Per what I said in my most recent blog post, I’m currently living in a little town called Ferndale, Washington (less than an hour south of Vancouver, B.C., Canada), working on a small organic farm. I’ll be here until June 16 (I probably would have chosen to stay the whole summer, but one of my very best friends, Sarah, is getting married in Michigan on June 22, and I absolutely cannot miss it).
I found this place through an organization called Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, or WWOOF. The idea is that you find a farm through the web site, and go there to learn / work in exchange for food / shelter. No money is exchanged.
This is something I’ve thought about doing for a really long time. Babysitting for someone who worked in a health food store got me interested in organic food and sustainability. And, more recently, my sexual assault experience has made me just want to be outside all of the time. There’s something healing about nature and space, I guess.
So, I saved up my money, and here I am, sitting in a tent (yes, a tent– I’m living in a tent voluntarily because I’m insane), picking up wifi from the nearby main house.
And I want to write that gushy, optimistic post about how awesome this is, but that’s not going to happen. At least not now. Because I have spent a lot of time in the past 24 hours in tears.
That’s not because I regret coming here, per se. It’s just been an intensely emotional transition for some reason. I don’t quite understand it. But I’m not going to deny that I feel a little bit homesick and a whole lot friendsick (which is especially weird because most of my close friends don’t even live anywhere near me). But man, do I miss them. And I want the biggest hug.
When I bought my plane ticket out here, everyone started telling me how brave I was to be actually doing this. I didn’t quite understand that. I hop on planes and fly all over the place quite often. I hate driving, so flying gives me a sense of autonomy that I lack otherwise.
But now I get it. Because flying solo across the country, to a place you’ve never been before, and moving in with people you don’t know is really, really hard. Even if you want to do it. Even if you’re optimistic about it. Which I am because I wanted and needed this more than anything.
I felt the same way about transferring colleges, and most other major decisions I’ve made in my life, in fact.
The people here are nice. I feel safe here. And yet ugh, I just want to cry all the time. And I have been crying pretty steadily since I got here about twenty-four hours ago. Which means I’m that unfriendly asshole who just moved in because I have sought out a lot of personal space and alone time.
And so I needed to write this post because if there’s one thing I’ve learned, denying how you feel is incredibly unhealthy. I need to just experience these feelings (which come in waves, along with euphoria and pride at my decision to be here) so that I can work through and past them.
My friend Sarah (who I mentioned above, soon to be married) is a Champion Giver of Pep Talks. She said the following to me earlier today:
You just experience the farm, experience the emotions because you can. They’re yours and nobody else’s. There’s no pressure to be all euphoric the whole time. Text me and I will listen and keep loving you. And do some work and make some muscles, woman. You are an amazing machine.
I thought about doing this last summer but just wasn’t prepared enough for it at the time (I hadn’t saved up enough money, etc), so had to put it off. And I was mad at myself because my summer turned out to be lame as hell. So I know that had I chickened out of doing this (which I almost did; I quite seriously almost bailed on my phone interview for this position), I’d be really angry with myself. Which would perhaps feel worse than the exhaustion I feel due to all this emotion coursing through me.
Ugh. I don’t know. It’ll be okay. I know it’ll be okay. I know I did the right thing. But doing the right thing is hard, and as a result, I kind of feel like shit and am burdening my friends with all of my feelings (see this text message exchange between me and my friend Stephanie).
So I decided to burden the internet instead because the internet is bigger and can handle it.
I’m big enough to handle this, too. I know I am. I just also don’t believe the bullshit assumption that strength equals stoicism, or euphoria, or whatever the hell it is I’m “supposed” to be feeling right now.
At least I’m feeling something. Sure does beat the stagnation I’ve experienced up until this point.