School of Moxie Podcast – Season 1, Episode 13 Transcript

[00:00:00] Welcome to the School of Moxie podcast brought to you by Sensible Woo. This is the podcast where we break the mold around business podcast conversations. We make it fun around here by using television, movies, and entertainment as a jumping off point for conversations about how we navigate the world as individuals.
I’m your host, Mary Williams, and I’ve been an online creator since 2010. I’ve seen a lot of trends come and go over the years. But one thing that has persisted is a struggle among entrepreneurs to connect more authentically with their audiences. As a business systems process and operations coach, I’ve seen how much my clients and subscribers have benefited from learning how to incorporate their fun sides.
So we’re going to demonstrate this for you here on this podcast through analogous thinking. Not only that, but we’re using media and entertainment as the lens through which we reflect on our own desires and strengths. Fiction is the vehicle that gives us words to articulate our value systems. And tells people who we are.
I find that a lot of my
[00:01:00] audience, and probably yours as well, struggle to find words for their problems until they start thinking about how to use analogies. Analogies help us build bridges between something we can’t describe into a new area that we are in the process of developing. As humans, we are a languaged species, which means we find context and meaning in our lives through the ability to put our feelings into words. This podcast is going to help you normalize this process and see how it’s done in real time as my guests talk through their own experiences in relation to the episodes they’ve been assigned for this show.
Our first season of this podcast is centered on the first season of the HBO original series, The Last of Us, based on the video game of the same name. Consider this your official spoiler alert. On this podcast, my guests are going to jump right into the conversation, and we’re going to spill all the tea on the story and the plot.
So if you enjoy being surprised, I encourage you to watch the episode first before listening to our discussion. Before we get into this week’s episode,
[00:02:00] have I told you about the weekly readings that I create for entrepreneurs just like you each and every week? I am an Akashic Records and Tarot reader, and I’ve been giving clients intuitive guidance coaching for just about 20 years now.
That’s a long time. I know that most readers out there don’t focus on your business needs. So that’s where I come in; readings with me are only about your business development, and it helps you feel more aligned with your intuitive messages so that you can incorporate those gut feelings and inner knowings into your business data for better results.
Click the link in the show notes and subscribe to my weekly email updates where you can get a free reading sent to your inbox every single week. If you want more, you can subscribe to the weekly extended readings, which are just $9 per month and help you get focused on your business energy every week.
No more Sunday scaries. You’ve got this better in hand than you know, and I’ll help you see it. Now let’s get watching and talking. Welcome to the
[00:03:00] second of a two part episode featuring Erica Courdae. Last week, we heard from Erica, and I’m so excited for you to hear the rest of our discussion. Erica’s recording session was the final guest interview for this season, and she was the only guest booked for studio time while we were in Richmond, Virginia, to support a business program where we both serve as mentors to women entrepreneurs.
The studio time came in a block of two hours, and knowing Erica and myself, I already had a pretty good idea of how our time on the mic would flow. As expected, we recorded nearly two hours of conversation that brings forth difficult topics and growth moments for our business world. If you haven’t yet listened to the first half, you’ll find it in the episode lineup right before this episode you’re listening to right now.
In between episodes, I encouraged you last week to think about the ways in which you avoid or dance around difficult topics in your own business journey. What words can you start to use to help yourself
[00:04:00] show up with more honesty and freedom in your everyday real life expressions. Let’s see how you continue to develop the skill set with Erica and me as we finish our conversation this week.
This television series has so much to offer us in discussion based on the fictional story alone, but the business side of it has been just as impactful. Now let’s rejoin Erica for the rest of her time on the mic.
[Mary] Okay, okay. So we were talking about the coaching industry on our way over here.
[Erica] Right.
[Mary] I want to pick that back up here on this recording.
[Erica] Oh lord.
[Mary] Because, because, here’s my question. This is what I’m thinking right now. We just dissected Marlene. How much do you think coaches in the coaching industry right now are acting like Marlene? Where they have these little incremental shifts and like, OK, I’m willing, I’m willing to consider the change.
I’m willing to consider. And then you meet up with them at the end and they’re like, yep, nope. I’m going to do the shitty ass NLP funnel and tell you you’re horrible and make you pay all this
[00:05:00] money.
[Erica] I’m still committed to the mission.
[Mary] Yep.
[Erica] I am. I am committed to the mission and the mission is. It’s visibility, it’s money, it’s notoriety, it’s, it’s, it’s attention, and it’s not being better.
