Monday, February 25, 2013

The Real Jenna

One of the workshop attendees confessed I was not what she was expecting. She didn't say she was disappointed or pleasantly surprised, that I was just different. She could not have been a more kind person, and in no way did I take offense. We blew over that bit of conversation fairly fast that day, but in truth I thought about this all night.

When you come to this farm, do not expect the voice from the blog. In person I am a very blunt, in every way. I am built like a war Hobbit, short and squat and stocky. I look exactly like a woman who hauls bales of hay, buckets of water, milks goats, and bosses around stubborn ponies. I'm also blunt in how I talk and interact. I am louder than I would like to be. When I get comfortable around folks (which takes me about 40 seconds) I have a mouth like a sailor (albeit and elegant one). You don't hear that tone on the blog, but in person you meet a swarthy dairy maid with a gutter mouth. I write pretty things, but that's really the only pretty thing about me.

I think the blog also gives folks the idea I have a sense of serenity I certainly do not have in person. I write how I feel when I am writing, which is calm. Sitting down to write means I am forcing myself into a type of meditation. I am still, breathing slow, my mind focused. When I write my heartbeat is down and I am not thinking about losing my home insurance or my grocery list. So what you read is a mental trot of considered things. But at a workshop I am talking fast, running around, and probably still red-faced and hay flecked from morning chores.

I guess you should expect a Tornado. Be ready for the occasional vulgarity accompanied by a body and a force of will ready to run into battle with a war axe. That's the best preparation I can give you for real-life Jenna.

Also, I am working really hard on being more like the Jenna who writes. Really, really, hard. This blog is my journey towards an authentic self I feel inside, know inside, and am fighting like mad to achieve. You read on here about my goals to work with this farm, make things happen on the soil. But most of the work is between the lines, a healthier person in every way. My real goals are to be physically healthier, emotionally healthier, and to find a man out there whose willing to put up with the journey and who I am so excited about I feel like a member of a two-person fan club. Perhaps this post is all about my anxiety over not being the person I am expecting? That's probably the heart of it. But like I said, I am working on it. I hope we all get to meet this Jenna soon. She's got a lot of work to do when she arrives!

Also, here's a photo of a dog in a hat in case you think I am being too broody.

28 Comments:

Blogger Lelainia N. Lloyd said...

Hey Jenna, just so you know, in your 30's you figure out who you are. In your 40's, you stop apologising for it. You settle into your own bones and own it.

February 25, 2013 at 9:57 AM  
Blogger KellyV (Kelly the Fifth) said...

I don't know Miss Jenna. You describe a vibrant, lively, fun, authentic young woman to me - the one that is now. While growing in spirit and soul is laudable, don't change too much. The self you are got you to where you are. You have a lot of readers that agree I think.

February 25, 2013 at 10:02 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

aw, thanks guys!

February 25, 2013 at 10:04 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I really like that Lelainia.

February 25, 2013 at 10:04 AM  
Blogger Paul Molnar said...

I can do no better than to say, "Yeah, what she said!" to Kelly's comment, but I would also like to add that I think that your sharing this actually makes me like you even better. You are, like all people, an amalgam of your graces and your flaws. It what makes you, you. It's what makes your work as engaging as it is.(and wish I lived a whole lot closer so I could join you for Game Night)

Besides, how could ending up at "Hobbit" by way of describing one's self be anything but a good thing.

Oooh! and Serenity is for spaceships.

February 25, 2013 at 11:13 AM  
Blogger Kevin and Beth said...

You are so funny A dog in a hat! Loved that.

February 25, 2013 at 11:37 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth from the Berkshires said...

Hell, I think each of us has more than one authentic self, and they're all aspects of the same complicated intricate multi-faceted person. I know for a fact that people's first impression of me is often (usually) of someone quiet, prim, and nicey-nicey. That's only part of who I am. It takes a while for people to uncover my bratty smart-ass sense of humor and my granite streak of stubbornness. I joke that I look like a vegetarian, but in reality I'm the one who says, with complete sincerity, "Oh, very nice!" when my own (or someone else's) cat brings a dead mouse to me. I also have been known to gleefully eat a bowl of lamb stew while cooing over prancing lambs at a fiber festival.

