Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Bo, Anne, and Jodi

I don't know how many of you are familiar with Bo Burnham, or how many of you are into Comedy at all? I know this is a farming blog, but this farmer is into it. Thanks to podcasts I know more about the stand up scene in Los Angeles than I do about the beef prices at the livestock auction a half mile down the road. I wanted to be at Cameron and Rhea's wedding. I am more excited for Kumail and Emily's story becoming an Apatow movie than I am about anyone's baby pictures on Facebook. I jog to episodes of Harmontown. I fall asleep listening to Bill Burr on Youtube. And I cried watching Bo Burnham's ending song in Make Happy.

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. 


Blogger EZ said...

It's actually pretty interesting scientifically: our brains process negative feedback differently than positive so that we end up focusing on the one bad thing that happened rather than all the good things. Are you still taking time for meditation? That might help! Lots of love from way out west!

June 15, 2016 at 10:57 PM  
Blogger Little Terraced House said...

hey you, trust me, it will all be alright. Sending you a great big hug xxx Babs

June 15, 2016 at 11:19 PM  
Blogger Sharon said...

I am sad for you to focus on the hate that some people spread your way. You may find that avoiding this will help you. Kick those messages and comments to the street...and run over them. I have lived 64 years and my wisdom is this, "the haters don't matter and never will" and "stay on the course that is right for you". You are strong and brave! Take care of yourself!

June 15, 2016 at 11:45 PM  
Blogger Portia said...

I check your blog every day to see what you have to say. I've also started at the beginning and an reading forward to see what you said before. I don't always agree with you. I don't always understand you. But your passion and your sincerity are clear. And so is your commitment. It may not be easy, but you will succeed. In one of the early posts while you were renting in Vermont, you talked about your dream of owning a farm and said you didn't know if it would take ten years or twenty or even more.

And look at you now--it's been less than 10 years since that post, and you own your farm. (OK, you and the bank, but still) I haven't come to the point when you actually made the purchase yet, so I'm not sure how long it took. I just know you are ahead of schedule.

June 16, 2016 at 1:02 AM  
Blogger Portia said...

PS Surely you know what Jon Katz says about you:

"When I first heard of Jenna Woginrich, I resolved to stay away from her. She seemed much too much like me, one of those crazy people who get to a farm and sort of run amok with it. As I got to know her, I couldn't wait to be her friend. How many crazy writers with farms and blogs are there, after all? Jenna is passionate in everything she does. Not yet 30, she decided to get a farm and a mortgage, something that is nearly impossible to do these days. But she did it. She is also a wonderful and ascending writer. Her voice is powerful and original and very political. She has so many things to say and she says all of them brilliantly."

June 16, 2016 at 1:11 AM  
Blogger Desiree said...

"To them I am a character on a reality show they enjoy watching fall apart."
For the record- I love watching how everything really will be okay. Your attitude is a success and a full-on inspiration to me no matter anything else. You constantly adjust your expectations and cheerfully accept outcomes that aren't really what you were going for. You get knocked down, and you get up. That's all life is and I appreciate that you're so open about it- the ups AND the downs! :)
Good luck with the new book and you're right- we are cheering out here.

June 16, 2016 at 11:19 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Keep up the fight! You rock. You, via your blog, are part of my life every day. You have inspired me countless times.

June 16, 2016 at 1:37 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

It may be the same for you but when I'm feeling low it seems almost seek out the negativity, finding the things on fb or replaying past moments in my mind. Sometimes I need a self-imposed break from it all while other times if I wallow a bit I come out better/stronger in the end.
Even in the crappiest days, if you look hard enough you can see a little glimmer somewhere. Ignore the ignoramus that haunt the edges of fb, for they are small people with little to show for their lives so they troll and scheme to bring down those who are doing something worthwhile.

June 16, 2016 at 11:27 PM  
Blogger to earnest said...

I am sorry. I read Jon Katz and I have not followed you. I found his post strange (with friends like that).I would have asked him why even bother saying anthing but his anger at being questioned is not worth it. I know you can carry on and be fine I just wanted you to know these are odd people with small lives ( the people who comented) and a man with no boundries.

June 17, 2016 at 10:37 AM  
Blogger to earnest said...

I am sorry. I read Jon Katz and I have not followed you. I found his post strange (with friends like that).I would have asked him why even bother saying anthing but his anger at being questioned is not worth it. I know you can carry on and be fine I just wanted you to know these are odd people with small lives ( the people who comented) and a man with no boundries.

June 17, 2016 at 10:38 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I have mentioned before, how you were the wonderful inspirational example I followed when I bought my farm a little over two years ago, and happened upon "one woman farm" at the same time! Thanks for being out there, and your blog! Yes, to use Bob Marleys words, "every little thing is gonna be alright" :D

June 19, 2016 at 3:18 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Jenna I am going to share something with you that my Dad told me when he was coming to the end of his life and he actually had encouraged me to do the entire time I was growing up without putting it into words then. He said that the greatest thing about living is that you get to try anything your heart desires and that you should always go for it. Even if you fail it doesn't matter because at least you followed your hearts desire and your dreams and you didn't just sit around thinking about it you actually gave it a shot. He also said that the only regret you should have at the end of your life is that you ran out of time not that you didn't try to do all things you wanted to do. I know it is hard to brush off negative things other people say or their opinions about how you are living your life and what you are doing but Jenna it is your life and honey you get to go for your dreams and heart desires and it doesn't matter if they fit in with what other people think. They are yours and only belong to you. They can do their own damn living and what works for them and should spend their time not being critical of someone else but living their own lives. You just keep doing what your heart tells you to do and following your dreams and turning them into reality. Are you going to good at and achieve all of them of course not. But you will still have done it and that is all that matters.

June 20, 2016 at 8:27 PM  
Blogger sash said...

It will be. I once let money put me in the hospital and I vowed never to let it do that again. I hate how we are "valued" only by a number. When you're in it, you have a hard time seeing out of it; everything goes into complete panic mode with nothing but the thought of no money, will money come, why is there no money........I get it.
Please rest assured, that somehow it will work out.

June 22, 2016 at 10:28 AM  
Blogger admin said...

Easier said than done, but you have to get into your own zone...make all those ugly things roll off like water on oil skin. It's something you have to practice and commit to like your life depends on it (said from experience). This is something that's saved me throughout my teaching career where some not so positive (understatement) things can be said by parents whose children I've dedicated my life to--and with seriously pyschotic close family members. When I slip and feel things getting through I reapply the oil---healthy pep talks from positive supporters in my life (and myself), humor (which you have covered), usually a little booze, and knowledge that these people are small but toxic and I can't let them in to rot my life. Chin up and keep at it :-). Love you Jenna.

June 28, 2016 at 9:56 AM  

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