What My World's Like

lessons from a jheri curl

Dec
18

written by eric fleming

shalamar
[audio:http://whatmyworldslike.com/audio/makethatmove.mp3]

I’ve been listening to an absurd amount of 70’s and 80’s jams and love songs as of late, one of which is Shalamar’s Make that Move. Aside from this song just being a jam of all jams, the lyrics really stood out to me. Shalamar stepped up into their respective pulpits, clad in shiny suits with flowing manes of jheri curl juice and preached hunties! “Make that Move! Right now baby! You only go around once in this lifetime!” The first verse begins with “So many times, by holding back I let the good things pass me by…” So simple, yet so profound as only a song from the 80’s can truly deliver.

The more I listened and did spins in the middle of my kitchen, I started to tear up, and it wasn’t from the onions I was cutting. Shalamar was sangin’ to me! I started thinking about how many times I passed on opportunities– for love, for deeper connectedness, for career– because I stopped myself with all the “what-if” questions. What if I say something and things go badly? What if we act on it and the friendship gets ruined? What if he doesn’t feel the way I do? What if people think I’m not qualified enough? What If I’m not good enough? You know…the “what-ifs.”

Why are they here? Perhaps the “what-ifs” emerged, out a need for self-preservation, to protect us. Maybe they’re seeking to keep us safe, within a container that feels familiar and free from threat.

Built-in soldiers actively looking out for us. Sounds great, right? What if by listening to those “what-ifs” we were actually harming ourselves? What if those parts of us, those “soldiers”, were no longer serving our best interests? Here’s where the “what-ifs” become problematic: oftentimes the voice driving them doesn’t represent what you stand for, or support the person you want to emerge into. In my case, more often than not, that voice is an old story from a very scared part of myself that still senses it needs to be protected. For example, growing up, I had fears of being vulnerable in front of people, so now those “what-ifs” work really hard to make sure I am protected and not vulnerable at all costs, despite the fact that openness and vulnerability are actually two values I hold very highly in my adult life. See the disparity? It’s rooted in an old need for protection that clearly still rears its head and has an influence on how I operate today. That “what-if” voice can keep me from asking out that guy I really like, or keep me from showing up to that networking event because it’s safer to stay in the small, familiar place rather than stepping into what I really long for.

These skeptical soldiers keep us small. They keep us from attaining what’s deep in our heart of hearts. What would happen if we put the “what-ifs” to the side? If we were able to silence them, what answers would be standing there, in your face, screaming for you to notice them? Would you go for that job? Would you say yes to that relationship? How have your “what-ifs” kept you small? What have they prevented you from receiving?

So let’s kill ’em all, right? Death to the “what-ifs”! Here’s a thing to note about them: they’re a part of us and some have been around, working to protect us, for a really long time. They’re soldiers. They’re standing at their post, on the front lines, and have been for years. They’re loyal. Because they’re a part of us, we can’t rid them completely. We can, however, shift our relationship with them. That voice emerged because a need somewhere is or was not being met. Start by getting in touch with what that need is. What does that part of you need? What is that part of you dying to say? Why is that part of you still around? Bringing awareness to the fact that a fear is old, or that a need is no longer present, or perhaps even that a need is presently not being met can change everything. Awareness becomes empowerment. It’s the first critical step in shifting that relationship and taking power back over the what-ifs”.

What would our friends from Shalamar have to say about all of this? Hmmmmm. Let me tell you! “…nothing is certain. You’ve got to go for it when you feel it! ….make that move! Right now baby!” I usually don’t trust people with jheri curls, but I think they were on to something here. We have one chance in this lifetime to make it beautiful, full, and magical so why not just go for it? What do you have to lose? More importantly, what are you losing out on by staying small in your “what-ifs?”

—-
Eric Fleming is a life coach based in New York City. Eric says of his work, ” I help clients make shifts when the cost is too high to stay put any longer.” His work focuses on challenging outdated notions of self, as well as social patterns that inform how we operate today. For more tips about ways to overcome your “what-ifs” or to find out more about how coaching can be beneficial for you, contact him at ejf.coaching (at) gmail.com.

the genius of the crowd

Dec
16

there is enough treachery, hatred violence absurdity in the average
human being to supply any given army on any given day

and the best at murder are those who preach against it
and the best at hate are those who preach love
and the best at war finally are those who preach peace

those who preach god, need god
those who preach peace do not have peace
those who preach peace do not have love

beware the preachers
beware the knowers
beware those who are always reading books
beware those who either detest poverty
or are proud of it
beware those quick to praise
for they need praise in return
beware those who are quick to censor
they are afraid of what they do not know
beware those who seek constant crowds for
they are nothing alone
beware the average man the average woman
beware their love, their love is average
seeks average

but there is genius in their hatred
there is enough genius in their hatred to kill you
to kill anybody
not wanting solitude
not understanding solitude
they will attempt to destroy anything
that differs from their own
not being able to create art
they will not understand art
they will consider their failure as creators
only as a failure of the world
not being able to love fully
they will believe your love incomplete
and then they will hate you
and their hatred will be perfect

like a shining diamond
like a knife
like a mountain
like a tiger
like hemlock

their finest art

– charles bukowski

“a closet is no place for a person to live.”

