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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Plot Line

 

A plot line (or plotline) may be described as the course or main features of a narrative such as the plot of a play, novel, or movie. As such, a plot relates to the main events of a play, novel, movie, or similar work, devised and presented by the writer as an interrelated sequence.

 

In life, people often script their own plots, act in accordance to imagined main events, and disturb themselves with beliefs about how plotlines unfold. Working with clients through the practice of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), I’ve heard of many such instances.

 

Of course, not all interests and goals in the form of scripted plots are unhelpful. For instance, clients and I negotiate homework which serves as a plotline for how they would rather behave than to upset themselves through use of irrational beliefs.

 

Still, I imagine the reader is familiar with unfavorable plotlines in one’s own life. Not uncommonly, these experiences occur frequently during United States (U.S.) presidential election seasons – of which our nation is currently undergoing.

 

Relevant to this topic is lyricist Locksmith’s track “Plot Line,” featuring vocals by Marc E. Bassy, from the 2015 album Lofty Goals. I’ve previously shared Locksmith’s content, because I find his work truly meaningful.

 

Admittedly, this is one of those tracks with which I experience emotions unrelated to rationality. Each time I hear it, I feel it – bodily sensation and emotionally. Herein, I’ll discuss my perspective regarding lyrics to “Plot Line.”

 

[Hook: Marc E. Bassy]

Was it all wrong?

Was it just the wrong time?

Was the feeling too much, for your plot line? (x2)

 

I remain uncertain as to whether or not “feeling,” as represented in the hook, relates to an emotion or bodily sensation. Perhaps it concerns colloquial use of the word, describing a thought, belief, or hunch.

 

Nevertheless, I like how Bassy questions whether or not a situation was entirely wrong, affording the possibility of merely experiencing an inopportune moment in time. Regardless of the circumstance, one’s beliefs, emotions, or sensations are queried in relation to the plot line of events.

 

[Verse 1: Locksmith]

If I lay my soul

If I pave my road

If I don’t see then, will it take control?

If I speak my mind, if I spill my heart

If I take these bullets, will it kill my art?

If I march off beat, will it yield my life?

If I write you a tweet, will it still suffice?

If I said eight years ago

“You were cheering in the streets”

It would peak on that very same night

Go ahead, shoot me, hang me, choke me, lynch me, jail me

Tell me the dream, then pinch me

Wake me up, from my somber sleep

But we a fall down on the calmest feet

But we all calm down when we start to see

What is dangled is based off against the weak

Whatever angle you take medicates the meek

You can never find love when it’s hate you seek

When you trapped in the same mind frame as the enemy

You become slain by the same kind of energy

Now you’re the centerpiece of a centered centerpiece

I just wanna pray that the angels remember me

Tried to climb out, it was too steep (what?)

Might’ve timed out, it was too deep (oh)

They say we all the same, but we unique

What do you think?

 

For those who claim that rap has no substance to it, I defy them to express the same when considering Locksmith’s first verse. Perceivably, the lyricist addresses the experience of activism—the action of using vigorous campaigning to bring about political or social change.

 

However, rather than merely getting caught up in the sway of emotion and bodily sensation, Locksmith demonstrates the ability to exercise logical and reasonable thinking. Similar to Bassy’s approach, Locksmith uses questions and declarative statements to arrive at conclusions rather than to force change through unproductive behavior.

 

For instance, he raps, “When you[‘re] trapped in the same mind frame as the enemy, you become slain by the same kind of energy.” Here, “energy” perceivably refers to colloquial use of the word, as it relates to one’s mood (e.g., depressed), feeling (i.e., angry and energetic), or attitude (e.g., irrational beliefs).

 

Locksmith appears to express that when an individual utilizes a similar self-disturbing narrative as an “enemy,” the person mimics the very presence one opposes. He then adds, “They say we[‘re] all the same, but we[‘re] unique,” thus disputing the unhelpful belief that one must behave as one’s enemy does.

 

Moreover, Locksmith has the wisdom to then ask, “What do you think?” The lyricist doesn’t simply force upon others his opinions of the world; he invites the listener to draw one’s own conclusions.

 

[Verse 2: Locksmith]

And I remember arguments with my mom

I was irate, but she remained calm

Taught me the time it takes to make qualms

Feed into pride and angst, and that’s wrong

I know that you long revenge and retribution

But when you feed in, that’s never the solution

Once you start change, how you feel in your heart, and the hate disembarks

That’s a real revolution!

It’s not about death, it’s not about threats, it’s not about the preference of your sex

Not about the clothes that you wear

Or the length of your hair

Or the ‘O’s that you write on your check

I know you feel stranded

I know you feel branded

I know you wanna lash out and speak candid

I know you wanna punch the wall and bring it to ‘em all

But if you do, then they’re more in command

And till you understand it, you’ll be shorthanded

Take it as a tool to use to your advantage

Know what I say may seem outlandish

You could give in, but it’ll only do damage

Only set you back, only hold you down

A life full of hurt was the only thing you found

We been on the ground so long that we long for the dirt

But it’s time that we search for the truth now

 

Perhaps the fact that Locksmith’s second verse reminds me of my late stepmom and her invaluable teaching is the reason why I experience emotion with this track. As I understand, the lyricist lost his mother – a significant source of strength in his life – as did I when my stepmom died.

