First of the months intimidate me. I go through the motions of deciding if and what I should publish on my site, I feel the urge to start a new book (although I’m not even half through the last one), I cringe when thinking about the last time I wrote in my journal, and most recently I contemplate if “I’m ready” to return to social media. This thought process seems to linger around the 25th-ish of the month. My fingers start to fiddle, I begin to bite my nails, and my thoughts are racing. “what if I don’t finish the post in time” … “what if I can’t commit to a consistent schedule” … “who’s even reading my stuff anyway” … “oh well, it’s already the 3rd now, too late”. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
I recently told my Therapist that I’m sick of myself. My ineffective patterns and my challenges at being and remaining internally motivated when there isn’t a visible end goal and/or anticipating eyes or hands on the receiving end of that which I will produce. We had identified this pattern before, and we know where it stems from within my development (achievement based schema style). However, after ___ years of living, 4 years of being in therapy, and just about the same amount of time being an actual therapist – I still hadn’t conquered or drastically shifted my momentum/consistency/discipline/internal motivation thermometer. I was still in the start – thrive – stop pattern that has defined my creative life for so long. And quite frankly, I just can’t with myself.
This happens at least twice per month. The frustration turns to self-loathing, which turns to resentment, which then further decreases my motivation. How is it that I say I want something but my behaviors continue to be inconsistent towards achieving it? (Insert critical internal voice) “you’re just lazy” … “clearly you don’t want it as bad as you say you do” … “this is a smack in Gods face; all that content and provision and you just waste it”. Not too nice right?
But then I’m reminded of how important it is to be kind to myself (or at least that’s what I tell my clients). To remember that my life has changed a lot over the last few months, and that I’ve acquired some roles and responsibilities that add more complexity and stress than what is regularly there. I had to remember that I already have a very full life, and sometimes it just isn’t realistic for me to come home at 10pm – cook, clean, shower, eat and possibly curate content for my site, social media, or books. Nor is it realistic to go to bed at maybe 2am, wake up around 11ish with the hopes of curating that content then – before beginning a full day of work which (on the hardest days) consist of 5-6 individual counseling sessions, a 3hr group counseling session, emails, phone calls, meetings, paperwork, and an insistent requirement to remain present. And then there are the weekends which are ideally reserved for opportunities for creative curating; however, they actually end up consisting of errand running, quality time with the beau, investment in the youth group at my church, actual church attendance, attendance at events (baby showers, birthdays, etc…), time with family and friends, and maybe a bowel movement if I have time (joking…kinda). Not to mention quality time (or just conscious contact) with God which I make it a point to do every day (no matter how small).
But in reflecting on all of this, I had to be honest and realistic with myself. I said to myself “Self” – myself said “Yes chile”…I said “Sis your life is complex…its busy, like more than the average person…and it’s not a crime against humanity that you’re not able to maintain consistency how you would like to”.
The words from Duke “he’s a man, he’s not a machine” (Rocky IV) rang in my ears and along with it came a sense of relief.
Bottom line is that I’m not a machine and there is no mandate on how often I need to write on my blog or post to social media. Period. And the fears associated with what happens when I don’t post as often as I’d like only have as much power as I give them. I understand the importance of consistency, brand building, and audience engagement. I also understand that social media is a powerful tool and can be used to spread my message and create additional opportunities. But I also know that I have a busy life and there is no amount of motivational or ‘guilt tripping’ quotes that will cause me to write or create when I’m simply exhausted, unmotivated, or just uninspired. Being realistic with myself needs to be my number one focus. I often reflect about my journey towards being more authentic, and if that’s what I’m doing then I also have to accept that this authenticity (with all its inconsistencies and other flaws) will show up in every area of my life no matter how much I try to quote or guilt it away.
So, in my effort to put into practice what I share with others and that which has been therapeutically imparted to me, I am making a conscious decision to embrace it. After failed attempts at trying to manage, control, structure, and rebuke these less than desirable parts of me (which have only led to resentment), today, I am deciding to just be. And if you know me, you know that’s not an easy task. Whether or not it’ll remain this way, we shall see. But as of this moment, this is where I am. And that is okay.