Daisy Veenstra reaches tens of thousands of young people on TikTok: ‘Self-love is the foundation’

love your self, Do it.’ This is the motto of psychologist Daisy Finstra. This phrase made a comeback in her third rap song I performed on TikTok in 2020. “How you feel, what you want to achieve, who you are, in the end it all comes down to love for yourself. Self-love is the foundation, very important.” “Do it,” she added, spurs listeners to action. “It’s not easy to love yourself. Look in the mirror, tell yourself you can be there. Do it.”

bohemian rhapsody

In September 2020, Finstra was looking for a new job as a coach and coach after studying Psychology at the University of Groningen. “I have a master’s degree in Talent Development and Creativity, so I wanted to show that I’m creative in my application.” She sang her request to the tune of Queen Bohemian Rhapsody. “Everyone knows this.” Her request went viral on LinkedIn and received a lot of positive feedback.

At the same time, she was annoyed by the photos on social media, in which women dancers in particular with little clothes get a lot of likes. “Wrong example, because girls especially experience that you obviously have to be naked and sexy.” By rap about that, you want to show that by focusing on content, you can also get likes. Her friend Mike encouraged her to post rap music on TikTok. “I was skeptical because I mainly associated TikTok with dancing kids.” Mike was already on TikTok himself. “He was 31 years old at the time. So I thought: ‘I can do that too.'”

two hundred dms

A lot of reactions are generated by rap songs and songs that talk about loneliness during Corona, how she developed breast cancer in her teenage mother, as well as about depression and suicide. “I write about my own experience and put myself in the shoes of young people in order to express their feelings.” It worked, dozens of responses show that young people collectively identify themselves in the texts. You also receive many messages. She participated in a suicide prevention campaign. When my rapping was online, on the first day I got two hundred direct messages (Direct messageprivate messages) from young people who introduced themselves in the text.

“I was so overwhelmed. I studied psychology, but I am not a clinical psychologist. Precisely because these types of messages touch me so much.” For days, she has been busy sending a personal response to everyone referring young people to a suicide prevention center and in an emergency situation to 113 (the suicide prevention phone number). In the end, I decided to close the DM function (which forwards messages from viewers to it). “Having done that, I sat on the sofa relaxed and emotional. I wanted to be accessible to young people, I felt responsible, but this was at the expense of myself.”

Discussing difficult topics

With raps and songs, Veenstra wants to make difficult topics open to discussion. “By singing about it, I give words to something difficult. It lowers the threshold for young people to talk about some feelings or problems with a friend, or to ask for help.” It lets listeners know that they are not alone in experiencing loneliness or depression. As a result, young people think: ‘I am not a stranger. And I give them advice or tell them what helps me well.”

Young people watch a screen for 6 to 7 hours a day. Veenstra wants to be a role model for them. “Young people consume a huge amount of content. Then it is important that they see different people.” Not only the perfect images that social media influencers display, but the blisters and vocals about being bullied. “I try to keep my contributions as real as possible. I know what the effect is if you only see perfect people when you feel like you’re not perfect. Then you want that too and when you look in the mirror it’s disappointing.”

‘i love me’

She believes that there is also a big taboo among young people. “You see yourself as beautiful. When I was young, my mother let me hear the song ‘Love Me’ by comedian Harry Gickers to let that sink in my teenage mind. I also try to break that taboo with my songs.” That’s why I wrote the song What If I Say. At the beginning of this year, Veenstra was awarded the Reuring Award (a press award for Positive Disorder). The jury praised the fact that it was able to reach vulnerable young people in 2021 while they were essentially confined to their rooms.

There are also negative reactions, although they rarely receive true hate reactions. “It’s often superficial comments like ‘You can’t rap’ or ‘I can hear your breathing.’ Well, I’m just a psychiatrist with a mic. So do it yourself, I guess.” In January, she flattered one of the negative comments. ‘This reaction makes me think you’re not feeling well,’ she sings to the message one of them wrote, ‘Go cook and take a shower at home, my friend.’

We are taken by surprise

“At first I was surprised by these kinds of reactions. But my friend said; This guy saw your video. He took the trouble to write a response – very negative -. What does that say about itself? If you were comfortable with your skin, you wouldn’t.” Rap is also an example for its followers. “Young people are all visible on the internet and they will all have to deal with online bullying. This is how you can deal with it.”

Veenstra publishes a rap or song several times a month. Often often, sometimes not for a while. “There should be no pressure, it usually comes naturally.” This week, I wrote a rap about aging. “When I was 21, I thought when I was 26 I would know what was going on. Now I’m 26 and I realize that sometimes everyone does something.” I also wrote a song about chasing your dreams. Veenstra herself wants to continue making music. “I think this is a nice and accessible way to reach people and explain something.”

By: National Care Guide / Marjolein Kooyman
Photo: Mike Meijer

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