I can’t get no satisfaction…

20140707-210116-75676595.jpg Although I do not miss my twenties, I religiously celebrate my 25th birthday’s annivers20140707-204126-74486773.jpgary every year; I jokingly do so as a reminder of an awesome time of my life when I didn’t care much about anything. I used to love the club! I think I was 16 the first time I had been in one, in my hometown. I wore a tight satin black pants and wear my hair in two braided buns like the girl in the “shimmy shimmy ya” video. The bouncer asked for our IDs, but we told him he saw it the previous week and we didn’t bring it again… Perplexed he let us in, and here we were: the “Saint James” — the rest is history… From Marseille to Paris to New York, I scandalously painted the towns with my respective crews. 20140707-204126-74486388.jpg From what I can remember it was epic. I think… cause in fact, there are some blurry parts. Like a lot… and no Instagram nor Facebook to document the shenanigans (thanks God!) . The sole, more or less accurate, recollections come from different sources – not to be necessarily trusted. 20140707-204126-74486578.jpgI wish I had kept a diary, tho. It might not have been very truthful, but at least I would have had a better timeline of events and I would be able to better deny my friends embarrassing claims! One told me recently that I had a selective memory, which I replied: I just have no memory mon cher… Nowadays, I rarely have that much fun when I go out. 20140707-204127-74487475.jpgI guess the novelty wore off, the crews dissipated, the events are not as 🔥hot🔥, the music became to loud, and I don’t even know that new Chris Brown song… Or I just have greater expectations, higher standards and i can’t get no satisfaction (Mick Jagger’s voice). Overall, club ain’t my cup of tea… Unless… it’s a house party. I have to say, I grew fond of the great conversations, debates, seeing people’s real face, comfortably-chic dress codes, networking opportunities, and of course music that do not depend on annoying horrible DJs! I guess I entered this next stage where having fun involve different things…. Nonetheless, the club will still keep a place in my heart. ❤

 

Disclaimer: my ideas and opinions are subjected to change as I go through this beautiful thing we call life. You can help me shape my ideas by commenting and sharing your own perspective, as long as it is done in a respectful manner. I am looking forward to hearing from you!

 

©️ Daphne Mia Essiet, 2014

This desire of being acknowledged, yet to be left alone

IMG_0078Almost everyday, I leave my house with this desire of being acknowledged, yet to be left alone. Acknowledged as that girl who enjoys being well put together. Although I hate to care so much about how I look, I will be honest: I meticulously stare at myself in the mirror at least once a day; However, I often end up taking “the looks” down a notch, downgrading, by changing outfits, avoiding wearing makeup, wearing an extra layer of clothing, so I will not to be solicited by strangers, cause I rather be left alone. And when it is still not enough, and someone vociferously indulges in a public space, I just stare back until I make them feel ashamed of themselves. When they whisper something as I walk by, I turn back and ask out loud: “excuse me sir, but did you ask something?” Most time, caught of guard they say no. I am assertive, but I won’t unnecessarily put myself in danger: I am very cautious, and constantly assess my surroundings, just in case. For some reason, I am overly sensitive to these type of injustices lately; I am literally enraged at how oppressed and constrained women are treated. Most of us are so used to it that we see it as normalcy. I tend to believe that long ago men realized how powerful women were; then, they had no choice but to create ways to control us, set boundaries and instill a sense of insecurity so to keep their influence. The more I think about it, the more I learn how things work, the more it makes sense: I feel as I am walking out of a fog, some sort of the awakening… I am like Neo when he finally enters the matrix: he can’t deny the fact, nor ignore the reality anymore. I am enlightened. #fightthepower

 

Disclaimer: my ideas and opinions are subjected to change as I go through this beautiful thing we call life. You can help me shape my ideas by commenting and sharing your own perspective, as long as it is done in a respectful manner. I am looking forward to hearing from you!

 

©️ Daphne Mia Essiet, 2014

#tbt

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My hair was too wild and my skin too brown – so they said.

I wished my hair was straight and long and my eyes clear as the sea, so they’d like me. I wanted color lenses so badly so I could be pretty [too].

It was hard, not being acknowledged in so many ways.

