Just before I started this post I sat down at my workbench in my office (odd in-and-of-itself because I haven’t spent more than fifteen consecutive minutes in this room since some time in March), I opened my computer (which earlier today I spent a good nine hours on, trying to dig myself out of an over-full inbox), and then I rolled my shoulders, smiled a little bit, and started to write.
I’ve been trying– damn it all to hell and back again– to sit down and actually write for months.
I used to have this entire internal monologue that would happen whenever I was working on my houses or around the farm, and that voice basically wrote my posts for me. By the time I sat down to type it all out, it was essentially just dictation of all the things that had gone on in my head throughout the day. And that worked that way for me for years…
The same way that it’s fun for me to start a project I’ve been mulling over for a while and finally see it come to life, it was fun to sit down and finally see my stories in words and not just in my head. If I did a really good job– and I bet I’ve only truly done a really good job a handful of times in the last decade– I’d feel like I really touched on something capital-T True. (And maybe I’ve gotten close to that more than a handful of times over the years even if I didn’t quite nail it.)
And then… it stopped.
I can’t tell if it happened all of the sudden in the last year, or if it was a gradual thing, but instead of being able to sit down and pound out a decent story in a few hours there were a lot of false starts, a lot of days inbetween drafts–sometimes so many days that the thing I wanted to say didn’t really seem relavent anymore–and even when I posted something I didn’t feel fantastic about it. (Ugh, god, sometimes there’s nothing I hate more than “good enough.”)
If there’s anything in the world more powerful than the stories we tell other people, it’s the stories we tell ourselves… so here are some of the stories I’ve been telling myself about this:
- I’m ADHD and need to be on meds. So. True story: I have close friends and family members who are very close to me in both temperment and behaviors who have been diagnosed with ADHD, are on the meds, and I can see the overwhelmingly positive impact it has had on their lives. I am a fan of the medication and the impact it has had on them. I see some of those things in myself and think, shit, if I could just take a pill and make the part of my life where I forget the hose is running in the 30 seconds it takes me to get from the house to the spigot and end up flooding the barn for 4 hours, or literally can never find both my keys and wallet at the same time, or that cannot fucking sit still long enough to write a full blog post… if I could take a pill and fix that shit? That would be amazing. Okay. But also, I’m a real high-functioning adult, right? Like they haven’t found the thing yet that I can’t do, and do successfully, once I put my mind to it. And yes, it feels like it’s getting increasingly harder to put my mind to it, but I still get a hell of a lot done and get it done right. I’m not sure if I also get to have it “easy”, and that might honestly be what it is. I legitimately don’t know if I have a wiring problem in my brain or if I’m just being lazy and want it all to be easier.
- It’s all social-media’s fault. Like any good finger-pointer I can never quite deicde why I think it’s to blame, but I’m sure it is. Sometimes I like to think it’s because of the distraction, but I can never quite tell if it’s Instagram that’s distracting me– I mean ALL THE BEARDS you guys, come on– or if I just gravitate to social-media because I can’t focus and it’s there.
- I drink too much wine. Well. Okay. There have been weeks (uh, months?) when this is definitely true. It’s another thing I reach for when I sit down, can’t figure out what to write, get antsy, and want something to distract me. Which usually works for the first two glasses, and then the next thing you know I’m making up new lyrics to old songs and dancing around the kitchen with my cat, and thank god I live alone. I do like to make sure that pendulum swings the other way too, just to keep my liver in check, but it turns out not-drinking wine doesn’t make me more likely to sit my ass in front of the computer and write some shit.
- It takes too long. Eh… I don’t really know how to shorten this into a sentence. I like the instant gratification of sitting down and writing something and then posting it and calling it done, which has basically been impossible for me in the last six months. So I sit down and spend a couple of hours at it (in between the wine and the facebook and the singing songs to my cat) and at the end of the night I don’t have anything to show for it since I didn’t get to hit the “post” button. And this can go on for days, at which point I become less concerend about what the hell I’m writing and more concerned about just getting it the hell done. (Also, I feel like I totally just channeled Spock from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home in that last sentence, and if you don’t know what I’m talking about we can’t be friends.)
