back in September of 2010, I packed my life into a backpack and left Vancouver, Canada on foot. For the next year, I walked alone down the West Coast of the US, heading for the Mexican border. I was turning thirty, I had had a humiliating breakup; I thought I was on a soulful, spiritual pilgrimage to try to figure out what went wrong—and to discover, hopefully, how I could “win my girlfriend back”.
On the surface, Momentum is a travelogue about that journey of personal transformation. Think Wild, except written by a privileged, sensitive, and girl-crazy white man.
Beneath the surface, though, Momentum is about my inner quest to evolve my antiquated definition of what it means to “be a man”—and the vulnerability, chaos, and terror that come with that level of personal transformation. This is a goal that has continued to deepen in the years since I finished walking. When I first started writing, I naïvely thought that there would be an audience for an uplifting story about my individual triumph. I thought people would want to read a male version of Wild. But the context has changed substantially since 2011, and I’ve been forced to continuously adapt my perspective on what happened. Rewriting this story has been fucking hard—much harder than actually walking down the coast. It’s meant grieving who I was, trying to become someone I’d never been, and transforming myself over and over and over again. That is the story I want to tell.
Momentum is not a hero’s journey. Instead, it’s about small steps forward and many more big steps back, about failure upon humiliating failure, about fighting tooth and nail and footstep after footstep to try and resist what I now know to be an eternal truth: there is no intelligence without emotion. Momentum is about the teachers—outer and inner—who showed me how to feel so I could become wise. Collectively, they taught me to step beyond my chauvinistic desire to be the hero, so I could appreciate the value of becoming a deeply feeling heroine instead. It truly is a Cinderella story.
It goes without saying that we’re in a crisis of male identity; one might argue that this crisis is at the root of everything else. We need more space for more men to speak openly about who they really are inside without expecting them to battle the same shame that has kept me stuck for years—or ex-communicating them for their authentic anger, passion, or desire. We need more male heroines. By publishing this revealing and vulnerable account, I hope I can make some small yet significant impact on how our culture conceives of the inner world of men. I’m doing so despite how much sharing the truth still terrifies me.
My greatest wish is that Momentum inspires new conversations, revelations, and maybe even new hope about the evolution of what it means to “be a man”. I’m still learning myself.
~ Jordan Bower.
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