Ghana: Return to the Door of No Return with Natalie Patterson (Part Two)
Welcome to Part 2 of our deeply meaningful conversation with poet, activist, teaching artist, mental health advocate, and general queen, Natalie Patterson. Join us as we discuss the inevitability of death, how generational wealth is hoarded in already privileged families, and where the journey of unlearning needs to begin for white people. Natalie invokes a call to action for white women that aren't being curious enough about the Black experience, before sharing the anchor of compassion and tenderness that teaches us all so much about life; when we can be a witness and hold space for others. We talk about the importance of making conscious decisions with your short time here and how Instagram can be a teaching tool for self-growth and pushing your threshold of discomfort if used intentionally. We then dive into the urgency of teaching critical race theory, and how pervasive denial around the horrific reality of slavery keeps American citizens and leadership “comfortable” while blindly signing children up to a false reality. You'll also hear our discussion around white guilt versus the need to be disruptive and Natalie’s comments on the ability of technology to distract us from what matters most. Finally, we hear some parting quick-fire questions so we can get to know Natalie even better; and her answers don't disappoint! We hope you can join us for Part 2 of this crucial conversation!
Key Points From This Episode:
- Natalie starts with optimism that modern humans are capable of doing what needs to be done.
- There actually are enough awake white people to shift the tide: they just aren't bold enough.
- How the steps of uncomfortable learning don't compare to the constant discomfort of living as a Black person in America.
- A call for white women to be mindfully curious about the vastly different Black lives and experiences around them.
- How just witnessing and holding space for others teaches you so much about life.
- Addressing the redistribution of wealth, hoarding, and the nature of family.
- Talking about the inevitability of death and making conscious decisions while you are alive.
- Using Instagram to stay teachable by challenging your thoughts and judgments.
- The importance of tenderness and having sounding boards internally and in our communities.
- How we can create environments where BIPOC feel a sense of safety and belonging.
- Why teaching critical race theory is vital to stop denial about the horrifying truth of slavery.
- Enduring distrust of leadership in America, who pretend these issues aren't significant.
- Touching on white guilt versus the need to be disruptive.
- The age of technology: the obsession with and love of everything but ourselves.
- How having more compassion means that everybody wins.
- Some closing questions on Natalie's best and worst words, how community and tenderness turn her on, and what she'll hear the Pearly Gates.
“Are you bringing an inherent natural curiosity about other people? Or are you just pretending that everybody's the same because we all work at XYZ company? Because, I promise you, your Black coworkers are not having the same experience at your company that you're having.” — @natalieispoetry [0:08:37]
“Are we making space to even know people fully? I think about how many people spend so much time on Zoom with each other and actually don't know anything about each other. That's unfortunate because each of these people are dynamic.” — @natalieispoetry [0:19:05]
“If we are moving towards reconciliation, we are working towards healing. If you've ever been cheated on, could you move past it if the person kept lying to you?” — @natalieispoetry [0:24:36]
“We are pretending the blueprints of many of the Fortune 500 companies in America are not built off the transatlantic slave trade. It is the same business. It's the same business model.” — @natalieispoetry [0:47:40]
“I am the same as the people that came before me.” — @natalieispoetry [0:28:50]
Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
Zoë Kors’ Links:
Zoë’s Book: Radical Intimacy
[00:00:14] ZK: You are about to listen to part two of a conversation with poet, activist, teaching artists, mental health advocate, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion leader, and general queen, Natalie Patterson. If you haven't listened to part one, I encourage you to do so. If you have, welcome back for more. I'm losing faith in humanity. I really am. I'm losing faith in white people really.
[00:00:41] NP: Okay, so I'm really challenged by this because number one, I'm not losing faith in humanity at all.
[00:00:48] ZK: Good for you. You're my teacher.
[00:00:49] NP: Part of me. I don't know how. There's no evidence, right? There's no evidence that I should be, “We can do it.” I don't know. I mean, beyond my own resilience. I think that's part of it is, I am not willing to assume that we are that different.
[00:01:11] ZK: I'm nodding.
[00:01:13] NP: Which means that we are capable, because my people survived.