You’re a multi-faceted, complicated person, on the blog and in real life, which makes you fun and interesting to get to know in both environments. Don’t forget, “getting it all together is like eating once and for all.”

(One more thing. You’re never going to knit a pair of socks. Don’t even try, you’ll just embarrass yourself. See? It’s my bratty sense of humor coming out.)

February 25, 2013 at 11:46 AM  
Blogger 3 Dogs Barking Farms said...

I already wanted to meet you know I have to meet you someday! And I totally agree with Lelaina I am 43 now and I have slowly learned how to accept me for me and even kind of think I am neat.

February 25, 2013 at 1:08 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

To the real Jenna,
When I'm at Cold Antler Farm:
I feel completely welcome
I feel good about who I am
I feel loved
I make my own tea
I can curse like a sailor when I drop a stitch
I always discover new things to learn about
Without fail I meet people I want to know better
I feel like my authentic self
I carry this home with me like a present and I remember how much I love my life and how amazing the world is that I can hear this totally awesome chick on NPR and then sit in her living room and spin wool from her very own sheep.
It's quite a gift you give so generously.
Thanks Hobbit-lady,
Love you just the way you are.
PS shout out to all the weekend knitters, pulling out the spinning wheel and starting those two-at-a-time socks if it kills me!

February 25, 2013 at 1:51 PM  
Blogger kuber... said...

You know what? You were EXACTLY how I thought you'd be, when I met you. You were familiar, and I felt like we'd met before. To me, you were exactly like your blog come to life. (That reads clunkily! but that's the best description I can summon!) You were just so, so YOU!
Emily-in-Australia

February 25, 2013 at 2:52 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

You are a whirlwind spitfire with a great laugh. Joe likes your laugh so much he has taken to imitating it! Your 40's are good but I'm finding I LOVE being in my 50's. And there is nothing wrong with some salty language...keeps people on their toes.
You just keep on being you. We love ya!

Cath

February 25, 2013 at 4:44 PM  
Blogger RamblinHome said...

The vocabulary like a sailor makes me like you even more, because THAT I can relate to! I have to reign it in, working in a law office, but when it's me at home, working outside (or worse yet, driving behind some damn fool), the Irish temper and construction crew vocabulary meet, shake hands and declare Marquis of Queensbury rules! So be who you are, my friend, and be proud of it...potty mouth and all! ;-)

Tiffany*

February 25, 2013 at 5:56 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth from the Berkshires said...

Kate, yes!! I agree.

February 25, 2013 at 6:27 PM  
Blogger deodar said...

Yes Lelainia and when you hit your 50s or like me pushing 60 really really hard (and how the hell did that happen?) and are finally comfortable in your skin it starts to fall apart on you! That said I've finally decided to do what I can to help, not beat myself up when I can't and try to get through this life doing as little harm to the people and world around me as is humanly possible.

February 25, 2013 at 8:37 PM  
Blogger Missy said...

I have to say, now I would like to actually see you in action. I tend to write a little more flowery than I speak as well. My partner and I were laughing tonight about how much I use profanity in my daily life (he does, too)- even when it isn't expected. And the theory about people who curse a lot not having a large vocabulary isn't true. I read voraciously and my vocabulary is fairly large, but I still prefer my paragraphs to contain at least a couple of f-bombs, "shits," and GDs thrown around. It's good for the soul... at least for mine.

February 25, 2013 at 8:51 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

Though i've never met you in person, you are perfect just the way you are. But if you want to change, i know you'll become the Jenna you want to be. And growth is always good. Hopefully growth and change go hand in hand, (but that's not always the case.) I learned that 'the hard way.' I am not the same person here at 49 than i was at 25. (Thank goodness.) :) It took me a long to time become the Mary i am. YEARS. But i'm happy with me these days. Anyway.. sorry about that tangent there.. I'll be thinking of you whenever i read your awesome posts here and wondering how the transition is going! :D

February 25, 2013 at 8:51 PM  
Blogger Sharon said...

I too have the blunt speaking syndrome. I think that it is from working with men for so long, as their supervisor. I found that to the point talk worked best for me. Women often find me too direct, and they don't know what to think. It is just the way we are....

