On Doing What’s Right

Art by Daphné Essiet (myself – Check my IG)

Two people can do or react similarly for different reasons. Two people can do and react differently for the same reason.

Read that again.

It’s hard to tell which is which for many reasons. One: we project – we tend to empathize more with those who look like us or we relate to. We automatically side their way – the one we feel safest.

Two: conditioning. In order to survive, humans instinctively form groups and rely on patterns to know what’s safe or not; we follow the rules so we keep within the group. Unfortunately, these patterns, although accepted as facts, don’t always hold truth. That’s why it is important to understand who controls the narrative.

Three: we make mistakes. Our ego has a hard time admitting it could be wrong because it makes us uncomfortable – then, lacking comfort for too long leads to change and heighten humility. Our ego ain’t having that.

I won’t necessarily blame those who won’t challenge the status quo or « pretend » to be someone they aren’t so to be accepted, praised, liked, get liked. I can’t be mad at someone trying to do their best so they can « fit ». Been there, done that.

Honestly, I think a lot of people don’t even really know who they are, or what they like because they never really question whether they enjoy what they do or was done out of habit.

Authenticity brings alignment – that’s the type of feeling we are longing for. It takes courage to reveal your true self . Itv also comes with a territory filled with vehement hate, fueled by fear of being left behind.

Ultimately, I believe it can be really challenging to be who you truly are for some people, simply because being accepted is fundamental to our survival as a species and in order to do so, we have to comply with certain standards rooted into some sort of privilege. It’s fair to consider the reasons we have at hand to understand why people behave the way they do so we can respond in a more informed way. It is not about being right or wrong, it is about doing what is right and consider everyone’s humanity.

On Raphael Saadiq "Still Ray"

Instant Vintage, 2002

There are songs, like this one, who keep me believing; keep me believing that one day, I will make someone feel that way about me – and It’ll be reciprocated.
I guess what I particularly like about this tune is the “poetic simpledom” of it all.

Ode to happiness and bliss .

On the Way to Oz || Original Tune Exploring Mental Health Breakdown and Recovery

with my Ukulele in Central Park – Pics taken by my sister Roxane

“On the way to Oz” deals with how familial and societal pressure contributes to mental health breakdown – and the role of community and empathy into the road of recovery.

Live version of “On the Way to Oz” – Daphné Mia Essiet © All rights reserved.

Lyrics:

There are places we’ll never let ourself go

And to cope we drink, take drugs, have sex, and scroll 

Up and down until we numb ourselves so cold, so cold 

We pretend to enjoy things we don’t care for

And to cope we tell the world how much it cost, 

And we post until we numb ourselves so cold, so cold

Then one day, the chasm between our heart 

And the reality is so wide we can’t breathe

Then one day the pain we subject our soul

chatters our sanity way too deep 

Some believe that money will quiet their wounds 

When in fact it emphasizes their own flaws

And to cope they wander aimlessly 

in virtual reality 

We keep at it despite red flags and the signs 

Trick ourselves into contortionning our mind

Fool ur friends and hide in plain sight

Til we no longer can lie

Then one day, the chasm between our heart 

And the reality is so wide we can’t breathe

Then one day the pain we subject our soul

chatters our sanity way too deep 

There’s a way to get back t yourself

It’s not easy but

You gotta let it go

And if you want

We can hold each other’s hand

On the yellow brick road

On our way to Oz

And if you want

We can hold each other’s hand

On the yellow brick road

On our way to Oz

You can download a version on my soundcloud

Daphné Mia Essiet © All rights reserved.

https://linktr.ee/daphnemiaessiet

On D’angelo One Mo ‘Gin

From Voodoo released on January 25, 2000.

Produced by D’Angelo
All vocals performed by D’Angelo
Vocal and musical arrangements by D’Angelo
Bass: Pino Palladino
All other instruments: D’Angelo

Probably one of my favorite tunes on d’Angelo second studio album, Voodoo released 20 years ago, in 2000.

The intro is just a well-thought out foreplay to the song – and the layered vocals turn this particular performance into this almost elusive yet haunting feeling of golden love making – many can relate 👀

It is almost as if one could taste the compounded desire in their own mouth on this one, *while you sing or recite along’.

D’Angelo really makes cheating sound sexy.

Dayum.