It’s not. Uh, equity. It’s not equanimity.
[Mary] It’s celebrity entrepreneurship. It is a very subtle theme that has been showing up all season, which I knew would come out in a certain way, but I’ve been surprised as the host having all these conversations realizing how deeply embedded it is in this conversation, and I feel like it shows up here right now.
[Erica] They are not able to figure out, actually I’m not even going to say figure out, they’re not able to contemplate beyond that blip on the radar, that little moment of pause. They’re not able to go beyond that of what else is possible.
[00:06:00] I’ve been doing this one way. Is there anything else I can do? Is there anything I didn’t consider?
Is it possible that I got it wrong? Is it possible that there are just other options that I have not considered. Is it possible that I am trying to make change without being in conversation with the people that I say the change is for? And so to have someone that is a leader and the understanding of being a leader is that you do have to do hard things.
Part of the reason that you are in charge, quote unquote, is because you are able to do the things that other people may be unable or unwilling to do. However, comma, if that means that you are going to make decisions for people and they are not ever able to be a part of that conversation in any way,
[00:07:00] shape, or form, that’s a problem.
And, you know, the reality is that the show is laying out one of those things where, well, you can’t ask Ellie. Because if she says no, then you’re just going to murder her. But what if she said yes? And so when you think about the coaching industry, and how decisions are being made for the people that are seeking healing.
Seeking support. Seeking connection. Seeking an opportunity to be witnessed. And you are not co-creating with them and allowing them to be a part of not only the solution, but the consideration of what does a solution mean and a solution to what? If you are not considering, if you actually even know what it is that they want or need beyond
[00:08:00] what you assume it is, you’re just creating for creation’s sake.
And it’s all based around you and your Jesus complex because you need to be the damn savior. Not because you actually want to support people because what they’re looking for is not to be saved by you. They are seeking support. They are seeking healing. They are seeking safety. They are seeking a way to be as whole as they can when they have not been able to access that in their lives.
And yet, Here you are still getting it wrong.
[Mary] Oh, I just want to light that all on fire. So glad I got you on the mic.
[Erica] When people are so committed to creating without those that they say that they’re creating for. What are you actually doing?
[00:09:00] How does that work? If I come to you and I say, you know what? I’m doing this for you. Uh, do you know what I want? Do you know what I need? Do you know, like, what I can actually receive?
Do you know what my actual kind of, like, holes are that you say you’re trying to fill? Because what you’re giving me… It’s not actually what I need.
[Mary] Well, and to tie an earlier point into this, make the constellation a little bit bigger here, a little wider. We talked about how the whole backstory needs to be examined.
Yes. We can look at this fictional piece with Marlene who’s got her, her own savior complex. Joel and Ellie have at this point, as far as we know, seen more about different communities and humanity than Marlene has. Marlene is like, almost all my team died. It was just a survival of the fittest all the way over here, you know?
So they were not, they were not stopping. We’re not looking at other communities and, and in a society that is so broken, the infrastructure is so shattered to have obviously not a viral cordyceps fungal infection running around would probably make things a little bit easier, but it’s not going to be the thing that saves humanity when there is so much else that is wrong.
And I feel like that’s happening. in our business world. I mean, it’s happening in the world in general, but like in the context of a business discussion, that’s a major thing. People are like, Oh, let me teach you how to make more money. And it’s like, that, that is a one very small piece of a very large, complicated problem.
[Erica] Right, right. Well, and when you think about it from that perspective, you have something that seems like it’s fixing things, but yet there’s problematic practices within it that are actually part of
[00:11:00] the problem. And if you think about, like, that whole episode with that trash ass man that Ellie had to take out that was just him and this little cult leader bullshit, like, he supposedly was creating the safe space.
But yet, my, like, the amount of, it was horrid what was happening within it. And so it’s like, this looks like it’s a fix. And it’s like, but actually, it’s not. This is part of the problem. And so even. When something happens, it seems as if it should actually make, you know, society better. It’s like, uh… The trash will survive.
It will, it will find a way to thrive. It will, it will, it will be like, wait, but there’s more. It will find some way to latch on and be a succubus somewhere. And, you know, when you have these
[00:12:00] problematic practices come up and it’s really something that is, is, is, is happening that almost, it almost falls under the radar because there’s so many problems.
[Mary] Yeah.
