Tag Archives: shame

Cats & lessons & moving & hiding.

This is Luna.

She’s one of the animals I look after sometimes. An ancient kitty, she loves to sit on my lap & be brushed, and is quite fond of taking over the pillow by the middle of the night.

This is Sophie. It was quite warm the week I stayed with her & her sister, Izzy. 

Warm & humid.

Before this stretch with Sophie & Izzy, I had the good fortune to be with Nemo for a while in July.

This was taken before the recent rains…

On very hot days, she’d hop into a ceramic dish for a nap.

Before this, I was at another house, with two kitties. (No photos that time…)

Basically I was not living in my apartment for the entire month of July.

But I was there a lot, packing. Everything. I just moved.

Thanks to my friends, who helped out in so many ways, to support this past move.

Schlepping boxes, sanding patches, dropping off stuff at resale stores, bringing blueberries & pop, bringing good cheer, texting, offering emotional support over the phone & in person… I really could feel the net of people… & their support.

These follows are older than me, but when together, are like 9 year olds. Another friend (I didn’t catch a photo of her) held the reigns & called the shots to keep things going.

They were a huge help on a very hot day driving boxes from my apartment of 2 & 1/2 years to the next landing place.

Packing selfie.

Basically if I was there on my own, I’d listen to music or a podcast & pack & pack & pack after work before heading back to whichever place I was housesitting at.

Thank the gods for all these friends & all these cats in my life.

Because the day I got there, the day I would officially “move in”, there was a distinct sinking feeling in my heart & my gut.

It was the very same feeling when I crossed the California state line back in 2002.

Something akin to: o no. What did I do?

A sort of “wrong” feeling. Like I had made a mistake.

I get this feeling when I’m driving somewhere & I know I’m lost, that I’m going the wrong way.

It’s the same feeling. 

Driving, though, I can just turn around, get off at an exit, go a different route.

Moving, and renting, & having signed a lease, a binding agreement, the stakes are higher, the consequence greater, especially since I sunk my savings into making it happen. (Rent is expensive in these parts…)

I’m haunted by my decision.

Reflecting on how I only saw what I was looking for, & overlooking the aspects of the place which were, um, funky.

I really thought it was a place I could settle into for a while.

But it turned out the landlord forgot to mention one piece of information which would have changed my decision to apply for this apartment.


She says she mentioned it. I said, um, no you didn’t.

“You could get a cat. That’s what the former tenant did.”

And yes, sure, I love cats. 

But I’m not in the position where I can be with (my own) cat at this point of my life.

Clearly a misunderstanding occurred, to the point where she offered to let me out of the lease.

Now, aside from not having the money to rent a different place (including a security deposit), to simply to FIND a place in this town that was both affordable AND in less than a month and with no back-up alternate place to go (not to mention all of my belongings) was, well, it just seemed impossible.

And, quite frankly, I didn’t have the energy or the will to even try. Just moving that last week of July following the entire month of packing every day & cleaning both places while working just wore me out.

I haven’t blogged about it, because I’ve been feeling pretty bad about myself & my decision, & my life at the moment.

Yes, it’s a privilege to move with all of my belongings. Yes, I am currently employed. Yes, I am rich in community.


It still feels bad. I feel bad. Ashamed. Stupid. And then it globs into all the choices I’ve made in my past from places of fear & I just send myself into a sort of spiral.

So I’ve been kind of hiding out in shame & embarrassment that extends beyond this one decision & situation.

Even though had I been given all the information I would have made a different choice.

Luna’s like: “stop being so hard on yourself”

The landlord isn’t going to do anything about the mice.

I’m in a year lease.

I’m buying a *%#^ton of steel wool to shove into any cracks & holes, and screwing welded wire over the really wide gaps.

And I’m telling myself that I’m living in a cabin. For a year.

(Thank you, Amy-la, for that.)

And at the recommendation of my wise sister, & then a friend, I’m going to look at what I appreciate about this place, AND what really doesn’t work for me, and apply that to my decision regarding any future places.


I appreciate that I can heat with wood. I enjoy stacking wood. 

The woodstove was one of the four things I saw and said ‘yes’ to.

Wood stove, separate structure (that is, no one above or below or attached to the side), quiet, & a place to garden.

All really great things.

But just focusing on those four things is like stepping into a relationship with someone just because they have a mouth & a hand to hold & a, well you get the idea.

I tend to overlook the whole picture.


Living and learning here.