- I’m no longer in bad relationships. Okay, one, you guys know I adore all my exes, right? “Bad” is overstating it. But, like, ah… there was kind of a trend in my life where I used to put a lot of energy into relationships (thinking that, like everything else in my life, if you put the work into it, it will be awesome, which so far has held true for houses I’ve owned, but, uh… not for my relationships.) If I’m being honest though–and why the hell not?– one of the side effects of most of my relationships was that I was a little unfullfilled and there wasn’t much I could do about it. So I focused a lot of energy on things that did fullfil me, like writing about the good parts of my life. (Like, dudes, if you’re not going to laugh at my stories the entire internet will, so there.) But realistically there hasn’t been a great return on the time or energy investement I’ve put into my past relationships… I’ve found that I’m a hell of a lot happier “dating” and not getting too serious about it. I get to spend time with awesome (often bearded) dudes– I have a lot of great people in my life because of it– and I’m not obligated to “give up” more time or energy than I want to. Fortunately for my overall happiness level, I’m extremely fullfilled for the amount of time I put into my friendships and dating, but that means I spend a lot more time with other people than I have historically in my life, and, unfortunately, that translates to less time writing. (Ugh, is this that whole “struggle is good for your art” shit playing out in my life? Because it’s probably true, but I’m still not putting myself through the emotional exhaustion of “men who cannot communicate” again for the sake of it.)
I mean, honestly, there’s probably truth in a lot of these things. In the pursuit of authenticity, it’s dangerous to turn a blind eye to real things in your life (even if you aren’t proud of them), and it’s just as dangerous to make those things the whole story when they aren’t.
So here’s how this story started…
Facebook has this fun little feature called “On This Day” that shows you things you’ve posted on that particular day sometime in the past, and a last week it came up with this.
Which at first I thought was from last year (seems legit, I’ve had a lot of bonfires at this house over the years) but then I read the caption: “Still warm enough for siding the house and having bonfires.”
And I’m like, when the hell in recent history was I siding a hou… OH.
That post was from 2010, five years ago. So, out of curiosity (and, because I can, since I’ve been documenting my life online for so damn long) I went back to November 2010 and looked around a bit.
I don’t often stop to think about how different my life was five years ago. No farm, no Parker and Doc, no chickens, no bees. I was about to spend winter living in a garage. I’d been building a house with my dude-at-the-time for seven months. We were not happy, but we were doing a good job faking it because we were seven months into building a house together and at least 10 months away from even getting close to living in it (which we never actually did at the same time… go figure) plus he was a good dude. There was no drywall. I was 29 years old (and pretty sure no one would ever want to date me again anyway because I was so old… ha.) The first time I picked up my hammer to hand-nail that siding, my wrist flopped around like a dead fish. I had a five minute commute to work. I had a few close friends, but there were probably way more people in my life peripherally that didn’t like me than did, thanks to living in a small town.
If I hadn’t read through those old posts and someone asked me who I was five years ago, I’d have said, “Eh… pretty much the same as I am now I guess. Loved projects, loved power tools, loved bearded dudes.” The highlights are the same, right? As are some of the details, “Liked drinking beer after a long day, had a hard time finding my keys and wallet (even in a 400 square foot garage), and clearly facebooked pictures of my bonfires and house projects.” All true.
But really? It’s all different. Between five years ago and today there has been a gradual shifting of… everything.
And none of it has really been intentional. I never said, “I want to be a person who thinks more about planting an orchard and raising bees than putting an actual floor in her kitchen.” Five years ago I wouldn’t have wanted to give up house projects for other projects. I wouldn’t have said, “I want to spent two hours commuting every day, and then another hour-plus at the gym before I get home most days instead of blogging.” In fact, two years ago when I started lifting I said the exact opposite… that absolutely would not give up my time working on the house or writing to be at the gym more than one day a week.
I had no idea in my early thirties I would enter two years of eating disorders caused by trying to “be healthy” that would change my entire perspective on life (first for the worse, then for the better.)
I couldn’t have guessed how many amazing people I would meet (and occasionally date), some that were a part of my life briefly, and some that have become great friends, many of which I hope will always be in my life in one way or another. I had no idea how that would shape the way I interact with people, how many incredible stories I would hear that would inspire me, how many akward stories I’d have to share myself.
