How to Show up, when you’re lacking motivation 

In this episode, I talk about the challenge of showing up when you’re not in the mood and I share my strategy for making progress when you’re lacking motivation.

We talk about:

  • Chronic Fatigue & Commitments
  • Keeping Going Despite the Circumstances
  • Disabled Parking Bay Wars
  • Finding your Boundaries
  • Progress Making Strategy
  • Using Your Voice to be the Representation
  • The Treasure Tress TT Awards
  • Surprise News
  • Be the change


Episode: Jamelia Donaldson Founder and CEO of Treasure Tress

TreasureTress Instagram

The Teen Experience

Domestic abuse services for African heritage women and girls.

Nina on Instagram

Black Women Rising cancer support project

Sisters in Business: Join the Largest Community of Muslim Business Women in the UK

Shop CURLS Sweatshirts

We would love it if you would follow us:

Zoe Fox on Instagram


Find us on Instagram

Find us on Facebook

*Comment on our most recent post with the title of this episode so we know how you found us.

About The Curl Squad

Curl Squad is a community of women on a journey to self-acceptance, pursuing passion and discovering their purpose.

We discuss growing up curly, overcoming obstacles, traumas and triumphs as well as sharing a natural hair care essential or two.

I’ll be introducing you to some incredibly inspiring curly creators and innovators as we discuss the natural hair community, representation, healing, doing meaningful work and building bigger tables.

Please do subscribe and rate and review to help us amplify our important voices. Curly Girls, join us in the ongoing conversation.



Read the full show transcript here

Transcripts are 90% accurate, please do not trust them for quote or news media purposes. If you need clarification for a story, a blog, or a reference, please contact us directly.

Intro Hook: One thing that I’ve promised myself is that I am never going to get stuck again. I spent so many years not taking action, because of my anxiety, disorder and depression. Now I’m free of that. I’m like, I don’t care. I’m not going to let a spinal cord injury hold me back.

Hey, curlfriend, how you doing?

It’s me, Zoe Fox, and you’re listening to the curl squad’s, Curl Power podcast. Thank you for joining us today. I always appreciate your ear.  If you’re a regular listener, then you’ll be familiar with the show. If you’re new here,  we like to talk about mindset overcoming challenges, thriving after trauma. And we also have some amazing guests talking about their journey to self-acceptance, entrepreneurship, and basically being the representation that we needed when we were growing up. 

In today’s episode, I am going to be giving you some really exciting news. Yes, it’s very exciting. Well, it’s exciting for me anyway, I’m sure you’ll be thrilled. And we’re also going to talk about showing up even when you don’t feel like it. We are just three episodes deep into series two of the podcast. And the reason I slowed it down before was because I was going through a lot of changes with my injury. If you’re new here, I’ve got a spinal cord injury that happened at the beginning of the pandemic. If you’re not new here, you’re probably thinking can you stop going on about that injury? Trust me, I feel the same. But I knew there would probably come a point where I would struggle to show up and deliver an episode. But I’m committed, do you not I mean, I don’t want to let my people them down. And I know you’re out there because I can see the stats. And it’s not just my mom and dad who download it. 

And today was one of those days where I was like, I’m struggling to get going today, I feel so fatigued. Part of the joys of this spinal cord injury, particularly my Cauda Equina syndrome, just means that I do get bogged down with really intense fatigue. To the point actually, that at times when my brain can’t formulate sentences, it gets really difficult that my husband will be talking to me and then I’ll just be like, Yeah. And he’s like, that’s insightful, babe. Thanks. And like the conversation will just tail off because I can’t get the sentences together. So today, I was just feeling a little bit mad, I didn’t want to let you guys down, I didn’t want to let myself down. Because I’ve made a commitment to this podcast, I made a commitment to show up. So here I am doing that. I’ve got to the studio had a loose idea of what I wanted to say. But I usually like to make sure that the podcasts are pretty considered. So this one’s a little bit on the fly. So I’ve got to the studio and I just couldn’t quite get in the groove, or the flow. I’m just sort of like, I don’t know what to show or this podcast is going to be dry. Hopefully they’ll stick with me and just give me an exception pass for today.