[00:01:19] ZK: Yeah.
[00:01:20] NP: Because here I stand.
[00:01:21] ZK: Yeah.
[00:01:22] NP: Which means we are capable of more than we are doing, but it will take new thought. It will take different voices. It will take some people shutting up. It will take self-regulation. It will take passing the microphone, making access. It'll take sticking your neck out. It'll take being a little bit uncomfortable, right?
[00:01:47] ZK: Yes.
[00:01:48] NP: It will take these things. Also, you won't die in a dungeon though.
[00:01:55] ZK: Yeah, that's right.
[00:01:56] NP: This is the thing to orient around, it’s like, yes, all of its hard and you probably will be okay. If not, there were many people who were not okay, who died in the process of trying to gain freedom for others. If we have the opportunity to learn from them, is that not a worthy thing to die for?
[00:02:25] ZK: I was just going to say if you're going to die, that would be – That's right.
[00:02:32] NP: Let it be for the liberation of other humans, because we're all going to die. Some of us are going to die having done absolutely nothing worth living for. I pray to God, it's not you.
[00:02:46] ZK: Yeah. Thank you, I'm doing my best, doing my best.
[00:02:50] NP: That ultimately, when I sink into my heart that is the only request. Actually do your best. If you do that, I don't have any criticism of how you live. I don't have any feedback. I don't have anything, but when you certainly are not doing your best, I got a lot to say. I got questions. We want that conversation. I mean, we got [inaudible 00:03:21] awesome stuff, because the cost of it is other people's safety. Other people's livelihood, other people's ability to do what you do and take for granted.
[00:03:38] ZK: What do we do with the people who don't care? There are too many of them. There are a lot of – Listen, there are a lot of really fabulous, wonderful white people, they're trying, they see it. They're willing even in our clumsiness sometimes, even in our clumsiness. There are plenty of white people who are really trying hard to shift the tide. There aren't enough of us.
[00:04:12] NP: I think there are enough. I don't think y'all are bold enough.
[00:04:17] ZK: Give it to me.
[00:04:18] NP: My experience of allyship from white folks is really quiet. Generous, but quiet. Not thinking about not learning about all aspects of life, but just looking at the ones that you can see. I just did this whole professional development session about Black hair and all my colleagues on the call were mouths open. I had no idea, and I'm talking about the ramifications of professionalism and how your natural hair is not seen as professional, so then it's straightening your hair and doing all these things and getting a wig and weave and talking about the price of all of these things. It cost me money to come to work to be deemed professional, so then I'm not making the money that y'all saying I'm making. I'm making less than a white girl and white guy, and the Black – so when you're like, “Oh, well, I feel like you need to do more.” I'm like, I feel like I did a lot just to show up, because I didn't spend a lot of money.
What I also asked my colleagues was, how do you guys take care of your hair, which all of them said, “Oh, I basically do nothing.” Or I just do whatever I want. It wasn't spent 1000s of dollars just to come to work to be deemed professional. I think about all of those things and what I take from it is white folks don't know enough about people of color. So then y'all have learning to do. You have to leave your nice, cute neighborhoods and make some other friends. You have to visit other kinds of neighborhoods, not because you want to be voyeuristic, but because you actually want to learn, because you actually see value in other people in other ways of doing things.
[00:06:03] ZK: Right. There are a lot of people who will say, we're not wanted, we're not welcomed. We're not –
[00:06:12] NP: But the idea that you would be welcomed is ridiculous.
[00:06:14] ZK: I know. So how do we get over –
[00:06:17] NP: Yes, it's going to be today, though. That's where I go back to you, but you're not going to die. You just don't feel comfortable. That's okay. The reality is people of color are not comfortable 90 percent of their lives in this country. When white people say, but I'm not going to be welcomed, I go, “And?” Like, I love you and –
[00:06:39] ZK: I'm laughing Natalie. I'm laughing because you're so damn charming. But yes, this is serious stuff.
[00:06:46] NP: It's serious, but it's like, “No, you're not going to be welcomed, your ancestors were trash.” I'm kind of very lightly – like I love you, so – you know what I mean? I'm not trying to offend you, but we have to be in the reality.