But I knew was that I was kinda smart: I always had the best grades, and it came easy. I liked school and was interested in all sorts of things! It’s not like I had a social life anyway.

Racism was rampant, and I was called names many times at school. At home, it was more subtle, at time. I was not directly attacked; but those who looked like me were vilified; and when I experienced distress and spoke out, I was told it was “in my head”.

Over the years, somehow, things have changed, have evolved, even if we still have a lot to accomplish.

I am glad today because I have learnt to let go bitterness; I am, however, very aware of people’s behavior and understand those who don’t understand. How could they?

It takes extra effort and sympathy to “get it”.

It takes courage to walk in my shoes for at least a couple of miles.

It takes strength to accept life is not always as in the movies.

It takes humility not to judge.

©️ Daphne Mia Essiet, 2014

Framing principles

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I was asked for one of my Philosophy class to write about 3 principles that are important to me. It pushed me to think of what my values were, how I had evolved over the years and how much more I wanted to accomplish in life. Overall that was a great exercise for me, helped frame some concepts and rethink of where I stood. Hope you enjoy!

My first ethical principle is to not judge someone or a situation without seeking understanding. We generally tend to project our own thought processes and beliefs on others: we see life through a specific set of lenses, our own reality; we use stereotypes as a rigid tool to readily assess ones’ abilities and place within society. However, it is important not to come to any conclusions too hastily. By leaving room for doubt and avoiding premature labeling, we may consider the reasons that lead to a particular behavior. Although, as an example, I do not condone acts of violence, I believe it is important to empathize with others, as more often than not, actions stem from deeper and more complicated issues, which could be social, economic or physiological. The more we investigate, the greater our understanding and problem solving abilities will grow

My second principle would be to allow myself to fail. For a great part of my life, I regarded it as the worst denouement: I associated failing with being a failure. This outlook on life confined me to easy and comfortable choices, preventing me from developing new abilities and skills. This fear of challenge stunted my progress until I realized that it was the only and best way for me to grow.

Lastly, my third principle is to continuously self-reflect, and re-assess accordingly. I can confidently say that the person I was 5 years ago is different from whom I am today. With every experience comes an opportunity to learn something new and to fine-tune my personality. Creatively resolve life’s impediments by questioning my own demeanor and practices as I recognize that my inputs have direct or indirect outcomes seems essential. Be aware of the self as a part of a local, domestic and global community encourages me to adjust and positively impact my life’s choices.

Of course, these principles are just templates I aspire to eventually master, maybe one day.

Meanwhile, I am practicing.

What are some of your important principles?

©️ Daphne Mia Essiet, 2014

#TheOnlineShoppingCase

20140619-165609-60969737.jpgI my name is Daphné and I’m addicted to internet browsing: I can honestly say that I’m wasting countless hours looking for new clothes, shoes, accessories, make up, books, cute animal videos, TED talks, and everything else under the sun. Instead of doing what I ought to do, I often feed my addiction by consulting my daily Ebay’s recommandations… And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who feels like my time should be used more productively.

I strongly believe women shouldn’t be judge so much on appearances. Yet aren’t we socialized to do so? Is it a way of controlling and keeping us *women* busy, away from our greater purpose? Is it robbing us from our potential, our power? These are recurrent questions that pass through my mind…

When the internet is down or I lay on my bed and wait for Morpheus to knock on the door, wondering why, such an unexplainable excitement flows through my veins as I think of a bodycon midi dress that has just been shipped… or when I open the gate and a package is patiently waiting for me: is this really real?

Sounds familiar? Well, well, well… All I can say is to not be too harsh on ourselves as we seek strategies to pull away, and get back on track to greatness.

Disclaimer: my ideas and opinions are subjected to change as I go through this beautiful thing we call life. You can help me shape my ideas by commenting and sharing your own perspective, as long as it is done in a respectful manner. I am looking forward to hearing from you!

©️ Daphne Mia Essiet, 2014

I am a graduate!

photo(3)I am curious. I like to know why things work the way they work, people act and think the way they do. My quest for knowledge is driven by my fascination for understanding.
 
Every new experience is an opportunity to adjust and strengthen my beliefs and grow accordingly.
 
