Saturday, November 9, 2013

Who Cares?

  I've been told by so many "wise" people, who are much older than me, that nobody in this world really cares about you. About me. About anyone but themselves. That things like Blogging and Facebook are superfluous and a waste of time because nobody really cares about what's going on in your life. They don't care about what you're doing, what good things have happened, what painful things you've experienced. "Why write?" People ask... Why write when no one in this world cares. No one wants to hear it.

  This breaks my heart.

  Speaking as an individual who is forever hesitant to say what I'm thinking or feeling (oh the joys of being an INFJ... *note sarcasm*), I learned early that writing was a good outlet for me to express myself. It's slower, it allows me to think about my words before sharing them publicly, as well as creating a barrier from a lot of inevitable pressure that comes with talking directly with a person. Mind you, I still enjoy talking face-to-face with folks, but there's a difference between "talking" to someone, and actually "opening up". Guys, it can take me twenty minutes or longer just to work up the nerve to say something to my own mom. That is how introverted I am.

  So when people tell me that no one cares about my musings, my personal FB updates, or my random thoughts that I write, this comes across as a heavy handed slap in the face. It's like being told that in every possible sense, I am unwanted.

  But you know something? I don't wholly believe the words of these "wise" people. I think there are still people in this world who care. Perhaps it's just the wild hope of a naive introvert, but I still cling to the thought that people care. Maybe not all, but some do. I get emails occasionally from people who say they enjoy this blog, or I meet people who say they read all this, or readers tell me about their 3 year old who draws pictures of my darling cow Mattie, or someone tells me how they read these stories aloud to their family during breakfast... Maybe it's just me, but all this sounds like there is still a percentage of this world's population who cares about more than just themselves.

  For the last few months I've been revamping this blog; making it more professional looking, tweaking this and that, bringing in more traffic, more readers. I was reading book after book, blog after blog on all these tips and tricks to bring in more readers. It's the coveted "readership status" that every blogger secretly harbors. I'll even bluntly state my secret desiring: My goal was/is a minimum of 30,000 readers each month. That's what I've been building for. It slowly became my everything and all for this blog. MORE READERS!! MUST HAVE MORE READERS!! I unwittingly unearthed a dragon in me.

  Then I found a completely different book that basically hit me over the head, sent me to my room, and told me to think about what I've done. It was just a small e-book. I paid $2.99 for it. It was called something like "The Small Army Strategy". The author wrote simply, but powerfully; asking which is better: a large readership (hmm, like 30k each month?) that doesn't care a lick if you suddenly disappear one day, or a small readership of people who sincerely care. This was a knock over the head because up until this point I had more or less believed the lie that "no one cares". Shucks, if no one in this world cares that I exist then I might as well shoot for the goal of a large audience, right? But reading through that small e-book reopened a small, hidden desire. I do want to know that people care... I don't say that in a selfish way, like "oh pay attention to meeeeeee, everyone!". But rather, it's more like wanting a community of like minded folks. It's knowing that here in this small corner of cyber space there are people who won't tear me down for my beliefs, mistakes, and desires, but instead can share their own beliefs, mistakes, and desires. It's a quiet longing for a tribe of my own that usually isn't heard over the static noise of others saying that it's a pipe dream. No one cares.

  Last night was a bad night. I was all alone at home, and I was lonely. Normally I love being alone, but being lonely is a whole 'nother thing. It was just me and the dogs in a large and silent house. Every noise had me jumping, and all I wanted was a voice. Just another voice of a human. I didn't find said voice; didn't know who to turn to. But it was during those few hours of crushing loneliness that this post was born in my mind. Do people really care??? My blogs stats show that this blog is averaging a little over 11,000 visitors each month. All I could think about was, "why are these readers here?" To be entertained? To learn? Is that all I am? Just a teacher and 3-ringed circus rolled into one person?  Does anybody even really care!?!?!? Normally I'm fine with being in the shadows; unnoticed, unheard, left to my own devices. But last night, for some reason I was craving an authentic voice. I just wanted to know that I'm not the unwanted shadow that I think I am.

 It was there and then that I decided I was done with making that 30k my goal for this blog. I don't want a large group of silent readers who will simply up and leave when this blog no longer interests them. I want my goal to be a group of folks who care. This may be a small group, seeing as some folks are under the impression that no one really wants to hear details. But you know what? FINE! Let it be a small group! I care about other people; I've been told I care too much about other people (again, problems of being an INFJ...). And I will write as though people care in return. Maybe we won't always agree (I love a good discussion, so varying opinions are welcomed), but hey, I'm willing to keep putting myself out here and writing authentically.

