I´m going to tell you a story.
Ben Hewitt decided to close his blog today. As always his writings inflict serious contemplation on my side of the pond, this post in particularly was hard to read not at least because it occurred to me how much the human experience comes in WAVES.
The intensity of this.
The rhythm in this.
Let me elaborate.
This winter I had more or less shut down this blog. I had been very outspoken about our life choices, wilderness living, off grid living and general social criticism, I´d been in the media a lot… so we got a lot of criticism (when speaking up beware of the dogs) and what was more difficult than anything was the sense of loosing ownership over ones own story.
Suddenly people would say and assume all sorts of things, I stopped being a person, I became a persona. I almost died.
(but today I found life bursting in these bubbles)
Another thing that kind of killed me was the fact that I woke up in even more claustrophobic box than the one I tried to escape when we decided to quit the job, throw out the stuff, take the children out of school, build our own log cabin in the wild, build our own life…
Apparently you have to be in a certain way if you live in the wild. Apparently you have to be in a certain way if you home school, if you grow your own vegetables and if you worry about the climate crisis you have to be either a doomer (we´re fucked) or a boomer (green technology and human ingenuity will save us)
You need to hate the internet, you must talk about the estrangement of our times, you must be very quiet. Solemn.
(what´s up with that? When did being a guru become an ideal!)
(I don´t want to be a guru, I just want to make jam)
You must never eat sugar. You must never use plastic. And so on and so on. You must wear a certain kind of dress, look a specific way, use carefully constructed phrases and sentences, not be a fuck up, never in doubt, believe in the power of love, thou shall resign from the world!
That´s not at all why I ran.
I ran to…. EMERGE myself into the matter of the world!
I ran to be free!
I read H.D Thoreau in a very young age. His books about Walden Pond and civil disobedience made a huge impact on me. But suddenly I felt trapped within the story of Walden Pond, the hermit, the true and authentically, distinguished soul (here´s a couple of little known facts about Thoreau)
I´m not at all like that.
I´m a messy person.
“DO I contradict myself?
Then I contradict myself.
I am large.
I contain multitude”
(said Whitman and thats just like me)
(look at my garden for instance, that´s messy too and half of it located in the forest where we pick wild food)
Another thing that bothered me tremendously was the sense that our life sometimes felt like a sell.
I felt like a prostitute. Sharing our life, struggles, values, stories…. and at the same time hoping that people would return my sharing and share something of their own (money, solidarity, acknowledgement, approval, understanding).
Reward. Cost. Benefit.
So I could not talk. For the longest while I could not talk. I did not utter anything on this blog, I shut down my facebookprofile, I resigned from public discourse and debate, paralysed, defeated, perplex.
Then one day I commented on Ben´s blog. Some days later he sent a lot of his readers my way, he recommended my blog… and suddenly there was an influx of new readers.
Readers who came from a different sort of blogging community, readers who commented a lot.
Recently I told this story over at my danish facebook profile. One of my long time readers and supporters was provoked by this story (about how the americans saved me from the feeling of shouting into a black hole). She wrote me a lengthy email saying that she felt like I needed to acknowledge the fact that a lot of people have been invested in our story and have been supporting us even though they might have been quiet… and then she wrote a lot of other stuff, it made me think a lot. About my role and my purpose, about my way of communicating, how to make it better, how to improve.
Following the rekindling of the fire on this blog I recently decided to go full retard on social media.
I did this for a number of reason. Money is one of the reasons, I will be honest about that. There is nothing to stop a mother from doing what she has to do to provide for her child, and my child is in trouble.
People book me for speeches when I´m visible, people donate and I get to be opinionated about current events whereas I here, on the blog, tend to keep it a bit more personal and being super personal all of the time can be claustrophobic too.
Another reason is a sense of obligation.
I´ve always had this sense of obligation, and I´ve always had this stubbornness attached to me, like a ghostly shawl.
See, I believe the current model of society to be straight up dangerous. I see a lot of tormented souls (including my own).
