lacking the ability or strength to move.
I haven’t really felt like writing lately. Usually, I get at least a weekly pang of something stirring inside me that needs to come out. And not vomit or bad words. I mean a deep down “stuff to say or express” sort of pang that makes the world make sense and makes me feel like I’ve got some sort of tether to joy. But, lately, no. Nothing. Not even a ping.
And I’ve decided to decode this lack of ping, which I will from now on call Inertia. Why? Because about 99% of the people I talk to and who come to Momma Strong all say the same thing, “It all looks so great, I just honestly don’t know how to get started.” And, sure, they might mean that they’re confused about which program to do first, but the truth is that what they really mean is: “I don’t know how to want to hit Go.”
I’ve traveled so far from inertia in the last couple of years that this bout of a standstill feels really unwelcome and yet oh so familiar. It reminds me of having had my second kid when my eldest was 5 years old. As much as I slipped back immediately into the throws of postpartum/infant life, I was also completely blindsided by how incredibly hard it was. Those five years in between had removed the remembrance of it all, even though the experience was etched somewhere deep in my bones.
So, in honor of that and in honor of folks who are standing in front of that Go button, I’m saturating myself with how it feels so I can better help us all move from inert to active. Because, to be honest, if I want my work in the world to be at all effective, the Go button matters more than the Stay button. Here’s what I’ve figured out so far:
We talk so much about motivation and how to stay the course, but we rarely talk about the moment before even motivation and before the course. And that’s because it’s a bit icky, isn’t it? It’s a bit of a shadow phase, where no one wants to live or be seen. Yet, this is the most important part. This part. The shadow phase before, where most people get lost in and stay - sometimes, often - forever.
And I wonder if this shadow phase, this inertia, has more to do with the disillusionment with life than it has to do with willpower or willingness or gumption or courage. And if that’s the case, then we have to crawl into that moment and recognize that a disillusionment can be the most fragmenting, stunting experience imaginable. AND if that’s the case, then we have to stop incentivizing folks to “do the thing” and instead reach out and hold their hand as we at least greet that disappointment and that abandonment from the promise of Life Being Awesome.
If I were to greet that disillusionment, this is what it would say:
- “What’s the point?”
- “Where’s the payoff?”
- “How long will it take?”
- “I am too far gone, why try?
- “Who do you think you are?”
- “Why does any of it matter?”
These are things we feel when life hands us a reality check, aren’t they? When the distant, romantic, grandiosity of Disney and childhood glitter and high school awards and “go get ‘ems” fade away into inevitable slaps in the face of adulthood. There’s a shattering in us when that happens. The little kid in us watches the stain glass window of wonder get smashed before our eyes. The colors in the kaleidoscope of possibility suddenly wither to black and white. This all happened for me time and again in my own life. I’m sure yours too. Go ahead, make a list:
My childhood. When I left home at 16 by myself. When I joined a professional ballet company. When I left the ballet dramatically and without closure. When I got married. When I got sick. When I became a mother. When close people harmed me. When money became the number one misery. When I got divorced. When business and dreams failed over and over again. And again. And again. Etc. Etc.
These moments are moments where we fracture a bit and we live - hopefully temporarily - in a space of total disappointment. And when we’re younger and more resilient OR when we’ve chosen adequate partners in life, we can crawl our way out of the disappointment and sew it back together more securely than before. We learn. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. BUT, what we’ve forgotten is that modern motherhood has added an extra crappy hand in this regard: Stress and isolation. And I believe that is it because of this that we all have a much harder time mending those fractures and are more apt to shrug our shoulders at vitality’s whisper and tell strength to go fuck off.
It is because of this that we adopt inertia over activity.
We’re little kids inside who are sincerely bummed out. We’re little kids inside who, deep down, mean only the best in the world and want only to experience joy in the small, mundane moments. But, we don’t have the reserves or the environment anymore to grab our metaphorical needles and thread and begin stitching the fabric of our purpose and joy back together.
So, the good news is that there’s a way out. It starts with getting down on knee level with the kid in you and saying, “Hey, I see you. I know you feel really disillusioned and fractured. But, it’s worth it.” And then it’s a mighty usurping of the Throne of Inertia. No more thinking, no more analyzing, no more wallowing, no more complaining, no more waiting, no more being gentle. You fight for your birthright of resilience and joy, for the thing you know you were promised and that is so very near at hand, even in the worst of times. You remind life that modern motherhood is a mere unthoughtful, inept invention born from chaos, not from soul.
Choose the soul of life and of your gorgeous life and of the gorgeous lives in your life.
That’s the Go Button. I extend mine to you today.
Join The Hook this May (starts on May 2nd) and join me in celebrating 4 years of Momma Strong - one of the ultimate fractures and joys in my life and the only way I know what the word “moxie” means. I’ll be showering this month with bonuses and rewards and play and - of course - lots of extra threads and needles so we can mend this stuff as you deserve it to be mended.