But then I started having a little play around and I went onto Instagram, actually. And there’s this guy, Mark Billet. And he’s got this beautiful little song, and it’s him standing in his robe, thrusting in about his keyboard, and it goes a little something like this. You got to show up if you want to get it done. If you want to get it done, you got to show up. If you don’t show up, it’s not getting done. You got to show up if you want to get it done. You want to get it done. And I was like that’s it. You have to show up if you want to get it done. And today as much as I didn’t want to come out. I did. And here I am. Now the podcast is happening. I’ve shown up and you know what, it’s not always easy. It’s so easy to find so many reasons not to do things. But sometimes, the best thing that you can do is just take that one step like I did. I took that one step. Well 47 steps, down all of my stairs into the car, ran the corner to the studio. I got in even when I got in I didn’t know what I wanted to do. But here I am now talking about showing up regardless. 

It’s not always easy to show up when you’re dealing with chronic pain. Like chronic pain is so exhausting. Hopefully you don’t have to deal with it. If you do, I’m sure you’ll understand. If you don’t you have to take my word for it being in a constant state of pain. sensation is hard work, because your body’s trying to do all the stuff that it would normally do, whilst also trying to manage and cope with this pain. So it can be a bit of a struggle. And this has been a bit of a thread actually, ever since I became disabled is like, the body’s automatic desire to want to just lie down and rest. But I was a person before my disability came along, and I had dreams and hopes and ambitions. The injury wasn’t part of the plan. So the one thing that had to figure out is how can I keep going? How can I keep working towards my dreams and my goals, despite the physical circumstances that are holding me back? And another challenge about disability? Particularly, the aspects that are not visible? is it’s really hard for other people to understand what you’re going through. Like if you can’t see someone’s pain, how do you even begin to comprehend it? 

I think around 70% of people with disabilities actually have invisible disabilities. And I know from speaking to people with completely invisible disabilities, one of the biggest challenge is that they find other people and the lack of understanding. And a similar thing could be said, with mental health as well. If you can’t see it on the outside, does it mean that it doesn’t exist? That was one of my biggest issues in the corporate world, while I was dealing with my mental health challenges was that because people couldn’t see it, they just see young, healthy, you know, smiling. It’s hard for them to comprehend what is going on inside. For people with invisible disabilities, it can be a real challenge now, I mean, I’ve got crutches, and a bit of an obvious limp. But that doesn’t stop me from being looked at sideways. In fact, the other day, for the very first time in two years.

Did I mention that I got my driving license back. I can’t remember, I probably did. What anyway, I’ve got my driving license back after two years. And on this particular day, I was just finishing up the curls, kids sweatshirts that I’ve had made. So in my labels and stuff, and I ran out a thread for the sewing machine. So I thought, You know what, I’ve got the car, I’m actually going to brave it. Because for the first time in two years, if I need something, I can actually just go and get it by myself without having to rely on anybody else. So I was like, Okay, before I did that, I was like, let me just call the store to make sure they’ve got it because I don’t want to have a wasted journey because you got to think so carefully about how you use your energy. So I called Sainsbury’s to see if they had the thread that I needed. 

So I drove over there. Just as I was turning right into the disabled parking area, I could see this man looking at me. Didn’t think too much of it. Reverse back into the space. And he came over to the driver’s side window and was like, You can’t park they’re fine. Yes, I can. And he’s like, it’s for disabled people. And I was like, Well, I am disabled. Like the guy hadn’t even given me a chance to get out of the car to see how I was presenting or anything. Which is besides the point because of already, as I’ve already said, 70% of disabilities are invisible. So I was like, What proof do you want, I’ve got a blue badge here that haven’t had chance to get out of the glove compartment. Because you know, you haven’t given me a chance to even take my seatbelt off. I’ve got my crutches. In fact, I’ve got my wheelchair in the back. And then it was I was only trying to be helpful. And I’m thinking well, you’re not really are you you’re not being really helpful because I’m a disabled person. And I’m feeling quite harassed at the moment, which is a little bit annoying. And in fact, because it was my very first trip out, it was actually quite detrimental to my confidence. I did have a little bit of a cry after just because it took me aback you know, you see these stories about disabled people being harassed in disabled parking bays. And the first time I go out by myself, that’s what happened. 