  Having said all this, I think it's time for introductions. I'd like to meet y'all if you don't mind.

  Hi. My name is Caitlyn. I'm 21 and I farm. :)

  Your turn.


Sarah G said...

From one introvert to another, I read every single one of your posts because I love being able to keep up with what's going on in your life. :hugs: I enjoy reading the crazy stuff because suddenly I realize that I'm not the only one chasing animals around, fending off predators, and wanting things to just work out for a change. I would take those few readers who actually care about what I'm reading rather than a slew of 'followers' who don't take a moment to say 'hi.' Anyways... My two cents.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm Randy. I'm a 36 y/o Paramedic and wanna-be farmer. I have a great wife and three wonderful kids. We live on an acreage in MN and would like to get more out of it. I read your posts because I enjoy your wit and enjoy learning anything I can about rural life.
Who's next?

MedievilMaiden said...

Me. Also a 20-something introvert that farms. (but am in the Highlands of Scotland)

Some people (like alot of introverts) feel and experience things deeply - very deeply at times - and sometimes almost need to conect to similar people on a similar level.

This world can be cruel and hard, but there is still kindness.

Hang in there. People do care.

alissasandersonphoto said...

Hi there! I'm Alissa, I've been a regular reader for months but have never commented. I should have...a few years ago I had a blog that I'd been maintaining for several years and I loved comments! They made my day! I had to let it go due to some personal issues but I still enjoy reading others' blogs. I have a husband and two sons aged 12 and 10 and in our rural backyard my kids raise chickens, rabbits, and quail...we also have 2 dogs and several cats and a parakeet :-) I work as a Histologist at a veterinary diagnostic laboratory in Kentucky and in my spare time I garden, read, and maintain a photography hobby. I'll link to my ill-maintained photoblog with my name :-)

Lindsey said...

I'm a 24 year old farm girl from PA. I also work part time at a day care. I care!

Illinois Lori said...

Hi Caitlyn! I think you know me :-)

I think every blogger experiences what you're feeling. I seldom get comments on my blog posts (thanks for the ones you've left!)...but I have made a few sweet bloggy-friendships through writing, and have met some interesting people through my blog reading. One of these days I'll tell you how I found your blog...I admire you, and the strength of your convictions. Keep writing, and don't worry about the numbers. I think you're very precious, and we need all of you farmers to share your stories!


Lexi said...

I'm Lexi, I'm a 31 year old homeschooling mom of 4 little girls. I'm currently only a wanna-be farmer, in a rented house in a neighborhood with an HOA. We recently made a move from Wisconsin to Texas for my husband's job. We've been here about six months. We are looking for some acreage out here. I can't wait to have a garden again and get some chickens! I read all of your posts. I care!

FeyWind said...

Hello, Caitlyn. My name is Melinda - though many people call me Spryte, which is a trail name I picked up the one time I got to go on an extended hike on the Appalachian Trail. I'm 30, and I'm a crafter. That may seem vague, but I think it kind of has to be. You see, here are some of the crafting activities I love: sewing, quilting, needle-work, spinning, leather-work, wood-work, gardening, herb-crafting, and wildcrafting. (That last one is one of my favorites - basically, learning about wild edible plants and how to utilize them for nourishment and/or medicine.) I'm also a music maker - I play several instruments, but my favorites are my fiddle and my pennywhistles. Although it seems like I do a LOT, I must sadly report that none of them bring me financial income, so I am a house-wife and mother right now. I would love to have enough acreage for a dairy goat, a pair of sheep, and a few rabbits... but due to work considerations, we currently live in a large city here in the Midwest.

I have been reading your blog for over a year, often returning daily in hopes that you have posted something new - and I'm always excited when you do. Thank you very much for sharing so much of your mind and heart in these words, it means a lot to some of us other introverts!

Erin W said...

Hi Cailtyn, I'm Erin, your customer-on-hiatus. I've read every post you've written since I found you and quite a few old ones too.

The people who say that no one cares must be lonely people indeed and I STRONGLY disagree with them. Maybe I'm naively optimistic but I would much rather sit with the knowledge that there are people who care and be wrong than believe no one cares and be right.

