And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. ~ Kahlil Gibran

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Being a Hermit

I always wanted to be a hermit. Some of my favorite folks from literature and TV lived in the wild, far from the craziness of society. I had this image in my head of being a "grown up", all scrawny and leathery from too much sun, wearing overalls and a flannel shirt as I foraged through the forest for mushrooms and wild berries. I imagined myself having a one room cabin in the woods, with a small garden and a smokehouse in back. I thought about how wonderful it would be to make my own pemmican and jerky, to wander the wild areas left in the world barefoot and wild. I would spend hours imagining lazy days spent fishing (cuz smoked fish is DA BOMB!), and learning the ways of the creatures that lived closest to me.

*sigh* I guess I never really grew out of that dream.

Funny thing, the depression and anxiety have made me a different type of hermit. Sometimes I get caught up in wondering which came first. Was I a child with a romantic dream that was turned into a nightmare by a chemical imbalance? Or was I always terribly fearful of people, and that was the child's way of making it okay?

I suppose it doesn't matter. I value practicality, and wondering about such things is hardly practical. I am what I am, and though understanding how I got this way is important to understanding myself, what I do with who and what I am is more important to my future.

Without my meds, I am most content alone here in my little bubble I have created at Barefoot Manor. I fuss in the gardens, watching carefully for the first leaves to open to the spring sun or carefully pulling mulch back and looking for the first spikes of green from my perennials. I fight with the Sprouts, trying to get Big Sprout to do her chores and dealing with Little Sprout's temper tantrums. I go to work, but the idle chatter that the girls indulge in seems so trivial. So I retreat.

Sometimes I think about going back on my meds. I think about how much easier life is when I am medicated. But then I think that life shouldn't be easy. We value things that are hard-won, and every small pleasure is a victory when you are fighting the demons of fear and sadness.

So I think I will continue on the way I am for a while. I have so many things to be grateful for. I have the dreams of my just-begun garden. I have a freezer full of good, local meat. I have a family that is healthy and wonderful and loving. What more do I need? Being a bit of a hermit may be unusual, but it is far from bad.


Wendy said...

I've heard lots of names for people who prefer to stay home, and I would accept most of them ... even anti-social, because I am a homebody, and maybe a bit of a hermit, and there are times when I want nothing less than to have to go out of my house and spend time around other people. My home is my sanctuary, and it's where I live my life, and if I didn't want to be here, then .... Well, shouldn't we all feel a little like wanting to hole up in our houses and get away from the rest of the world?

I admire you for learning to live wihtout your medication. I can only imagine how hard it is for you. It's good that you have your quiet little retreat, and while I'm sure you don't, you should never allow yourself to feel guilty about wanting to be alone, at home ;).

barefoot gardener said...


Finding Pam said...

Keep your chin up...
Live in the moment and not the past or future.

Big Hugs!

Anonymous said...

So, I'm sitting here thinking of who and why I am once again. Constantly wondering how I became this person who seems so different than the majority. I started to remember back to a time when I was a kid sitting in the back seat of a car while those around me were chatting away. My mind wondered up into the mountains above. I dreamed of someday living up there away from it all in a small cabin as you described with wild flowers surrounding me and deer and birds passing by to smile at me. I dreamed of having very little as far as material stuff, but treasured a type writer. My escape into the world of imagination through my words.

As I sit here thinking of how I became this isolated person while all else need to be out and around others, I wonder if it was because of some of the books I read as a kid. Did you ever read the book Heidi? The girl who left the city and moved in with her grandpa who lived alone up in the mountains. She left the city very sickly, but the mountain life gave her strength. I also read Harriot the Spy. Harriot would watch all those around her and scribble in a notebook about their characters. And Pippie Longstocking. The girl who lived without parents. The book, There Are Two Kinds of Terrible. The boy who broke his arm and lost his mom to cancer at the same time, which sort of isolated him in many ways.


Then the depression. As a kid, I'd go off on my own and eat while all else were in the cafeteria. I'd lie that I was going home for lunch, but actually just wondered off the school ground to sit by myself. weird, no?

drugs. It took me a long time to get some help and try the anti-depressants. It's been a year or so. I stopped crying, but still live in my little box. You mentioned you have a family. How can you truly be alone if you have a family, and how do you get to that point when you are majorly depressed? I always wonder about people like you who make these claims of being alone and depressed, but at the same time have a family. Not sure if you get my point, but most people who have serious problems with depression aren't the type that most could really live with for too long. Or how do you even meet someone when you don't go out, or know how to really share your time and life with others?

............these are just questions because as I was sitting here thinking I Googled, "dream of being a hermit," and your blog came up, and as I read it, I couldn't believe the similarities, especially since I was just sitting wondering the same things that you wrote....until I reached the end and it was completely opposite than the beginning.

.................ok. back to my box.