We had the good fortune of connecting with Janeth Benjamin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Janeth, we’d love to hear about a book that’s had an impact on you.
A book that has had an impact on me is, Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson, MD.
I first read this book when I was 20 and a few years later during the recession, the company I was working for gave the entire staff a copy. It is on my yearly must-read for a few reasons. The book is simple yet extraordinarily effective. It is a story about change and handling change. It shows us that we must be open to ‘moving with the cheese’ if the circumstances are not ideal.
My favorite line from the book is, “what would you do if you weren’t afraid?” It literally challenges us to confront our fears and do what we need to to reach our purpose. Or, find the cheese that was meant for us. As a writer and a creative, we face changes every single day. Having a mindset that is already programmed to view change as an opportunity to adjust is important in any field. I use the story in the book as a lesson when something new comes up and I need to adjust.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I write poetry. That’s the art I am most attached to and proud of. I published two collections, Bloom by 30, The Miki Chronicles in 2016, and Apri Showers in November 2020. I also launched The Poetry Box; I put together a few things that would allow poetry lovers to practice a bit of self-care while reading my book. The box contains a signed copy of my book, herbal tea, a candle, a bookmark, and a mug. The tea and candle were sourced from black female-owned businesses with self-care missions.
Through my poems, I hope to give a little hope, much-needed motivation and to ignite an unapologetic wave of self-awareness through self-reflection and remind folks to show up, authentically every day.
My second collection contains poems that answer the question, “what makes you, you?” I challenge my readers to dig deeper and appreciate the small or not-so-small things about themselves and to not be afraid of that. Nothing is easy as a creative, we have to constantly battle self-doubt but also the lingering question about if people will like your work but I keep going. I understand the weight of my purpose and someone somewhere will be impacted.
My journey is an evolving one. I am learning quite a bit along the way. I am a newbie in my field but that has not stopped me from being published and doing readings. I overcome the fear by simply showing up as myself, every single time. My biggest lesson to date is to avoid comparison. My first book was about growth and my coming into as a woman and a poet, and so I had to learn to appreciate my journey, for myself.
My story is filled with disappointment yet I am the queen of motivation. My brand is centered on faith and self-care so I will always find the words to leave you motivated and activated to become better.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I am in NYC and this city has something new every single time. A good bottomless brunch is always on the menu and one of my favorite spots is Maya, on the upper west side of manhattan with their delectable Mexican delights. Randolph Beer is also a really cool place, for a good bottomless. Manhattan rooftop bars are always cool to hang out in. Lower Manhattan by the piers also has a wide range of restaurants and hang-out sports. But I’d definitely take them to the South Bronx to visit Charlie’s and the Lit Bar. Also, to visit New York Botanical Gardens and Wave Hill Gardens.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My support system is incredible and If I were to start listing names, I would never finish. So, I am definitely dedicating this to my friends and family members who have been unconditionally supporting this journey.