Staying True To Yourself

Hello dearest friends and readers. I sat down last night to write a post but it took me long into the small hours of the morning, and in the end I went to bed close to tears. Not only because I was just tired, but because in spite of planning for an earlier bedtime, my tasks drag out for so much longer than they normally do. On top of that I am haunted by this impression I get nothing done, and all those photo and art/craft projects I planned have fallen completely to the sidelines.

huittistentie
The “big” road that goes toward Lappi town and Rauma.
the-farm-from-afar
Our farm as seen from where you turn off the big road and into the village.

the-road-home

vibrant-aspen-in-rohdainen

fields-and-forest-in-rohdainen

fields-in-rohdainen

road-close-to-home

I took these photos a couple of weeks ago and meant to post them to show you what our little village looks like. Since then, most of the leaves have fallen to the ground. Some trees hang on to them stubbornly, still, but those birches in the last photos are now completely bare.

flooded-field-in-sunlight

We have also had so much rain coming down that the creek next to the fields below the house has flooded. After clearing the meadow I showed you some photos from in a previous post, some of the hay and weed piles remained in the meadow. With all that rain, those piles ended up partially in water and it was so much work to go down there the other day to get it onto a trailer. I walked through water halfway up my boots to the river bank to move it closer to the tractor. Old Fergu (the 1960’s Massey Ferguson) would have gotten stuck if we had taken it into the flooded areas.

hay-on-a-trailer

Last week I took a few days break from Instagram to focus solely on painting our bedroom-to-be. I don’t know what is up with me this autumn — usually I am so full of energy and inspiration that I don’t even have to try. Instead I feel like I am moments away from losing my mind. So I put everything else on hold to be able to paint one room. As I write it, it looks so silly but the only way I get things done right now is to grab onto whatever motivation hits me as it comes. Not a moment later, or I lose it. So that is one of the main reasons I haven’t updated. I didn’t even take any photos of the progress because my singular mantra was paint paint paint. Get it done.

a-forest-road

Of course, now it has come to a stand-still again. I was missing some things to fix the wooden panelling around the closets, and then I waited to go into town. Even knowing I would lose my momentum. I can’t put into words how frustrated I am with myself right now, haha. If I don’t laugh at it the frustration would turn into annoyance and I would end up in tears — which can help. Do you ever find that after having cried, all that which was bundled up inside you disappeared with the tears?

a-forest-bird
This bird ran around in the forest next to one of our fields, burrowing down into sand and dirt, only to run along again and disappear. I have no idea what bird it is — do you?

So much is coloured by the strange grip melancholy has on me lately, but sometimes it is like that, isn’t it? In spite of our best efforts, in spite of maybe having had a really productive and energetic period, these lows arrive when nothing works. Not even photography. Either I haven’t felt like it, or I have forced myself outside only to come home and be overwhelmed by disappointment. More so than usual. Which I know is because of my mood.

rowan-berries

But I love taking photos after rain. All that dew covering the world outside wraps nature in a mystical mantle and I feel like I enter another realm. The sun may peek from behind steely clouds, but the light is mellow. Sombre. Captivating. In tune with my soul, which I sometimes think is toned in blue. As the days grow shorter I sense a change within me, but it also brings the challenge of keeping balance. A challenge in which I seem to have lost the upper hand. Instead of becoming immersed in a world of ideas and projects, I have this autumn slipped right through a rabbit hole to find myself all but apathetic. With only sporadic yet sudden and unpredictable onslaughts of motivation.

So despite my adoration for sombreness, I didn’t like any of the photos I took in the past week and almost deleted them completely. At least I managed to shake myself enough to say you will get past this, be spontaneous but not rash, be impulsive but responsibly.

birch-leaves-whirling

Chaos. That is what I have felt a touch of in the past week. Thoughts flit from one thing to another — a million and one things can go through my head in one day yet by the time I go to bed I remember none of it. Only that I had so many things to do and not even a fraction got done.

aspen-trunks
Aspen trees are my absolutely favourite trees. I just love them so much.
aspen-leaves-and-branches
And the rustling sound of these leaves in the wind is unlike any other.

So last night I battled with myself whether to write or not. Even though I want to share my journey in all its colours and shades, I can’t help but ask where to drawn the line. Is there a limit?

wind-blown-web-threads

During those days, when I hardly looked at my feed on Instagram, didn’t sit down to edit photos nor did anything with my photography or my artistry, I wondered about trying to find a job to earn money. The thought made me ill. I have never and doubt I ever could be motivated by money. Even if that money would allow me to get new camera equipment so I could stop stressing about my current camera not being capable of certain things, or the fact that the best lens I use right now isn’t even my own. Not even that trumps the lump in my stomach I got at the thought of going into a workplace to do my nine-to-five. I have done it and every single time I end up having a mental breakdown.