But this is the problem with trying to be a superhero for disabled toilets or disabled parking bays. Not Be honest. Have you ever looked at someone sideways? You know, as you see them either sort of like going into a disabled toilet or coming out or parking up in a disabled Bay? And yes, there are people that are out there to take the pay and parking spaces that they’re not supposed to. And those sorts of people really want me up because you could be the difference as to why I can go shopping or I can’t, like I can’t walk that far. So if I can’t park near to where I need to go. You know, you’re sort of ruining my day, because you’re being a bit of a lazy article. You know what I mean? But it’s this sense of entitlement that people have and they There’s sort of a sense of distrust around people with disability, which is really frustrating to have to deal with as a disabled person. 

As I’ve just given you that example there of the man who accosted me, as I was trying to park up in the space. Or, in fact, I had a Sainsbury’s delivery, as I have done, you know, get my shopping delivered home. On the notes, I always say, kindly bring shopping to my flat door, I’m disabled, I can’t carry the bags upstairs. The delivery driver rang the doorbell. I just buzzed him in because usually, you know, I buzzed them in. And then they just stopped bringing up the shopping. Buster men made my way down. Like there’s like seven stairs, eight stairs internally inside my flat. So I started coming down those stairs to get to the front door, so that I could open it to retrieve the shopping, just as I got to the bottom of the stairs. started ringing the bell again. So then I had to go back up the stairs. And he’s like, can you come down and help me? And I’m like, Did you see the note on the on the order? And it’s like, well, it’s against store policy to go beyond the first floor. So I’m thinking Oh, is that so? Is that what the policy is? What I thought maybe that was the case because I did have another incident where the Sainsbury’s delivery driver who was clearly quite resentful that he had to bring my shopping upstairs for me. So anyway, he begrudgingly bought it up, bearing in mind, there were two delivery people on this job. 

So anyway, he was like, yeah, it’s against, it’s against your policy. And I’m like, Yeah, but it’s it clearly says on the note that I’m disabled, and it doesn’t mention anywhere, when you’re placing the order that you don’t deliver above the first floor. If that was the case, I wouldn’t have placed the order. And he’s like, well, people lie about being disabled. And and so people lie about being disabled. So because some people lie about being disabled, you’re assuming a position of distrust in my case. And these are just some of the really annoying things that disabled people have to deal with. And it’s just like, you know, what life is enough as it is, without having to deal with all of this additional stress and drama. So since then, I’ve moved to Ocado, who are far more pleasant, and they get 28 minutes to deliver. I don’t know what the Sainsbury’s delivery slot time is, actually. But I think we need to blame the corporations rather than the delivery men. Because, you know, I think these guys are under so much pressure to get so much done in such a short window of time. That customer service goes out the window. And I understand that they’re under pressure. But that’s not my That’s not my problem, really, is it I paid for shopping, I’ve got a delivery pass, I’m expecting the shopping to be delivered to the door, you know, the same door that is billed for the, for the food that I’ve just ordered.

 I said to him, like, you know, I don’t want to have to ask for your help. I need your help. If I could do this by myself, I would do it. I’m a very independent young woman, you know. So anyway, after they disappeared, I jumped straight online to read the policy. You know, it says they’ll do their best to deliver to the door. Anyway, after that. We raised a complaint. And they were like just trying to give me a 10 pound voucher. And I’m like, Look, I’m not interested in freebies, I’m not out for freebies, I’m trying to understand your policy, and just know is it going to be okay for me to order from you guys again? Or is it going to be a problem? Because I can’t be dealing with moody delivery men who are resentful towards me because they’ve got a carry more chopping up the stairs. They were like, oh, we can’t share the outcome because it involves a member of staff. And I’m like, Look, I’m really not interested in the ins and outs of what was said to the member of staff. I just need some reassurances, please. But yeah, Ocado do a great job so far. So shout out to a Ocado. 

