Saturday, July 28, 2018

But first, the dishes.

This July has contained the highest highs and lowest lows I've had on this farm. Not the most intense moments—I don't mean broken pipes or galloping horses—I mean hope and despair.

Early in the month I was so driven and excited. The farm had never looked better or been more efficient. The animals and farmhouse had never been brighter eyed or better managed. I had a decade of mistakes and lessons I stood on like solid stones big as Buicks. I felt the confidence and certainty of a woman who had created this small empire on a mountain. Someone who had struggled and made it nearly a decade scrapping together this unreasonable life. A woman who could turn wool into yarn, tack up a horse, and pull a hawk from the sky and become her partner. I felt really good about who I was and who I was becoming. Out of the closet. Out of regret. Out of scared and hidden places that kept me isolated in so many ways.

And then, mid month, there was a slamming of anxiety and panic attacks. So much self doubt and fear and exhaustion that rushed in and filled me up so fast it was terrifying. When you're driven by hope it's like running yourself on the highest octane fuel a person can have. Thing is, the tank is made is made of glass and it's as transparent as it is delicate. It can be destroyed in one fell swoop or slowly loose integrity from a thousand claw marks. Anxiety had been scratching at that tank for a decade and one night a few weeks ago it burst.

That was when I knew I had to make changes or lose everything. Not just the farm, but the tank

My anxiety does the kind of haunting that thrives in darkness and still air. I can't feel it in daylight. It can't make itself known during the small wind from hawk wings or fast arrows or the electricity before an afternoon thunderstorm. It's the kind of dread you see in the corners of your eyes, sinister shadows. It knows how to hurt me.

When I'm alone at 3AM and the dogs are fast asleep I can feel the claws on the tank. I'm scared to sleep because sleeping doesn't pay electric bills or make me less scared of dying. And that night the tank fell apart I felt those thousands of broken pieces inside and had no way to clean them up in the dark. The only way you can fix that part of you is doing the work. In the morning that stronger version of myself that finds a way to weave luck and hope between all the old and broken strands of fear. That's the tapestry of this farm and every farm. We wanted a life we were told was dead and gone and maybe it is. So we grow our hope from seeds and transform our mistakes into a million knots and pray like hell it's the right kind of cloth.

When I am worried about what could be ahead I try and focus on one part of the problem I can handle at a time. If I stand back and look at the whole thing, the list of winter preparations, the lack sales, the bills, the anxiety; it's too much. But if I can think about just one thing, and it can be as simple as doing the dishes, life gets a little easier.

So after I post this I am going to do the dishes and prepare the coffee pot for tomorrow morning. That's all I can do. The smallest shards of glass find each other and get a little stronger. 

I just want to be okay. Or at least to convince myself I will be okay. I think that's all any of us want. Maybe we can all start feeling better from there?

But first, the dishes.