Open and honest

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Loyal readers who have been following my blog over the years may have noticed that recently my posts have become more open and honest. Always before I tried to keep to the lighter side of things; I’ve struggled with how much of my personal story to share online for the whole wide world to read. But now…I find myself caught up in a period of transition and personal growth, and being open and honest has become crucially important to me.

honestyI don’t tell these stories here to gain recognition, to gloat, to whine and complain or to beg for help and assistance. I write because there’s something inside me that compels me to do so, and I write about what I’m passionate about. That’s it. That’s the whole reason this blog exists: because I’m a bit OCD and I have a very real need to express myself through writing.

It’s really how I best communicate; as sad as that is to say. I admit that I have difficulty just talking to people. Its probably my greatest flaw. I’m sure it stems from my traumatic childhood…like so many other people I struggle with anxiety and depression. I’m emotional and sensitive and sometimes have a hard time coping with social interactions.

But I learned years ago to let go my grisly past and to focus on the here and now. I learned how to cope with my depression and anxieties by getting outdoors and being active, listening to music, watching funny shows or movies, and even practicing yoga. I cut back on the amount of caffeine I was drinking, and learned to respect my emotions for what they are.

Once upon a time I wouldn’t have just typed those words here for the world to read. Depression and anxiety are difficult to talk about. But like so many others I was personally affected by the sudden passing of Robin Williams, the comedian and actor. And maybe it seems strange to base exposing myself online because of the death of a movie star, but sometimes you just connect with someone. Steve Irwin’s passing also affected me personally because I identified with Steve’s passion, his zeal and love for animals and wildlife, and his dedication to teaching people to share his love for wildlife. And I loved Robin Williams because he made me laugh, and laughter sometimes was the only way to get through the day. I imagine he felt the same way, and it fills me with sadness that he lost the battle with his demons.

I’ve been going through this phase of personal growth this year and the lessons seem to have intensified in the last few months. It’s been  struggle, I admit; it’s been painful, stressful, humbling, and exhilarating all at the same time. It seems to me that the Universe put these challenges in front of me to teach me a lesson, to prepare me for something more. Leastwise, I hope it’s not for nothing!

And so as part of my personal growth I am making some changes in my life, and one of those changes happens to be  “Transparency on the blog”.  I see the mission of this blog as 2-fold:

  1.  An effort to share the true story of one beginning farmer. Yours truly.
  2.  To share what I have learned in hopes of educating and helping others.

I intend to dedicate more time in 2016 to the blog and writing in general. Starting now, I’ll be sharing more of my stories and adventures with you here; all of it─the good, the bad and the ugly. All of the beauty and joy of farming, along with all of the struggle, stress, dirt, muck, trials and tribulations that comes with it. No more holding back. I also intend to write more beekeeping articles and put together some resources for beginning farmers that might prove useful.

Moving forward I want to be open and honest in all aspects of my life, but especially with myself. This is ME; this is who I am. I’m not perfect. I struggle with anxiety and depression, I’m obsessive and compulsive-especially when it comes to my farm; I’m an intense person─a workaholic─I’m passionate and driven, emotional and sensitive; I feel things more intensely than most. I follow my heart and take risks in hopes of accomplishing my goals. I’m quirky, kind and giving, sometimes too much so and it has caused me pain and grief in the past.

But I’m done dulling myself down for the world; I’m done hiding the best parts of me for fear of how I will be received. Personally I like who I am. It is my intensity, my love and passion, empathy and sensitivity that propel me to overcome my anxieties, self-doubts and fears so that I can serve my community and serve the farm and the land that I am responsible for. Take me or leave me, this is who I am.

About Samantha Burns

Sam(antha) Burns is a farmer and beekeeper at the Runamuk Acres Conservation Farm in Maine. She has spent more than 20 years gardening and writing, has kept bees for more than a decade, and worked 4 years in the Call Center at Johnny’s Selected Seeds. Sam uses methods of regenerative agriculture and bee-friendly farming on her 53-acre farm, and is a passionate advocate for wildlife conservation─especially pollinators. In her spare time she enjoys writing, and tormenting her 2 teenaged sons with her banjo-playing!

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