Who, what, and why is ESSA Rising?
ESSA Rising is a persona, project, and provocation for building an alternative reality out of Equitable, Sustainable, Systemic Action.
Press play on the audip player above or click this link for the podcast audio version… https://soundcloud.com/user-570816041/essa_the_persona
I, Vanessa Oyindamola Oluseun Faloye, have always desperately desired making my mark on the world in all the creative, political, and just ways possible. Legacy, since I was a kid, has perhaps strangely, always been on my agenda. However, as I have grown older, I’ve shied away from the no-fucks-given carpe diem in me for a whole plethora of complicated reasons. In a nutshell: As a black woman, the world has taught me not to speak up, not to take up space, not to take risks. I look back on my youth and I miss the wild and free Vanessa that racism and sexism have stolen from me. I can see my 7 year old self learning to be quiet, obedient, invisible. I can track back the systematic suffocation of my spirit and soul, I see and feel it all. And so recently I have found myself in a prolonged period of deep sadness and mourning for that ‘stolen’ Vanessa. All I’m left with is this Vanessa who feels out of place everywhere, who is constantly calculating the precarity of navigating life as atypical and abnormal (i.e. not being the social norm). And I’ve done a pretty good job at surviving. But I mourn that other Vanessa who lives care-free in some parallel universe where systemic oppression does not exist. And yet, in the midst of grieving this realised loss… something… someone… deep down… still knocks. That other me who has been dormant for so long is finally awakening with a fire in her belly, wanting to create an alternative reality in which she is born again, in which the world hasn’t happened to her. That other me is ESSA.
ESSA, born of Vanessa, is my superhuman side of life. She, quite literally, came into supreme being on a flight from the fertile tierra de Colombia and is the unintended consequence of a number of internal tensions that I, Vanessa, have been trying to make sense of. Tensions such as: pacifism vs. militancy; online presence vs. offline privacy; work vs. life. And so ESSA is my personal paradox, she’s a spectrum along which polar opposites coexist and collaborate for a changed world. I, Vanessa, created ESSA as a persona, an alter-ego, a personified provocation. She is the person I was meant to become, I am meant to become, and that I am becoming. Through her, I live vicariously. Through her, I breathe in deep and meaningful healing and, through her, I breathe out full, oxygenated life. Through her I scream and shout. Through her I occupy space. ESSA is my fighting spirit in pure, organic, and unrefined form. She is both work and play.
ESSA Rising is a bubbling cauldron of creativity, courage, mischief, maturity, shyness, confidence, audacity, and tenacity… all simmering up to the surface. Gender pronouns = she/her, she is an embodiment of an emerging era for which the FUTURE IS FUCKING FEMALE. Like a phoenix, she rises. She rises from a burning building of structural oppression. She rises from a scorching reality that climate change is real and happening. She rises from the flames of both hot and cold anger at a world that won’t listen and won’t learn fast enough. She rises to the challenge and to the occasion because she must, because there is no People or Planet B. She rises to sift and shift the dark matters of attitude, behaviour, and belief. She rises to unravel the threads and fabric of mindset, paradigm, and status quo.
She is restless and ready to dig deep in unearthing the root causes of the western-imperialist-white-supremacist-capitalist-patriarchal-crisis that continues to threaten our entire human existence. ESSA is a witness to the sickness, a testimonial truth to power. She is Fearless. She is fyah. She is ashé. She is Black Girl Magic. She is Black Panthers militancy. She is Wakanda Forever. She is warrior princess. She is spoken word. She exists to resist. She is a calling, a call-to-action that resonates from her insides-out. She is an unapology to normality and neutrality. She is radical self, soul, and soil — sprinkling seeds of global takeover. She is the highly concentrated version of my full authentic self, flavouring a world of water. She is a siren in an ocean of rising tides and sea levels. She is a siren in a rush hour of human ignorance and inaction. She’s a hot mess with lava-like love, ready to erupt for a parallel universe, an alternative reality of past, present, and future. She is a possibility for conversation, transformation, for change — nothing more, nothing less…
She is an invitation to rise with her.