Poetry – “Race” by Elizabeth Alexander

Elated Strokes #310 – Art By Daphné Essiet

“Race is neither biological fact nor dismissible fiction, but an unwieldy set of narratives that Americans live inside.” – Stephanie Burt

I fell down the rabbit hole that is the Poetry Foundation Website… Mind you I was just supposed to check out something – and go back to sleep – cause yes, I am jet-lagged…

I ended up reading this great Elizabeth Alexander poem titled “Race” on the topic of “Passing”. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, this refers to a person of African descent who has caucasian features/hair texture and is “passing” as a white person.

I never had heard of that word or the concept before watching The Human Stain then later reading Kate Chopin’s Désirée’s Baby in college.

If interested, you should also read  Stephanie Burt analysis of the poem which was very insightful and throughout. You can find it here

On Jill Scott – Crown Royal on Ice

From The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3 released on September 25, 2007.

*Please avoid listening while driving or operating heavy machinery.

That snippet is as delectable as the breuvage, and may even burn the tip of your tongue, if not listened carefully.

I’m usually more of a Hendricks and Tonic kinda drinker, but I guess “Crown Royal” sounded better in a song.

It “almost” made me reconsider my (life’s) choices; although I doubt she is talking about whisky 🥃…

Most definitely for grown folks.

My Poetry Book on Amazon + FREE download !!!!

I am not sure I ever advertise the fact I had self-published a book on Amazon this past July 2019.

Well here it is. I’ll share a little bio with you and if you scroll down to the end, you will be able to download a free sample, and some video I made – and all the way, if you wish to support, I put the links by countries!

“On Love and Lust and Everything in Between is originally a series of 4 short thought pieces Daphné wrote between 2015 and 2016; the reflections triggered her creative-writing bone and she started to write prose as blog entries. Daphné always read poetry growing up and specially loved Baudelaire, De la Fontaine and Verlaine. However, it is when she started to read Maya Angelou and Nikki Giovanni that she realized her words sounded too like poesie. In September 2017 she took a poetry class through Interactive Poetry Workshop in City College lead by JP Howard, curator for Women Writers in Bloom Salon, and performed live for the first time her poetry. Still too shy at the time, she focused her effort on performing her music and songwriting, but kept filling blog entries. At the beginning of June 2019, she realized she would be able to self-publish through Amazon – that same day she decided to “go for it”. For the three days straight she sat in front of her computer to curate 50 of her poems, format a book, design and create her cover in Illustrator. The result was a 123 pages of content mainly revolving around self-discovery of a woman”

Free Sample

Thank you for your time!

SHOP HERE

On FriendZone by ThunderCat (2017)

From Drunk, released on February 24, 2017

Happy Post Valentine’s Day! I hope you had a great time.

Unrequited love and/or attraction is a cold place to be in, literally; and it happens to the best of us.

I’ve been that friend, but I have also been “friend-zoned”, ghosted and ignored.

One thing I can say is that this shit hurts like a mofo [Larenz Tate Voice] – you pace back and forth, stomping on our ego – and if you are not careful, you will think it has something to do with you, when in fact, the Universe always has a plan.

Somehow, this song feels this was a true story. Unfortunately, even if being one’s « biggest fan » is good, it is NEVER good enough! Either you are a fan or you are not, and if to think this should make a difference there may have been ulterior motives, which tends to end badly most of the time. I’d say the bullet was dodged from both side.

I really love Thundercat’s music and really like that song, He is one of the few artists I would just purchase their album without previewing. Once listened to it repeatedly from Melville to my house, this was a great ride. I event went to see him performed by myself – what a treat.

I’ll end up by asking if we could agree that despite the hurt caused, this was the ground for inspiration which lead to the song, or is it me being selfish?

On Being an Intellectual

I recently spent some quality time in France with family – I was staying at my grandmother’s house. One day we we had a disagreement and she said to me I was “such an intellectual” – she said it the same way republicans call you a “liberal”. I laughed things off and kept it moving as I usually do: to deflate the hurt a kin inflicts others when themselves are in pain.

To say the truth, I was annoyed at first, but then got curious about why she thought that voicing my opinion was a problem. It took some time, but after thinking about it for a while I came to some conclusion of my own. Every time I had felt powerless in front of injustices was when I did not know how to respond to attacks – which as a result had made me angry. So, I am constantly trying to educate myself on issue pertaining to feminism, racism and the like – because it felt empowering: in other words analyzing and instructing when feeling attached is my “defense mechanism”.

I had heard about Anna Freud’s theory on defense mechanisms for the first time a few months prior by watching The School of Life‘s episode on Psychoanalysis. I decided to find out more. Turns out that what made the most sense to me, according to this theory, was that I may champion at “Intellectualization”. 