February 25, 2013 at 10:07 PM  
Blogger Katie Swanberg said...

Finding one's self is a life long process, but you are a hop, skip, and a jump above most people. Really you are!

I feel like you've taken a lot of criticism over the past few months (or at least it seems that way), and in some ways it has you questioning who you are and who you want to be. I innately understand that, it's hard to not be affected by the words of other people.

I like your description of who you are. It made me smile. You are so kickass, and I often ask myself WWJD (what would Jenna do)? :)

Anyway, I came for the homesteading adventure, and I stayed for Jenna.

February 26, 2013 at 12:51 AM  
Blogger enchantedhollow said...

Hobbit. I'd love to be a Hobbit!!!!! And now when I come to the backyard livestock class, I won't feel bad when my language slips. Don't work too hard at changing because you'll change enough over the years just from living life. And life is hard enough!

February 26, 2013 at 5:36 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

Jenna, I almost spit out my tea laughing when I read this: "in person you meet a swarthy dairy maid with a gutter mouth." I love the kilt-wearing swarthy dairy maid with a deep laugh and a firm hug and a motherfucking gutter mouth. Thanks for showing the farm to my parents the other day-- they loved meeting you. Can't wait to see you for game night! :-)

February 26, 2013 at 10:50 AM  
Blogger Laura Doyle said...

I really appreciate blunt and to the point. Makes life easier! And the way you describe the real you is kind of how I expected you to be all along anyway. I'm a writer as well. I understand how there's a serenity and beauty present in your written words that isn't necessarily apparent in person. I like to think of it as channeling. It seems perfectly normal and acceptable to channel your inner-Hobbit when it's needed and then channel your inner zen when THAT'S needed. Adaptability is an enviable skill.

February 26, 2013 at 1:41 PM  
OpenID vintageandhandcraftedinnovascotia said...

Gibson looks totally cool in the hat I knit you from CAF wool - I was just wondering the other day if it was still around - Gibson really rocks it!
Janet to your northeast - spring is coming!

February 26, 2013 at 4:08 PM  
Blogger downeast becka said...

Hey girl, at least as far as i'm concerned, you don't have to apologize for yourself---maybe Amanda Blake Soule is as chill as her blog makes her seem, but life is dirty, gritty, intense--i love that you can see the poetry and beauty in it, even 10 years into the homesteading life, i can get bogged and lost--so kudos for your spirit, your heart and your gutter mouth! hope to meet you someday!

February 26, 2013 at 7:54 PM  
Blogger downeast becka said...

Jenna, you manage to give poetry to the gritty intense often chaotic life that is farming...i don't want an apology, can't see how one is due for being real. Here's to passion, heart, fast moving when it is needed, and a gutter mouth!
hope to meet you in person some day!

February 26, 2013 at 7:57 PM  
Blogger Trish said...

Ditto what everyone says, but Katie hit it on the head with " I came for the homesteading adventure, and I stayed for Jenna." Hear Hear!!! Jenna, you rock and although the road may not always be smooth, I'm proud, impressed and jealous that you are paving your own way!!

February 26, 2013 at 9:23 PM  
Blogger Trish said...

Ditto what everyone says, but Katie hit it on the head with " I came for the homesteading adventure, and I stayed for Jenna." Hear Hear!!! Jenna, you rock and although the road may not always be smooth, I'm proud, impressed and jealous that you are paving your own way!!

February 26, 2013 at 9:23 PM  
Blogger Nick Futrell said...

i just love you because you are not like the other homestead bloggers i have ran across. they have (LOTS of) perfectly clean well mannered home schooled children, they eat perfectly organic and never drink (seriously.... anyone with 9 kids should have a merlot IV). Me, I am the daughter of a sailor. I was cursin' before i was crawlin', my kids go to PUBLIC school, we love junk food, and i have never quoted scripture.

You Jenna, are real. Not the Barbie Doll June Cleaver replica. You are my kind of people, and that is why I'm here. keep it up darlin'.

February 26, 2013 at 11:18 PM  
Blogger Jenny said...

Loved this post and loved reading all of these comments. You and your readers are beyond cool.

February 27, 2013 at 4:29 PM  

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