Beginning again (again)
Have you ever traded parts of yourself in exchange for safety? I did exactly this back in 2019, after my second marriage fell apart just weeks after Wyatt was born. And then the pandemic hit. It’s been a sort of survival mode since then that I don’t think has a defined clinical language yet for any of us. I knew I had to keep going, which also meant I had to jump over so many deficits and broken bits inside of my body and myself. That trade happened with a shaky smile and nod, a secret handshake made between sweaty palms. I’ll surrender my needs, if you give me a shell.
I kept thinking I had come out of all of that, that maybe I’d been willing to undo that negotiation, but I hadn’t until this past summer. And now here I am in September 2023, facing a necessary challenge to Begin Again, again. Omg, again.
I thought for so long that no one noticed how far away I had gotten from my work here, which in essence has always been connected to my artist heart. I had convinced myself that a commodified robot version of me was what was better and more desired, certainly more profitable. And so the exchange felt worthy and maybe even right, as if I was finally becoming a “good girl”, a broken-in wild horse.
The trouble is that MommaStrong never wanted me this way. MommaStrong has always loved my underbelly, it has survived it and loved it and believed in it for so long, through all the many trials and even my own self-destruction before I got sober in 2017. But over the last four years, I began to see this company begin to droop and wither. This didn’t make sense to most, even to me. We’re making things shinier, more stable, more scalable, less gooey.
But, here’s what I know happened and maybe you do too: When I agreed to this trade, I agreed to allowing MommaStrong (and myself) to become a product and not a service. I can see how this happens in so many places in our society. A good thing becomes a brand, which then becomes a lifestyle, which then becomes a bazillion dollars, which then becomes not what it was when it started.
We’ve always been more of a movement where I am with you. You subscribe so as to not be alone, as if we banded together in an online collective of like-minded humans attempting to change the legacy of caretaker-ship. We all agreed: Perhaps we can hang on to ourselves and parent. Perhaps we can stay agile and parent. Perhaps our kids can know our joy even as we parent. Perhaps we can know adventure even as we parent. Perhaps we can really trust our bodies even as we parent.
And we all brought different skills to the collective. You brought yours, and I brought mine. And we fed each other, supported each other. This here program became an appendage of support, a service to each of us.
That all shifted during my trade and I own my part in that now. I wish I could also entirely blame myself. It would be so much easier to control the unknown that way, to convince myself with some magical thinking that harm won’t happen to me again because, of course, it was all my fault. Yet, in owning my part, I’ll also say what you need to say as well: What happened to me was real and the effects on my life and my brain and my body are real, but I will not abandon myself any longer. No more trades.
So. Here I am, beginning again. I’m facing so many things, head-on: How to renegotiate my contract here in MommaStrong and my contract with whatever “order” is out there in the great big swirly universe. How to love and be loved, cared for even with the risk of care becoming harm. How to Take Good Care of my life and my body. How to be visible with all my faults and flaws. And even how to finally deal with the reality that my belly is still not healed after Wyatt, a fact I am embarrassed about because I should have healed it, isn’t that what we sell at MommaStrong?
No, we don’t push to sell anything at MommaStrong. As determined investigators, we instead strive to make room for our needs as caretakers and we invite you join us in making that room healthy. My commitment to this, as I navigate beginning again here with my incredible team, is that we are going to strip away all the stuff that has complicated and commodified what we do. We’re going back to our roots, which is exciting because I not only get to retrieve what started MommaStrong, but also give to it now the sturdiness I couldn’t give it way back then.
So, FIRST UP, this post is designed to get you signed up for our September Begin Again Hook, which starts on Monday, Sept 4th. Read below for more details. But, here’s a short list of other things you need to know as we head into this retrieval (look in your email and in the community for even more details). You can expect all these pivots and updates to happen on Friday, September 1st (tech gremlins willing):
Reducing Complication: We’ve spent the last 6 months evaluating and monitoring the parts of our system and program that work and the parts that simply do not. And we’re now taking action on all that we discovered. We’re excited and relieved … and yes, this means that there are some changes (but don’t worry, no price increases haha!) Please visit The Complete Guide to MommaStrong Updates (click here).
Motivation and Clarity: We’ve also spent the last 6 months evaluating and monitoring what helps you get started and keep going. The discoveries we made here have changed both our “get started” process for new members and our general content organization for current members. You can see what is where and what is what by visiting Where Is My Content (click here).
The Hook Revitalization: We’re aware that we need to make The Hook more tangible as an accountability tool for you all, and that is exactly what we will be doing. We are creating more structure around your registration period, providing enough time to get ready for the start day. And, we’re being more intentional about your weekly content with the inclusion of more focused podcast episodes, printable worksheets, clearer action items, and old school coloring pages to track your show ups.
Ok, so back to September Begin Again Hook – here’s your call to join me in this wild and hairy beginning again. We will be spending the month of September focusing in on what it feels like to start over, why September is an important month to do that, and what tools we can use for the “I don’t wannas” and everything in between.
As with all Hooks, when you register, you’ll get access to weekly content in the form of a mini podcast episode and a concise email with a summary, action items, and some printable worksheets. Beyond that, you get to do this with other members and with me, so … yeah … you don’t have to do it alone. OH YEAH, and we’ll be encouraging you to show up for daily-ish exercise, which might be more exciting and/or doable with the release of our new Begin Again program.
If you are a current member, you can register for The Hook by completing the form on The Hook Sign Up page after you’ve logged in. If you are not a current member, welcome! You’ll need to sign-up for our introductory offer ($5) first and then follow those instructions above. The deadline to register is 11:59pm THIS FRIDAY, SEPT 1st.
Ok, I think that’s it. I need a nap and three cups of hot black tea, not sure which one first.