[Erica] But, part of the problem is, is we still keep trying to put band aids on bullet wounds. And we keep trying to, you know, fix, we all know that we are trying to be intrapreneurs. We’re trying to fix. Yes. The systems from within the system.
[Mary] Yes.
[Erica] Capitalism, uh, white supremacy, patriarch, like we are within this.
We can’t, you know, Morpheus can’t pull us out right now. So, we’re in it. And we are trying to figure out how to fix, while still actively being a part of it. And that’s challenging.
[Mary] Very challenging. Oof.
[Erica] And, but if you think about it, it is, you know, how is it to be aware of that and to take that into consideration as opposed to I have no knowledge of that and I’m just going to go forth.
Whoa. Whoa there, buddy. Wait. That’s a lot. And these problematic practices and actions just go. They just go on repeat. They just get on a conveyor belt and just keep on running. Where those of us that are aware. We did take, you know, the, the, the red pill. We can’t go back to sleep, so we can’t unsee it.
[Mary] I deeply appreciate the Matrix time right now. I just have to tell you. You just hit the nerdiest part of my soul. I’m just like, yes.
[Erica] Cause it’s like, it’s like, nope. I’m, I’m up now. I’m, I’m, I’m eating slop. I’m on the Nebuchadnezzar. I’m here.
[Mary] It’s the discomfort. There’s, there’s… There’s this thing that shows up in
[00:14:00] all these conversations, and I love that you’ve just said it in so many words now here too, which is…
When you are actively willing to make change, you are going to live through discomfort. And it’s gonna fucking suck like ass.
[Erica] Oh my god.
[Mary] And, and, and weirdly enough, when you have a strong sense of identity and you really understand why you’re doing things and you, you, you know, are constantly, in a conscious state of improving.
You, despite the discomfort, feel okay about it. You don’t always love it. You don’t have to love it. It’s a both and. You don’t have to love it, but you can still be okay with it. And I think it’s when people are just flat out trying to avoid the discomfort, you know, and we see so many examples of this throughout the whole thing.
And I feel like what Marlene, at the end of this episode,
[00:15:00] is trying to do is, through that savior complex, which I think is what a lot of these celebrity coaches do, they sell this message of, let me help you bypass the discomfort.
[Erica] I can do it. I know. I, I, I, I, I, I. Me.
[Mary] And it’s like you can’t bypass the discomfort.
[Erica] There’s no such thing. There’s no such thing.
[Mary] Everything in entrepreneurship is discomfort.
[Erica] There are, if nothing else, when we think about the coaching industry and the fact that it is a healing modality, that really is what it’s supposed to be.
[Mary] Yeah.
[Erica] And I’m, you know, even if we think about business coaching, I love when people are like, oh, it’s about business.
Bless your heart that you think that. Uh, bless your little misguided heart.
[Mary] I love that you are in a southern state right now and you just pulled out bless your heart. It is so perfect.
[Erica] Like, like, I just need you to know that like, really what this is, is this is shadow work. This is let’s get into all those things that you
[00:16:00] think about yourself that probably aren’t true and are based on a narrative that somebody told you about yourself.
All of those things that make you uncomfortable when it comes to selling to promoting yourself, to receiving money, to being honest. What is it about yourself that you feel like isn’t good? It’s going to bring up all your shit.
[Mary] All the things. I was, I was always so amazed when I fired up my coaching practice because it came out of.
I’d be like, you know, I’d be doing Tarot-Akashic sessions with people and just naturally gravitated small business owners. Right. And they would be like, can I ask a question about my business in the middle of reading? Sure. And then they’d be like, okay, so you come from the technology world. If I’m trying to use this software and that software, and I’m like, this is.
This is a systems problem and, and I saw so clearly how emotional the process of making tech decisions was for people and in a, I find it amazing how much
[00:17:00] our business education industry loves to try to divorce the emotion from the whole process where I’m like, it’s nothing but emotion.
[Erica] All of it. And we want to push all of it away.
We want to act like it doesn’t matter. It has nothing to do with it. All the, that’s not important. And that was why for me, I’m like, so when words like diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, justice, when any of these words come up, But you want to push away all the discomfort? How the fuck did we get here?

[Mary] Uh huh.
[Erica] How does that work?
[Mary] Through that door.
[Erica] Like, what? No! That’s not how any of this works. Ever. Ever. But you have convinced yourself that you can bypass all of the emotional pieces that are going to come up that don’t feel good, that feel a little scary, that is like, I don’t know about this. Um, uh uh.
