Read the Transcript

Imagine, if you will, listening to a transcript of your day each day. What if you had to read the transcript? Everything you said, every text you wrote, and every encounter with everyone you met. What about all the things you said when you were driving? Would you feel proud or ashamed? I use this practice in my everyday life. Would I want to reread or replay the way I behave? What if at the end of every day we listened to the transcript of our day? Interesting, right?

Life has twists and turns, ups and downs, hurts, sadness, worry, and fear. I believe that fear runs the show most of the time. This past week I was put to the test. My beliefs and values were sucker-punched. It doesn’t matter what happened or why—those are just details. In the movie St. Vincent, starring Bill Murray, the title character says to everyone who tries to tell him their story that he doesn’t need the details. It is true, not in a therapeutic setting but in life, most people really do not need to hear all the negative details of your drama.

The Slap Seen around the World

The 2022 Oscars were the epitome of this subject. Will Smith decided to get out of his seat and slap Chris Rock across the face because he did not like the joke made about his wife. It stunned millions of viewers. I was stunned. I was stunned that security did not remove Will. I was stunned that he was able to sit in his seat and yell obscenities at the top of his voice in tremendous anger. I was stunned that he sat laughing and enjoying the rest of the show. He disrupted his peers and then went on to accept his award, the audience’s attention focused on a violent, angry man.

Why was this so triggering for many? Why was this behavior accepted and this actor given a standing ovation? Every year I watch all the nominated films. I still am a proud Screen Actors Guild cardholder, and every once in a while, I get to vote for the SAG Awards. I thought Will was amazing in King Richard and the frontrunner to win. It was a deserving performance. When they called his name for best actor, I felt secondhand embarrassment. I had a sick feeling in my gut, and I was stunned that he was even allowed to get up and accept an award.

Honestly, it was mind-blowing. I thought about all of it and watched clips of the incident over and over. It was so shocking that a lot of people thought it was staged. I knew immediately it was not staged just by the way my gut felt watching it. It was awkward and embarrassing, and even if it were staged, it still would have been extremely weird! Chris Rock made a joke about G.I. Jane. I took it as a compliment to the movie starring Demi Moore as a beautiful badass who goes through vigorous training. Jada Pinkett Smith rocks the bald-head look. Not a lot of women can rock a bald head and still look gorgeous.

Everyone was laughing, even Will, until he saw Jada’s face. Then it happened. Something we will never forget. Will Smith let loose in a violent way. We were all left feeling like it was a bad dream, and I guarantee Will probably has an emotional hangover every time he reads the transcript!

On a positive note, watching Chris Rock during this encounter, you can see the wheels turning in his mind. He composed himself several times when trying to read the lines for best documentary. He really held it together. Maybe because intuitively he knew he was going to watch this whole thing again and he wanted to keep his side clean. When he went back and read the transcript, he could put his head on his pillow knowing he did everything right. He did not fall into the violence. He even said, “Will Smith just smacked the shit out of me!”

How Do We Measure Up?

Many articles have been written about this incident. For my purposes, I want to say, at the end of every day, create a checklist. Pretend you have to read the transcript from your day. Do you feel good about what you read? Is there something you wish you would not have said or a text you wish you would not have sent? This is the time to reset. Stop the pattern. Do not let one bad day snowball into many days of regret.

One thing to remember is we are all human beings. We will make mistakes and act out. We will have bad moments and make bad decisions. We are works in progress. Some days will be better than others. I wonder what Will’s beliefs and values are. His speech was a bit hypocritical, and it was not congruent with his previous actions. If you are a vessel for love, you do not slap someone in front of millions of viewers. There is a hole somewhere in his beliefs and what he values most. My hope is that he finds mentors, coaches, and therapists who can help him sort that out.

Read Your Transcript

We all need sorting. I have moments that completely derail me from my soul’s purpose. I have moments when I forget that growth and contribution are what I value most and I fall away from achieving those goals. I am human, and I make mistakes. On a deeper note, maybe watching someone fall apart publicly brought a lot to the surface. Many of us have had these moments in our lives and not on a public stage for the world to see. Read your transcript every night when you lay your head on your pillow. Ask yourself honestly, were you a vessel of love and peace? Were you of service? Did you contribute to your fellow humans? Or were you self-seeking, selfish, and dishonest?

For many of us, this event brought to the surface the guilt and shame we all feel about negative things we have done. Those things just were not done on the stage at the Academy Awards. Make a list today of your own defects. Rewrite the transcript. Never again do you have to listen to something played back for you that you feel embarrassed about. Start over now!

Deborah Driggs

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