The idea of motivation has always been deeply associated with willpower for me. Surely if I just tried hard enough, I would find that mythical, wonderful muse called motivation. I’ve never quite understood where motivation comes from and how other people seem to have so much of it. Maybe one day I will understand.
I’ve struggled with self-motivation my entire life. A lot of the lectures I remember as a child were about how I needed to do things without prompting. That things should be done early and on time and be reminded of a project or essay a million times wasn’t great. Looking back, I don’t blame my mom at all for taking this stance – she was a single mom raising two kids and didn’t have the time to go behind me and make sure I had done all of my homework after a certain age.
But the lectures have stuck with me and I’ve really fluctuated on self-motivation a lot as I’ve gotten older. I’ve done 11 years of NaNoWriMo, won twice, and continue to work on a novel I started in 2015. I’ve bounced in and out of college since Fall 2009 and am finally finishing my degree this year. Was I not motivated enough to finish those 50,000 words every year? Was I not motivated enough to stick out my first degree and not fail classes? Why am I motivated to finish now, at yet another college, online? Am I not motivated enough to solve my current financial issues? How do I do things because I’m motivated and excited to do them rather than out of guilt or spite?
I don’t know anymore.
Figuring out more about my mental illnesses and that I do have ADHD has also illuminated a lot of my issues in this area. Executive dysfunction is a bitch. I’m glad for that since it’s helped me research the right tools I need in order to get things done. I also turn to my dynamic for a lot of my motivation. It’s much easier for me to do something because Daddy expects it to be done rather than berating myself for struggling to do The Thing.
We describe ourselves as interdependent (although I am also now comfortable with the word codependent). He helps me create and maintain a structure that feeds my desire to complete things. I want to do things but starting is hard, I get easily overwhelmed, etc, etc. It feels like excuses some days but my brain is a fickle thing when I’m not taking care of myself right or didn’t think to take a med. Daddy is patient with me and I’ve begun to be more patient with myself as a result. He’s not peering over my shoulder to make sure I’ve done a task but he does expect me to complete it on the day it was given to me (or within other variables) or explain why it wasn’t. I struggle with the concept between reasons and excuses but Daddy has been kind and patient. I don’t want to disappoint him.
Also, anything I didn’t get done during the week I have to finish on the weekend which is time I relish spending with him so that’s been great motivation to do dishes.
I know there are people out there who might frown at the idea of relying on another person for motivation, never mind using a power exchange dynamic for it. But, as a chronic people pleaser, it has been one of the safest, healthiest, most beneficial ways for me to function.
As I’m writing this, I’m also mulling over the things that I’ve done on my own without prompting from a parent, a friend, a partner. Seeking help for my mental illnesses. Seeking help for my school classes. I joined a literary magazine as an editor at my first university. I’ve painted rooms and put together furniture and displayed books. I’ve dug out bushes and plants and weeds and tried to grow some tomatoes last year. I maintain this blog without incentive. I currently do this for reasons I haven’t quite pinned down. I’d like to make money (who wouldn’t?) but it’s also been a refreshing change for my writing. I’m actually on a bit of a personal hiatus from my fiction writing but have been writing a little more here as a result. (I have lots of drafts!! Finishing a thing is still hard!!)
Many of my goals also rely on some degree of self-motivation. Reading 20 books is my personal goal, not Daddy’s. Which books I read may be influenced by him (I’m always asking if he wants me to read or reread a particular kink book next) but the number is pretty arbitrary. It’s me who wants to read X number.
My desire to be on social media is self-motivated. My desire to do more creative things is self-motivated. It’s there but until I started writing all of this out, I have a hard time seeing it. I don’t think of myself as a motivated person.
In the End
I didn’t mean for this to get so long but I guess I had more thoughts about the concept of motivation that I thought.
The image for this blog is on a coffee cup that I own and it’s a little bit of inspiration, a little bit of motivation to just do the thing. Make art, write, garden, work on something. It’s okay to be messy. I’m good at self-sabotaging and murdering my own motivation by accident.
I’m trying to get better, trying to have a better relationship with the concept. Like everything else, it takes time and practice. And motivation.
(In the summer of 2020, a few months after I wrote this original post, I was diagnosed with ADHD, a large factor as to why I’ve struggled with motivation my entire life. You can read more about that here.)