I would be sad and wonder what was going on for you if you just disappeared. I am excited for you as you get ready to go on this big adventure you have coming up. I'm nervous for you that it won't be everything you want it to be but I'm hopeful that it will be.

I've heard lots of people lament that in this world of technology people are losing the connection with others that we used to have. While we may be less connected with our physical neighbors the technology has allowed us to make connections with people from all around the world who we may have much more in common with.

Thank you for sharing your heart with us.

Little Homestead In Boise said...

I'm Nancy and an elementary librarian. I do urban homesteading as I'm able and glad to be a follower of yours. I've laughed and cried at your posts. Animals escaping, archery in the rain, lusting after tractors :) Hang in there. I have a small following on my blog, but it's great to hear from people around the world when I have the flu, or one of my chickens died, again. As Red Green said- we're pulling for you!

Briana Mustardseed said...

Your blog is one of the few that I read every word. Some that I subscribe to...I just scroll through to get the info, because they are usually trying to sell me things. My name is Briana and I am 40 years on and have been disabled since 2000. I have a very interesting story and looks like I will be coming off disability and starting to earn money again in the near future! :) I have started a blog, but it is still in the maintenance phase. I just got engaged, and my fiance is looking to buy a small farm in Eastern PA for us. Somehow I convinced him that rural living is better than what he is used to (he grew up in northeastern NJ. People like you have inspired me to take on the life of a farm "girl". :) And please know that I do care. I was going to comment on your last post, but I hesitated because so many people have told me, "no one will ever understand you, and if they somewhat do, they dont really care". Thank you for inspiring me and putting yourself "out here" for me to have a chance to get to know you. Love ya! Bree

tpescdoc said...

Hi Caitlyn and friends. My name is Patti. I'm 52, married to my husband 30 yrs., mother to 2 wonderful children 23 and 20, and 2 lovable, crazy dogs. I have only been without a dog 2 weeks out of my entire life and hope to keep it that way. My husband and I recently moved from the Boston area to TN. We love TN. Unfortunately, our daughter stayed in Boston and our son got a job in NYC. Like you, he is chasing a dream too, as a photographer. I've read your blog for a while and so enjoy your post. Hard to believe a young woman of 21 has accomplished so much. Your parents must be very proud. Anyway, I live precariously through blogs like yours bc I find homesteading so interesting. I had a big garden and chickens in MA, but am having to start over. Our new neighbors are awesome. Vince, my 87 yr. old neighbor, is my kindred spirit. Though he didn't grow up on a farm, he had one later in life and had a day job in the insurance industry. He still keeps a 80x80 garden and many blueberry bushes on 5 acres he owns. He's done it all, cattle, bees, grow mushrooms, which he and I will be starting this week. Keep your chin up. There will always be people who care and say a prayer for the ones who don't.

sailorssmallfarm said...

Hi Caitlyn:
I'm Dawn, I'm 50ish, happily married, with two teen daughters. We live on a small acreage on Vancouver Island, raise broilers every summer, keep laying hens to sell eggs, have a geriatric dog, a neurotic cat who happens to be a fabulous mouser, and we also raised pigs this past summer. My husband and I both work off farm; the farm is like a third job for both of us after work and kids. I have been following every post since you went to Polyface. You've changed a ton in that time, and it shows in your writing, your activities, your ambitions.

Beth Rankin said...

Hi Caitlin. I'm Beth and started getting involved with local foods about 2 years ago. Living on a small in-town lot in a city in West Virginia, I visited farms and wrote for the local rear-round indoor market to help consumers learn about the market and understand the benefits of buying local food. I found you when I started thinking about this area of Oregon and moved to a nearby town to you 2 months ago. I have been getting involved in the Yamhill Valley Grown group and want to help them market more. I now know people who know you personally and NO one has ever said, don;t read her blog she's an introvert! LOL. I enjoy your blog because we consumers have no idea the kind of work raising food entails and I really enjoy a glimpse of your life, even the bad days. I hope your adventure in Missouri is everything and more that you hope!

Prairie Kari said...

