I wrote a poem titled “#MergingIntoMyself”. I can frankly say this is one of my favorite poems from my poetry book. Although I have come a long way, I am still on the path of improving myself, heal my ego and build my legacy.

I am sure I am one of many going through this journey of self-improvement and for that reason, I thought to create a series of notebooks featuring on the cover one of my illustrations with one of the lines of this wonderful poem, and at the back the actual poem, so you too, could remind yourself what is at stake.

You will soon be able to find them on my amazon store. Subscribe to my newsletter to be the first to know:

Hear it in my voice:

I long to be Free.
Free from my fears.

Free from the imaginary boundaries I inflicted mySelf.
I long to be mySelf.
The woman I’ve always meant to be

Phenomenal woman, that’s Me.

The one who will own her flaws and recognize them as the most enticing part of who she is.

The one who will appreciate them the way they deserve to be.

I long to be aware.
Aware of Reality

Fully aware of the Love I’ve been the recipient of all along.

That Love that has been kept away from my heart by the fear of being rejected.

Every day, I look at mySelf.
Every day, I’m one step closer.
Every day, I am grateful for the joys and the pains and the hardships I’ve been subjected to.

I’m emerging and


Poem originally posted on this very same blog.

Excerpt from my poetry book On Love and Lust and Everything in Between.

Daphné Essiet LLC © All rights reserved.

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