[00:06:59] ZK: Yes, we have to be in the reality. This question I'm about to ask you sounds ridiculous, but how does a white woman learn about a Black woman and her experience without – What can we do? We're not going to march into a Black neighborhood and say, “Hi, I want to be friends with you.”
[00:07:22] NP: No, that would be weird. Highly, don't recommend.
[00:07:25] ZK: No.
[00:07:25] NP: Right. Be like, “Girl, where did you come from?” Also, it could be charming, but I don't recommend. It's a two out of 10. I don't recommend. What I would say is, for the white women who are listening, there are Black women in your environment that you treat like they are just like you, they are not. They have whole stories and histories that you know absolutely nothing about, because you don't ask, because you are not attempting to fall in love with other people who are unlike yourself. That's the task, is if you want to actually know somebody, you got to be up for, that there's going to be challenges that you're not going to understand everything I say and that everything you say is not right. It's just what you think.
So now can we come together and go, “Okay, well, what do you think about this? How do you do this? How might I do this? What is your family do for the holidays?” Not after the holidays with anticipation of something. “Oh everybody's going on holiday break, how does your family and your community celebrate?” Are you bringing an inherent natural curiosity about other people? Or are you just pretending that everybody's the same, because we all work at XYZ company? Because I promise you, your Black coworkers are not having the same experience at your company that you're having.
[00:08:51] ZK: I love that Natalie and the call to action, the call to action here is just what you said. You need to attempt to fall in love with someone that is not like you.
[00:09:02] NP: Absolutely. If you can do that, because in the attempt, right, think about this in terms of a relationship. The reason you get into a relationship is because you want to. It's about will and desire and it's compelling, but it's not easy. Relationships aren't easy and good, delicious ones are never easy.
[00:09:24] ZK: They're challenging. They're messy.
[00:09:26] NP: They’re might them easy in them, but they are not easy. Loving people who are unlike you get easier, if you're present, if you're willing, if you are compassionate, if you are empathetic. That is not foreign to your human brain, but you're not applying the same skills that you've developed other places to falling in love with the Black community, holding them in dignity and in reverence, learning from the wisdom of these people who have survived horrific things that clearly other people could not survive. Africans were chosen because of their strength and resilience.
[00:10:08] ZK: Literally.
[00:10:09] NP: Literally, this is why we were chosen. So if just to learn a little bit more about how to hold [inaudible 00:10:19], there's plenty of Black women can teach you about that.
[00:10:22] ZK: Oh, yeah.
[00:10:24] NP: Not that we need to be the teachers of something, but literally just witnessing, and holding space for other humans, teaches you so much about yourself.
[00:10:36] ZK: That's right.
[00:10:36] NP: Teaches you about all the things you can't see. So are you willing to fall in love with Black people? Are you willing to learn what you don't even know is something to learn? Are you willing to see things differently? Can we write a new story together? Does this have to be the story of Black and white people forever that y'all go and torment us and we go to try to survive and then we go – I mean, this story was played out. And really, if this is all you're living for, is to have some money, you are not living, because this world has so much beauty that has nothing to do with dollars. When we make everything revolve around that, and the commodification of everything, we have missed what we are on this planet to do, and to see and to learn and be and share. If you think about some of your favorite memories as a child, it did not have anything to do with money.
[00:11:38] ZK: None of it.
[00:11:40] NP: That's an adult concept. Which means that is not innate or inherent to our being. That is what we learned. So will you unlearn? Will you think about how to be kind, and generous and compassionate to redistribute wealth? Stop leaving your property to people who already have money. I think about this with my white friends, I'm like, “Why do your grandparents leave everything to you when they don't have relationships with you? When they don't know you and you don't really know them and there isn't this intimacy, which, yes, to preserve the family. But the family is preserved. Okay. It is preserved. Y'all figured it out. There are other people who could do so much more with what you have, but then there's the nature of hoarding.
[00:12:29] ZK: Well what is the nature of a family? Is it just the DNA? Are you just arbitrarily, I mean, if you don't have the, especially if you don't have those relationships, then what is the family anyway?