So in addition to dealing with daily pain, benefits agencies, and their 40 pages worth of paperwork and all the rest of it. Honestly, guys, you don’t realize what disabled people have to go through unless you are a disabled person, or closely linked to one. And you see these pages and pages of paperwork. It’s a lot. It’s a lot. And I’m out here with this big dream of like, wanting to elevate women and change the world. And here I am stuck with these energy vampire delivery drivers with their bad vibes, and just all this paperwork and having to fight for every last thing you know. So yeah, sometimes it is hard work to show up.

One thing that I’ve promised myself is that I am never going to get stuck again. I spent so many years not taking action, because of my anxiety disorder and depression. Now I’m free of that. I’m like, I don’t care. I’m not gonna let a spinal cord injury hold me back. But it’s a fine line of balance. It’s like you have to have boundaries, because you have to honour and respect your health, your healing time, and we’re not super people, as much as low The Paralympics tries to make out superhuman, geez, we’re not superhuman, we’re humans. Just doing what other humans do with layers of challenges on top of that doesn’t make a superhuman. And there are some days when we’re like today, I don’t want to go anywhere, or do anything. But I have promised myself that, like, at the very least, I will take one step towards achieving something that is setting me in the direction of, you know, the ultimate dream, the ultimate goal. And then at least at the end of the day, I can think, you know, what, I’ve made one piece of progress, even if I do nothing else, because the thing is with me, if I’m not making progress, I feel guilty, I’ve got that feeling of like, oh, I should be doing more, I should be doing more. 

And that can be a detrimental mindset to have, especially when your body needs to rest and recover and recuperate. Because, you know, you might end up pushing yourself in situations a little bit too far. On a good day, I like to do five things that will move me closer to my dreams. On an off day, I’ll do at least one. And today was like, just get out of the house and get to the studio. And here I am recording this episode. I don’t know whether it’s going to be like coherent episode or not. But thank you for showing up with me. I feel like at the moment, I’m just being fueled by this bigger mission that I can, I can feel like that is just bubbling away in everything that I’m doing. The energy on the planet at the moment is like, it’s quite intense. I feel like everybody’s tired at the moment. I just think there’s so much happening. 

There’s been, you know, we’ve all been through this emotional trauma of dealing with a pandemic. And, you know, now there’s a war going on in Europe, which is nothing new. Because there’s been wars going on for years and years. It’s just all of a sudden, the media seems to be particularly interested in this war. I wonder why are these victims more worthy than the victims of other wars and other war crimes? I don’t know. But that’s the media lens, isn’t it and the racism that we have to deal with as black and brown people, like even Prince William came out with some totally ignorant comments, like, oh, we expect to see this in Asia and Africa, but not in Europe. We’re so civilized. He didn’t say civilized. But, you know, that’s been the whole thread throughout all of this news coverage, doesn’t it? But anyway, what I’m trying to say is like, everybody’s dealing with a lot, haven’t spoken to one person at the moment that isn’t sort of feeling the need to just have a holiday and exhale. But I’m just like, I’m feeling this momentum. And it’s almost outside of my control. And I’m just going with it. And I think a lot of that is driven by representation. representation, as always been a huge thing for me, hence the podcast. Because, in fact, can you think off the top of your head of any notable mixed-race black disabled woman? No, I’m struggling. It’s not to say there aren’t any, no disrespect to those that I’m not aware of. But like, that, in itself is like a motivating force for me to like, want to stand up and be seen for other disabled women, particularly women of colour. 