Here’s what’s real in my life right now: I sometimes have trouble paying attention, even to myself. I have to actively work at it, and sometimes– after a long day of working at it– I just can’t. I sometimes finish the entire bottle of wine and not the post I’m trying to write. I sometimes choose to spend time with my friends or go on dates when, if I didn’t, I’d probably sit down and try to write something instead. I sometimes update my social media accounts with pictures or brief posts, and instead of revisiting later to tell the full story, I call it “good enough.”
I’m also stronger than I’ve ever been, in all of the ways. More capable, more tested, more sure of myself, more successful, and just literally fucking strong. That hammer that used to hurt my wrist feels like a kid’s toy these days, and I’m not even half as strong as I could be.
I also don’t care half as much about what my house looks like. I want to get it done, yes, but I’m not nearly as worried about the aesthetic details as I am about greenhouses and chicken coops and getting my garden into shape.
There has been a gradual shifting of everything in my life, and the stories don’t run through my head like they used to. I don’t know if that’s because my life is full of so many other things, or my brain is tired, or because I haven’t been practicing being a good storyteller enough, or that maybe I don’t have as much to say. I love where I’m at in life in all of the ways except maybe this one. But last week I looked back through my old posts I knew I had something to say about it, today I sat down ready to write something, and three hours later here are all these words reminding me that I still have a few stories left in me to tell.
And hopefully the ability to tell them well.
Still got it.
You had me at “just”… 😉
This is a beautiful, insightful essay. Reading about your days on the farm with all your responsibilities, I often wonder, how, do you do all you do? Gas tanks eventually drop to empty.
I am ADHD, I go on and off meds. It does help me stay directed but really most times I benefit from my flights of fancy when I am off meds. There are tricks I use to keep track of things that make my life immeasurably easier. I rarely lose my keys or phone anymore and I appreciate not having that anxiety. Selfishly I hope you never stop posting because I get a kick out of your antics.
Well, this makes up for all the lousy stories you’ve told us last year en ok, you have some credit to do so for another year. But after that you’d better be back at storytelling….nope!
I happen to think your life sounds pretty normal. So what does that say about me? 🙂
well…as long as you keep posting selfies in the snow with the Donkeys and Chickens it’s all good 🙂
Wonderful post. It’s good to look back and ponder, compare, gain awareness of growth and change…your journey is a good one and you’re good at sharing it. Don’t overthink it..haha! Just keep on keeping on.
Life is like the tides, things will always ebb and flow. You won’t ever lose your introspective part, whether you record it for us or not. Social media has allowed you to see your life as an open book, and if there wasn’t a shift in where you were then to where you are now, that would be bad! I see it as growth, a continual evolution. When the stories are ready to come out… they will!
I wonder if the stream of internal stories quieted down because you are now living your life more in the moment than ever before. You’re more centered, grounded, confident, content with your life and how you’re living it. You’ve gotten Zen, girl. That’s some awesome stuff. Just remember that the shift will continue. We’re always in flux. Kudos for taking a moment of reflection and to acknowledge where you’ve been and where you are now.
Oh, and thanks for sharing your life with us. You’re great! 🙂
This blog reminds me that my chaotic life is normal and it is completely ok. It’s ok to not feel like doing anything some days. It’s ok to have a home full of unfinished projects. This blog pushes me to keep going because sometimes it is just about the journey. Thank you for that.
Nailed it. Keep doing you, lady.
So…. I thought this was a “I’m gonna quit blogging” post. I think I read the whole thing holding my breath and wanting to cry because, what would I do without your donkeys in my life?! 🙂 now that I’m breathing again.. Great post! It sounds like you are in a great place right now! I hope you are happy!! And I hope your stories continue to make their way to “paper”. Even your “good enough” posts seem awesome to me. I appreciate that you share your life with us! I love reading your blog and being inspired… Or just entertained, cuz lets face it… You fit a LOT in your day. i think you somehow get more hours than the rest of us….. 😛
what she said!
It’s refreshing to know I’m not the only one gaining a new perspective on life. Torn between how comfortable things used to and taking that step to explore how great things truly can be.