On a brighter note, despite the severe drought we’ve been experiencing, the hickory trees are quite abundant in nuts this year.

Mockernut & Bitternut hickory droppings from a very tall canopy & signs of critter munching.

O the critters.

Wishing you all well on this night.

Wishing you gentleness & ease.

thinking about shame & life & blogging


i love this quote

Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love.  It will not lead you astray.

Jalaluddin Rumi wrote that.

(translated by Coleman Barks.)

it seems perfect that it arrived in my inbox this morning

as yesterday, reflecting on the last blog post had me thinking about my parents

and how it might have been for them when i told them in early 2006 about my choice to move back to New York to live and work on an organic farm.


not being a parent, i do try to put myself in their shoes as best i can.

at the time i had been working four years at a high-end spa practicing massage full-time.

i was making a “good living” for the first time in my life.

but something

which had began to sprout when i was 21 years old

would not wait any longer

and when i was 34 i realized that if i didn’t do something i would regret it for the rest of my life.

so i left my first well-paying job

to move into an unheated, uninsulated “shackette” of about 10 x 13 feet with my cat to live and work and learn and grow (no pun intended) on a small, horse-powered organic farm.

i can’t blame my parents for questioning this decision.

“you’re going to work on a farm without getting paid?!?

well, i’ll get vegetables and a place to live and i’ll get a part-time job i told them

(not yet mentioning the shackette…)

made it back to Ithaca just after the start of May

and after a few months, they could hear it in my voice – happiness.


so, reflecting yesterday about the last blog post

and the clear pull of farming, and returning to Ithaca

and how right now there is no clear pull

but something seems to be unfolding

(starting the blog felt like a clear pull)

even though it felt strange, the hermit-private-sort-of-critter in me was surprised by this pull

after the last wordy blog post

which felt like some sort of coming-out-of-the-closet


(this song running through my mind while at work)

i spoke about it with the Rabbits

how knowing people i know (including them) who were following my blog it felt strange to write… there was this sort of hesitation to write.

there’s a sort of safety in anonymity which wasn’t there


it required a certain bravery.

the two blogs i follow consistently are very honest about their lives.

honest and unapologetic.

it’s what i most respect about their blogs.




i could feel a familiar wanting to hide, to curl away from what i had shared.


or the feeling which came up as a result of what i had just shared…

(that would be a shy okra pod)

i found the internal reaction/reverberation from posting is dreamer a euphemism for procrastinator brought out a familiar wave of shame.


shame is like rust

it has a silent, yet persistent corrosive action.

going public about this life

even if it’s a pretty low-key, relatively boring life

has a coming out quality to it.

a rawness, a nakedness, an exposure.


lucky me the Rabbits often will comment without my solicitation regarding blog posts.

their enthusiasm and encouragement feeds whatever brave thing within that got me starting to blog in the first place.


so a bow of thanks and a red shiso bouquet to the folks i know and to the folks i don’t know who follow the salted banana.

another quote kept returning to mind yesterday at work (post blog thinking/obsessing)

the best revenge is to live well

i’m not sure how that quote came into mind…

was it hung up somewhere in the house growing up?

couldn’t remember

but was struck by the word ‘revenge’ and how it lives in relative state – that is, if i live well, it’s somehow revengeful to someone or something

which didn’t and doesn’t sit well with me

and yet it’s a sort of pervasive thing…  this living well thing and the shame i have felt for living my life the way i do.

it goes counter to the culture which is projected on magazines, & various media

that i’ve obviously (and unfortunately) absorbed into my psyche


my life, measured by certain standards would not be considered a life lived well, or successful.

but i like my life, for the most part…

and to me, i live a good life

even if i don’t have certain things to show for it

…marriage, kids, a home of my own, new car, sizable bank account, blahblahblah etc…

the feeling of shame or having-done-something-wrong feeling was pervasive, like an internal net of prickly woven shards of rusty metal

and the blog post turned up the awareness of this shame/net-suit.

tight & uncomfortable.

but today

that shard-y, rusty feeling has decreased.

not that it’s fully gone, necessarily

but perhaps loosened?


at the farm in 2010 & 2011 when i worked my very own 1/4 acre of land with the help of Sara & her horses

(and all matter of element and spirits which aided in this venture)

we’d write haiku

on a large piece of slate

that was in the barn nearby where vegetables were washed

we’d write haiku

sometimes for ourselves

sometimes to each other

sometimes creating them together

this was one she had written to me

(the only one i caught a photo of)

the rest were written down in a small book