 

As Locksmith raps about the wisdom from his mother, “I know that you long revenge and retribution, but when you feed in, that’s never the solution,” I recall having received a similar lesson from my stepmother when I most needed her instruction. Now, I take a similar approach when using REBT with clients.

 

In particular, I often work with issues related to rage, hostility, aggression, and violence. I use the ABC model to demonstrate that when an Action occurs, it isn’t the event itself that results in an unpleasant Consequence, though people disturb themselves with Beliefs about these situations.

 

For instance, some form of unresolved injustice occurs over a lengthy period of time (Action) and a person unproductively Believes, “I must not allow this to happen!” This assumption, and not the injustice itself, is what results in anger, a racing heartrate, and rageful behavior (Consequence).

 

A person may long for revenge and retribution against an obviously flawed U.S. political system, though as Locksmith communicates a message ostensibly taught by his mother, when you feed into self-disturbing beliefs, that behavior isn’t the solution to your problem.

 

Remarkably, Locksmith alludes to the process of disputing irrational beliefs by rapping, “Once you start change, how you feel in your heart, and the hate disembarks, that’s a real revolution!” In common parlance, “heart,” when referenced in this manner, relates to a belief, emotion, or bodily sensation.

 

In this way, we have the ability to change how we feel in our hearts by altering personal narratives about ourselves, others, and life in general. To this, an irrationally self-disturbed activist may respond, “But that won’t bring about change, so let’s riot! No justice, no peace!”

 

Herein, I’m speaking to those who advocate changing themselves before daring to focus on the lack of control or influence they experience in the world outside of themselves. Locksmith apparently understands this lesson.

 

In “Plot Line,” the lyricist raps, “I know you wanna lash out and speak candid. I know you wanna punch the wall and bring it to ‘em all, but if you do, then they’re more in command.” When we disallow unfavorable beliefs to impact our behavior, we deny others command over ourselves.

 

Locksmith punctuates this point my declaring, “And till you understand it, you’ll be shorthanded. Take it as a tool to use to your advantage.” This is the manner in which I approach REBT – using this psychotherapeutic tool to the advantage of those who practice this helpful method.

 

I realize how the second verse of “Plot Line” mirrors lessons I was once told. Locksmith raps, “You could give in, but it’ll only do damage, only set you back, only hold you down. A life full of hurt was the only thing you found, we been on the ground so long that we long for the dirt.”

 

My stepmom who used to sing to me a line from Bobby Womack’s song “Across 110th Street,” wherein the singer stated, “Been down so long, getting up didn’t cross my mind. But I knew there was a better way of life that I was just trying to find.”

 

Sometimes, one’s unhealthy beliefs can lead to irreversibly unpleasant consequences. Changing one’s plotline affords people an opportunity to get up, even if dirt is all one envisions for the future and getting up hasn’t previously crossed one’s mind.

 

If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.

 

As the world’s foremost old school hip hop REBT psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.

 

At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!

 

 

Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW


 

References:

 

Discogs. (n.d.). Locksmith (3) – Lofty Goals. Retrieved from https://www.discogs.com/release/7174132-Locksmith-Lofty-Goals

Hollings, D. (n.d.). Blog – Categories: Disputation. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/blog/categories/disputation

Hollings, D. (2022, May 17). Circle of concern. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/circle-of-concern

Hollings, D. (2022, March 15). Disclaimer. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/disclaimer

Hollings, D. (2023, September 8). Fair use. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/fair-use

Hollings, D. (2023, February 12). For now. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/for-now

Hollings, D. (2023, October 12). Get better. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/get-better

Hollings, D. (n.d.). Hollings Therapy, LLC [Official website]. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/

Hollings, D. (2024, January 2). Interests and goals. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/interests-and-goals

Hollings, D. (2023, May 18). Irrational beliefs. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/irrational-beliefs

Hollings, D. (2023, September 19). Life coaching. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/life-coaching

Hollings, D. (2023, January 8). Logic and reason. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/logic-and-reason

Hollings, D. (2022, June 23). Meaningful purpose. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/meaningful-purpose

Hollings, D. (2023, April 24). On truth. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/on-truth

Hollings, D. (2022, March 24). Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT). Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/rational-emotive-behavior-therapy-rebt

Hollings, D. (2022, November 1). Self-disturbance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/self-disturbance

Hollings, D. (2022, October 7). Should, must, and ought. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/should-must-and-ought

Hollings, D. (2022, November 9). The ABC model. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/the-abc-model

IamLockSmith. (2015, June 29). 09 Locksmith feat Marc E Bassy “Plot Line” [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/KASoWqfpR7s?si=tgYtK9Oil2MOr-K-

Mon, K. (2024, March 9). Illustration of demonstrators throwing stones at police [Image]. Playground. Retrieved from https://playground.com/post/illustration-of-demonstrators-throwing-stones-at-police-per-cltkec13e0k2ts601w8adgpcm

Whtvs. (2007, December 21). Bobby Womack - Across 110th Street [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/UOg_8hCC4u4?si=Uj6Ibv_FQ5PF6EP1

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Bobby Womack. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Womack

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Locksmith (rapper). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locksmith_(rapper)

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Marc E. Bassy. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marc_E._Bassy

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