Caitlyn your blog was one of the first I subcribed to and love it! I enjoy this so much I even started at the beginning so I knew all the back story on all the critters etc. I have left about 3 mths unread so I always have something more to read - like remember when you said you were going to take a hiatus from blogging?! You are real life edutatainment, I learn from you and your life experiences good and bad, get exposure to things I would never hear about - like the courses, books, videos, music and unique instruments, and inspiriation from your blogs too. I live vicariously thru you too with many of your experiences and animals you have had on your farm! We do care about you - I can't tell you how many times I have rushed to my computer to see if you posted with some of the cliff hangers of your life - of life and death on the farm and the happy times too. Keep on blogging, we may be a small group and not always comment but we luv u - you are our e-family! Kari

The Elephant's Child said...

Hi. I’m Karen, I’m 27, currently living in North Carolina, and I wish I could farm. Oh the joys of living in a rental! But such is the season of life allotted for me.
Last winter, I was looking for blogs about beekeeping – my family ran an organic beekeeping business before we moved halfway across the continent – and came across your blog (yeah, I know beekeeping’s different from farming, but it kinda fits the whole self-sufficient thing). Within the first blog post, I was hooked. If I can’t farm myself, then the next best thing is reading about someone who can. I am so thankful you have this blog out for us to read, and I’ve learned a lot. I’ve shared the blog with my family – sometimes I read your exploits aloud to my sisters – and we’ve all enjoyed getting to know you through your writing. I may be once small voice among millions, but let me shout across the continent that your writing certainly does matter to me!
Your admission of introversion does not come as a surprise to me at all. It explains, at least to me, why you write so well. I come from a family of introverts (all of us, my parents, my sisters, and one lone brother, are introverted) and most of us write even if it’s just long emails (and essays, and poems, and actual unpublished books...). Personally, I love being an introvert, and had my own little private (very private!) party when I read that you’re one, too! I’ve been wanting badly to comment on your blog for months, but lacked the courage until I read this post (does it matter if I comment or not, will anything I say be worth anything, what if I sound like a complete idiot..etc). If that isn’t introversion, I don’t know what is. Oh the joys of being an INFI (yup, I’m one, too).
Keep up the good work, and remember that you have brought a smile to my face with every single blog post!

Penelope T. said...


I'm a 20-something year old gal from the Mid-Atlantic region of the US. I've been raising dairy goats for fun for the last eight years, and somewhere in those eight years, it hit me that I wanted to farm full time. I thought my farming dream was an impossibility until I read Salatins's You Can Farm. So this spring, I ordered some chicks, sent out some order forms, and set out to make my dream a reality. My family and I just finished our first year raising and selling pastured broilers and pastured eggs. We hope to add pork, rabbit and chevon next year.

I found your blog while Googling for info on Polyface's Internship over a year ago and have been hooked ever since. I love knowing I'm not the only girl out there chasing goats, building chicken tractors, and shoving garlic down a cow's throat. :) Thank you for sharing your journey. I care! A LOT!

By the way, my family knows you on a first name basis because I'm always saying, "Hey, guess what Caitlyn is up to!" :)

Anonymous said...

Hi. My daughter Karen (from Elephant's Child) has already posted but I wanted to send a note of encouragement to you as well. I am 54, have been married to my husband for 32 years, and we have 7 children (27, 25, 18, 16,14,11,9) Two years ago we moved to our first homestead with five acres when Providence had other plans for us last year and moved us 1200 miles from TX to NC. We are now in a suburban rental and not loving it, hopeful that maybe we will again have a homestead. We love to read about all the things that you do, your attitude, and how you handle things that don't go quite right yet you tackle them anyway. We don't know how to do many of the things that you do as we have only had large gardens and organic bee hives... so along with reading and researching, we are following your blog to help us with the future when we might have livestock.

Your blog is entirely enjoyable. We have laughed and cried with you over the past year.

I have to admit I am not a farmer at heart, but I love dogs. This is the first time in decades that we have not had a dog, and somehow beautiful Gyp is a consolation to us. Every photo you post of him is viewed multiple times by all of us.

We are glad you did not lose him as your recent post exclaimed. And he probably wondered what all the fuss was about after all. Our girls are researching the English shepherd. We have never seen one in real life.

Keep up the good work. My daughter Karen LOVES your blog. She is also an INFJ. Your blog is one of the bright spots for her as she bears the burden of living in the suburbs this year and most likely next. I am an ISFJ so I guard and take care of my little world.

I learned long ago that the best things in life are usually focused, devoted, and of quality. I imagine your readership is not one of great quantity but of quality. Concentrated quality can change our local economies and communities. Keep up the good work!

Carry on!