[00:12:41] NP: Really breaking this down to really understand, are these things we've just been conditioned to accept or is this a real thing? Is there substance here? If every holiday season, you're dreading the experience, there's probably some things to figure out.
[00:12:58] ZK: Some conversations to have.
[00:12:59] NP: Conversations to have and you don't have to be brave to have them. These are all the things that I think about ongoingly about how can we be better to each other? What do I have to contribute? What do you have to contribute? What is there to do here? We know there's so much work and so will we leverage and use ourselves as part of a demonstration? As part of what can relieve some of this hurt and harm and trauma? Are you using your life for something that will matter? Or when it's over will you just be like, “Oh, I worked a lot. I made a lot of money. I went on vacation.” That's really cute for Instagram, but that doesn't mean shit in real life.
That's what we have to, we really have to get to that. When you die will it matter? Will it matter that you live? Who will matter to? Only the people who lived on your street, only people who look exactly like you or like we have to really think about this and all of these things, obviously. We have a tremendous fear of death in this country, particularly and thinking about that can be very challenging and triggering, but guess what, there are so many resources to process your trauma around death. Such that when your time comes, you can go with grace and ease and you've already made a plan and you've lived a full good life.
[00:14:22] ZK: That's right.
[00:14:23] NP: But when you go, people are like, “Oh, I can't imagine a world where you don't exist and you taught me everything to keep going.”
[00:14:32] ZK: Yeah. That's beautiful. That's a real #lifegoals.
[00:14:36] NP: Right. That's what [inaudible 00:14:37]. Everybody's not like me, but if you’re anywhere like me, honey, come on, because we have too much to do to be scrolling on Instagram all day. [Inaudible 00:14:48].
[00:14:47] ZK: Yeah. That's right.
[00:14:51] NP: Yet, scroll on Instagram sometimes, because it's fun.
[00:14:55] ZK: Well, but not only that. I mean, your Instagram is worth scrolling. Your Instagram is making a difference. It's just one of the channels that you are being who you are and modeling what you model for us, the behavior and the perspective and the dharma that you model. I mean, there are – Instagram like everything else in life is a mixed bag, there are things that are worthy of indulging in and there are plenty of things that aren't, but that’s everything.
[00:15:29] NP: It's about making conscious choices around how we spend our time.
[00:15:32] ZK: Yes, absolutely. Also making conscious choices about what accounts we follow. What are we consuming? What content are we consuming? I mean, one of the things you do in the world that I'm a huge fan of and student of, is your work around body positivity. To be able to scroll through and see you, Natalie, with your brilliance, and your poetry, and your words and your message is, I mean, it's invaluable, and I would not have been exposed to you if it weren't for Instagram.
[00:16:08] NP: Thank you. I think that's the beauty of curating and being curious and being open, right? Because sometimes I follow accounts that challenge me, where I'm like, “What is going on here?” I have all the questions and all the judgments, and I'm looking at you like, what is going on? I forced myself to follow those people, so I can be a student of theirs. So I can understand what's going on and I can see them fully, I can have reverence for their existence, not just be like, oh, this is some weirdo or – right? It's so easy for us to have a judgment about how other people are living.
Can I challenge myself to when that feeling creeps up, to lean into it, to go out of my way, to learn about this person instead of just writing them off, instead of being dismissive, instead of saying, “I don't understand why you're wearing this,” or “I don't understand why you're doing this.” Everything I don't need to understand, but I do need to have reverence for, that this is a human being and this makes sense for them. So can I get close enough to it to hold it with dignity, with respect with love, with care?
[00:17:25] ZK: And knowing that they came from a certain set of conditions and a certain world and they have a certain level of mental and emotional wellness or not, and have compassion. Treat everyone you see as if they were God in drag.
[00:17:45] NP: Right. That requires tenderness. It requires a pause, that every thought you have is not dope. Some of your thoughts are trash. Can you push through that, or do you really just think every thought you have is the most valid, innovative thought ever? It's like, it’s not. This is that sense of reality, right? Do we have the sounding boards within ourselves, but also reflected in our community? Diverse thought is so important. Many of us live in a space where everybody thinks us.
