One of the things I love most about my life is that I’m pretty sure the Universe is constantly messing with me. This, I suspect, is the trade-off for having a wicked sense of humor… whoever is in charge up there thinks it’s cool to play jokes on you. Daily.
Take this, for example…
If you’re having trouble figuring out exactly what the joke is, please look closely at the light fixture.
Really, little black bird? Who is just sitting there looking at my painting of little black birds.
That’s… not weird at all.
(Totally different than this little back bird, by the way.)
This little guy actually had some string caught around his feet, so it’s a good thing he found his way inside so I could untangle him before letting him go outside.
I suspect the cat is responsible for this… Making life imitate art that imitates life.
I decided to follow suit in my own way, actually.
That, my friends, is photographic evidence that I can actually sit still for more than five minutes at at time. Basically that only happens if someone is holding my arm hostage with a needle.
So. Let’s have a serious moment and talk a little about needles and ink, shall we?
This tattoo has been in the making for about a year (if you want to be literal about it) or a lifetime if you’re feeling philosophical. (And, frankly, you shouldn’t be feeling philosophical on a Tuesday unless there is a lot of alcohol involved.)
My own personal feeling about tattoos is that they are one of the most amazing things we can do to our bodies, and here’s why: they’re permanent, and you get to choose them. Unlike pretty much ALL of the other things about your body that are mostly permanent and you don’t get to choose like your height, your coloring, the random arrangement of your facial features. You don’t get to pick those things. I know, because if you did, I’d be some 6’5″ muscled behemoth who could sling railroad ties through the air like they were toothpicks. Instead I’m 5’3″ (on a good day), I’ve got my mothers nose, my fathers eyes, the height of a smurf, and all the natural grace of a water buffalo. Oh, and the desire to run a farm and build houses.
My experience has been that most of our adult lives are spent just accepting the hand we’re dealt. We spend a lot of time believing that because our skin is stretched a certain way we’re less capable than others of doing whatever it is we want to do.
And, I mean, here’s what I’ve got to say about it… fuck that. I’ve spent a lot of time believing that myself, except that feeling pisses me off so much that it often motivates me to do exactly the thing that people tell me I can’t.
And this isn’t just about building things or working a farm or using power tools. This is about just living life in the skin we’re in.
While I’ve alluded in the past to the fact that the first year of owning the Liberty House was a very difficult time for me emotionally, I’ve never really elaborated on it. That’s because, as it turns out, I haven’t been able to sit down and write an entire post on my eating disorders. (I know, right? You didn’t know I was going to bring up some serious effing shit on a Tuesday. Me either.) You guys, what you should know is that I’ve got pages and pages written on this subject. Posts I’ve started and abandoned countless times in the last year. There’s a story there that I feel needs to be told, but I haven’t found the right words yet, and finding the right words is a thing that becomes important when a decade of your life is up on the Internet for public consumption.
Here’s what I’ll say right now… that shit sucked. When you start focusing on how you look to other people instead of the badass things you can do? Instead of owning and loving the hell out of your body because of the badass things it can do? That’s not a happy place.
I spent over a year in that place, and then I pulled myself out. I used coaching, and common sense, and the logical realization that being able to do what I loved was more important that looking the way that other people thought I should look, and finally regained a healthy balance in my life when it came to food, eating, energy, and not being a fucking crazy person who listened to what everyone else told her instead of what she told herself.
But, I’ll tell you what… it’s a struggle. I’ve had, over the last 4 years, five different TV shows pitched about me. Shows that are (occasionally) more focused on how I look that who I am. I’ve had people pitch things to me for this website that make me question my values. And while the beauty of a website like this is that it rarely has anything to do with how you look physically, it often has something to do with how you interact with the world. Those things put pressure on what you do and how you view yourself.
So the idea formed, when I finally felt that I’d returned to the core of who I am, that I wanted a permanent reminder of that. I wanted a permanent, visible reminder of the things I’d chosen that make me who I am. Every time I write something, every time I pick up a hammer and build something, I want to remember that my life led me here, and what I truly believe about myself and my life.
The life I’ve chosen has demanded that I be strong when I wanted to be weak. It’s asked me to do things I didn’t think I could do. It has, in fact, made me the best version of myself that I thought I could be. Something that is difficult to remember sometimes, when it feels like the entire world is telling you to be something different. So I created a permanent reminder for myself…
If you happen to follow my Art|Ink board on Pinterest, you know this is a long time coming. The black feather has been the symbol of this farm from the very beginning. I spent four months finding the right tattoo artist, another two months to get an appointment with him. And a day after I had a feather permanently inked on my forearm, the Nuggets left this for me, right in front of the barn…
And whether it’s birds in my house, cats on my drawings, or ink on my arm, I have to admit, when life imitates art imitating life, for me, it just feels right.
