Is that a shark?

bachelor buttons | centaurea cyanus

I’m going to let you in on a secret: I’m terrified. Of what, you might ask? Failure, for one. What “failure” specifically? I don’t know, it changes daily. This week it’s that I’m afraid I have no direction. That I do so much work maintaining my businesses that I don’t have time to set vision. This week it’s also that I look like a hack. Our websites have been down for over a week. “This account has been suspended(!)” The exclamation point is mine because; they might as well. I have no idea what’s happening. Our IT guy, who is also our friend, who also works with Eric, is also in the middle of about a million grants and data analytics web projects for far more important people, like the DOT, and New York State, and the Federal Government. People much more important than me. So while we’re trying to pretend to be professional, this week we are failing miserably, and even succeeding in looking delinquent, which we’re not. (Unless we are).

Editor’s note: Our sites are now back up and running. And this has thrilled me maybe more than it should.

cham162german chamomile | matricaria recutita

I take pretty pictures of what’s growing on the farm. But behind the detail and the orchestration and the perfectly choreographed herbs and flowers is pure chaos. Chaos of a living, breathing organism that includes weeds and a crazy field that looks like July.  It’s two humans trying to care for five and a half acres and a big old house. My floors are always dirty. My walls are covered in cobwebs. Dirty dishes. Dead flies in the windowsill. My tshirts and jean shorts are smeared with blood and snot and gasoline and the smooshed bodies of asparagus and potato beetles. Chipmunks have taken over my shed and my patio and my flower garden and the baby squirrels are eating pale pink strawberries and aren’t even afraid of me when I try to chase them away. They just stare at me in confusion. Annoyed. “Are you done yet? I need another partially ripened strawberry that I will take one bite out of and then abandon.” Trees are dying. This is REAL LIFE people. And it’s not pretty. It is pretty, I’m being dramatic. But it’s cruel! It doesn’t care about me. And that’s both sad and freeing.

chivechives | allium schoenoprasum

We all have our moments of doubt. Eric keeps reminding me that most people don’t do what we do because failure is painful and at some point people get tired of self doubt and tired of failure and just give up and get a job that pays you money when you do work. Incredible. You work>you get money. Running a business is very much not like this. You spend money, you work, you spend more money, you work some more. You get some money. You keep working. You fail. You succeed. You question your ability, you succeed. A LOT. A big old fat success, and then another, and your big successes encourage you to keep going. So you work some more. You work and work. You make money. You fail. You see no progress, or you do see progress but no one else does. You make some more money. You keep on working. You binge watch television shows in an effort to distract yourself from the failure you feel. You drink a lot of chardonnay. Ultimately you get back to work because you know if you don’t you’ll never succeed. THIS IS THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. And this also sounds absolutely insane. But apparently, this is how it goes when you’re an “entrepreneur.” Titles make us feel less crazy.

cilcilantro | coriandrum sativum

I don’t know if people think that I know what I’m doing. Or if people assume that if you have succeeded once= you’ve made it. This is not true. At least, not from my experience. Life is a series of successes and failures. Life is a never ending quest called “what the f#$@ am I doing?”

salvia3salvia caradonna | salvia nemorosa

Sometimes we ride the waves and they are big enough and beautiful enough to carry us through and make us feel like all of our hard work: (researching the best surf spot, buying the gear, investing in a roof rack, forgiving your parents for forcing you to take swim lessons, paddling out to that well researched surf spot, remembering to wear sunscreen) it all paid off. On those days you don’t need anything else in the world except to ride that wave. Other days all that hard work feels like a complete sham because: you’re getting pummeled by these waves, the undertow is stronger than it was forecast to be, you have sand in your bathing suit, you should have eaten that second banana, you should definitely not have eaten that second banana, you have sand in your bathing suit, is that a shark?

catnipcatnip | nepeta cataria

But here we are, out in the middle of the freaking ocean. We’ve come all this way. So we let the waves beat us up, and the sand chafe our softest skin. We try not to think about bananas or sharks because: YOU TOOK SWIM LESSONS GOD DAMMIT. And you bought yourself one hell of a surf board. So we’ll use it until we can barely stand up anymore. Until our lungs are filled with water and our ears are too. And we will sleep easier at night knowing we tried (and also because we’re exhausted). And we’ll go back out again tomorrow, because, at this point, what choice do we have? And also: we love it. Don’t ever forget that.

2 thoughts on “Is that a shark?

  1. Wow, I can totally relate to this, lol. My husband and I both have Etsy shops, he works full time and goes to school. We made the garden bigger this year. (Why did we make it bigger???…nothing has come up yet except the weeds. They are getting a head start.) One of our hens just hatched out 6 new chicks. The rest of our chickens are pulling the feathers out of their fellows or eating my garden. The rooster thinks it awesome to chase me at moments when I don’t have anything at hand to keep him at bay. We just tore all the ceilings out in the downstairs of our old farmhouse and redid the electrical. I am trying to move into my new studio upstairs and keep up with orders. There is drywall dust everywhere. At some point I will probably have a bout of hysterical laughter and then carry on. You pictures are always lovely 🙂 Jodi

    • It feels so good to just SAY how crazy everything is… keeps you laughing instead of crying! Thanks for the anecdotes Jodi. xo

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