Sometimes those “good enough” moments can be reminders on what it took to get to where you are. If you spent the entire time worrying about one tile in the corner with a sofa sitting on top of it, you’d never get to see the beautiful farm you’ve created on your own.
What emily said. We still love your stories.
I could write a similar blog, similar in the sense of talking about a life that went in a different direction. The saying is, “life is what happens when you’re making other plans,” and it’s often true. I was going to be a successful novelist, maybe win a distinguished award or two. I did actually write two novels I was never able to publish, but that was as far as I got with it. I was three hundred manuscript pages into a third novel when we got this house in 1992.
I had a lot of plans for the house and decided to implement them, because as I told Christine at the time, “If I can get this remodeled the way we want it, and not another damned thing happens, I will be content with that.” Now I’m approaching the final stages of that remodeling, and I’ve not written a single word of fiction in all those years. But I am not at all unhappy with how things have turned out. I will surely never write fiction again, and I’m fine with that. I found something else that inspires me.
I’ve followed your blog since I met you at the Delta blogging event in 2011 and have thoroughly enjoyed it. The one constant throughout has been your insistence on living life on your own terms. And now that those terms are changing a bit… well, they will still be YOUR terms, and that’s the main thing. I very much look forward to seeing where life takes you next.
I am always happy to read what you post, whether its a short update with a photo of a donkey or nug, or if its an insightful post like the one today. Like Emily said, I was worried you were going to sign off for good today, glad you will continue sharing with us!
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your’s Kit 🙂
yea, If I were to write all in my head after reading this post I would not get the Doodle bathed, a couple projects done or my ears lowered by my rag-doll cat loving long time hair-bender friend. Must follow priorities but will say; As one ages past 25 there should be as many hours in the day as your age…up to about 40…then back to 24, LOL I now put my time where my enjoyment and priorities lay.
BTDT; ADHD – perfectionists, set themselves up for anxiety but teach themselves discipline daily. We teach our children patience, and they in kind, teach us as we get older. I’m not the household neat-freak I once was and the dust bunnies patiently wait 😉
I enjoy reading you because of your awesome ideas ( 0ne of which I plan on using in the spring) your humorous spin, total inspiration and cool farm critters, you’ve been in movies are a Rock star n the Beesknees
Rock On! n may the force be with you
I can relate to so much of this!! Especially that gradual shifting of everything ending up in a place you never would have expected…. and being happy about the result. I think in the end what you are describing is being more ‘present’ rather than existing in a state of storytelling about the past and looking toward the future, and I think staying present is the key to being happy. Thank you for taking the time to writing it all down – the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful 😉
Ive been following you for a couple of years now and never have actually read your entire blog… until last week! I really thought this was going to be a Im closing shop post, SO HAPPY its not!
I love your blog. You’re so real and honest and dont hide ANYTHING! Just like GG said before, you write the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful and thats what makes you so kick ass!
I personally think you nail every single post.
Keep doin’ you girl!
Number 1: You are too hard on yourself. You’re a f*cking bad ass and totally inspiring.
Number 2: There is no such thing as too much wine. Sometimes I do give my liver a break in January though.
Number 3: About the writing…I was just thinking this week that you should take your old blog posts and turn them into a book. I know you’ve explored the TV show route and I thought the table and door building videos were awesome, but you have such a talent for writing – I wouldn’t rule that out.
How did you determine that you’re really ADHD? I often wonder if I have ADD too, but I don’t want to go to a doctor for it because I’m convinced they’ll tell me I do have it even if I don’t. They give out ADD meds so readily nowadays it makes me think they’re basically actively trying to prescribe them to people and I don’t want to be taking meds I don’t really need.
I have always admired your authenticity! I think you’re your own worst critic because I haven’t ever thought any of your recent posts were lacking in any way. I remember when I started reading your blog when you were still making brooms with the router! I though the blog was so cool that I went back and read it from the beginning like a paperback novel. I really enjoyed it so much and like so many others I feel like I know you, even though I have never met you. Keep writing! I love the little posts and the big ones and I think that anyone who doesn’t like you in your home town or anywhere is probably just jealous of you! You are real and there is nothing wrong with that! Affirmed!