So that is making me really determined to show up in the best way possible. I am here to be that representation, I am here to be a voice for the voiceless because that’s what we pretty much are disabled women of colour, voiceless. So this is my voice, and I’m using it and you’re listening to me using it. So thank you, please do share the podcast. So more people can hear our marginalized voices. So on the subject of representation, treasure tress, which is Europe’s first and largest product discovery box, especially for black and mixed-race women. The brand was founded by Jamila Donaldson, she looked out into the marketplace and didn’t see herself represented. She’s like, where’s the love for black hair out here. So she created a brand that delivered the things that she wish existed. And Trisha tress has just held their first TT awards, because they were fed up of not seeing black brands, truly represented in Beauty Awards, and things like that. So they set up their own Awards, which is recognizing the world of black hair and beauty. 

And I was rather surprised when I received an email to say, I’ve been nominated in the category of Woman of the Year. Guys, I can’t tell you how excited I was when I saw that email come through. Woman of the Year what me so yeah, I mean, I was totally gassed, really excited. After what has been a couple of really difficult years. This was just like this big ray of light shining through emoji Gmail actually cried. When I received that email. I’m like, Oh, I feel so seen. I feel so seen. And it was yeah, it was just, it was really special to receive by email, they advised me that they were going to be shooting some film for the awards. And I was invited to come along, yet to be filmed for that. So a couple of weeks ago, I headed out to East London with my family to go and record turned upon the set, which was really emotional, because it was the first time that I’d seen the treasure tress crew in like, two years. In fact, the last time I saw them, or was literally like, a couple of weeks before I had my injury, and that was on the Treasure tress photoshoot for 2020. Being able to go out and see everybody again was like, I’m not gonna lie. There might have been a tear or two. But it was so good to see the have a hog and, like the set looked absolutely wicked, such a vibe.

And before I turned up on the day, I had a little nosy because I was like, What is this competition I’m up against? Who am I? Who am I going to be against, not expecting to really know? But I did notice Nina’s name on the call sheet Now, Nina, is a lady that I discovered on Instagram. In fact, she’s going to be one of the next guests that I have on the podcast. She’s a head of design. She’s a mother, she’s super stylish and super beautiful. And she’s got the most amazing hair. She’s also dealing with triple negative breast cancer. And I highly recommend that you go and follow her on the socials, to follow her journey and to also learn more about the reality of triple negative breast cancer and dealing with a terminal diagnosis. 

So first discovered Nina’s page, actually, through the black women rising Instagram page, which is an organization set up by the amazing Leon Perot, which is set up to support black women with cancer because again, talking about representation. You might be listening to this if you’re not somebody that has to deal with not seeing yourself represented and not totally get it. But when you’re going through some really dark stuff, seeing people that look like you, it doesn’t matter. And I noticed that with my injury. None of the spinal charities were particularly representative. And it does it matters. So yeah, I discovered Nina’s page food black woman rising and started following her, she followed me back. And we formed a really beautiful online friendship. And despite everything that Nina is going through with her own diagnosis, she was always there and still is there to support an encouraged me. So when I saw Nina’s name on the call sheet, I was like, You know what, I really appreciate the nomination. And I already feel like I’ve won just by being nominated. But that’s my winner. And I didn’t even know at this point who the other women were. But I knew who my winner was. So I turn up on set. And I saw Nina in the makeup chair. 

And there were another two nominees. One of those is a lady called Ivy. She is a domestic violence survivor. And now she has gone on to become a domestic violence advisor for Sister space. And there was another lady as well called Jennifer. And she is the founder of sisters in business, which is a support network for Muslim women in business. So I’m like I’m up against some really stiff competition here. And I don’t like competition like I don’t like competing with, with women in that sense. It’s like, I just want to hug everyone and like elevate together. So I was like, oh, so yeah, that was a bit of a challenge. Knowing who who I was up against and wanting them to win, but also just being super grateful for the nomination in the first place. So we went on set, had our makeup done, and then sat down and had a bit of a chat on camera about my experience as a mixed race disabled mother. 