That’s not how this works. And
[00:18:00] that’s how you got people out here trying to swindle you out your money, asking you to let them feel better about themselves by trying to save you.
[Mary] Thank you for saying that.
[Erica] She don’t want to be saved, so.
[Mary] I mean, this is why, okay. I’m going to say it again because we’re, you know, at the end of all these episodes now with our conversation here, I’m, I’m going to say it again on the mic.
This is why I picked a show that had so much big over the top emotion. Because as entrepreneurs, we have to be able to watch something as simple as a TV show.
[Erica] Right.
[Mary] And feel something for one thing. And also, not to divorce your experience from it. And to recognize the parallels of what it’s reflecting back to you when you’re going about your day, and your day is not the TV show.
[Erica] No, but I have a very hard time
[00:19:00] believing that people cannot see themselves and their experiences and the experiences of those that are around them or that they’ve intersected with in some way, shape, or form reflected. Even if we are only talking about this one episode, not even the whole show. So if we think about just the collage of the experiences, you know, you, you go from this girl having this horrific experience with this trash ass man, okay?
You, you have this person that she had taken all of this time trying to connect with, and now this person’s trying to connect with her because she’s clearly had to go inward because she was in pain. And then all of a sudden, Here’s a giraffe. Here’s a giraffe. And he’s just being who he is and just wants to eat the leaf.
And it’s really that simple. And then all of a sudden it’s like, wait, all of this can’t be for nothing. I have to do something. And then
[00:20:00] there’s this whole, but are you being honest with me? Then there’s this whole, wait, I’m about to murder everybody because we about to get up off this bitch. We ain’t staying in. We out. You know, there’s this whole like, I don’t see none of y’all.
Black eye, black eye. We just going. Everybody got to go. You too. You too. And yet this person that had the full capacity to just shoot with full knowledge of exactly what he was doing. Zero fucks to give. To then turn around and want nothing more than to comfort this girl with mad libs.
Like, that’s a hell of a lot of emotion.
[Mary] So much emotion. What’s really interesting is, um, so Ashlan had the first episode that aired for our podcast because she’s a gamer
[00:21:00] who played the original video game. I did not play the game, but I just, I knew everything about it.
[Erica] Right. Yeah.
[Mary] When you play the game and you get to the point where Joel goes on his shooting spree
you are forced to do that path. There are no other options.
[Erica] Right.
[Mary] And they talk about that in the podcast too, the official podcast. And I, I love that they force you through the path so that you cannot bypass the moral dilemma that will come up within you. You have to experience it. And I feel like that’s kind of what life does to us.
We kind of have to go through things and COVID was that path. COVID was like, all y’all are going to walk through this hospital right now and you’re just gonna shoot all these other characters to get to the next destination point and, you know, play the game or
[00:22:00] put the game down. Like those are your only options.
[Erica] But this is the exact thing that too many coaches will opt out of because they don’t want to go through the discomfort. The lack of what they feel like they can understand and quantify, the getting it wrong, the understanding about yourself that needs to happen, the vulnerability required to show up in a way that allows somebody else to feel like vulnerable space has been held for them, and that this is not about fun.
This is not about easy. This is not about simplicity. This shit is hard. This shit is messy. This shit is complicated. It is nuanced. It is layered. There are going to be times where people are going to not be happy with you. And it’s not about you because any of the feelings that
[00:23:00] they’re feeling, it’s not because they feel it about you as the human.
It’s because healing is not linear.
[Mary] Yes.
[Erica] t’s because the concept of coaching is like running in a circle and just trying to figure out how can I first of all stop running, second of all realize that I don’t have to keep going in a circle. But it doesn’t come easy and it doesn’t come on the heels of easily digestible actions and ways of being and catch phrases. Fuck that.
And I’m good for a catchphrase, but goddammit, that ain’t where the magic is.
[Mary] No, the magic is not in a carefully curated instasite. It’s just, no, it’s not. Oh, I love that you talk about that cycle and that looping and I was telling you before we record, I’m like, God, I’m on like the soapbox right now where I just feel like it may be part of it is just me also being a little burned out in coaching.
But I, I feel so strongly that so many people right now are better served by therapy than by coaching. In my own coaching practice, I saw that where people were coming to me and yes, they do have a systems need. They do need help with these things at some point. But the thing that is preventing them to get to that point
is therapy. And then you and I were talking about how therapy is not a passive thing.
