Something has been eating at me for a while now. I’ve struggled to figure out what I really have to say about the past year of my life as a farmer. There’s so much to share, but I feel some pressure to say it in a voice that is not mine. Most blogs and books out in the world that focus on topics like homesteading and farming tend to keep it light and optimistic which I think is wonderful. Painting an encouraging picture of this sort of lifestyle for other people is just the thing to get them started, or to keep them going if they are newly initiated into the world of agriculture.
But the reality of this life, at least for me, is that it can be heartbreaking as often as often as it is uplifting. There are many variables at work in this world and not all of them are cheerful. I find myself holding back where the more difficult issues are concerned.
Sunny or optimistic are not words I’d use to describe myself. So the posts where I seem more positive and light do not come to me easily. The world I live in feels much more solemn and varied than these fleeting moments reveal. I have little to no family life (by choice), I hold myself and others to high standards, which I think are not at all unreasonable, but oftentimes result in disappointment and alienation. I am a hungry person. I yearn for better, though not necessarily more. I’m an angry person in many ways, but I’ve found a way to put that fire to good use. I feel pressure to suppress these parts of myself, but these are some of the qualities that have gotten me to where I am today.
The shadowy places that this voyage has taken me to are more dark than most things I’ve experienced, but the light in my life shines brighter than it ever has. The victories are certainly sweeter but the defeats feel like they will break your soul in half. The ebb and flow of death and life here is so real and extreme and I feel it truly mirrors my Gemini temperament.
I need to be able to share the highs and lows freely, especially when I begin to feel the crackle of cellulose in my heart as the weigh of my choices start to press on it. I can’t always present romantic images and funny anecdotes about the day-to-day here at the farm. It feels inauthentic to me. I am human and I feel loneliness and anger and joy and I make terrible mistakes and brilliant choices every day. I want so badly to be able to share that without making anyone feel as though I’m a malcontent or to give people the impression that I don’t know what I’m doing. Sometimes I don’t, but I’m not afraid of not knowing. I’m afraid of what I’ll become if I continue not following my gut. I’m afraid of who I’ll see in the mirror if I cannot let people in.
Hi Megan..I’m so glad to read this and I’ll tell you why. For years I have dreamed or fantasized about living on a farm. Maybe it’s because we live in such a concrete city away from large green spaces that I crave that, and I always have felt a close bond with nature and getting back to basics. But all the blogs I do read speak exactly what you describe.and I often think, so what are the harsh realities are they facing? There must be some truly? It’s not all pretty canning recipes and beauty..what of the animals, the heartbreak, the backbreaking work?who can do this? Can I ? I don’t know if I can really…But I appreciate your being honest about it. And that is one thing I saw in you that stood out to me. You’re not a packaged model of what homesteading looks like. You’re the real deal.,and I want to see and learn more. Bless you girl! I admire you.,keep being yourself & keep up the great work you’re doing.you’re making a difference in the world.
Thanks for your kind words, Patricia. It’s nice to hear that some folks want to hear about both sides of the coin. I appreciate your encouragement!
Please. Just write what’s real and true. Whatever that turns out to be. Thanks for your honesty and insight.
Hi Megs, I went searching for this post when I read the news about Sticks. I am so very sorry for your loss. I remember reading this a couple of months ago and being struck by your authenticity. I hadn’t long followed you on Instagram and didn’t really feel like I knew you well enough to add a comment. Today I couldn’t not comment. It is Dying Matters week in the UK this week (encouraging people to talk about death), your picture of Stick’s grave was one of the most poignant images that I’ve seen in a long time. I’ve been wondering for a while why I follow so many farmers on Instagram – think you’ve nailed it for me today, because you don’t shy away from the shadow as well as the light. Thank you for that and just FYI I linked back to this post in my blog today http://georgeblogs.wordpress.com/2014/05/14/the-ebb-and-flow-of-death-and-life-yodo/ Thank you for sharing your life and experience with us, and please don’t doubt yourself too much, you’re doing a great job, a real and authentic one, so it has those heart breaking downs as well as all the ups. Cheers.
ps Sorry for over-familiarity – should have said Meg not Megs, which is what I call my second cousin!