I’m suddenly having an identity crisis about farming. And I know, this, too, is February fighting back, and under the clear light of *not a snow-storm, dark at 5pm*, but it’s what’s happening.
Coming out of a really productive conversation with Carmen and Anna about the way the farm works right now (esp. financially and logistically), and the way that it could in the future with other enterprises (aka Anna wants a dairy, and figuring out how to cash flow that) and it just felt like both the two of them know exactly what they want to do, and working towards doing that is hard but straightforward, and I just got a little lost in the “but what about me” feelings.
One option is to fully cooperate on the vegetable operation– to go in on it financially and figure all that shit out. But I kind of want my own thing– like each of them have their niches and that goes to form their farm identity. And what do I have? I say I want to do farm art, artist residency, be a farm writer, but what do I have to show for it? What am I doing to work towards my goals? Making this terrible secret farm journal? I have so many opportunities to write about farming, and I have such a crisis when I try to do it. Let me name them.
I could write a guest essay for the female farmer project. I could contact that woman from Comestible. I could write something for Rootstalk. I could make this blog public. I could just generate a bunch of shit and start submitting it to anyone and everyone. I’m not sure what is stopping me. And this too I think is related to my farm identity crisis.
Because I want to write about farming, and I want to be identified as a farmer. I want it to be who I am, but then if I try to write an essay about farming, which is my identity, I get caught up with it having to cover everything. It has to be everything, because it is me. If I can’t encompass everything it means to be a young farmer, I will fail, and if I try, I fail.
It doesn’t have to include everything. It can’t, actually, but that is part of what is stopping me. I don’t know how to get around this wall. I don’t know how to write my own farming story because I don’t feel like I have a right to, sometimes. I don’t own land. I don’t own a business. There is nothing on paper that says I am a farmer except for the form I filled out when I was reentering the U.S. from New Zealand and filled it out under occupation. And no one even read that.
So, you can understand that this would give me an identity crisis. I feel disconnected– today I asked Carmen to add a sentence about me and Anna to the website. I know that doesn’t really mean anything, but I wanted to be visible.
Do I need my own thing? Sometimes, when Carmen and I are fighting, I think that there is no way that this is going to be sustainable, and my mind jumps ten steps ahead. What do I do, in that case? Go farm Mom’s land? Try to be a writer? Get a dumbass nonprofit job? I’m struggling with adding too much value to the fact that I like to identify with my occupation. If it becomes part of who I am, then who am I? If I stop doing it, what have I done to myself?
These February thoughts don’t play. I feel like I could probably succeed at farm storytelling, but I also can’t fully figure out what that means. I need to detach myself as a person from what I am trying to do. It doesn’t have to define me. I get to define it.