Bo, Anne, and Jodi
Jodi, a 50-year-old reader from California messaged me on Facebook. She was a wilderness firefighter for years and is now in a wheelchair, but she follows along with my books and blog. We haven't talked before, but she came out of the blue to talk to me today and I am so glad she did. She said she saw the fundraiser with the postcards and wanted to contribute, but would rather get a signed book from me? We got to chatting and she bought a paperback copy of Made From Scratch (all I have here are a few copies of that and Chick Days) and after she sent along the paypal and her address, the last thing she said to me was this:
"All will be okay trust me!"
Oh, Jodi. I so needed to hear that. You have no idea.
Today started off poorly. Before coffee, before morning stretching or chores; I read random internet comments about me on another person's Facebook page. I am a professional writer. I literally make a living feeling things and then writing about those feelings for anyone who wishes to read them. Why would anyone expect someone like that to brush off unkindness? Because I'm supposed to be used to it? I'm not used to it.
So these comments about my worth, that is how I started my day. They cast a shadow on everything else. Instead of feeling like I could take on the world I started the day feeling scolded. Which lead to a panic that stole my appetite, energy, and joy. I could barely finish my three mile jog - exhausted and worried that time away from the computer would miss an email for work or fiddle lessons. My stomach churned and my mind reeled. I was so angry at myself. Not the good kind of angry that inspires change and manic writing sessions - the sad, defeated, imploding kind of anger.
I was angry because I did it to myself. Those comments are people's thoughts who I have never met. Their thoughts about me are none of my business and I was a fool to read them. The stakes couldn't be lower, as they have zero interest in supporting me, my work, or my farm. To them I am a character on a reality show they enjoy watching fall apart. Unfortunately, Chase Bank doesn't accept payment in I-Told-You-So's.
So I ran my crappy, short, run and came home feeling awful. Since Sunday I have ran 26 miles, and only three of them happened today. I should have hit thirty. I'm training for a half marathon at some point in the fall. I don't know if it'll be an actual event with numbers pinned to my shirt and medals or just a fine day that I run 13 miles on my own here in the Shire. Comfort with the distance is the goal. To feel totally okay running that far, in one shot. Maybe that woman won't have her day ruined by flinching at strangers comments? Eh, worth a shot.
I am scared these days. Really scared.
My neighbor Anne stopped by. She just wanted to check in on me. She drove from town and just talked to me, which is something so rare these days. She didn't want anything but to listen, and she she did. She offered support and just let me know she was there and I wasn't alone. She used to read this blog from a home in Key West. Now she has five acres here in Cambridge.
I need to laugh so I listen to the comedians, all of whom I relate to more than any neighboring farmer. Around here farmers are trying to sell food. I am too, but no where near as hard as I am trying to sell myself. I want to make a living writing about what I love so I can live the life I love. I happen to love a life of homesteading. But if I was into building car engines or collecting stamps you'd be reading about that instead. I love the telling. I need you to read it.
I need to focus on the Bos, Annes, and Jodies. I need to realize there is more compassion and cheering for this farm and this insane person than there is vitriol. And I need to love myself enough to not go fishing for drama because I am scared that somewhere far away an asshole is complaining about a stranger.
It is interesting and exciting, to wake up with such a singularity of purpose. Every morning is a mission to get solvent. I want to catch up, stop the fear, and sleep a full night. Some women out there want to get married. Some women want kids. Some women want to win the Superbowl. Me? I just want to know the home I made for myself is safe. That is what I want. That is part of what is driving this new book I am working on so intensely. But with every morning of gusto and writing, design and illustration, there is this constant fear of judgement that slithers into my evenings.
All will be okay, trust me.
But I'm not sure I can handle this right now.