According to Freud, intellectualization as a psychodynamic defense mechanism refers to an emphasized focus on facts, logic, and abstract reasoning to assert control over and reduce unpleasant emotions associated with internal or external events.

Yes, this made sense. I constantly need to know why things happen the way they do.

I tend to seek explanations to any and every out-of-the-ordinary-situations that may affect me – and by extension, others like me. I even wrote a poem about it:

When I feel threatened, my brain automatically fires up into “Overthinking” mode . Rationalizing helps me to calm down in stress-inducing circumstances. For instance, if someone felt entitled to say something out of line or mean to me, instead of reacting, with the tools that is knowledge, I can logically respond: I am only able to do so when I am educated on a topic. That say it does not mean you’ll be able to convinced the person in front of you – since facts are not enough to convince people!

In my research I also found out that there were a biological aspects of defense mechanisms: In short, the very ancient part of the brain called amygdala is responsible for triggering the sympathetic nervous system – which is responsible for the fight or flight response. Once that type of stress is triggered, there is no switch to turn it off on its own. Our only option to “calm things down” is to activate its counterpart, the parasympathetic system. There are efficient ways to do so, including walking in nature, breathing and meditation (more here). I should also mention that eating, although it is not mentioned,  triggers the parasympathetic system: oh that’s why, when we are upset your freewill is highjacked and your are uncontrollably drawn to the Ben and Jerry bin int he freezer!!!

Reflecting on this helped in many ways. Firstly, I learn ways to manage even better my anxieties by understanding how they arise; it also brought lots of empathy towards myself and others – in finding out there is a part that is rooted in “instinct” and early childhood experience – hence very hard to control. I am grateful I was able find some insight and happy my grand mother initiated this introspection.

On Glenn Lewis – Your Song (for you)

From “World Outside My Window” released on March 19, 2002

One of my friends once, jokingly said while listening to that tune, that he believed #StevieWonder had probably shut down Glenn’s career.

If you have ever heard that song, you may think this is funny (I did) even tho, it is very unlikely.

Since that day, every time I hear that tune, this pops into my head; although, according to this logic, there should have been others.

I wonder what happened to him… like fo real.

The Power of Edutainment: Law & Order SVU

Who would have thought that a show with a single prominent theme could run for over 20 years? Well, “Law and Order – SVU” premiered on September 20th, 1999 on NBC and became on September 27th 2019 the longest-running primetime drama!

I have to say that Mariska Hargitay and her team of detectives are some of my favorite peeps to watch on TV, week after week, in their attempts to make the streets of New York City a safer place.

What never seem to amaze me is that the number of stories of violence made against children, young girls, teenagers and women (and occasionally men) is so copious the writers of the show never seem run out of “inspirations”: numbers are staggering.

No doubt in my mind it helped shift our perceptions around the epidemic of sexual assault and domestic violence, and hopefully made a difference in how we perceive survivors. By showcasing the trauma endured by victims having to maneuver through the justice system, pointing out how abusers operate and cunning they can be, among other things… the show has allowed millions of viewers to get acquainted with the reality of assault victims but also the job of detectives.

In my opinion, L&O also contributed to the fight against the crimes of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking by giving us the tools to recognize it and the language to describe + “normalizing”, if you will, the process of reporting it. It opened the door to discussions we never would have had if not for it. Moreover, episode after episode it persistently delivers a potent truth: It is not Victims’ fault.

the “Duluth Model” Power and Control Wheel

There has been advancement and I want to stay hopeful for the future even if we still have a long way to go as women’s bodies are continuously under attack, attempted to be shamed, controlled, policed and silenced by men, women, the justice system and institutions.

I hope to see even more men getting involved and take responsibility to dismantle the system they put into place and benefit from – maybe a place to start can be Marishka’s foundation website, the Joyful Heart Foundation, and read its insightful report Defining Manhood for the Next Generation – which main goal is to offer “greater insight into how young men’s understanding and definition of manhood, the role of men and women, and sexuality and sexual orientation so to navigate authentically building upon the positive underpinnings of masculinity to promote an aspirational view of masculinity and change attitudes about manhood.

Here are a couple excerpts:

” While many young men state that gender equality and the respectful treatment of others are priorities, the views some hold regarding gender, gender roles, sex, and sexual assault underscore the challenge to catalyze a cultural shift. Too many young men refuse to push back against and outright disagree with antiquated and dangerous societal norms.”

