Now that the hype has died down, I am happy to be writing about Erykah’s Badu’s “Window Seat.” In Erykah’s guerilla style video she removed her clothes, layer by layer, until she was bare. The video left many people saying either: “I love it” or “I don’t get it.”
Of course, Erykah Badu had a message, but art is not about “getting it.” Art is about being present with a piece and letting it reveal itself to you—it will meet you where you are.
I am about to take another long trip. I don’t want to be sandwiched in between people who don’t care what my name is. I don’t want to have to step on someone’s toes just because I can’t hold it. The only food I eat that day will be the meal they give me on the flight, so I don’t want someone carelessly reaching over my food. The question I really need answered is: “Can I get a window seat?”
The video has gotten so much attention that I just want to focus on the song. After all, when Erykah says some real stuff, she says some real stuff.
I once had a teacher tell me not to read texts for meaning, but to just let the words wash over you. For Ms. Badu, I did.
The lines I most connected with were:
I don’t want to time travel no more,
I want to be here.
When she says: “I want to be here,” she is really singing it. It sounds like Erykah’s quietly screaming; she knows she is missing out on something worth experiencing.
I see time traveling as moving across space and time in your head—thinking about mistakes and problems you cannot undo and dreaming up a future without them. If you time travel too much, the present doesn’t even feel like “now,” it just feels like limbo.
Erykah’s song reminded me of some lyrics from singer, Ani DiFranco’s “As Is”:
When I look down,
I just miss all the good stuff,
But, when I look up,
I just trip over things.
When you feel like this, it’s good to keep in motion, but it’s also important to pause. Find a restorative space.
For Live Unchained, we are not waiting to win the lottery—we are at work (and maybe even at war–if only for ourselves). And, we will succeed. But, because the journey is so long, because I aint no woman of steel, can I get a window seat?