Dec
16



Source: Upworthy

inequity.

Dec
16



Source: Upworthy

discomfort in solidarity.

Dec
16

press play and continue to read.
[audio:http://www.whatmyworldslike.com/audio/solitude.mp3]

boarded a train in brooklyn today. the cars before the one in front of me were pretty packed, but this one wasn’t. just as i was getting on, i noticed a man covering his nose, and shortly afterwards, saw a few others clenching theirs. near the back of the car was a person covered in a coat, leaning forward, surrounded by plastic bags. there were stares of contempt, as if this person was disrespectfully sullying our commute.

when the train reached the next stop, many hurriedly moved to other cars. the thought to do the same entered my mind, but it was followed with another thought that made me pause.

discomfort in solidarity.

i was offended by the disgust some people seemed to have. not with the smell itself, but the ostensible disgust with the person emitting the smell. it occurred to me that as uncomfortable as everyone in that subway car was, no one was more uncomfortable than the person we all wanted to distance ourselves from. none of us knew that person’s story, and i’m sure very few even considered it. we know casualties of this culture exist, but despite that, we often blame and reject the individual, instead of pointing to our corrupt system as a highly plausible factor behind some of the uncomfortable social experiences we face.

in a moment, after having the thought to be uncomfortable with and not because of that person, i understood this. i understand how easy it is to enter or remain in poverty and homelessness. i understand pride and how easy it is to unnecessarily suffer because of it.

not only are so many jobs not offering livable wages, the jobs themselves are simply atrocious– repetitive, mind-numbing, body-numbing, spirit-numbing, dull. we are in a culture that seeks to numb and dull us. don’t let this system harden your heart. don’t let repeatedly seeing abject poverty and homelessness normalize those conditions. they’re not normal and they’re not necessary in a social system that is an entire human fabrication.

feel. connect. empathize. i’m all about feeling good, but there is a wholeness to the human experience that capitalism and class and media tell us that we can and maybe even should avoid. still, there is so much beauty in sometimes making the decision to suffer with people in solidarity.

“When ‘I’ is replaced with ‘we’ even illness becomes wellness.”
— Malcolm X

____
soundtrack:
above: “solitude” by derrick hodge, live today
“taiwa” by marc cary, focus
“you ain’t alone” by alabama shakes, boys & girls

disconnect.

Dec
09

make a path.

Dec
09

know what you stand for and why.

Dec
09

her response to this question…?!



“we love fear”

Dec
09

written by erykah badu

Some day I will be free of this pain. The agony of fear. I am ashamed. It is who we have become. It has given us identity. We have inherited this thing.
It lives deep within us and is there to cradle our heads like a womb we know well. It is our familiar. The pain it brings with it has become a sweet unhappiness. We have become addicted to its ways .
It brings us to our VICES that keep us in complacency. It has defined who we are when our wills retreat . It has no mercy on the weak. It has introduced us to jealousy and hatred and self loathing and greed and prejudice and racism and hate and shame. It makes us old and ugly .
It covers our heads with bags and ties our hands and brings us to our knees.
It tells lies in a truth disguise.
We FEAR.
It has taken our Power.
It has chained a Champion..
Love has been forgotten.
We have become comfortably numb.
Even our worship of “GOD “has become an act to satisfy one another.
We hate together.

But there is A FORCE.
The GREATEST OF ALL.
That which turns KINGS TO SERVANTS and changes the face of time with nothing but a choice .
It belongs to you.
It wears a simple smile.
The choice to love.
Love has the face of joy, a happy child, a giving hand.
It is made of acceptance and encouragement and sharing and compassion And forgiveness.
It Does NOT JUDGE the weak nor the poor or those who are different. It does not hurt or embarrass.

We have lived . We have adapted to fear . We have forgotten.
We are innocent.
We are Good.

Because the two ( fear and love) can not occupy the same space at once, only one of the two can be applied in a single CHOICE.
It is ours. It is a journey we walk alone.
We are accountable.

Fear will not give in to easy tho.
It wants to blame others when WE Choose NOT to love.
It is a self ran program that has fooled us into believing we Need it to be identified as one of the ” many”.

But only the few know this:

FEAR FEARS YOUR LOVE.
It will die without your energy.
It holds tight like good loving fleeting in the night .

We must Fight.
And Never Give Up.
Free me.
Free me.
Free me.

E. Badu
3/2013