The Tenderlands – A More Complete Version of Things

Some of the literal tenderlands near our place. (A Brodie Sollid Aerial Photo).

One of the things I do that does not help me at all is compare my life to others, that is, to what I glimpse of others lives.  Right now I am most guilty of comparing how I seem to be managing compared to others, I assess my housekeeping, my yard and what I have or don’t have.  Day by day it varies but right now these are the general categories I have in my brain.  In earlier days the topics were different, basically depending on what I was struggling with.    There are things I do well and I know it and maybe people compare themselves to me at times, clueing in to aspects of my life that I have shared here or elsewhere.  There is a risk with all this.  That is that we are comparing ourselves to others based on minimal knowledge of the whole situation.   We judge ourselves, and its costly judgment, based on information that isn’t complete. 

I think we humans only tell a partial story in the public setting because we have to guard our privacy and keep ourselves feeling safe.   Sometimes to feel good and safe we exaggerate what is going right.  That all makes sense at some level, however, it has a price when we judge ourselves based on a comparison with what is only a partial picture that others offer. 

I was thinking about this just now.  I am having a tough day.  I thought that I should avoid writing until I feel a bit better. I should not let you see this side of me. Or….., I could say something, and shed a bit of light on the wider picture of me and the Bar MW Ranch. 

I am sad today and its making me feel fragile and guarded.  I am currently sitting in the library in town, our Hyundai is getting an oil change.  When I planned the appointment I figured I would use the time waiting on the vehicle to go over to Grandma Shirley’s for a cup of tea and a visit.  But I am too brittle. I feel like I have nothing to give, or maybe its more a matter of I feel like I only have a ¼ cup of oxygen within me and that means none to spare.  Brittle is the best word maybe.   The sadness is perhaps harder to cope with because I am physically tired.  I simply loved our weekend, we had company that resulted in me feeling more whole, we had a cow chase day that held tons of stress but ultimately great satisfaction, sleep was cut short.  Its pretty normal human territory over here where I am. 

The sadness is about grief.  Two years ago today we were driving Gina to the airport in Regina, at the end of her trip home for my Mom’s funeral.  As we traveled I got word that my friend’s daughter had died unexpectedly.   Thinking about all that this morning I was raw, perhaps triggered, that whole autumn season of 2020 held many difficult things.   

Russ and I had an interaction yesterday that I don’t want to have bother me but I can’t deny that it is.  I know from experience that if I ignore it it will fester and breed crappy stuff in me, so at some level I am processing when and how to have a talk. 

Russ is helping the neighbors, within the hour I need to meet him, we will head to the bank for an appointment.  We were fortunate to get the chance to buy some land, we need to get the financing in place.  Its not a good day for that kind of appointment, that is the scary stuff in my world, and I only have that 1/4 cup of oxygen in me. 

So that is how everything is going.  No obvious positive blog post to make, instead, struggle, but I see you, you see me, you can see this.

Before I sign off, lets break down a situation.  I post pictures that reveal feeding hot food on the side of the road to 30+ people, it might seem impressive. Days and times like that are not the whole picture.  If you are going to compare yourself you need to know that my job is at the ranch.  I am not juggling off ranch employment.  I used to but I gave it up during Covid and Mom’s cancer.  I haven’t returned because I can’t consider juggling that.  My only job on chase days is to prepare food.  I have help.  I don’t have little kids at my feet.  I have years of experience with chase meals under my belt.  I have lots of equipment, crockpots, tables, benches, even a food delivery van at my disposal.  I have a house designed around creating and serving big meals.  I like cooking.  I really like lists and organizing, they make me feel good.  I can spend as much as is necessary to get the crew fed.   I am an introverted people person.  The way I am wired it gives me joy to see the faces come through the food line and it warms my heart to hear the thankyous, but I only engage this big group for brief parts of the day, it works for me, it’s a self-fuelling scene in many ways. 

In contrast I am not so well wired for the scary work I find at my desk or the challenge to tame our yard.  I definitely fall short there and in many other life situations.  That’s the bigger story.

My concluding thought is brief………I think we need to tame the comparing and be gentle on ourselves. 

A few pictures, taken by Liz Griffin over the years, to match a few of my points.

This is a picture of the final steps to get breakfast rolls to the truck before departure.   I can do that with a mega box of chips on the counter beside me, breakfast and lunch prep side by side.  I have the space I need to pull off what this schedule requires.
See that brace on Russell’s knee? He had a random and quite devastating injury in October of 2020.  Part of the pile up of crap that haunts me some days.
A picture taken the day after returning from Mom’s funeral, we had a chase to do, but I had been in many iffy places, hence the mask as I prepped food in my own house.  Liz caught me double checking our packing list for lunch.  Lists and I get along well.
I get to see a string of faces from my post where I serve lunch, then I return to my quiet kitchen.