[00:18:19] ZK: Right. Diverse thought, critical thinking, compassion, curiosity, humility.
[00:18:26] NP: Yeah. Dig into one of those a month. Explore the hell out of it. See if you're not a different person at the end of the month. If you say, “Okay, well, I'm going to be extremely curious. Not to the degree that I'm going to disrespect people or harm anyone else. But I'm going to be as curious as I can be.” What would that look like? If you came to work, and were like, “I'm really curious.” Instead of just, “I'm doing what someone told me to do.” “I'm actually curious about what's going on here. I’m curious about the life of the people in this room with me. These people on the Zoom call, what else is happening in their life?” Are we making space to even know people fully? I think about how many people spend so much time on zoom with each other and actually don't know anything about each other. That's unfortunate, because each of these people are dynamic.
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[00:21:22] ZK: I actually love to see people's environments on Zoom now that we're not in an office. Now that we are on Zoom, at least we can actually see what's going on. I can see the house plant behind you. I'm looking at your art, which I love by the way. It's fun to be able to see people in their natural habitat as opposed to the –
[00:21:42] NP: To know that some people are still hiding. They still don't feel safe. So they're still hiding. So that means we have not created environments of belonging. Was that ever our goal? Was it ever our goal to make sure that people felt they could belong?
[00:22:03] ZK: Clearly the answer's no. For most of us, I mean, from a society standpoint, from us, I mean, it's built into the system that not everybody is safe. That not everybody belongs. Natalie, just bring this all the way back, and leaning back into your trip to Ghana and your experience there. I'm curious. I want to touch on teaching critical race theory and making more people aware of the atrocity of enslavement, the slave trade and the experience the dehumanization of a particular race of people. Is that something that you feel should be taught? Should more people, because when I saw your Instagram, really what I wanted to do was load up the plane with a bunch of white people, take them right over and to the castle by the sea and put them in that basement.
[00:23:17] NP: Honey, my thoughts were not very different. I was like, okay, so here's the prerequisite to being my white friend. Invite them, if they want to be an ally. Okay, well, we’ll going to do a little tour and then at the end, we got to see if you really want to be ally. You want to live differently, right? That's what it requires. Yes, I think critical race theory and this learning is vital. If you don't tell the truth about what happened, we're still lying. Period. That's it. We're still lying in America. We're still pretending like slavery and these things were not horrible. They were awful and horrible and in the same way that we can recognize that the Holocaust was awful and terrible and impact Jewish people, even to this day are impacted.
We should be able to do that equally for Black Americans. It is ridiculous to pretend like it is debatable if there's still trauma in the Black community as a result of the transatlantic slave trade and hundreds of years of slavery. Give me a break. We're not debating. This is ridiculous at this point.
[00:24:27] ZK: Yeah. Agreed, 100 percent.
[00:24:30] NP: If you can fully think and are willing to, this is a ridiculous conversation. Absolutely, if we are moving towards reconciliation, we are working towards healing. If you've ever been cheated on, could you move past it if the person kept lying to you?
[00:24:44] ZK: No.
[00:24:45] NP: No, you couldn't. If you tell your boss something happened and they try to gaslight you and tell you, well, I think you misunderstood actually – you know what happens? You go to work pissed off every single day and you are looking for a new job, because you're like, I can't be around this liar. I can’t trust your leadership. This is what Black people are saying in America, ”I can't trust your leadership. I can't trust your politicians,” because we're still lying, we're still pretending like these things are not significant. We are pretending the blueprint of many of the Fortune 500 companies in America are not built off the transatlantic slave trade. It is the same business. It's the same business model.
If we can get to that understanding, and part of why we don't have that understanding is because we are not teaching people the truth. Some of what you think is based on the lie, because you haven't learned about it, because no one taught you. And I had to go and fly 24 hours away and stand in this dungeon as a Black person. I could not understand this until I was there. Well, I know as a white person, you couldn't understand it. If no one taught you and you've never been there. So it's like, yeah, so we have to learn.