And I got to sit and listen to Nina talking about her story as well, which was really interesting, because even though we sort of made friends on Instagram, you know, there’s a lot of things I don’t know about her. So it was good to get to know more about her. And also see Jennifer speaking. It was emotional. You know, hearing hearing different people’s stories and just the stuff that we go through as women, you know, mothers, all of us are mothers and talking about showing up. It’s like, we’ve all got this stuff going on. But we’re all still showing up and And there’s a sense of us all being sort of like determined through our kids as well, which is like, super special and super powerful. And Nina and I were still standing around, just as they were wrapping up the filming for the day. And we saw Jamila on camera. And she was talking about the nominations in the category. And like, oh, gosh, I think she’s about to announce who’s won. But in an amazing twist, Jamelia said that, it was too hard to choose. And that actually they redefined the category to be Women of the Year. So I was just like, super excited, super pleased. I was standing right next to Nina as the news came in. So we’re able to have a big hug. 

And just to be able to share that accolade of Woman of the Year with such incredible inspiring, beautiful women that are just out there pushing beyond their adversity, to be better to do more to show up for other women, to inspire other women. And there’s something really special and really magical about that. So I was just like on Cloud 10 million, for like the whole week, just like we are Women of the Year. We’re showing up, despite our challenges that we’re facing, and the difficulties that we’re coming up against day to day. We’ve been celebrated, like other people have seen us and recognized us for that. And they celebrate in us. 

And to top it all off, the film was going to be premiered. So on Monday, I had the privilege of going out to White City house, to private screening in the Electric Cinema of the film, which was just beautiful. It was fantastic to see these black beauty brands being acknowledged, and really powerful to just sit and watch these women’s stories. And it’s 2022. You know, we’re still waiting to be represented. But what I love is how Trisha tress have just been like, we’re not waiting for anybody else to recognize us anymore. We’re not begging for a seat at anybody’s table. We’re building our own table, and we’re bringing all our sisters with us. So I just want to say a massive thank you to treasure tress for seeing us for acknowledging us, creating space for us holding space for us being the representation that we need that generations to come need. Bearing in mind, Jamelia also co founded the teen experience, which is an amazing workshop series, young black and mixed race women can come to workshops and see women that look like them that are out there, smashing it in different industries. So you know, talk about sisterhood talk about being the change that you want to see. So yeah, Woman of the Year. I like that. Sounds good. Feels nice. But more than just the title is what it means it’s what it represents. And it’s who I get to share that space with. That is super powerful. 

So like I just said, Jamelia saw something that she wasn’t happy with. She went out there, she made a change. And she created what she wished existed. It’s so easy for us to sit and moan about things that we don’t like or things that aren’t right. But how many of us are actually putting in the work to create the change? There’s that same isn’t there that Be the change you want to see? Because we can’t sit around waiting for other people. We have to be the change? What steps can you take to show up to be the change that you want to see. So girlfriend, thank you for listening to the podcast. You know, always really appreciate your time and energy. Trust me, I really, really do. If you are a fan of the podcast and you’re wondering how you could support, it would be amazing if you could share it with others. If you’re on Instagram, you could share the episode in your stories. Don’t forget to tag us. 

And another way you can actually help to support the podcast is by leaving a cheeky little rating and a review. You can actually rate on Spotify now, which is pretty cool. Apple you’ve always been able to leave a little review. So yeah, I would love a five star review, preferably and a comment. And if there’s anything that you would like from the podcast, you can drop that in the feedback section of the reviews. And that’s a good way for me to find out what you’d like. Come and follow us @thecurl squad on Instagram where you can follow me on my personal page which is a bit dry but I am trying to do better at @Zoe.e.Fox, 

Curlfriend. I truly love and appreciate you. Thank you for listening until next time, peace out big love and I’ll catch you then.

Previous Episodes of the Curl Power Podcast

New Episodes Weekly

Live Every Tuesday @ 6am

Stay Connected to Get The Latest Podcast Alerts