[Erica] No.
[Mary] It is an active thing.
[Erica] It is.
[Mary] And we’re both practitioners of somatic therapy. We’ve both invested in learning it and it forces you to use your body and get into it. And, and I feel like there’s just this, this overarching need in our business community right now to re-embody yourselves into the experience.
And, and I don’t know what the answer is for people. I know that for me and my fellow weirdos, we do things like watch
[00:25:00] highly emotional TV shows. We talk about them.
[Erica] Maybe. We do things like that. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
[Mary] I love that you were like, I do this all the time with my friends, I’m so glad you asked me.
[Erica] Oh my gosh, the opportunity to be able to draw the parallels and to pull apart, like, fiction versus, like, you know, real life and being like, wait! I see myself in this and it gives you a, a place to just peel the layers back some with a little bit less, uh, stigma or challenge attached to it maybe?
[Mary] Yes, well because it’s, you can experience a feeling, you can examine the feeling, but it’s not, this is my business right now.
This is an offer I have right now. This is a client I have right now. A decision has to be made right now. It’s like, there’s just a little bit of spaciousness in there that gives you a chance to dig into the healing space a little bit more, and [00:26:00] it’s just, it’s just another doorway in. I feel like there’s other people who have other doorways.
This is just the doorway I’ve always known. And I think it’s a reason why we love watching TV and movies. I mean, there’s a reason why society loves it. It serves a purpose.
[Erica] I mean, part of the thing that I think is so interesting is, um, like I have a friend that’s a therapist and she is just like, I am so over, um, some of the parameters that I am forced to have to exist in as a therapist.
And those are the pieces of the industry that are kind of broken.
[Mary] Yeah.
[Erica] And she’s actually a really big proponent of healing going beyond Just therapists because of the fact that there’s not nearly enough therapists for the amount of people that need the healing.
[Mary] Oh, yeah.
[Erica] And part of you know, what I kind of can grapple with sometimes is because The the coaching industry can can be a little
[00:27:00] sketchy.
Yes, and there are areas where there’s a lack of ethics and really considering the people and that these are, these are humans, these are people. And at the same time, I think that there’s really a need and a call for going back to the true roots of what community is and that the healing happens in community.
And so it’s not just about, I’m going to lay on the proverbial therapist couch, or I am going to the somatics movement, uh, zoom call. It really is about. number one feeling, uh, safety and security and support in a community aspect and figuring out what does it mean to find healing in people that want you to be healed.
[Mary] Yes. Yes.
[Erica] That to me is a huge piece of it. For example, like one of the big things for me right now is shadow work, and it is
[00:28:00] something that has some problematic roots of where it came from, and I ain’t gonna go to that rabbit hole, but it does, and, you know, it really came from a very therapy based use, and it’s, um, unfortunately, in some ways, it has been diluted and watered down, and yet, the aspect of pausing to ask powerful prompts or questions of yourself or of others that you are in community with for the purpose of of introspection and reflection and healing.
There’s a lot of power in doing these things with one another and supporting one another and healing has happened for generations without anybody spending a whole bunch of money for somebody to gatekeep an expensive piece of paper that said that you can.
[Mary] Thank you. Thank you. You know, so funny, you brought up shadow work and as you’re talking, I just had this little light bulb moment in my head and I thought, shadow work has this connotation, especially over in sort of
[00:29:00] the more spiritual metaphysical leaning community of being like the dark work. What if it’s just The Work?
And that’s it. Exactly. It’s the actual work.
[Erica] That.
[Mary] And all of your light work is just fluffy frosting. The work that you do is shadow work.
[Erica] Thank you. Thank you.
[Mary] Drop shadow and just call it the work.
[Erica] The fucking work.
[Mary] It’s the fucking work.
[Erica] All the things that feel like, oh, that’s hard. That’s crunchy.
That’s difficult. That might be painful. I don’t know. All of that. Because honestly, it could be something around something quote unquote light. But if it don’t feel like you, guess what it is? It’s a little shadow. We hate it. Go do the shit. Go do the shit. And you know, there’s just this point of like, none of this happens in a vacuum.
And it’s not just about who has the best branding and can charge you the most amount of money that you want to say that this person
[00:30:00] was the person to save me. They don’t save you. You save yourself. Joel was not saved by Ellie. Joel was saved by that part of him that didn’t die when his daughter died.
Joel saved Joel.
[Mary] Oh, yes. Okay, that.
