Thursday, December 08, 2011

The Mantra

I never walk the streets, think it's all about me
Even though deep in my heart, it really could be
I just try my best to like go all out
Some might even say yo shorty black you're buggin' out-
Phife, Buggin' Out

By way of the ridiculously creative mind of one person I know, I found the blog post of another ridiculously creative person I know. And it struck a chord. Took me back to a place I was a couple of years ago as I approached New Year 2008. I dubbed it my year of Tyler Durden. Then I fell off. Way off.

"Wherever I go, ego." Damn, Nicholas Payton. That's it. You put your finger right on it.

When I started the exploration of my concept of "a knick-knack life," the way I described my lack of self-importance apparently came across in such a way it overshadowed that I also clearly stated my belief that I, and others for that matter, are unique and marvelous.

One of the best compliments I ever received...because I thought it fit me to a "T" was from an attorney friend who told me I was "neither fungible nor interchangeable."

I was tipsy from drinking Grand Marnier at the time, but once he explained what it meant. I thought, then said out loud, "Damn right." I really should start drinking Grand Marnier again. It never fails to bring me to a transcendent plane, but I digress.

As I was saying, I never heard it quite that way, but I embraced on the spot that was exactly who I was. It also greatly raised my opinion of the person who said it, because I feel like very few people get me and I was mightily impressed he did...but again, I digress.

Nicholas goes on in his blog to say:
"I never got why when people said someone was “tooting their own horn” it was a bad thing. Isn’t that what my horn is for? If I am not to toot my own horn, then who?"

and then:
"Why can’t we say what we are anymore without “people” feeling threatened?"

and:
"I’m convinced that in the long run, the passive approach bites you in the ass. You must claim what’s yours. Nothing is given, not even to those who deserve it."

and:
"Don’t lower your leg to make the other dancers comfortable, lift that leg as high as possible and make them stretch themselves up to your level.
They’ll hate you for it in the beginning, but in the end, they’ll be better off for it."

Now these are the passages that resonated for me. I was perhaps on the verge of it, with the whole Tyler Durden pop culture thing I blogged about to start 2008 [was it really that long ago?]. I understand popular culture to be a rich mine from which to take references that easily resonate for others.

So I started with Tyler Durden and "if you want to make an omelette, you've got to crack some eggs." I still stand by that. If you're going to do anything worthwhile, you have to accept you must disrupt the status quo writ small or large.

I think was on the path to step into the personal light that Nicholas puts out there in such a poetic way (no surprise there- sitting in band class with him learning music from his father Walter Payton, we were all pushed to find and then perform the version of greatness that was within us...so I probably started drifting off when I stopped feeding my kinetically creative side and why I miss it like amputees describe the loss of their limbs, but again I digress).

The reason that phrase "neither fungible nor interchangeable" exactly captured who I am is that I already know that there "ain't nobody bad like me." I know this. I just think it's true of other people as well. That's what I meant by ordinary. Ain't nobody bad like me, and ain't nobody bad like every individual I encounter. And therefore to me, that fact is unremarkable, but I did not mean to imply I thought I was insignificant-I'll have to check and make sure I didn't use that word. [By the way. next time I'm going to cut-and-paste in a exchange I had on facebook about my spiritual perspective because it completely relates to all this, but let me finish this blog's thought...]

My issue has never been that I don't recognize my own uniqueness and marvel at it. My issue has been 'tooting my own horn.' [at this point, if you haven't already gone to the link and read Nicholas' post, you should because I can't keep stopping to paste in quotes].

I was satisfied that those who really knew me, would see me. But instead in fact, I think I was not being "unapologetically myself"at all times, but only when I was alone or safe with the handful of people who I thought understood me. I think that's all wrong not the least of which because it presumes only a small number of people will understand me. It's not my job to coddle or protect people who don't get me from who I am, full on. It might chase some away, but really, they have work of their own to do. It might delight others and give me the opportunity to expand my community. And, as Nicholas noted, it might even kick some folks into their own high gear.

Nicholas suggests we should all have a mantra:
"It’s not boasting, it’s an affirmation of what is possible when we exercise right effort with consistency. This is about the right for me to say what I want to say in the way I want to say it. The mantra you repeat is what you will bring into your existence...'It ain’t bragging if you can do it.'
Unless we put forth the mantra we want the world to repeat back to us, it’ll never happen."

In my young womanhood, I had a mantra. But I only acknowledged it to myself. I'm pretty sure, though it clearly manifested itself to other people, because I was then and remain consistently authentic.

Referencing another one of those popular culture adaptations I like so much, even before it was a plot line in an episode of "Ally McBeal," I had a theme song. And I was seriously into my theme song, I heard it in my head all the time.

If you knew me then, it will not surprise you to know it was (and to some degree remains) :


But it's time for me to state my mantra in my own terms and live in it consistently.


Guess what? I'm a bad bitch and you'll love it.

Surprised? You shouldn't be. But if you are, it's because I haven't been 'tooting my horn' as I consistently as I should...








1 comment:

Laura Pakes said...

Baby Elephant Walk from Hatari! is my theme tune.

"I'll find out when I get there" and Luke 1:37 my mantra's.

I'd temporarily forgotten this.

Thank you.