Pause On The Play Ep 7

Hello, as always, and welcome back to Pause on the Play. This is Erica Courdae, and as always, it's amazing to see you here where you are challenged to examine your beliefs, question your predisposed notions, and consider realities you may be unfamiliar with in order to understand that they too are real. I am your host and conversation MC for the day here to get the dialogue going.

I don't know if you've been watching me over on Instagram this week, which, if you are not, I need you to come over and visit because I like to have a conversation, @ericacourdae, and what we've been doing is having some real and open conversation around imperfect allyship. And I think that there is this misconception around what it is and what it isn't, at least within my space.

It's interesting because it's one of those things that I don't think it gets talked about in context. I think it's something that people just kind of talk about and like, "Oh, it's something to aspire to," or, "It's something to just kind of consider and I'll figure it out at some point or I will reach that pinnacle one day," and that's not really what it is.

I'll give you a little bit of context. Again, you know I like having conversation, and for me, I really like talking with people to see what the thoughts are around things. And I've had a number of people over the past few months, and I've talked about allyship, and I've asked questions, and when I talk about it, it's kind of an interesting thing to me to find out that there's a lot of people that tend to just feel like, "Well, I'll be able to do this when I've done this amount of work," or, "Maybe I will be good enough to be considered an ally when I have done," fill in the blank.

And there's this misconception that allyship is an if this, then that.

When I do this, then I can consider myself an ally, as if there is this list that you can check off and do and then you're good. Now, are there things that need to happen? Absolutely. There's work that you need to do, there's awareness that you need to gain, there is shifts that need to happen around your mindset, the way that you think, feel, act, the way that you move through life. But there is no, "I have now ticked all the things off and I'm good." That's bullshit. That's not how this works.

And I actually don't really want you looking for this allyship gold star. I want you starting today and moving in imperfect allyship. What is that? Imperfect allyship is space for you to say, "I am not perfect, I am a work in progress. I see that the work that I am doing exists because there's a lot of work that needs to be done. There's a lot of things happening that shouldn't be happening. There's a lot of people that are marginalized and are receiving treatment that they shouldn't be receiving, and they're limited in ways that they should not be limited because of a societal indicator. Therefore, I am going to take my platform, my privilege, and these things that I take for granted, and utilize them for breaking down these barriers and trying to be a force for good and change."

And so, you see it, and therefore you work on it, now. Not when it's comfortable, because I am not someone that believes that shame is really a way to kind of motivate. I don't think that if I come in and I tell you that you're a dirty racist that that's going to motivate you. I absolutely don't believe that. However, I do want you to have the awareness around the fact that you may feel some shame that does not come from me or anyone else putting that on you, but you may feel it because you begin to realize what you've taken for granted, that many other people don't have that same space to do that.

And so, you're seeing, "Oh, this is where change needs to begin to happen."

And you step into this place of saying, "I'm going to do this before I feel as though I'm ready, because me trying to be more comfortable, me wanting to never be uncomfortable, feel discomfort, feel shame, me being willing to put that on the back burner in order to put doing the work first." That's what being an imperfect ally can look like.

It means that you're willing to speak up, even if you don't feel as though you have the perfect words around it, but yet you're still willing to show up. It means that you are willing to say, "I am not okay with X, Y, Z, and I'm not going to be okay with you doing or saying these things and me being quiet and complicit anymore. And I'm going to speak up. And I may not get it perfect, but I'm willing to try. I may say something that isn't perfect, and I just might offend somebody, but I'm willing to say, 'I apologize, I'm sorry. This was not my intention. I did not mean to,'" fill in the blank.

I want to do better going forward and I hope to be better in my allyship. Is there any way that I can do better? And not from a place of do my emotional labor, but genuinely from a place of saying, "I didn't mean to do anything in offense. How can I move differently next time?" Because just like anything else, none of us start at a place of perfection, we all come from a place of learning. Having that curiosity and that desire to learn is what keeps you open. And this idea of I know it all and I'm good, that's BS. There's no such thing.