[00:25:59] ZK: Yeah. Again, I'm quiet, because I'm getting out of your way. I'm sitting here for our listeners who are not watching. I'm nodding my head the whole time, nodding my head. Yes, 100 percent, everything you're saying, the very reason I wanted you on this podcast to talk about this and to educate us, to share this experience. It makes me want to write a book, or a documentary, or I can't not talk about this.
[00:26:28] NP: We have to be really curious about the motivation behind not wanting to tell the truth.
[00:26:35] ZK: Yeah. Say more. Here we go everybody just buckle up, because this, you need to hear this.
[00:26:45] NP: When something happens and we don't want to tell the truth about it, and because we want to keep doing what we know is not right. So if we don't want to educate our children, white, Black, Asian, Latino, what – if we don't want to educate our children that is to make them complicit in the future. That's what that’s for.
[00:27:05] ZK: Okay. Yes, that is the net result, but I'm not sure that's the motivation. The –
[00:27:11] NP: No. I think motivation is to be awful and make money. The motivation is to have a house in Malibu, where you access to the sun and the breeze, just like the folks who were enslaving people. They have the rest of the ocean and the breeze. When you juxtapose – that's what's mind boggling to me, is when I juxtapose these things next to each other, I'm like, it is the same right now.
[00:27:37] ZK: Yeah. No, I know. What we're saying is that, it's to stay comfortable.
[00:27:43] NP: Yes.
[00:27:43] ZK: It’s to stay well-resourced. It's to stay privileged at the expense of someone else. Even people who are like, “Well, I'm not doing this at the expense of anybody else. I'm just doing it.” The thing that is mind blowing is that there's that level of denial. There's that –
[00:28:05] NP: But there is a denial, because you are not near the destruction. You're not in the dungeon. You are in the penthouse. You think that you didn't do anything. It's like, no, you didn't intentionally, we all inherited the systems. That's why we don't need to feel guilty. That's why guilt doesn't serve us. White folks' guilt does not serve you. Motivate you, but it doesn't serve you and it definitely doesn't serve me. So knowing the distinction between, “Oh, this is awful that this happened,” and actualizing on the feelings to go “And now I need to be disruptive, because otherwise – ”
[00:28:49] ZK: Well, that's the thing.
[00:28:50] NP: I am the same as the people that came before me.
[00:28:53] ZK: That's right.
[00:28:54] NP: So when we say things like, my ancestors didn't own slaves. Okay, but you participate in enslavement now, because you [inaudible 00:29:07] my neighborhoods. You displaced people. These are the same kinds of practices, right?
[00:29:17] ZK: A 100 percent, yes.
[00:29:19] NP: There was a community called Belmar that was Black, brilliant, beautiful people. You know what the city of Santa Monica did? They burned their houses down to the ground and built hotels, so that people could be leisurely and come and enjoy this place that Black people owned.
[00:29:39] ZK: Yeah. [Inaudible 00:29:40] Beach and –
[00:29:41] NP: To this day, these Black families have not been compensated.
[00:29:44] ZK: Right. I live in Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, [inaudible 00:29:47] Beach and they just finally –
[00:29:50] NP: Returned the land and gave the family money.
[00:29:53] ZK: The money.
[00:29:54] NP: All of these years later, we just realized “Oh, that was messed up.” That means if I come to your house and I just take it. It's okay if 100 years later, I give it back. Is that okay? Like, what? It’s nonsensical when people tell me like, “Oh, I can't understand. Well eminent domain is legal.” And I'm like, “So was slavery.”
[00:30:14] ZK: Yeah. It doesn't make it right.
[00:30:16] NP: This is not like – we need to have a better moral compass.
[00:30:18] ZK: Yes. Right.
[00:30:19] NP: It was legal. We have prisons, that's legal too, and people are being treated inhumanely.
[00:30:27] ZK: Yeah. Incarcerated, wrongly incarcerated.
[00:30:29] NP: Right. We have to have more critical thinking around these kinds of things.