“One out of every four young men does not disagree that the victim is to blame in cases of sexual assault.”

Even if this report focuses on young men, it highlights many beliefs that may be carried on in adulthood *This may explain why some people still defend predators* – so it is worth for everyone to take a look at.

NO MORE PSA “Speechless” 30 second Campaign

To me, violence against women starts when we tell little girls to be “good”, little boys “don’t act like a girl”, and we fail to cultivate empathy and compassion within our communities. Shows such as Law and Order SVU, demonstrates the consequences of our shortcomings. A conscious form of edutainment in its attempts to bring awareness. It created a launching pad for change, and combined with people’s efforts and truly hope it’ll minimize even further the stigma and shame associated with sexual and mental abuse.

Get help:

The Hotline® – National Domestic Violence Hotline

National Network to End Domestic Violence

6 Different Types of Abuse

The Duluth Model – Domestic Abuse Intervention Program

#MeToo Movement

Additional material:

How to Overcome Trauma & Self Compassion from The School of Life

The Baggage Reclaim Sessions Podcast and Blog by Natalie Lue – on Relationships and Boundaries

The Power of Vulnerability TED TALK by Brené Brown

On Women’s Brain, Brain Food and Mental Health – *Bilingual Post – Français & English*

Bilingual Post French/English

Un de mes podcast préféré s’appelle #KwikBrain avec présentateur et spécialiste de l’apprentissage @jimkwik.

Chaque fois que j’écoute son podcast, je me cale confortablement et prends mon cahier de notes puis je réfléchit ce que j’apprends pendant l’episode et essaie de partager.

Je decide donc aujourd’hui de parler – en français (je pense que pas tout le monde parle l’anglais) de l’episode avec docteur Lisa Mosconi neuroscientist et neurologiste, fondatrice de #WomenBrainIntiative, .

Elle nous explique que les femmes sont plus sujettes aux risques liés aux maladies mentales que les hommes. Par exemple les elles souffrent deux fois plus de dépression/anxiéte, 3 fois plus de maladies auto-immune, maux de tête, tumeurs du cerveaux, etc… De plus, 2 patients d’Alzheimer sur 3 sont des femmes.

Cela est du, elle explique, en partie au taux de changement d’hormones notamment en pre-ménaupose/ménaupose. On commence a peine a s’interesser sur la question. En tant que femme, et avec ma formation de diététicienne je suis très intéressée sur la question. Je donc viens de commander son livre “Brain Food” dont je ferai la revu très bientôt.

En attendant pour les personnes bilingues, vous pouvez écouter l’épisode 88 de Kwik Brain sur les applications de Podcast ou sur Youtube “What You Need to Know about Women’s Brains” Je mets tous les liens dessous!!!

English translation:

One of my favorite podcasts is #KwikBrain with host and “brain specialist @JimKwik. Whenever I listen to this podcast, I sit down comfortably and take my notebook, then I reflect on what I have learnt during the episode and share.

Today, I have decided talk about in French (for those who do not speak English) and English of the episode with neuroscientic @Dr_Mosconi founder of #WomensBrainIntiative . 

She explains that women are more subject to the risks associated with mental illness than men. For example, they suffer twice as much from depression / anxiety, 3 times more from autoimmune diseases, headaches, brain tumors, etc. In addition, 2 out of 3 Alzheimer patients are women. This is due, she explains, in part to the rate of hormone change, particularly during pre-menaupose / menaupose. 

We’re just starting to get involved in the issue. 


As a woman in my late 30s and with my training as a dietician, I am obviously very interested in the issue. I just ordered his book “Brain Food” which I will review once I read it.

Please check Episode 88 of Kwik Brain and all the videos I posted!

#MergingIntoMyself – A Repost from the past.

Here’s a reading of a poem I wrote on this blog, a while back – called #MergingIntoMylself – that made it to my poetry book – “On Love, and Lust, and Everything in Between”. If you enjoy my poetry, and would like to support, please scroll down and click on the link below, pick your country and order a copy on Amazon. You also can sign up to my mailing list for my monthly newsletter. Tell your friends and ask your local independent bookstore to check me out and maybe order some copies!

#MergingIntoMyself – Excerpt from my Poetry Book

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.

Everyday, I look at mySelf. Everyday, I am one step closer. Everyday, I am grateful For the joys and the pains and the hardships I’ve been subjected to. I’m emerging and #MergingIntoMySelf…

Daphné Mia Essiet © All rights reserved.