Wow, this was sounding like a goodbye post, and I’m really glad it’s not. I love reading your stories, long or short, about anything you’re doing on the farm so I hope you keep having stories to tell even if it’s less often because of real life happening and being full. I don’t know how you manage to do all you do and write about it too, but as long as you have stories to tell, we’ll be here to read them.
Just please don’t stop telling us your stories. I’m home. it’s late. Not too. Dancing whipped me up, sweated me around and then knocked me back home. To my world in my little apt. in Portland , Oregon. But I opened my email and read yet another fabulous post of yours. I’m a new reader – maybe 6 months now – and I don’t know anything about farms, gardens or house building. And I don’t really care – there are many blogs out there with all that.
but it is YOUR voice that keeps me reading each time and coming back. Your world and your descriptions
gives me and everyone a chance to hear your voice and see your beauty. Thank you for keeping the world fresh and interesting! Happy Thanksgiving !
A story worth telling. I do so enjoy reading your posts, and this one in particular hit “home”. Thank you for all you share and do – knowing not how many lives you may have touched with something so simple and totally, ramblingly, insane (which I dig!).
Happy Turkey Day from another kindred soul who knows several more kindred souls!
Meds. There are no magic pills and even if there were – then you have to remember where they are every day and when you took them or if you took them and then sometimes don’t remember until after you have taken the second or third duplicate dose for the day. If wine came in a pill form, would it be nearly as much fun?
If you are concerned that you may be consuming a bit too much wine a wee bit too often, then test yourself. How long can you stop drinking wine? Are you self-medicating or are you truly relishing each glass of wine?
Is your life functional?
Are you happy?
Do you sleep well at night?
How many people live their lives as you do AND blog about it on a regular basis?
To be a fully functioning adult in a world full of sleepers can be challenging.
Change your thoughts – change your life.
Like pants or no pants.
Like Bob Ross used to say “You can do anything you want to do. This is your world.”
Choices big and small are made. Patterns created.
Mental illness. No different – it’s a biological illness – than impetigo, but so much easier to conceal and integrate into social norms. Mary Temple Grandin. Google for inspiration. Breaking the silence on the last taboo – mental illness and related disorders.
If nothing ever changes – know that you are an inspiration just as you are.
Keep on doing what you do, Kit!
First of all. I LOVE you blog. It is the first thing I look for when I go to Blogloin.
As a mental health counselor here are my suggestions.
Get a complete physical-be sure your thyroid is checked and blood tests that include a complete liver panel. Tell the dr. all of your concerns. (really never any point in lying to the doc). Take a picture of your big-ass chalkboard so he gets a real picture of what’s happening.
Do a test run to see if you can cut your alcohol use to see have you created a dependency–lots of people self medicate with alcohol, when they actually have a different problem. There are lots of information on the Internet that are Q & A about alcohol use, try a few of them. Also look for strategies (non-meds) to see what people with ADHD use to keep the distractions under control. Try a few of these. ADHD and bipolar disorder are often confused and have some of the same symptoms. There are also anxiety and depression issues that can be confused with some of the things you are discussing. Only a Dr. can make an accurate diagnosis. Both physical and mental disorders can create some of the same symptoms you are talking about. And really, if the family doctor says you are physically in good shape, the next step is to visit a counselor and describe your situation (again, don’t lie–therapy goes much, much faster if you are not hiding things). If you don’t like the first one you go try another one. After you have spent a few sessions with them, discuss the issue of medications with them. Ask them what diagnosis they have given you? The code is usually on the bill and you can look it up. The next step should be going to see a psychiatrist who can actually make the best diagnosis, by listening to what you have already done, what your symptoms are and what you have tried, you can give him a more precise read on what is happening with you. If you need the meds, take them. The psychiatrist is much better equipped than the family doctor to make the diagnosis and get you on the right medications. They understand the drugs better than anyone and the interactions. Your family doctor isn’t the go-to guy for this. With mental health medications it is often a matter of trial and error, since every body responds differently. Be prepared to stay with it until you get it right.
You shouldn’t try to guess about this. And don’t let your friends tell you what is wrong with you either. You are really high-functioning, so maybe something needs just a little tweak or maybe you have just set the bar a little too high.
