Motivation

I preach about motivation quite a bit to my college students, probing into their personal lives, asking them to give me the skinny on what is so hard about staying motivated. As if I don’t know. As if I am not such a person who struggles to stay full speed ahead with a project, a goal, a dream.

This isn’t to say I don’t share my personal stuff with them. I do, when possible and seemingly appropriate. I am the first to admit my faults, in hopes they will feel free to share their own. I also use humor as much as possible in the classroom since the population of students I teach still finds titles like “Shitty First Drafts” surprising and radical – and this warms every cockle in my heart. I help them laugh, so they can have an easier time with the grit and sweat of writing, and it truly is a gritty, sweaty endeavor.

A year ago, I was inspired by a friend or two to start publishing some writing, so I put my big toe in the water and ended up having two pieces quickly published by the same online magazine, Sweatpants and Coffee. It was so very motivating.

And then, I took on a personal writing project over the course of summer 2016 that ended up flopping; it just couldn’t stand up fully on its own, and that same boost of motivation came crashing down. So very fragile our little egos are, right? In fairness – or possibly to offer myself an excuse – I was working through some feelings about death, having lost a dear, young cousin to a fatal illness. And then, wouldn’t you know, my father-in-law was diagnosed with a rather nasty form of cancer (although he has made a remarkable and quick recovery), and then my estranged father’s health started sinking down the tubes. What a year.

But we all deal with this stuff, this gritty, sweaty, heart-wrenching crud of life, which is perhaps is why adding some doses of lightness and humor are totally essential. I will do my best to offer these moments for you, and for me, but in the meantime, you just might find much of my crass and sassy humor out on the Internet somewhere, as I seem to have begun a new phase of publishing. Check out my latest piece on Bluntmoms.com here. I am currently working on a second piece for them, too, entitled, “That Time My Six-Year Old Dropped the F* Bomb.” More later.

What I am learning about my own motivation is that it takes a bit of humor and fun to keep the juices flowing. And that one muse-killing factor in my life is my own damn seriousness. In fact, the juices have been flowing so well lately that I have been able to produce two heavier pieces that will be upcoming on Sweatpants and Coffee and Mutha magazine.

Another thing I am taking in from my students and my own experience is that roadblocks can be a total haze. Meaning, they can slow down any process or trick us into believing we’ll never make it out of the field of poppies wherein we’ve been aimlessly roaming. After all, self-deprecation can be the most poisonous nectar.

But there’s always a remedy. Finding your own just might take time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It took me a long while to consider the title for this blog. I wanted something that defined me both as a person and a writer. A name that would also perhaps speak to a particular audience. Why “The Astronaut Wife?” Since my early days of blogging, I have leaned toward more of a confessional style of writing, to some degree. I write as much truth as I can muster at each phase of life. In addition, I also come from a conservative Southern family, and I have grown very far from those roots. You could say I have rocketed to the moon in terms of my upbringing. I have rocketed away from debilitating family dynamics, from worldviews that held me beneath a rock. In my thirties, and now my early to mid-forties, I have learned to live more comfortably with both sides of the moon and write just as much about the raw, dark places as the light ones. Don’t quote me on that, though. It’s quite likely I will lean more heavily toward one or the other depending on which way the wind is blowing. Then, we get to the wife part, and quite frankly, this is where the feminist in me bucked and brayed. Identifying myself as “wife” has felt simply stymieing, particularly since becoming a mother six and a half years ago. But if the truth is going to be told, being a wife to my particular husband has altered my entire shape and has given voice to much of the inner deep. So in fact, becoming a wife was the singular most life-changing moment for me in my journey to the moon and back. Fellow travelers, you can feel safe and comfortable here. What matters more than what you might “get” about me is what you might take for yourself.

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