I mentioned these thoughts out loud the other day to someone, and I instantly felt that familiar outsider sensation. Like there is something wrong with me. Why can’t I be like others and just go to work? I managed to squash it quickly, but in that brief moment I wished my words back and felt so incredibly small. Insignificant. Inadequate. Just a failure. In spite of the person passing no judgment and offering only encouragement.

rowan-berries-in-water-puddle

The thing is, if I do not have the freedom to change my position or my surroundings when I know I need to, I feel trapped and can’t function. I am that sensitive and I can’t seem to do anything about it. I spent years and so much effort trying to fit into the traditional work place and I still suffer from how deeply it disrupted my own sense of self. When I have to fight to be myself on a near daily basis — to me that is a strong enough reminder how capable we humans are to change. Even change that is not in tune with who we are. And it breaks my heart when I think and wonder about how many of us force ourselves into careers and jobs to secure a pension for when we get old enough to retire. That we would have go through half a lifetime (and more) and many times not even then be able to do the things we really want.

I am fortunate, though. Truly blessed. I have a partner who doesn’t mind me not going to work — and we can live on his income. It worries me all the same. That I am not doing my part, even if I know he doesn’t think like that. In spite of having reminded me time and again that it really is all right, these thoughts and the accompanying sense of inadequacy wells up inside me when I think of how I contribute nothing toward paying the bills. I can’t put money into my daughter’s fund. On top of it all, I have a loan from my studies in Sweden which I am supposed to begin paying back next year.

When I came back home before Christmas last year, my entire being was convinced I would figure it out within a year. That I would by the end of 2017 be in a position to at least start paying off my loan. Yet here I am, with a little over two months left of the year, and the reality is close to suffocating. In spite of all this, I also know I won’t give up. Isn’t it strange? I still believe it will work out in the midst of my doubts and the odds seemingly stacked against me. That belief is the one thing that keeps me above the surface, the one light that I aim at the shadows when they begin to drag me below. I can’t explain it, nor do I understand it. But I will hold on to it all the same and continue. I have given up too much in my life to do so again. And it has been at these exact times, when all has felt impossible, that I have dropped everything and run away.

Not again. Never again.

If chaos is what I am right now, then so be it. I have my family, I live on a beautiful farm, I can walk out the door and be embraced by nature. I have you. And even if I am disappointed in my camera, I can still capture the journey with it in the best way I know how.

I will leave you with the last two verses of a poem I read a couple of years ago. The Guy in the Glass by Dale Wimbrow. I hope your week has gone well and I wish you a lovely weekend ahead. Much love. ❤

You may be like Jack Horner and “chisel” a plum,
And think you’re a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you’re only a bum
If you can’t look him straight in the eye.

You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years,
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be heartaches and tears
If you’ve cheated the guy in the glass.

 

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I'm Lotta. I live on a farm in southwestern Finland among oats, wheat, and swaying pines. With photography and words I show the journey toward building my life-long dream of telling inspirational and unforgettable stories through images. I am so glad you are here to share this experience. <3

9 thoughts on “Staying True To Yourself

  1. hi lotta, I was going to write something, but I could not find how to translate it into words, besides the language that I do not handle, but I read the commentary of “Ian”, and it is really as I see it, it is in synthesis the idea that I wanted to write, just add that always one or the other, including me, we go through moments of idleness or extreme apathy, and I perfectly understand that feeling of “family stranger”, not belong here, not fit, do not worry, we are several, ha ha … I also have that strange feeling of the “blue” color, since I was a child, mysteries like the magical light from the trees, things that are important to find in this way of life.

    seems incredible for the mentality of today, but I am not motivated by money, unfortunately it is the “God”, the official culture of our humanity, but silly I am not, I only use it as a means, for this game in which we we move, and also find “sinister and disappointing”, that we spend a lifetime in a job to finally save on the illusion of a retirement, and never, (in the majority), have done what we really want, life is too short, to lose it in that, I think.