[00:30:33] ZK: Yeah, absolutely. Critical race theory, waking up, looking around you, looking to fall in love with someone who is different from you, being willing to be uncomfortable enough to disrupt a system and to disrupt your own life. The system that supports your lifestyle, like you can’t – I mean, I think that's a really big stuck point with a lot of people who are very well resourced and privileged is like, I'm going to go march. But I'm not giving up anything. I'm not giving up my Tesla or my Ferrari. I'm going to go and I'm going to post on Instagram. I'm going to go march, but when the rubber hits the road, I'm not willing to sacrifice anything.
[00:31:19] NP: It's superficial.
[00:31:23] ZK: Yeah. So there's a lot.
[00:31:24] NP: It's also like, are you really giving something up? Like really? Or do you have too much anyway?
[00:31:32] ZK: Well, you need to give people a spiritual life if you're going to ask them to participate in our world. That's a whole other conversation. That's another episode, but you've got to resource people in something internal, not just their external –
[00:31:51] NP: You have to have enoughness within yourself. Otherwise, there's never enough. Now you just are devouring everything, because you need more stuff. But then you're a machine, not a human. That's what machines do, but you are not a machine. So I think that's also the thing that we have to reconcile. We really love technology, so much so that we try to become it. What's happening here? The obsession and the love of everything except ourselves.
[00:32:29] ZK: Well, yes, exactly. I mean, so I have this book coming out, called Radical Intimacy: Cultivate the Deeply Connected Relationships You Desire and Deserve. So for me through my lens and my work in the world, I'm thinking all the time about intimacy. I'm thinking about intimacy with ourselves as a foundation for intimacy with others, intimacy with the world, individual relationships, systems, how we relate to groups of people. I think of and define the trifecta of anti-intimacy as denial, deflection, and distraction.
If we look through that lens, and start to work on our relationship with ourselves and look at where we are in denial with ourselves, distracting ourselves, deflecting, then we can start to get to the root of who we are and our enoughness, and our capacity to facilitate enoughness in other people, and in groups of people. Then start to really invest in care in the belonging of people who are not like us.
[00:33:54] NP: Absolutely. Having more compassion for ourselves. It's not only other people win. We all win. So we have an investment in you winning in a richer way, in a more meaningful way, but also creating space for that for other people. I always say to people, they're like, “Oh, what's your measure of success?” I'm like, “Happiness, community.” Who cares if I have all the money and nobody on the yacht with me? You can only take so many selfies. Like you got to be like, you need a different perspective. You need different conversation. You need other things and other people and new experiences, and I want to do that with others.
I want to learn about other people, their culture, how they would do something. What's their hot sauce like, I want to know all of the things. I've had to miss out on some dope food just because I don't have friends from a certain place. I need to have all the friends from all the places, because Thanksgiving, we eat the same stuff every time. It's boring now. After you get a certain age, you're like, Thanksgiving, not that [inaudible 00:35:08]. You guys, guess what? We eat the same thing, but then when you switch over, and you’re like, “We’re not doing Thanksgiving. We’re doing Friendsgiving. We gotta all bring our stuff.” Now, we have a fire experience, because we're doing it together.
[00:35:22] ZK: I love it.
[00:35:23] NP: I think that's possible for all of us, but we have to buy in. We have to opt in. We have to be willing, we have to be curious.
[00:35:31] ZK: Yeah. I love it. Natalie, I'm so thrilled. I want to do this again.
[00:35:36] NP: Again, and again. I feel like, every time we talk, we could talk for 10 hours.
[00:35:40] ZK: I know.
[00:35:41] NP: So we'll make a thing of it.
[00:35:43] ZK: I am going to ask you some questions now.
[00:35:47] NP: Okay, wonderful.
[00:35:47] ZK: Yeah, there was a French journalist Bernard Pivot. He had a show called Apostrophes. These are the questions that he ended every episode with. What is your favorite word?
[00:35:58] NP: My favorite word is fuck.
[00:36:01] ZK: Oh, yes. I knew I loved you. What is your least favorite word?
[00:36:05] NP: I don't really know that I have a least favorite word. I think that I have a least favorite feeling that words bring that when we're bringing maliciousness to language. The feeling and the energy of it, I don't like that when we use words to hurt people, intentionally. That's not it for me. So it's not about the words, but about the way we're using them.
[00:36:31] ZK: Yeah, I love that. That’s a great answer.
