Friday, March 4, 2011

It started with a song...

“To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not, rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common. this is my symphony."

~w.e. channing

It all started with a song.

Then I saw the above picture.
Then I started catching up on this blog.
Then I read this article.

I have decided I need a makeover.
On so many levels.
I realized that I have never quite felt comfortable in my own skin.  I remember feeling like a boob while my friend and I had clients not show up when we were in dental hygiene school (yeah).  We were sent out into the halls in our over sized lab coats, ugly white shoes and unflattering scrubs to troll for people wanting their teeth cleaned.  We both wanted to die as we entered a foyer filled with students.  My friend stopped to chat with a girl he knew and she ended up giving us a piece of advice that I have carried with me ever since.  A most unexpected sage.  She told us in a rather valley girl voice that we needed to 'pop our collars and own it'.  Not what you expected right?  Not exactly poetry, but I have found myself saying this under my breath whenever I feel uncomfortable in my own skin or a little inadequate. Something about it makes me shake off the demons and stand tall.

When you aren't comfortable in your own skin, you give a lot of power up even when no one asks for you to do so.  You over-compensate and apologize too much.  You're afraid to reach out for fear that you may not live up to every one's expectations.  You feel unoriginal and unworthy.  You need constant external validation.

I want things that a lot of people don't want and place value where others may not.  I am only thirty, but am channeling my "inner gramma" with each passing day.  Oh to sit beneath a tree with my loves listening to crickets sing.  I have always been an animal person.  I would sit for hours in the hay loft with the latest litter of kittens or puppies.  I dream of waking up knowing the outdoor animals are calling us out despite the wind or heat.  To spend the day in the hot sun weeding and tending and to become once again entwined with the natural rhythms of the earth and her creatures.  I come from a long line of farmers and though I don't have plans to be a full tilt farmer, my heart aches to have a house, some land, and some animals to tend to with my husband and children.  I have such a strong desire to keep the traditional arts of spinning and sewing and being self-sustained.  To rest tired bones after an honest day's work with dirt stained hands and sun kissed shoulders.

I think this makeover will include some skirts and vintage dresses
 and wearing pretty aprons for the sheer frivolity of it
and growing my hair long for the wind to braid and weave

Yeah, but I'm working on popping my collar and owning it.

I am working on being unapologetically me.
And everyone who thinks we are crazy for wanting what we want can come drink tea under the stars with us and watch the chickens and rabbits dance in the lush green grass.

go gently + be wonderful



  1. Sounds good to me. I've always said I'm a premature 60 at 30. There is nothing I would rather do right now, than to go home, and sit with a good book under a homemade quilt with some tea made from lemon balm leaves from my garden, and hey, since I'm dreaming, I would sit outside, in the springtime, under a tree. And we could talk about the stars together. :)

  2. amen sister.
    i have that channing quote next to my computer reminding me daily.
    i like the idea of popping your collar and owning it.

  3. We could be twins, you know... we should spend more time together...

  4. Erin, I love love love love love love you and want to be your friend and wish I had kids already so I could bring them to the amazing home you'll have and we could all play outside all day with our wild long hair and skirts and barefeet. I could listen to crickets for hours. Grow some new freckles. Make sun-tea. Can I book you for a playdate in 5-7 years please?

    Pop your collar and own it!!!! I am just so inspired right now. Thank you so much.

  5. Again I read one of your posts and think 'Amen!' you are amazing and I thank you for sharing that amazing-ness with us. I too have been ready for a transformation... as soon as I'm done being pregnant anyway, lol. There's only so much I have energy for on that front, and finding clothes that fit... well... Anyway, I'm sure I'll be back to reference this post when I get there, and in the meantime I'm rooting for you!

  6. Over the summer a few friends of mine went to the Peterborough Folk Festival. They bought a bunch of your stuff and when they came back I was like 'hey you bought that stuff from my friend Erin'
    we have never met and yet I was acting as though we have been friends for years.
    It was weird, but clearly I feel connected just by reading and identifying with you.

  7. this is why I'm so glad to have found the love of blogs (better late than never!) Posts like this make feel a little less alone :)

    hope your country dreams all come true

  8. this is just right on...i feel the exact same way!!
    i think we all need a makeover once in a while, even if it's only an internal one. but i LOOOOOVE what you said about giving up power...WOW. totally quote-worthy. <3

  9. Oh- how refreshing to hear... So, I am not the only one feeling out of sorts, swimming and spinning in my own skin. I too search for outside reinforcement and recognition far too often- that I'm a good Mom, a good person, that my skills and talents are worthy... Oh goodness. It is time that we be our own cheer leaders- Here is to us- Moms/Women at home who rock the house down with love abound. Here is to us- and making small moments to restore our own soul... Thank-you.

  10. Your posts are just amazing. I love your style, your honesty, your facing up to those things that you're not comfortable with. Beautiful! That article shook me up...since I started my blog a year ago, and "met" so many kindred souls, I've fantasized about hosting a bloggers' weekend invitation, whoever is willing to come (wear rubber boots: our chickens roam free!), potluck...a gathering of beautiful blogging women, gaggles of kids running around, the best food in the world, and so much handwork happening while stories are spread around...oh, what a gathering that would be! Love that "pop your collar" quote...will use that with my kids as they grow into the self-conscious stages of adolescence (years to go till then...) Thank you.

  11. I've just found your blog this morning, but I have to chime in an amen, sister - quite belatedly - to this post. And also to your spring anthem. I've had it running through my head for a few days now. I'm loving what I'm reading here. xoxo

  12. This has to be, quite honestly, one of the most beautiful things I've ever read. I will join you on the star-filled tea party, where the entertainment is in watching the animals dance.
    That sounds like heaven to me.
    I need to pop my collar & own it, too. (hopefully with some pretty frocks & spring in my step)

  13. What a beautiful post!

    It's easy to lose sight of yourself sometimes, but I'm glad you are on a journey to "pop your collar & own it". Love that sentiment!


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