When I decided to switch majors a few years ago and chose to get into the science of health and nutrition (a concept that seemed interesting enough at the time), I had not done much research; yet, my impetuous nature got the best of me, so I run with it; I do not regret it.
 
I am extremely glad I am graduating. If 10 years ago one had told me will come the time I would obtain a 4-year degree, I don’t know if I would have believed them.
 
Over the years I have learned so much, especially in the field of science. It opened my soul to a greater cognitive awareness and allowed me to see the world like never before: one of the most valuable skills I have acquired is the ability to critically think about the information that is presented to me and challenge it, for reliability and accuracy.
 
I have been thinking on what my next move will be. I might want to get a master’s degree, eventually. I also have other projects I would like to work on… I just have to pick one, commit and to bring it to completion.
 
Whatever it is I feel it is going to be epic. Congratulation to me and to all the graduates: Bravo!!!

©️ Daphne Mia Essiet, 2014

10 Years.

February 12, 2004,

10 years ago, today, I was landing in JFK Airport.

It took me a little while, but I finally found my friend Hichem. He had come to pick me up by car. Back then, we were allowed to carry up to 72kg of luggage (around 160lbs), so my bags were quite heavy.

We drove through Queens. It had been snowing and it was definitely colder than Paris. I remember Jay Z playing on the radio.

He had arranged accommodation for me in the city, midtown. I rented a room for $400, small but conveniently located. He helped me carry my luggage up the stairs, introduced me to my host, R., and went on his way.

It was still quite early, so R. and I went for a walk all the way through Times Square (we were by the Lincoln center).

It wasn’t my first time in New York. But this time was special. This time was for “longer”.

I came here with no plans. There were things that I wanted to do but was too shy and not ready…

$1000 in my bank account, some clothes, shoes…

I bought some books, a Sony cassette/CD player and a few bootleg CDs on 125th. Alicia Keys, Usher. Can’t believe it’s been 10 years.

It is like looking back to someone else’s life. All I have been through…

©️ Daphne Mia Essiet, 2014

Intox vs detox

Many tend to rationalize the things others say and/or do according to their own standards and past experiences, myself included. I cannot deny that personal values blend with “statistics” help us assess our surrounding and navigate through the world the best we know, but could systematic assumption harm our good judgement? Or how could we become more understanding of others, and able to communicate better? Most importantly, decipher valuable information from white noise.

Compassion and active listening seem to be great tools and qualities to work on in order to shape healthier relationships.

It takes time and effort but I believe it is beneficial for everyone. I’ll try to work on that in the future- wish me luck!

#FoodForThoughts.

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©️ Daphne Mia Essiet, 2013

It might look messy from afar…

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(Pic by Brianna Kilgore)

Like many of us, I sometimes feel depressed.

That’s why I like to remind myself how awesome my life is.

Moving to New York almost 10 years ago has been one of the most important life experiences I have ever had; and although the big apple can be a lonely place, I was able to secure meaningful relationships, and become the woman I am today.

I am mostly grateful for the opportunities presented to me, since they would unlikely have had been an option in my douce France, cher pays de mon enfance.

I am a self-made person. Remembering getting ready and dressed for school, by myself, since as young as 8 years old – and yes, this was immortalized in the school pictures, years after years…

Although I never doubt about my intellectual capacities, I never thought I was pretty enough. How can I be? I looked so different from the archetypes and people surrounding me. As a result I often felt sorry for myself, engaging in self-destructive behaviors and/or relationships.

Through adolescence I was able to manage graduating junior high and high school, getting my Baccalaureat without any problems despite the certain lack of “serious” efforts. After a year hanging at la fac d’Aix-en-Provence (University of Aix-en-Provence) and more particularly in the dorms of Les Gazelles – dropped – spending the following year in BTS for becoming a trilingual PA –dropped-, moving to Paris to work for a while– moving back down south for a few months, where I studied Tourism and operating system to work in travel agency  (that I never used)–dropped–, I finally ended back up in Paris, in search for a better future (but still no plans) – I should mentioned that “planning” is not a concept widely taught in France; or at least I am not aware of it.

Moving to New York, and most particularly accessing the higher practical American education system (and the fact that anyone, regardless of their age and without being judged, has the chance to go back to school for any career under the sun), has been without a doubt, the best thing for me.

