These days I’m kinda like my now old and overused favorite pair of shiny gold leggings. Aka, not so shiny. The lamé part of me is more like l-a-m-e right now. Things just got so, um, draining. It’s been such a long haul of ups and downs, I cant even tell you. I’ve earned some serious wounds and caused some too. I've been running seriously behind and having been falling short on the stuff that matters the most. And the little flecks of what makes me “me” started to drift off into the inevitable fade of any fabric.
I can feel how it happens to all of us, whether you are a business woman, mother, creator, do-er, or dreamer. The birth of our purpose and our pleasure in the world becomes shrouded in a bubble of a metaphorical postpartum glow. Consider the tender weeks just after you gave birth to your baby. You could show up like a freakin’ disaster everywhere you go and it was all good in the hood, right? People expected that. Heck, they revered it. And since you were still protected by the beautiful concoction of adrenaline and oxytocin from birth, you actually felt - for at least a day or two - a bit like a superhero in the midst of the mess, right?
And then, then, our babes get a little older. And the glow wears off. The superhero hormones fade away and leave us feeling emotionally and physically like a car engines without oil. And people forget what we’re going through. They forget that afterbirth isn’t just three months of the postpartum period. It’s actually a much, much longer time. For some, postpartum doesn’t end until our babe’s pink fleshy cheeks start to dip into golden hues of cheekbones and edges of their future faces. It can take years, even a decade for some kids to truly settle into their skin in such a way that their momma can sit back and take a breath - a breath which must be full and conscious, as adolescence is soon on it’s way and then it’s back to the drawing board.
The birth of this Momma Strong business is still in that postpartum haze. I’m still in the fumbling, exhausted, loss of autonomy, adaptation of a new identity, growing up, facing my own weaknesses phase. But, no one else knows it and those that do - to be honest - are a little sick of it. They want me to be shiny again. To have my sh*t together. They don’t expect me to screw up so much and certainly not so openly and so personally. They want me to get over it all and bask in the delight of motherhood. But, Momma Strong isn’t that sort of a child. She’s a sensitive, super powerful, super demanding sort of kid. She still doesn’t sleep through the night. She still needs extra time in transitioning from one activity to another. She’s often rude and sassy in all the wrong moments. She takes her bad days out on me. She’s still afraid to raise her hand in class. She’s still not sure what harm will come when she uses her whole voice and shines beyond her peers. She’s the kind of kid that everyone thinks they could parent better. And she’s certainly the kind of kid that everyone blames you for every bit of wobbly behavior or lack of luster in her day to day existence.
But. But. She’s also the kind of kid that if you parent just right, will blossom into the world with such fierceness that you’ll be able to hear the soundtrack of her every step in the world.
I am tired momma who is going through a massive bout of forced growing up as I parent this child of mine. I’m so tired. I’m disillusioned. I’m depressed. I often feel alone and misunderstood. I feel like people expect me to be so much more developed and past-postpartum than I am. I mess up so much, I can barely breathe. And I’m definitely the momma who goes to sleep every.single.night thinking that it’s 150% my fault and that I am the giant fuck-up in the whole scenario.
But. But. I’m also a momma who is willing to weather what is atypical to society’s perception of success and stability in my parenting experience. I believe in this babe of mine with my entire being in a such a way that I have made a solemn promise to forgive myself and to pick myself up and start all over again.
If you have any experience like this, whether it’s in the realm of mothering a child like this or in your leadership in the world or in the realm of work or in the realm of your health or in the realm of staying present and awake, I dare you to join me in acknowledging each of our abilities to recover fully and to set our ships straight. I will beg you to step away from just being vulnerable and also be powerful. We all wallow so much these days. We’ve confused vulnerability with action. Vulnerability is not an action, it’s an acknowledgement and a transition ONLY.
Be fierce once you’ve been vulnerable. With yourself and with others. With your dream and your mission. With your blood flow. With your health. With your needs and boundaries. With your ideas for the world. With your strength. With your bad habits. With your children. With your screw ups. With your humor. Be fierce.
You guys. The world around us right now needs us to step out of the fade and into fierceness. My all-time hero in the world, Howard Zinn, said it best, "You can't be neutral on a moving train."
I am going to be fierce. Watch me over the next few months. And I am going to call YOU to action as well. I’m in the mud and the muck of this here postpartum period and in the scope of the world at large and I’m depressed as fuck about it, so none of us have a more justifiable excuse. I have options and that’s all I know about you too. So, let’s try for the option of getting through and not letting those golden flecks of who we are fade no matter what.
No more fading. Ok?