[00:36:33] NP: Because words are held in soft tongues. People can tell you like, “Hey, your hair looks terrible.” But they say, “My love. I love when your hair is fluffy.” Then you go, “Oh, okay.” Your hair looks crap. It looks like crap when it's like that. You're saying the same thing, but you're using a different kind of way to say that. For me, it's really more about the tone and the implications of the language as opposed to like, this word is bad. They're all whatever, because if you put an accent on it, some of the words that were trash sound great now.
[00:37:11] ZK: Yeah. That's a great answer. What turns you on?
[00:37:14] NP: Community, tenderness, integrity, sinking into the realities. I come alive from those kinds of things.
[00:37:26] ZK: Yeah. What sound do you love?
[00:37:28] NP: My Cash App going off. You got money but it's like, I’m like, “Yes.” But I also like, for real, do love that sound. I also, I love the hum in people's throats when there is no language, like that.
[00:37:48] ZK: Beautiful. What sound do you hate?
[00:37:52] NP: The screeching of metal on concrete.
[00:37:56] ZK: Oh, what's your favorite curse word?
[00:37:58] NP: Fuck.
[00:38:00] ZK: We share them.
[00:38:01] NP: But really I like them all, honestly. I think cussing is part of what needs to happen, because some things you cannot describe with anything else.
[00:38:10] ZK: I wholeheartedly agree. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
[00:38:16] NP: Attempt? I don't know. My profession is fly. I have come together with all the things that I wanted to do, but I probably will never attempt this, but I love and adore it so much is race-car driving. I love driving fast, but it's all technical and it's all the stuff that does not appeal to me – Driving fast cars. I am here for it.
[00:38:40] ZK: Awesome. What profession would you not like to participate in?
[00:38:44] NP: I would not like to be a politician. I just – it is, no, I don't think so. It's also game playing. I'm not into it. The implications on real people's lives, while you're entertaining yourself, not into it at all.
[00:38:59] ZK: Yeah. It's so complex now, at least in this country.
[00:39:02] NP: Yes.
[00:39:04] ZK: If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
[00:39:09] NP: You done good, baby girl.
[00:39:13] ZK: Very sweet. Very sweet. You have done good.
[00:39:16] NP: Well, thank you.
[00:39:17] ZK: Yeah. Thus far.
[00:39:20] NP: I’m very excited for your book.
[00:39:22] ZK: Thank you.
[00:39:23] NP: I know that it will change the world in all the ways that it should. I'm very grateful for the invitation to be fully myself, to be held and heard. I hope that your audience all of you who are listening will hear me fully, because you are seeking to understand, that is my greatest hope and I appreciate the time and space to be all of myself.
[00:39:47] ZK: Thank you so much, Natalie. We will put in the show notes all the places to find you, to learn more about you. Is there anything in particular that you want to direct people to or.
[00:39:59] NP: Go listen to my poems on my website, natalieispoetry.com. Follow on Instagram, if you're into that thing. My stories are, dare I say fire. They are really amazing. I do not post on my feed as much as I could. But my stories are the place I hang out and I talk about things and consider things and would love to be in community with you.
[00:40:22] ZK: Yeah, beautiful. I can cosign that completely.
[00:40:26] NP: Well, thank you.
[00:40:27] ZK: I adore you, Natalie. You are my friend, my teacher. We don't know each other that well, but every time we get together and have a conversation, I know you more and more, and love all of it.
[00:40:39] NP: Well, I'm so grateful, so grateful. Thanks for continuing to return to me. It's a treat and I love the conversations that we're able to have together.
[00:40:48] ANNOUNCER: Thank you for listening to this episode of The Radical Intimacy podcast. We are committed to facilitating courageous conversation about things that are hard to talk about. To support what we do, please subscribe, review and refer us to your friends. To connect with us directly visit the radicalintimacypodcast.com. To learn more about Zoe, visit zoekors.com. You can buy Zoe's book, Radical Intimacy: Cultivate the Deeply Connected Relationships You Desire and Deserve, wherever you buy books. You are worthy of love and belonging. You are enough. We see you. We got you. We love you.