And please, please don’t drive when you have had more than one drink.
Great post. My feeling is that we all just enjoy what you have to say, and we want the best for you. No matter how that looks. Of course we want to be along for the ride, but it’s YOUR life, so you get to decide. Thanks for sharing!
I have ADD, diagnosed by a clinician, but can’t take the medication. Tried it once and it just didn’t work for me. So I learned to live with my ADD. I always have a thousand projects going at once. That sounds like a huge exaggeration but it’s not. For example, I’m looking around right now in my den at these projects:
1) Book on making organic dog and cat biscuits. Which I want to do soon. (Ahem, I bought the book a year and a half ago).
2) Two light fixtures that came from the used building supply store that I am trying to convert from round flourescent bulbs to LED bulbs.
3) My organ keyboard, which I’m learning to play.
4) Harness parts from a used horse harness I got very cheap because it needs major cleanup and some replacement pieces.
5) Piles of papers all over the sofa that need to be filed. SO much so that no one could sit on the sofa.
6) Sole plate of a dishwasher that still needs to be put on.
7) Cast iron toy horse wagons on the table that need a shelf built to display them.
8) Timers and other parts for my outdoor solar yard lights that need to be put together.
9) A group of things I need to put on eBay or Craigslist.
10) A shelving unit that needs to be put together.
That’s just a FEW of the visible things.
I bought a small house with a huge garage, barn, two carports and 1.25 acres so I could have room for all my projects. I don’t care about the house. I care about the project space.
What I have learned about this ADD is that it seems to get worse with age. I can no longer sit still and read a book. I can only listen to audiobooks while I’m doing other things.
So… I gave up trying to be a neater, more organized person who focuses only on a project (or a handful) at one time. I decided that I’d get the space to spread out and have my thousand projects going at one time and just be happy with it. Because really, it does make me content to have lots of projects, no matter how big or small, that I can knock out incrementally, a little bit every time I pass by. I don’t care if people look at my property funny. They can buy move on. I have what I have always wanted in my life, a farm full of animals and a lot of projects to work on.
Most of my projects do get done. Others, I give up on and will sell or give away some of the parts and pieces I have collected to do them.
My advice is this. If you can’t change, or if you aren’t comfortable changing, assess whether or not you really need to change. Play to your strengths and do what makes you happy. Even if it means the water hose gets left on for four hours.
I’m always pleased to see a post from you whether it’s ponderings, donkey and nugget updates or DIY. I enjoy hearing from you! No advice about ADD or ADHD. I have figured out (finally, at 60)that life has phases that I don’t seem to always have control over … some I love and some not so much. Those I can change (control) for the better, I do. Those I can’t, I keep an eye on so they don’t bite me in the glutes and keep living life!
“Like, dudes, if you’re not going to laugh at my stories the entire internet will, so there.”
I’m really glad that you know we’re here for that. I know I am. I used to read a lot of reno blogs but have reduced my reading to just yours. The metric ton of prim and proper housewife bloggers don’t speak to my crass, tomboy, single, no kids self. You do and you’re hilarious.
Just saw this post… and OMG I think the same thing about ADD/ADHD! Honestly it had never even crossed my mind because I have always loved reading, school, all the kinds of things the stereotypical “kid with ADD” isn’t good at or doesn’t like. Then I went to a therapist for the first time this year for an (I thought) totally unrelated reason, namely crushing anxiety/total overwhelm/intensely hating myself… and she was like, I think you might be ADD and that’s kinda tied in with the anxiety. And then on another day she was telling me about some other guy with ADD who would leave kitchen cupboards open all the time and I said OMG I DO THAT TOO MY BOYFRIEND HATES IT.
So she gave me a referral to a psychiatrist but I never went because I wonder the same thing you’re talking about… like, I succeeded in college, did a master’s thesis, am reasonably successful at work… is it really, I don’t know, “fair” (not sure if that’s the right word) for me to want to be EVEN BETTER if I feel like I could be? Or am I just being greedy/setting expectations too high for myself?
Anyway, enough about me… I love your blog and I always enjoy your posts even if they are intermittent! Your life on the farm and all your projects are super interesting and inspiring!
A great story well told, thanks
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