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It has been more than two weeks since I made an update here. I’m short on words, believe it or not. (Yes, that does happen, once in a while.) But also I miss my processing place. I nearly cried last night because although I was completely exhausted and needed nothing more than sleep, I thought if I were to go through even one more sleep/wake cycle without writing a blog and therefore cleaning out some of the chaos between my ears, I would get past the point of being able to feel rested. That’s what I was saying to myself, anyway, when I fell asleep over my keyboard.

 

Five days ago I gave my TEDx talk. Everybody wants to know how it went. Well…me, too, folks. I also would like to know how it went. But please don’t tell me because I won’t believe you. This is what we might call an emotional hangover.

 

A lot of people told me that speaking for TEDx would be fun. Or, what an amazing opportunity. Or wow, that must feel great. I love these people. I think these people, in general, are geniuses. But also that was not exactly true. I think what I needed to hear was something like, “You will get through it. And then you can go to bed right afterwards.” That’s the kind of wisdom that I need painted all over the walls, and maybe on the back of my hands, too, whenever I work on vulnerable, soul-baring, challenging, creative things.

 

So…I did get through it. And then, instead of a nap I put in a new garden, met three YouTube people that I love and respect but had never actually met before, drove across the state and back, gave two interviews and got a baby goat. I figured, if the seas are going to be rocking anyway, I might as well be rocking the To-Do list.

 

I couldn’t put the little baby goat in with our grown up goats right away because they all don’t know each other yet and the big ones wouldn’t let the little one into the barn. So I put her in with the young chickens instead. When I came in in the morning to give her a bottle she was curled up in a nest box, so fast asleep that I had to touch her to wake her up.

 

The girls carted her all over the place today. She comes when she’s called. Not by her name, exactly, which is Hazelnut, but by your tone of voice. She has the tiniest little bleat. And I got to watch my girls leading her all over the property today…back and forth all over my off-grid property that’s been ours for three years now, and is looking more and more like a real homestead every day.

 

I’m still not quite relaxed, really, or even really stabilized, but the chaos is filled with really wonderful things.

 

Here’s the challenge with things like this TEDx talk — and I think there are other things like this, like releasing a book or sharing some other fierce bit of yourself with the world — it’s that you feel like a big thing ought to be happening, and you think this ought to FEEL like something. But the challenge is that it was a big thing that you were giving, not a big thing you were receiving. It was a big thing leaving you. So even if it is well put together and it makes people think and you come across as passionate and genuine (if a bit intimidating), still you can feel right afterwards as if someone took a vacuum to your insides.

 

And some of us have a personality — off the charts introverts for example — that makes this feeling more pronounced.

 

When I came off the stage after my TEDx talk I just wanted to cry. That’s the truth. I wanted to cry. Then I wanted to skip the party but Nick convinced me not to but then I still kind of wished I had and then I couldn’t sleep and I had to fight a headache and now it’s five days later and I’m taking pictures of a baby goat.

 

My birthday is in a couple of weeks. I’m turning 37. And of all the things I’m grateful for, I’m most grateful for this: that I’m so much better at letting myself have things that make me happy. I’m so much better at taking naps, taking time, taking wrong turns. And I’m also so much better at having a home and world that captures and keeps the things that heal me. Not just the oatstraw infusion, but the woods themselves, and the gardens and the relative peace and quiet. Not just the baby goat, but my sweet family and friends — both the people who said it would be fun and the people who didn’t — and the people who are cheering for me and the people who don’t mind if I have feelings either way because it isn’t really my feelings that matter. It’s the message.

 

I did a big thing this week. And the truth is, I’m really, super, tear-inducingly proud of myself. But also I’m proud of all the other people — especially off-grid YouTube people and homesteading people — who have shown me how much integrity and dignity there is in this life, how much integrity and dignity there is in ACTUALLY DOING WHAT YOU BELIEVE IS RIGHT. I’m proud of all the people who are living the lifestyle that is the substance of my message, and I’m especially proud of the people who take small steps and do a little at a time because for real people it isn’t easy and you don’t just change everything in a day.

 

It’s that kind of integrity and that kind of dignity that gave me a platform last Saturday. And it’s that kind of community and mutual care that made it so I wasn’t ashamed or scared to stand on a stage and say that, “Yes, I live off-grid. On purpose.” And it’s a beautiful life.

 

Blog friends, I love you all more than anything. I wish you each the opportunity to stand for something you believe in. And then a nap afterwards. Or better yet, a baby goat.

 

Love, from the yurt,

Esther

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