I feel that what I have to offer, what I do the best- is to ignite-
…. It simply felt wrong to sit here in my wilderness isolation, permacultural offgridding bushcrafting, rewilding life and not DO anything.
There is an individualism in the “alternative” community that sometimes bothers me. The human race is in trouble and I believe we need all of the voices, all of the energy, all of the hope and all of the reflection we can muster TOGETHER.
I don´t think you can save the world by saving yourself, as a matter of fact I don´t think you can save the world at all (by this I mean that activism is not the solution, direct action is necessary in peak situations but saving the world is not up to us as individuals, that´s too much responsibility, it paralyses people when the “saving” becomes abstract and planetary instead of local and personal) but I think that some of us are meant to make some noise… and I think that I´m one of those people.
It just didn´t sit right with me. The quietness.
Does that make me less autentical?
A bad wilderness dweller?
What kind of ideology is this, I will not surrender to stereotypes or other people’s expectations – this is exactly the reason why I ran into the wild in the first place!
Here´s a picture of some muesli bars that I also made today
I believe we live in an empire and I believe this empire is evil. The military industrial complex, climate change, mass extinction, ocean acidification, mega drought, fundamentalism, fascism…. I think dystopia is real, I think the meltdown is already happening.
I will not be the instagram-happy- pretty- woman trying to “inspire change” nor will I be the dry and annoying social critic intellectual. I´ll be whatever the fuck I want to at any given moment in time and the truth of the matter is
THAT I CHANGE
AND SO DO YOU
ALL OF THE TIME
I wanted to write about this life and technology but the post turned out to be about “the social” instead.
Did you notice a red string in my story, did you see what the main initiator for change (in all the different situations) was?
It was people.
It was social relationships. It was being seen by someone, it was emails, comments, it was something that happened BETWEEN… well, us.
One thing I have learned more than anything from living out here in the forest is that we are connected.
I don´t want to disconnect. I want to be an antenna, I want to touch the REAL world, I want to live and breathe here whilst at the same time live and breathe in the social.
I want to inspire you, yes, I want to make you think, I want to relate to you, to make you feel that you are not alone… because I have felt alone for all of my life but I learned, early on, that if I dared to take the first step, strip bare and admit my mistakes others would do the same and then the masks would fall and we could TALK.
And I want to be moved by you too because when you move me (and you move me a lot, your stories, perspectives, your different lifeexperiences)… when you move me I feel alive and I feel connected just as I feel connected when I walk alone in the forest and observe the sun rays glimmer through the birch leaves, when I float around in my forest lake.
If you have money to give I hope you will consider supporting me by subscribing to my work. If you don´t have any money nor any energy to give that´s fine too. Right now I feel animated, I have energy, I hold power so for a while I´m going to talk now, I´m going to dance because I WANT TO I´m going to shout “look out, look out! the Fascists are coming!” or “RUN, forest, RUN!” I´m going to take pretty pictures and I´m going to engage in debates on social media.
After a while I´ll be quiet again. When I need to.
I hope you will feel the currents of your life, I hope you will surf the wave and not drown in the tsunami, I hope Ben Hewitt will one day come back but I´m happy he acts on what he feels is right.
Meanwhile I just read this blogpost and for some reason it spoke to me (if you feel like digging deeper into the blogosphere tonight)
The forthcoming weeks I will be reviewing Bens book “The nourishing homestead” as well as Jason Heppenstahls “The path to Odins lake” as well as “Kritikkens Uvending” by Danish philosopher Rasmus Willig. I am experimenting with making short videos (not sure about that yet) and uploading pictures daily to my instagram profile as I will be promoting my patreon page (and asking you to share and recommend it) as I will be generally engaging in social criticism everywhere I can.
I am aware of the conflicting ironies of leaving society whilst at the same time interacting with it but will leave you with this observation:
WHY and HOW did we develop a notion of life in nature as something separated from life itself?
And does contemporary society hold a patent on social interaction?