Before abundance, I have been so far “making my mind up” and studied topics, ranging from music engineering to jazz performance and now nutrition, and still working towards my undergraduate degree (ah ah). I would never have had this chance back “home”. Matter of fact, when I first arrived back in 2004, I was already considered “too old” to go back to school.

Now you might tell yourself: what’s wrong with this one, dropping careers one after the other. Well I wonder that same thing. It’s really a mix. Sometimes, I didn’t like things anymore; other times I didn’t feel I was good enough, and got scared to fail.

Nonetheless, I keep going hoping to one day inspire someone by assuring them that I survived it all, and that all was not in vain. Who knows what the future holds?

Right now, I am a small business owner (oh I forgot to mentioned I am making awesome jewelry), working on my BS in nutrition, looking for musicians to start a band and writing a few blogs on nutrition, cooking and my experience as a French girl in Brooklyn…

I might get up depressed sometimes, and my life might look messy from afar, but I do love it and wouldn’t switch places for anything, because the journey is awesome.

©️ Daphne Mia Essiet, 2013

Keeping it Real

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I truly believe that we are the product on our environment. Hence, I refuse to put myself in a box (as pretty and comfortable as it might be for you and me) because of my “Brownness”. Neither my complexion nor hair texture truly defines who I really am as an individual.

Occasionally, most of the time actually I seem to be judgmental. However, the ones who know me best recognize I like making people uncomfortable by bringing up those topics. Those topics that spark flammable conversations, since there are no better ways for being ridiculously outrageous!

 It doesn’t always go as planned: there are the ones who see my Frenchness as presumptuous and assume it is the root for so little political correctness, I make them laugh on the inside, and sometimes on the outside too. The others, just dislike me (I think?), but I will speculate that, deep inside they think what I say is true.

 In the end, nobody really follows through my arguments, and what could have been a real interesting debate dies down, between admiration and hate – just cause I am French.

And the best part is I am only expressing a third of what’s on my mind, without any LOL to end my sentences?

What would it be if I really were keeping it real (son)?

©️ Daphne Mia Essiet, 2011

#ItIsWhatItIs

I miss France & Europe, and lately I have been glamorizing about my mother’s land the way Americans do, which is the way French (and non New Yorkers) think of New York City from watching Sex and the city, which is uncanny…

 I randomly fantasize about going back to France but then I have to reconsider: who is going to do my nails for that cheap? Bygone…

 France is different from the way it is portrayed in the medias: We do drink a lot of wine, coffee, Perrier & smoke cigarettes, eat croissants and walk topless on “La Côte d’Azur” but that’s not everything. For instance, not everyone look like Vanessa Paradis or Catherine Deneuve (look at me…and some of my French friends). What I mean by that is that it is more diversity and color than many picture. A trip to Europe should be a requirement to all American kids, so to realize there are more than what Pepe le Pew taught them!!!

 My point being that I like being French in New York and American in France. It does sound exotic (even if most time I am respectively Dominican or Moroccan)

 But, it is what it is…

©️ Daphne Mia Essiet, 2011

Intro: Where Are You From?

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“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” Audre Lorde

I guess I am not what y’all were expected.

I usually get one of the two reactions when I disclose that I am from France: “nan, you’re not!”  or “oh really?”. Then I have to give them the “look” (they call it the French look)… Who do YOU think YOU are to tell me who I Am, huh?

Then the REAL question arrises: “but where are you originally from?” – STILL the same answer: France!

Do I get it? I get this is a quite ill-informed vision some people have of France. Maybe I should wear a beret and walk around with a baguette under my armpit…

I guess they are wondering where the melanin comes from -Nigeria – but I won’t give them that pleasure. Don’t get me wrong: I am proud to be Nigerian, but don’t come at me telling me WHO TF I AM. Also, just stop asking brown people where they are from.

Since I am in a good mood, I will tell you all about meh-self today: I was born in Los Angeles, then I was brought to France where I spent 23.5 years, and been living in NYC since ’04.

So I guess I am an American-born, Franco-Nigerian, or Afropean (that sounds about right).

I hope that was helpful to you, but just so you know, it does not really informed you who I am, cause you can’t box me like that.

Peace.

©️ Daphne Mia Essiet, 2011