    I sincerely hope that this inner process, through which you are passing, you can overcome it, remember that there is no evil that lasts 100 years, nor body that can endure it, everything happens, nothing is eternal, we are like the laws of octaves, to pass to the next we must give an effort, a semitone for an upper octave, and thus go forward. sometimes we are stuck, for that we have to “try” to understand, and give that “super effort”, to the next eighth or internal scale of our life.

    we are all cyclical, like nature, (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter), so are we, equally, also affect impressions, we have our schedules, and affect even solar radiation. search on the internet, about solar storms, I read something that last weekend, a scientists announced that we would be affected by these, and these radiations also affect the psyche of the human being. (to consider).

    equally, try not stay up late so much, go to sleep, if possible, early, because the lack of sleep is cumulative, it also affects our performance, and it affects our inner state. especially for those of us who are prone to get depressed.

    a strong hug from afar, fernando.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Fernando, as always your insightfulness makes me feel such gratefulness to be able to connect with you here. What you say about these moments of apathy and idleness is so true! I have read about these slower periods from other bloggers (especially one I very much find so inspirational), and I have even written about it before, from another perspective. What you wrote now about it, and the wonderful comparison to music and octaves, nature and its seasons, reminded me of that post! It makes such perfect sense that the periods of efficiency and productiveness, and the slow and sometimes painfully idle ones come in cycles. Spring is like that for me – when all the snow and ice is gone, the sun shines so warmly, yet nothing seems to happen. But beneath it all, crucial processes are at work, and need time to draw strength and gather themselves for nature to bloom once more. Usually I have been in tune with these cycles and had my most “down time” in spring, but just like the seasons can get mixed up and seem confused at times, so are we. I need to remember to trust in these processes and that they happen for a reason, and to let it be so. And I must thank you for taking the time to write this wonderfully inspirational and thoughtful comment. It brought me so much needed perspective.

      I also thought very much about my sleeping patterns and I am now going to put it as my first priority. It is, as you say, cumulative, and all these months of poor sleep have taken their toll. So now it will change!

      Many hugs and well-wishes to you, Fernando. ❤️

      Like

  2. Hi Lotta,
    Great blog as usual clever words and thoughts with great pictures. I’m so sorry to hear though, that it made you close to tears, I do hope that you feel it was worthwhile but I would prefer your happiness. A builder once said that every masterpiece he’d built had only been achieved with blood sweat and tears so now you now your blog is a masterpiece as well.(You can leave out the blood though) Your feeling of getting nothing done all depends on your perspective and how and where you look from, like looking through a telescope for example, if you turn it round and look at the same object your view is totally changed, for example from my view at this end of the telescope I see a busy wife and mother, deep thinker , clever, good photographer, inspirer, obviously appreciated by your partner while working on a farm and making a treasure of a blog that is fantastic to read , inspires me to achieve a life living in a similar place. And such good pictures, how I wish I could walk down that path and drive up that s bend in the road, just to read and see everyday life once in a while , what riches, well look how much you have achieved (I only know of one other blog that does the same) the focus has shifted from what hasn’t been done on to what has, along with acceptance.
    You wondered whether to bother to write or not , I’m glad you did, are you? now you look back?
    Perhaps you’ve answered you own thought with your poem, be true to yourself.
    Sorry my comment is a bit of a ramble, its really hard this putting thoughts in to words isn’t it !
    Best wishes to you and your family, hope you are having a great week too. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, Ian, reading this was like opening the window to let in a fresh, warming breeze to clear the stuffiness of being caught in my own mind. Your words are definitely not ramblings and ring so true to how easily I forget to switch perspective. I do accomplish so much but have the worst habit since years back to single out all that which gets left undone. And that will always be the case, won’t it? That is why it became such a big priority for me to try this “one step at a time”, but what a challenge it is at times! I am so grateful to you for taking the time to share your own perspectives and thoughts with me. It easened the burden I have taken upon myself lately. Thank you so much for that. ❤️

      And I am very happy I did write. It always goes like that once it is done, and just writing about these things give me perspective. It means the world to me to hear you feel the way you do about what I share here, and even if I do love blogging no matter what, to connect with you and others is what I, and many other bloggers, find is the true joy and love in blogging. It is that “meeting” with others that is so special and strengthening. 🙏

      And I will try to leave out the blood, haha! So far no major accidents on the farm for me. 😉

      From the bottom of my heart, once again, thank you so much for your encouragement and support. I hope you have had a good week so far, and I wish you well for the rest of it. Many hugs. 🤗

      Like

      1. Hi Lotta
        thank you soooo very much for your reply your are so very welcome 🙂 , I truly feel fantastic after reading your reply, I think I’ve read it a hundred times so far 😉
        I read blogs for inspiration and I never really think or believe that the communication can go both ways and somehow I’m always shocked if I get a reply, it makes the blog so real. I always think that people who blog must be like artists (or almost superhuman) and so busy, that I never expect you to have time to reply , I am so pleased that you were happy you did write, and how wonderful that you can make other people far away happy with your blog.
        Hope you and your family are well and having a great week
        P.S. can we expect to hear you play your cello ? How talented being a musician as well , the saying in English “Adding another string to your bow” must have been made for you. (Does this translate ?)

        Liked by 1 person

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