I’m going to share a very raw, very personal story about me, our homestead, and shame. Why? Because I think a lot of us deal with this kind of shame and it’s the kind of insidious emotion that eats away at our self-talk and our self-esteem. I hope by sharing my story, you can see you’re not alone.

Eleven years, five months ago we moved onto this property and it was covered in trash. Either Google was getting enshittified back then or there weren’t any dumpster companies, and honestly, I didn’t know what to do with the pieces too big to throw in the trash (and our trash collectors were awful picky). So we found a bare area and started piling the stuff until I could get/find/rent a dumpster.

Then life happened. A lot of life, a lot of sorrow, a lot of burnout. And there the pile sat. And sat. Thankfully we had few visitors, but anyone who came saw it.

I was ashamed. I lacked time, energy, strength, and money, to clean it up. I didn’t know where or how. Then, probably eighteen months or so ago, I started seeing Facebook ads from a local dumpster company. Great! So every so often as I’d park the car (that space is next to our parking) or drive past the pile on the mower I’d think, I need to clean that up so we can rent a dumpster and put everything in it. Time passed. Seasons changed.

What really changed was I found not just a second company that rents dumpsters, but one that is really nice, came out and talked to me, and we’re making plans to have an old trailer removed from the property.

Image of a very old and falling down mobile home
This is the old mobile home that’s going to be removed from our property.

It was like as long as this trailer was here, and I was reminded daily of my failure to renovate the mobile home to make a house for my (now deceased) mother. I’d be reminded of the people who promised to never abandon us and this project and to see it through. (Funny thing, they still have this picture on their church website as one of their “community projects” conveniently not dated and no one knows this is how their “help” ended. (Yes, we believed the seller of the property when we were told this could be renovated. I was ten years younger and full of optimism back then.)

But now that there’s a chance, a really good chance, of this mobile home being cleared off the property it was like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. No longer would I have daily reminders of my failure. No longer would I be reminded of my abusers’ broken promises. And maybe, just maybe, other projects could be completed too.

Which is why, two weeks ago, armed with long, leather gardening gloves that I absolutely LOVE, my trusty rake and loppers, I started whittling away at the edges of the weeds, thorny bushes, and junk. Each small square uncovered, each item added to the pile eased my shame. And now, today (May 19, 2024) I finished as much as I can with the tools I have and that is the picture I share with you.

I’m not done yet. Like I said, my goal is to pick up a scoop shovel when I go into town on Tuesday and then finish raking and bagging what’s remaining, which is stuff that is either so brittle (plastic) that I can’t rake it in big pieces or too small and needs to be picked up individually and my back won’t let me bend over piece by piece. But working twenty or thirty minutes at a time, slowly but surely this procrastinated project was finished.

I share this to let you know that you’re not alone in having projects that you’ve wanted to do “someday”, and you’re not alone in feeling shame about them, about the way things look around you, about yourself. This is a subject I want to dive into more fully because honestly, I feel like there are too many people out there telling us how to “fix” our neurodivergent lives and not enough holding space and allowing us to find compassion for ourselves. I’ll update this blog (or maybe write a new one) when the project is completely finished, but about this little plot of land, I can say I’m not ashamed anymore. And that’s a start.