Mailing list: http://bit.ly/36OYat3

Order a book: http://bit.ly/2YIisoc

Check me: https://linktr.ee/daphnemiaessiet

On Self-Actualization

A day in Goa

Awareness is the first step at dismantling who “you are” so you can become your true self. Without it, you can stay parked in the dream, indefinitely.


Once you are aware that, until then, outside forces have played a huge part in shaping your existence, you can finally “move on” – but not without going through stages of grief first, of course; because even if it can be a relief to realize you didn’t get where you are “on your own”, you are now to embark on a journey with yourself. Take a deep breath.


Once you’ve accepted that it’s now up to YOU to merge into “yourself”, you will need the courage to challenge everything that comes your way – from your tastes to your acquaintances, and everything in between. It will be tough at times, and it can even take you a lifetime to get to the bottom of it – But that’s what’s beautiful and worth it.

In my opinion, Self-actualization is the ability to constantly recalibrate into a better version of yourself. Grit if you will. When you have that mindset, you become unstoppable.

#OnSelfActualization

Diem Perdidi

written 01/23/2013

IMG_1524

The pesky sound on bald walls bounces, pulling her out

The rabbit hole she would have loved to spend the day.

There he is, striking a pose, majestic and proud,

 

Waiting on her next move, alert, carried away,

Purring louder than cicadas under hot sun.

She acknowledges his presence, so he slips away.

 

Now, her steps he precedes all the way to the kitchen:

Her heart he knows is wrapped around his little paws!

On her bare feet, he jumps, initiating fun…

 

But time is running out and the sun’s heading west

Faster than hungry lions hounding a gazelle.

She does not like her job, though tries to do her best;

 

Ultimately, ends up leafing through her new Elle

Magazine. She doesn’t even read the captions,

Instead studies models’ perfect figures: she dwells. 

 

She yearns to become the center of attention,

Out-of-reach beauty standards set by society,

While deep inside she longs for appreciation

Slowly exasperates deep insecurities.

What is a girl to do among fair goddesses?

Maybe there are details she might have overseen?

Deep down inside there are issues she must address:

Is superficiality more important than

Women’s souls, discounted by the freedom of the press?

 

It’s 5 o’clock: no time to think, just time to thank

The Universe, and forget how imperfect she is.

Gin and tonic tonight will numb her aching brain,

And maybe distract her from things she thinks she missed.

Back home, she lies in bed and snakes between the sheets

Without even undress, in her clothes she will sleep.

She drifts off in second, don’t even count sheep.

Decelerated dive down in her rabbit hole,

Another worthless day: a diem perdidi –

Unable to be claimed nor remembered, that is for sure.

 

#ForAllIntentsAndPurposes

I am thrilled by the thought
Of getting closer
To You
Even tho
#ForAllIntentsAndPurposes
Distance is best

I am thrilled by the thought
Of addressing
You
Even tho
#ForAllIntentsAndPurposes
Silence is best

I am thrilled by the thought
Of sharing fluids
With You
Even tho
#ForAllIntentsAndPurposes
Virtuality is best

I am thrilled
By early morning thoughts
Of You
Warmly rushing through me
Soft and easy

It does the trick
#ForAllIntentsAndPurposes

©️ Daphné Mia Essiet, 2018

#MyMissionStatement

IMG_2902

Textured and imperfect
An unlikely blend of spices and scent
A delectable lack of comfort
Enticing of some sort

Can’t really be placed
Or even replaced
by familiarity

Will borrow your breath
Gently let you rest
But just for a sec
Get used to it.

I write
to resolve the tensions
My sensible soul has created
From so much uncertainties

& soothe those
who can relate to
My hopes, fears and dreams

#MyMissionStatement

©️ Daphné Mia Essiet, 2018

#KissAndMakeUp

There is something to be said about
The way you think of others
The way you feel about them
It teaches you about yourself

Your insecurities & soft spots
Your biaises & blind spots
Are you aware of
Your Priviledge and whatnot?

Perfection has never been a requirement for Love
Being loved
Or Self-worth

So cheer up and give yourself a break
It’s time to #KissAndMakeUp with yourself

©️ Daphne Mia Essiet, 2018

#RealTalk

Regardless of how painful they may be
The quicker you can find a way to turn your trauma and hardships into learning experiences
The sooner you will be able to enjoy your life at its fullest

#RealTalk

©️ Daphne Mia Essiet, 2018