[Erica] And Ellie was saved by Ellie. Ellie has always been saved by Ellie.
[Mary] Which is why they are energetic equals.
[Erica] Girl. Say it again for the people in the back in the cheap seats.
[Mary] They are energetic equals…
[Erica] That.
[Mary] Also, we’re gonna make t shirts that say do the shit. I’m just saying.
[Erica] I will wear it.
[Mary] I will wear it everywhere.
[Erica] And it’s true. Nobody is coming to save you and we’re not waiting for that, we’re not seeking that. And the saving happens in community because the thing that Joel ended up finding that he wanted to get back to more than anything was community.
[Mary] They found it. And when he realized that Marlene was not
[00:31:00] the community, he knew what his choice was.
[Erica] That. He wanted to get back to that.
Even though he was in a place that he had a moment where he thought he saw his daughter.
[Mary] Oh, God, that scene is so hard.
[Erica] And yet, where was the place that he was like, we can go back in time. He wanted to go back. The person that didn’t want nothing to do with nobody. I want to be by myself. What did he immediately want to do?
The minute that he realized that there was something worth saving, something worth living for that he found within himself. Wanted to go back to community.
[Mary] You know why it’s because he has that gorgeous monologue when they’re there. That’s my favorite scene in the whole the whole first season and in that is Joel’s apex point the gates broke open. He realized where his shadow work was done.
And and so in the end It made perfect sense that he, he said absolutely hell no Fireflies
[00:32:00] Marlene, it’s not here.
[Erica] He knew that community mattered to him enough that a person that he couldn’t imagine community without, I will save you by any means necessary. Fuck all these people. They must go. He disassociated in a way that he was so committed to the mission that nothing else mattered than getting back to community.
And it included taking her with him. He wasn’t going on his own, because if he had to go without her, oh, he wasn’t going to go back.
[Mary] But she, she is community.
[Erica] And that’s the thing, because even if he couldn’t get back to Tommy’s, it was the fact that he was no longer alone. And he was with somebody that he wanted to be with.
Again, it wasn’t that he didn’t want to be with Tess. But he didn’t want to be with her. We’re going back to that
[00:33:00] passive versus active.
[Mary] There’s the growth.
[Erica] Tess was, I’m with you passively. Ellie, I’m with you actively. He went back to find her and specifically got back. After she had saved herself. And then he kept trying to fight to get in to let her know that I’m here. Not to necessarily even, because she had already saved herself. At that moment. But he just was like, hey, I’m here. And. You know, we don’t have to talk about the hard thing, but I can tell you really bad jokes.
There’s a giraffe. Wait, look, here’s a giraffe. Like, you know, and I have to agree with the podcast. I’m like, that is more intimate than going into all the, you know, smushy feelings. Because now this is something that goes beyond any of the manufactured words that we’ve created to convey feelings that don’t actually have words.
We use the English language as a damn crutch to
[00:34:00] try to explain stuff that ain’t explainable.
[Mary] Our vocabulary is so… Lacking.
[Erica] Oh, that’s putting it mildly.
[Mary] In so, so many ways.
[Erica] Yes.
[Mary] And, and I, but I think the first step towards that deeper feeling where the words don’t exist.
[Erica] Right.
[Mary] Actively, not passively.
[Erica] Correct.
[Mary] Is the practice of articulation, which he does do when he tells her about how time didn’t heal things.
[Erica] So in that scene. It’s what he said. It was his body language.
[Mary] It’s all the things.
[Erica] His intonation. Yeah. When he did and did not look at her. That moment when this person, that whether she consciously or subconsciously knew it or not, had just murdered all these people and would do it again.
Got soft and quiet and slightly sheepish about being honest about one of
[00:35:00] his most vulnerable moments. Ever. Beyond the fact of having to watch his daughter be my, I can’t imagine. Oh, and then to fail at it. There was so much that was immensely powerful in that, that had absolutely nothing to do with the word choices that he used.
Absolutely nothing. And this is where people forget that emotion and connection and the unspoken understandings and, and, and, and moving in and out of things that happens. It happens in between the lines. It happens around the phrases. It happens under the, you know, I said this thing. It happens before and after the, but I
[00:36:00] told you.
It’s the what I never said. It’s the what I’ve never said to anybody. It’s the what the curve of my spine will show you that I could never ever draw a picture of for you.
[Mary] Oh, Erica. It’s so beautiful. I’m going to ask you the final question.