You might be personally uncomfortable with tattoos. You might also wonder why I choose to do the things I do the way that I do them (which, let’s be honest, is often the hard way). That’s okay too. My hope, in putting my stories out here for everyone to read, isn’t that you do the things I do, or believe the things I believe. What I’m trying to do is live the most authentic life for myself that I can, and I share my life in hopes that everyone who reads this website is inspired to do the same.
And also, you know, laugh. Because how do you not laugh at donkeys that judge your tattoos?
You don’t. That’s the beauty of farm life.
Great Post Kit!
I said it before with the dancer pic: You are living proof that you can be beautiful and badass. You are an inspiration for so many of us. That feather you wear carries us too. We are with you.
“The life I have chosen demands that I be strong when I’d rather be weak phrase really resonanted with me as right now I’m at the start of my treatment for postnatal depression and I have a one month old to care for as well. I feel hopeful after reading your words.
Kit…Every time I hear Katie Perry’s song “Roar” I think of you! I know there’s nothing I can say that’s going to change the way you see yourself, or bring an end to your problems…but I’m going to say it anyway! You are my hero! You have done everything I’ve ever dreamed of doing, plus more. You could not be one bit cuter, one bit funnier, one bit more capable, one bit more talented or one bit more accomplished than you are right now. You’ve done it, my dear! You’ve broken the glass ceiling! I’ve lived with low self esteem from a very young age. The good news is that as you get older, you don’t care what people think anymore. At 60 years of age, I am finally living the life I believe I was meant to live and I don’t give a flying “F” what anyone thinks. Hang in there, sweetie. I know every day is a struggle. Don’t hesitate to seek the help and support that you need and take it one day at a time. I know you’re gonna be fine. Just remember that there are a hell of a lot of people out here who love you!
Here, here, Karen! Very well said.
Kit, you’ve got to live your own life with all its challenges and triumphs and you’ve got to do it your way. Struggles are just part of what makes us the iron women that we are, even though they totally suck at the time. Keep the knowledge of how wonderfully awesome you are in your heart. You’ve accomplished things that make lesser people shake to contemplate!
You know, Kit…just had another thought. I live in Los Angeles (lots of sunshine) and every winter, I find myself kinda down and spending a lot of time in bed. I think the weather is a very powerful element when it comes to our moods. This year, I started to take a vitamin D supplement and I fared much better. Try it!
Hi there Kit:-
Everything Karen says above, I could not have put it better myself. You are an inspiration to me and many other women and we are all with you every step of the way girl!
Been there with the post natal depression, the eating disorder, and the menopausal depression too. The true turning point for me was when I realised it’s NORMAL to not “fit in” with our crazy modern society, in fact it’s an evolutionary necessity – read “Overcoming Depression” by Paul Gilbert, it could change your life!
Sending you big hugs, it’s a beautiful sunny day here in the UK x x x x x x
You inspire me to take just one more step when my body says no. I have been in a place where it has been hard to see daylight. Then I see your accomplishments and I know I can do more. Thank you for sharing your life……..you are more than you know.
So what the fuck is normal? Keep on swimmin’ baby!! Beautiful ink girl!!
one of your best posts ever – so empowering to see you kicking butt and winning. keep it up, i LOVE it!!
great post! And I love the new tattoo– I have 7, each gotten at a time in my life when I really NEEDED them. And an 8th is planned for the end of summer because I’m at another point where I need a reminder. I’m glad you’re working through things that are not so great and not so fun to work through, and I’ve loved following along with the parts you choose to share :).
A stranger on the other side of the world thinks you’re perfection personified 🙂
don’t you ever stop writing this blog…..it inspires me and makes my day and gives me a chuckle. just keep on doing what you do….you are succeeding.
I love this, thank you.
As someone who has struggled with an eating disorder for many years, I can completely empathize with our sentiments here. It is so difficult some times to realize you are more than what you look like. For you, you found that truth in your farm and in your love for building and power tools. For me, I’m coming to terms with my body and all it’s amazing capabilities through triathlon. I need to know my body is capable regardless of how it’s built or what it looks like. It’s a hard truth to understand, but once you start to believe it you realize just how capable you truly are.
You’re amazing just the way you are. Let your capabilities define you, not a number, because that is what makes you beautiful.
I am just going to echo what everyone else has been saying.
You are an inspiration to many more people than you realize!
Please continue doing what you love and encouraging us to do the same!
I don’t have anything new to add here, so I’ll just pile on to what everyone else has said: this is great, you are great, keep rocking you.
Remember Kit — you ARE the DIY Diva!!! And as many have said above, you are an incredible inspiration to those of us, who regularly follow your blog.
