I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I got where I am.
Or perhaps, more clearly, how I became who I am.
I desire to live in the now but sometimes it can be beautifully informative and introspective to step back and map out the sequence that lead to this moment.
My parents chose to home-school my sisters and I. Our days were very loosely structured, as were our lessons. My parents believed that kids should sleep as their body needs (no alarm!) and learn to read at will. We had textbooks and tutors and standardized tests (on which we always tested at least at grade level) but we also had freedom and creativity and self-led study. Math lessons sometimes took shape as a cooking project and one of my favorite reading assignments was in the form of a treasure hunt. Through homeschooling I have developed a non-traditional outlook on education, work, and ‘free time’.
I started dancing at 5 or 6, maybe younger but more or less forever ago. Modern dance classes provided me with a soft, reasonable style of discipline that fit my free-spirited nature. Through amazing teachers and classmates I gained respect for my body, confidence in my ability, courage to show vulnerability and strength, and a passion that I will carry with me for life.
I learned to crawl in the pumpkin patch, cut my teeth on mudpie, took my first strokes with the snapping turtles, saw reproduction in action in the tadpole puddles: I’m a farm girl. For lack of a less-cheesy way to say it, this upbringing bonded me with nature in an intimate and fundamental way.
That farm I just spoke of is called Sassafras Ridge Farm and was formed as an intentional community in the early 1970’s by my papa and a few friends. By the time I was born we no longer shared a communal house but the community was still deeply rooted. We’d share meals more than average, have work days, and host farm parties. The other girls on the farm were like sisters and the adults took on parenting roles to whoever was around.
Community is one of the most satisfying parts of life to me. Seeking a network of friends and family is the first thing I do in a new place. I think it’s the combination of support, camaraderie, familiarity that I crave.
I am grateful to have amazing, strong, talented, and inspiring sisters. These women serve as both a reflection of myself and a motivation to keep reaching for the stars. They’ve helped me form healthy friendships with other women based on support rather than competition.
There are a thousand other factors leading me to this moment, some not nearly as positive as the ones listed above, but for now we’ll leave it at this list.
What can you contribute to helping you arrive where you are today?
I didn’t realize you were one of three girls! Me too! I’m the middle–are you the oldest?
I’m in the middle too! I have a baby sister too but unfortunately I don’t have a good picture of the 4 of us.
Lindsey, being in the middle is definitely a huge contributing factor to my personality, funny how I’d overlooked that until you reminded me!
I don’t think I am a “typical” middle child personality, but being the middle daughter in my family has definitely been a huge factor in my personality!
I’m a new reader to your blog (recently stumbled across it) and really enjoying reading your posts and outlook on life. Thanks for sharing a bit about your history. You’ve had a quite unusual upbringing, but a loving one too. Thanks for sharing!
My family and life events have shaped me and continue to shape me into the person I am. I teach music in the public school system but I was homeschooled K-12. It has given he a unique perspective on education and how to teach that I hope will benefit my students as I try to help them grow. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you for sharing, Anna!
Nadine Fawell (@yogawithnadine)
That dance picture! Love!
I am a palimpsest too, of the things that have moulded me. I learned that fancy word a few years ago. Love it.
Most of my most formative experiences were, sadly, quite traumatic ones. Child sex abuse, violence, suicide.
I think the strength and forbearance I have now come from surviving those things, and from yoga, thank God for yoga.