[Erica] Yes. I’m kind of sad about it, but I’m, I’m…
[Mary] I know. I would… Phew. We could, we could, we could do, I don’t know, we could do like a 12 more episodes.
[Erica] Oh my gosh. I just so love this. I adore this.
[Mary] I, I adore that you adore it and that your insights have just been so beautiful. And you put things into words today. Speaking of actually putting things into words, you did put things into words that needed to be heard by other people who are struggling to find their words and don’t know how.
And I just think it’s such a gift. So I’m going to ask you one final question. This is the personal one. What does The Last of Us reflect back to you about yourself?
[Erica] That I am not only good or bad and I have the capacity for both. I have children and don’t know if I could make a decision to sacrifice them even for the rest of society.
I have experienced travesties in my life that could easily make me bitter and, and hateful. And yet, it actually provided a larger capacity for empathy and a stronger. Drive and desire for connection and love and the, the, the ability to understand and accept not only to do that for myself, but to do that for others and to hope that they can do the same for me, even in small ways.
And the hard part about this
[00:38:00] existence is that there is no such thing as simply distilling your experience down to, I am just good. Because there are times that we have to make decisions that are hard. And people might not think that they’re good decisions. I’ve had to, um, keep people out of my life that are not good for me.
[Mary] Yes.
[Erica] And there are people that would consider me bad for that reason. But if I keep you in my life, then I’m being bad to me. I have made choices that felt like they were painful for others around me when I really needed to prioritize myself. And I think it’s so important being someone that is in a position of being
[00:39:00] an, an influence to, to children before I’m influencing anybody else, you know, it’s, it’s them.
And then having the, the gift of influencing people that are friends in the found family that I’m so grateful for. I am not perfect, nor will I ever be. And I know that to prioritize what truly matters to me, that I have to move beyond the binary of good or bad in the way that our society likes to quantify it.
Because that’s a lie and that keeps me playing small and it keeps me working, uh, within the system exactly as I was quote unquote designed to. So, to understand that we all have, uh, multiplicities of capacities within ourselves. And to be able to actually acknowledge that and to accept that
[00:40:00] part of ourselves and to really have to question what are these, you know, dualities that exist within us and how can we reconcile them and not fight against them
in, in a way that really can make us so disjointed that it’s, it’s not helpful. We have to accept all the parts of who and how we are, and also understand that they help to keep us safe in some way, shape, or form. And you never know when you might need them, but when you’re able to process yourself as you are in the moment, you are giving yourself the capacity to
be who you need to be in this moment to survive because survival is not always easy. And also to do your best to find joy where possible in hopes that you can not infringe on the joy of
[00:41:00] others. And also acknowledging that part of our reality is, is that someone like you or I finding joy, there are people that feel as though our joy does infringe on them.
So. That circles us right back. I’m good and I’m not so good. So, depends on who you ask and when you ask them.
[Mary] Wise words. Thanks for getting on the mic.
[Erica] Of course. Thank you for letting me.
[Mary] I’m sure this will not be the last time.
[Erica] Oh my gosh, please. Let’s do this again. This was amazing.
[Mary] We’re going to do so much more of this.
[Erica] Wow, I love this. And I just, I’m just so excited for, you know, the possibility of what can be pulled from it to be, whoever needs whatever they need from it, having access to that, that is like the biggest gift to me. That’s why I love this so much, and that’s why I’m so immensely grateful to have an opportunity
[00:42:00] to use my voice and my perceptions and my thoughts and, and, and takes in that way, and if people are willing to listen to me hop on the mic with this quiet storm voice I got over here.
[Mary] This has been the official School of Moxie podcast with your host Mary Williams and special guest Erica Courdae. The show is written and produced by Mary Williams. The episode was recorded in Richmond, Virginia at Good People’s Studio with Kyle Williams as our sound engineer. Chris Martin from Chris Martin Studios is our editor and the sound designer.
Additional production and marketing support is provided by the AK Collective, founded by Amber Kinney. I’m Mary Williams, your host and the founder of Sensible Woo. You can watch the HBO original series The Last of Us on As a librarian, I will always encourage you to check out the companion book Bittersweet by Susan Cain at your local library.
You can find this show wherever you listen to podcasts and all of the links to resources, guest information, and anything else we might reference in an episode
[00:43:00] are in the show notes. We appreciate your support by subscribing and submitting a five star review. It helps other listeners find and share this content alongside you, our wonderful listeners.
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