I do have one quick question — in the photo at the tattoo parlour, the tattoo is on your right forearm. In the photo with one of your adorable donkeys, it’s on your left forearm. Did you get the same tattoo on both forearms? Yeah, I’m one of those people who also notices the inconsistencies in movies and tv programs.
Wow, Peggy, what a catch. It’s only on my right forearm… The iPhone takes a “mirror image” picture when you take a selfie 😉
I figured that one of the images was flipped but hey, you never know. Great tat btw!
You gotta love a girl who knows her mind. Nobody else can truly love you until you love yourself. For most of us that is a challenge. We need to learn to love our bodies for what they can do, rather than for how they look. Yours seems to be able to do what you want. That is a pretty good end result.
I do have to ask for a clarification, however. In your tattoo photos, it looks like the art is on your right arm. In the donkey photo, it looks like it is on your left arm. Did you get two? Sorry for the question, but details bug me.
God Bless you and keep you and give you peace and power!
This is exactly the type of thing I needed to read this Tuesday morning. Thank you!!!!
I just have to say, I love this post. I love reading your writing, understanding your feelings, seeing your ideas happen in real life, and just following your journey. You might be a power tool wielding badass farmer, but to me (and clearly many others), you’re an inspiration. Whether it’s to take that next step and prove you can do what you set out to do or to accept yourself as you are, your words ring oh so true. Thank you for your honesty.
That’s a heavy feather, if you catch my meaning. Wear it with pride.
The tat looks great – and the pride with it looks even better.
I’m just going to agree with everything said above my post, so many out there express my sentiments better than I can.
I want to let you know I love your blog, I love your determination & I love living thru your pictures 🙂
This place makes my day & it’s one of only a few “must visit” sites every.single.day!
thank you so much for sharing. you have no idea the impact of your words, the inspiration of your courage, you are the symbol of brave to me. light as a feather, solid as a ROCK/
You are life imitating art in exactly this way:
“Though she be but little, she is fierce!” – William Shakespeare.
Thank you for inviting us into your life. Humbled and honored to be along for the “ride”.
(And as a 47 yr old soccer mom, I just got 2 more tats this year, which now makes 3, and am planning on getting my 4th in the next month or two). Keep ’em guessing!
I love this post. You are a strong, beautiful [inside and outside], brave, fearless woman. That feather will be there to remind you of that every day. I got both wrists tattooed after kicking cutting and bulimia, and every day they remind me of my strength and what I am capable of. Embrace your beauty and strength and never forget how amazing you are!
I’ve followed your blog for a while, but I haven’t commented. I’m not a commenter for some reason… I should change that. Anyways.. 🙂 You are awesome. I want to be you when I grow up. Nevermind that fact that I’m 31….. ahem. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your life with us! You are strong. And even stronger now for overcoming something that tried to bring you down. Good job! Way to kick it in the face! And I love the tattoo. 🙂
This phrase summarizes a feeling I’ve had all my life. Thanks for posting it.
“I’ve spent a lot of time believing that myself, except that feeling pisses me off so much that it often motivates me to do exactly the thing that people tell me I can’t.”
Those feelings piss me off too, then I go do it….well.
I love this blog so hard…..thank you for putting yourself out there. I feel like those words aren’t enough.
I am not a big fan of tattoos but do appreciate when someone has something that is meaningful to her. You are such an inspiration to so many people, and I hope that helps you through the hard times.
brava. bravabravabrava. i got my first tattoo last year for exactly the reasons you’ve articulated here, and you’re one of the first people i’ve ever heard (besides myself) explain it in those terms. everything else about my body was just put on me – and i love it, but it wasn’t my choice, it’s something i love because you work with what you get. tattoos are one of the only things that let you really decide what you want your body to look like: and yours is much bigger and more badass than mine!! congrats.
I really like how you articulate the reasoning behind getting a tattoo, right on Diva!! This post is brave, I admire you for putting it out there. I have such a hard time posting personal stuff. Thanks for the reminder that it’s okay to do so.
Spectacular tat on a kick-ass lady who’s gorgeous & strong both inside & out.
I suppose some people might question what you do, the way you do it (or, you know, the general order; see: laundry) and even WHY you do it. But I don’t think anyone on this little blue planet could ever question your authenticity, Kit.
Oh, and welcome to the ink club. 🙂
Kit, you are awesome and beautiful and badass and inspirational and brave. Okee Dokee….that sums it up!!
Words really aren’t enough to sum up how much of an inspiration you are. Thank you so much for just being you!
This post took so many turns and wasn’t at all what I expected but was wonderful and authentic and strong. Good for you and for being true to yourself.
