Cardi B and Consistency
This week’s information-overload outrage focused on Cardi B. According to her own confession she had a habit of drugging and robbing men. After making this announcement, she follows up with the statement: “Nothing was motherf*cking handed to me.” Well, no, Cardi B, you had to take it- like you said. And sometimes, we are all put in a position to take things when we know deep down we shouldn’t.
As much as I don’t like hearing that anyone drugged or stole from people; Cardi B didn’t contradict herself. She recognizes (as we all should) that people change and grow, and that we have the capacity to learn from our mistakes. She owned her shit. I appreciate that about her.
Yeah, I Did It
It’s refreshing, for me anyway, when I see a celebrity get caught up in a headline and they don’t defend, excuse, or justify why they did it. It’s a great reminder for how human we all actually are when one is willing to say “Yeah, I did it.” We need more influences that show us how to own our mistakes and take accountability for consequence. If only all of Hollywood was willing to show that. If only all of humanity was willing to own their story.
We don’t like to own our shit. We would rather apologize and make up excuses. The thought of having to actually practice what we preach and stand by our claims is too much for many to consider. For many, consistency matters, but only in context. Many are willing to confess to their failure to practice what they preach only if they can exploit it or benefit from it.
We All Make Mistakes
Full-disclosure: I have made mistakes. I even support revealing mistakes -it humanizes us. It reveals that we all have scars that left a mark. We share things about ourselves so that others can see that we don’t take ourselves too seriously. Cardi B demonstrated (in a circuitous way) principles that Brene’ Brown writes and speaks to. Brown says: “When we deny the story it defines us. When we write the story, we can write a brave new ending.”
Cardi B owned her story, she didn’t deny it. Which is the point I believe she was trying to make in her confession. She was being consistent with telling it like it is, even if it was hard for many to accept.
If we are a people who live by the conviction that we are called by Christ- that we are in Christ; then I would argue that living in Christ includes a little consistency. Why? Contradictions and double-standards are merely just differing weights and unbalanced scales. Psalm 20:23 offers us a reminder, for those who beg to differ:
Differing weights are an abomination to the Lord, and false scales are not good.
Ask yourself if you apply the same standard to all aspects of your life? Would you allow your romantic partner to, on the one hand, hold to the position that God loves all people; but on the other hand, take another position that excludes LBTQI individuals from such love? No! That is a contradiction. All people means all people, no matter what an individual’s sexual preference.
If an individual is willing to forgive their own spouse for sexual adultery, but then is not willing to extend the same forgiveness of another form of adultery to anyone else, that is inconsistent with the concept of unconditional love. That is an application of differing weights.
No Record of Wrongs?
We are always so willing to embrace, love, and edify people until they make a mistake. When a mistake is made, even if it’s owned, most of us cling to that one event as though that one act defines the individual for eternity.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. (1 Corinth. 13: 4-5)
For most of us, that principle application is altogether ignored. It’s fun to preach the verse, but practicing it is a very difficult task.
What’s Christ-like about Cardi B?
Cardi B has publicly demonstrated that despite what happened in her personal life, she is willing to be patient and not keep record of wrongs. For me and many others who have experienced infidelity in relationships, practicing what we preach- “in sickness and health, for better or worse”- is a cornerstone to living in Christ. Unconditional love is difficult as hell, but this is consistent with keeping no record of wrongs.Consistency sometimes looks like denying yourself. It looks like taking your feelings and pain out of the equation for a moment to consider the other, and the other’s feelings first, without predicating your love on conditions.
If we are really going to represent ourselves in the Body of Christ, doesn’t that look like embracing others even when their past is revealed to us? Are we more concerned with the past or the present?
Information Overload Interrupts Consistency
Consistency matters but most people aren’t even aware of what that looks like- in practice or thought. It’s hard to know, truly, because we are inundated with massive amounts of information on a daily basis. It’s called “information overload” and it’s a real problem for many of us who utilize the internet. This very real diagnosis makes it hard for us to stay in the present moment.
We are flooded with excessive amounts of information each day and we are swayed to rush to judgment with each headline. With so much to process, we often skip over examining things for accuracy. Which means we may even fail to realize whether or not we are being consistent with our own values when we opine and pick sides to defend. Awareness of this overload- which affects most of us- can help reduce it.
Insta-reactions interrupt consistency and that makes it difficult for us to really critically examine what we are reacting to and asking ourselves why we are reacting. These types of reactions also give us room to justify dismissing our core principles in Christ. If we are judging others or withholding our love from others, are we really being true to the teachings of the Way?
Trump Culture of Contradiction
There was a time when we demanded consistency from our elected officials, wasn’t there? A time when we noticed that what our President practiced- what policies they supported- matched what they preached on the campaign trail. Today. we observe POTUS contradict himself on a daily basis and still claim that he was ordained by God.
We feign outrage when we discover that Cardi B, in a vulnerable state, offered up a shocking revelation about her past; yet we dismiss Trump’s “grab ’em by the pu**y” locker room talk. Have we ever asked ourselves why we are willing to reject one act and accept another?
Don’t get me wrong- we often contradict ourselves. It’s our awareness of our contradictions that really matters. As Walt Whitman once wrote:
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
We do contain multitudes, and with an ever increasing influx of information available to us; we have the ability to consider multitudes of perspectives. Sometimes, in our haste to consider all that we can, we fail to apply the standards of logic prior to resting upon a particular perspective worthy of our support and defense.
How to Be More Like Cardi B
Conflict can lead to intimacy and understanding. A contradiction is itself, a conflict, and can also lead to intimacy. How? Awareness. We are not going to escape contradiction. The conflict of this contradiction has already revealed itself.
So, own it and own it well- own it like Cardi B. When you are willing to own your story, it combats shame. Consider a Cardi B approach rather than calling everything “fake news” and refusing to see the error of your way. To remain consistent going forward, slow down and analyze your rush to judgment. Let go of the need to be right or to win. Constantly trying to save face doesn’t strengthen your connection to another, it weakens your signal.
I have found that once I stopped clinging to my need to appear right, it was much easier to admit when I messed up. Do you know what’s so truly magical about admitting our mistakes? It liberates us. It releases a lot of weight off our shoulders. It can bring us closer to another.
A Cardi B Approach is a Christ-like Approach
If by admitting that one is “wrong”, it could strengthen the connection and offer healing at the same time; wouldn’t you be willing to take that leap of faith? Deny thyself. Deny the egoist habit of wanting to protect your pride. Reject the conformist staple of agreeing with the crowd.
Cardi B didn’t back-peddle. She admitted that what she was beyond inappropriate. She offered herself as she is and didn’t demand people forgive her and look past her past. We are not our mistakes, we are not our past.
If we really mean what we say, when we say: all people are loved, accepted, and included; then we damn well better start practicing what we preach. Be consistent! Be like Cardi B, be like the Son of G-O-D; forgive them, for they know not what they do.