The 2nd Turning of the Wheel
Happy 2nd Transitional Labor Day to us!
It’s downward dog. The still space between this breath’s exhale and the inhale of the next. It’s where we resist the temptation to do something when we aren’t sure what to do next. It’s the active rest phase.
One year ago today we celebrated Transitional Labor Day at Bespoke. Now, for any woman out there who’s given birth and for all their partners who have stood witness, I would not have believed it had I not experienced it myself. It’s a zen-like, almost otherworldly feeling where, for a brief second, you feel relief. You feel the universe giving you a solitary moment to compose yourself, and clearly some hormonal amphetamine boost goes to work on easing your short term memory of hours of labor pain. Biology offers you this once-in-a-birthing bonus because what’s about to come next will test every fiber of your being. They call it Transitional Labor because it’s the transition from ‘I know you thought this was really hard up until now,’ to ‘Lady, you haven’t seen anything yet.’
‘If you’re going through hell, just keep going’ — Churchill
When I gave birth to my son, transitional labor happened at the 7 hour mark (To the moms out there who struggled with days-long labor, please don’t hate me. I’m that bitch that delivered 2 weeks early in only 11 hours of labor). It was vivid, and I’ll never forget the feeling. I’ll also never forget what came next — me, on all fours in the shower, pleading to my husband through tears that I couldn’t do this, didn’t know how to do it, and didn’t want to do it anymore.
‘It’s a little late for that.’ he said.
Hence, Transitional Labor Day made the perfect metaphor when, last January, Bespoke was on life support. Out of cash, without a working product and with little assurance that we’d make it another day, we decided to persevere. We decided that the universe had given us a moment of breathing room to think. To decide. Quitting was never really any option though. Like I said, by the time you’re in transitional labor it’s too late to turn back, there’s no time for pain relievers and you’re closer to the end than you are to the beginning.
January is a reflective time. A thinking time. Re-feuling all that was exasperated in the past months. And like the Buddhists say, time is a spiral, not a straight line, and so although we arrive again at this same point, we have moved further along time’s trajectory. Think of it like a Slinky. One that expands and contracts according to our individual geography of time. Sometimes stretched far and sometimes slinked up tightly, our perception of duration is malleable depending on circumstance.
So here we are again. Our 2nd Transitional Labor Day. Last year we vowed that when this day came we’d re-evaluate, reconsider, and either throw in the towel, have a group hug & go our separate ways or vow to fight the good fight to the death.
One year later, so much has happened at Bespoke. We have a product — an awesome product — that we successfully launched this past September. We met our first milestone of 500 users, and we’ve gathered some valuable feedback already about how to make Bespoke even better for them. Every time we’ve been running on fumes, another friend & family investor has come through to keep us afloat. We took our first $20k investment from someone who isn’t my mother-in-law, my best friend or my cousin. We’ve nurtured a ton of new relationships, brought on an amazing intern-turned product guy, empowered our first employee to chase her creative dream (which meant taking a break from Bespoke), and picked up the (pro bono) insights of a spectacularly talented designer.
We’re smarter, more efficient and just as exhausted as ever. I fall apart less often than I used to, and still admit when I haven’t got a clue. I trust more than ever, and I doubt just as much. Though some days I’m not sure whether I’m so far from the inflection point that I’d be nuts to keep on going, or so close that I’d be crazy to quit, I remember that just like transitional labor, there’s no turning back now—
and when you reach the prize at end of the long road, though you’ve dreamed for years about what it would feel like when you got there, it will exceed every expectation you ever had.
My co-founder and I always say ‘Sooner than you think, later than you want.’ I’m excited, proud and anxious to see what challenges & delights 2015 has in store for the rebel, this upholder, and one major (Wh)Y.
check out what we’re building at Bespoke— www.bespoke-app.com