I am one of those weird people that have followed your blog for years, but never comments…until today. As a person that has struggled with self image problems her entire life, which resulted in an eating disorder, your story is so meaningful to me. Thank you for your honesty. Keep it up. You are an inspiration to many.
Thank you for opening your more personal life up to all of us. When under stress my way of having some control in my life is to not eat, cook (go figure), clean and build/create stuff. I have found you to be a humorous, articulate, multi-talented woman, that brings encouragement and inspiration to my life.You are the reason my friends are asking me how I knew how to do this or that! And the reason I have awesome winter boots and a sliding compound miter saw! I hope we bring smiles into your life as you do to ours!
I think that donkey is just saying “umph…a feather? Fur is so much better!”
The ink is beautiful, as are you.
If you question that, just look into the faces of your precious animals. Animals are so freaking honest and they don’t take shit. If an animal loves you, comes when you call or just plain trusts you, then you damn well deserve it. You have earned it. Not by what you look like, what you’ve accomplished (though you have accomplished A LOT), what you do, earn, etc, etc, but just for who you are at the core of your being. If animals approve of you, then no one has a right to question anything!
That feather left for you was a token of their love.
I wish you peace and courage to follow wherever your path leads. I love you for taking us along. Thank you.
When I was planning my first bookcase project and became overwhelmed-I thought of you.
When I was hauling the tools and wood and screws and my body hurt- I thought of you.
When I was building it and screamed ‘I can’t do this!’ -I thought of you.
When some detail wouldn’t come together and I wanted to ask my husband to finish my bookcase.- I thought of you.
And when all my friends and family compliment me on the bookcase i finished all by myself.. when i feel pride because of my accomplishment. -it’s because of you.
Thank you for being my inspiration. I would not have done it without you.
It’s hard fighting other people’s opinions of you sometimes. Especially when it’s something you hear when you’re young, or very often, or by someone you care about. Their opinion gets ingrained until you start to think it’s your opinion about yourself. But the only person that really knows who you are, is you. Don’t ever let anyone else tell you who you are or what you can or can not do.
One of the things I love about your blog is that you’re out there doing the kinds of things I was regularly told and shown that I could not do because I was a girl. When we bought this 1853 farmhouse, I finally had something where I really wanted to be able to do those things. I started with stuff I knew I could do. I stripped wall paper and painted. Then I patched drywall and did some skim coating. I’d seen people do that, I knew I could too. I wielded a pry bar and a sledge hammer for the first time. I trimmed trees. I drove my own lawn tractor and learned to stack wood. These were all “boy things”. Things I wasn’t taught or allowed to do before. But I did them anyway.
But still, there was a line I dared not cross. Then I ripped up the carpet on the stairs and started staining my stairs. Well, one didn’t turn out so well with the stain not taking in a big ugly blob. Clearly, I needed to sand it down and redo it. Up to this point, I had done everything by hand. But to sand down the entire stair back to bare wood? That’s a lot of sanding to do by hand…
But you know what, Kit? Just today, I bought my very first power tool – a random orbital sander. I’m going to take it outside and give it a whirl on a wood scrap and then I’m marching back inside and I’m going to sand down that step. All. By. My. Self.
I really thought I was “someone who doesn’t use power tools” just like I used to be “someone who asks her husband to tighten these bolts or hammer this nail”. And I’m not. I just didn’t realize it until I saw this girl, just one inch taller than me, going around building chicken coops like it was nothing. And I said to myself, “I want to be her.”
So. Thanks for the inspiration. Love the tattoo. 🙂
The phrase of this that I need to write down somewhere prominent: “being able to do what I loved was more important than looking the way that other people thought I should look”
Fuck what other people think. You are so successful and beautiful, and I’m glad you were able to turn things around and feel better about yourself. Remember and be true to who you are, take stock of what you have accomplished, and be be satisfied that you are on the right path. It’s a mindset. From time to time all of our trains derail, what’s important is to work to get the thing back on the tracks instead of giving it up. Bravo!
Hey girl, I love what you put out in the world and even though I don’t know you I am proud of you. Proud that you can farm and remodel and build houses, and also that you can trust the wilds of the internet with personal details like these. You”ve drawn cool and strong and supportive people to you, I hope that they give you the real and virtual hugs you need to keep kicking ass.
Speaking of kicking ass, that tattoo does just that. Good shit.
Hi there Kit!
It’s such an inspiring insight from this post of yours. I agree with you, stay true to yourself. It greatly reminds me of my uncle who died in the hospital last week. He was the one who imparted me to truly find my identity and it was through his life’s example that I will always remember him. That mattress indeed carried a humble man back to his Creator that night, as I held him until his last breath.
Hey, you are awesome! Yes, you!! 🙂
Best rating I’ve ever given to a blogger.
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