We all have growth, we all have the potential to expand and to be better. But if you feel as though you can only do once you have expanded and you're done, well then you're never going to do it. And if you think that you can't do until this magical point comes up, this is just your way of ... I don't even know if distracting is the word. You're simply deflecting. You're not allowing yourself to show up. You're not willing to simply be and do and learn along the way.

Now, I'll be blunt, don't be an ass. Don't take it as an excuse to just literally open mouth, insert foot, just because you think that that's okay, because obviously, at that point, you're not actually being an ally, you're being an ass.

But if you're genuinely coming from a place of forward movement and seeing how things can evolve, then you're good. I would rather see you put the effort forth, and put out the vibe that you would want to receive back, and risk being imperfect, than to do nothing out of fear of being imperfect.

A child does not learn to walk by getting up and just walking. They don't say, "Oh, I'm going to fall, so I'm not going to try to do this." They get up, they fall. They get up, they fall. And for anyone who's not a parent, I have a five and a seven year old, and they still fall. That's what they do. But that doesn't mean that they don't get up and try. This idea that you can only do once you know how, there is no know how. Stop making excuses because you don't want to be unconformable.

You don't want to run head first into what you don't know, what makes you uncomfortable, because you're realizing that you have lived from a place of privilege, that all of these things that you're now realizing, you didn't even know that they existed. You had no idea. And because you don't want to be uncomfortable, you don't want to be challenged, you don't want to risk being called to the carpet in order to be better and to learn, you don't want to be wrong, you don't want to see where you have not been the best version of yourself, because you didn't know.

You're simply unwilling because it's not easy. Tough shit. Do it anyway. Because there's nothing that you feel that myself as a black woman, that a trans person, that someone that is non-binary, that someone that is Muslim, someone that is any part of any marginalized group and/or societal indicator, has to carry on a daily basis. You don't know what it is to not see, as we talked about in the last episode, toys that reflected your beauty. You don't know what it is to look on TV and not see characters that represent you or your life in any of the ways that your life can be reflected.

When you don't know what it is to not take for granted that you can go buy your child a toy that looks like them at any given time, that she can turn on the TV and she's going to see somebody that looks like her, she's going to know that when she becomes an adult she can be any of these things that she wants to because there's always somebody that represents her. That's privilege, and you take that for granted.

That means any of the discomfort that you feel, imagine being on the opposite polar end of that and not having those things. When you have a moment that you're like, "I'm just really uncomfortable, I don't know if I can do that," check yourself. Check yourself.

And I need you to have some perspective and go have a conversation so you can actually figure out what that looks like and figure out how you can begin to put into action imperfect allyship.

Looking to do the work and need some assistance? Come on over to Instagram @ericacourdae, let's have a conversation. Email me. is the website. Shoot me an email. I want to talk about this. I always tell you, "Conversation is my catalyst. This is how things change. This is how the world shifts." Let's begin to have dialogue on how we can make imperfect allyship happen now.

If you love this, Pause on the Play, this is just one of the iterations of how I use conversation to create connection. The Conversation Workshop is another. This is a series where I talk with a guest, very similar to what I did today, about topics like diversity and inclusion within your marketing, or even creating diversity within wellness spaces. The difference is we also give you space to have a live Q&A with us, so you can get support.

These conversations are not complete without you. Hop on over to, check out the show notes for the information and links, as well, and register for the upcoming episode so you can get personalized support to further your growth. The conversations we have here are to normalize the challenging things and make them a part of your normal exchanges. This is how we remove stigma and create real change and connection, cross lines, and recreate boundaries to support, not separate.

If you enjoyed this podcast, show me some love by subscribing, sharing it with a friend, or leaving us a review. Reviews are the fuel to keep the podcast engine going. Let's get more people dropping the veil and challenging their thoughts, feelings, and actions. Speaking of keeping it going, if you don't already follow and engage with us over on Instagram @ericacourdae, come on over there and do that. I really want to talk with you, so DM me and let's do this.

I love being here and creating the bridge for you to walk over to become the change that you want to see. Join us next time, and until then, keep the dialogue going. Bye.


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