Discovering the Eeyore in Me…

A little bluebird on a chilly morning early this spring.

I am a big believer in “signs”.   For instance, if the bluebird of happiness landed on your front porch as you were walking out the door you might consider it a sign that a great day was in store.  Conversely, when running late for work you recognize the flop, flop, flop of a flat tire, that sign might indicate the beginning of a crap day – one some might label “a day from hell”.

Over the course of my life, my expectations have usually stemmed around being prepared for the worst to happen.  That way, I was rarely disappointed when something didn’t turn out well, and pleasantly surprised when it did.  You know the routine – expect the worst and be tickled to death with anything better.  That was my mantra. I was critical and leery of everything and everyone.  I looked at life and situations with a glass half-empty.

For much of my life I simply went through the motions of doing what was expected of me.  I got up early – like all good farm girls do – even when I wasn’t a farm girl anymore.  I was responsible, practical and had good common sense.  I was a hard worker and dependable.  I went the extra mile wherever I worked.  I took pride in my accomplishments.  Observing these characteristics, one might get the impression I was a top-notch kind of person, but maybe one who was just a bit hard-headed and critical.  And, indeed, that was the superficial me – just looking at the surface.   But inside, I was miserable, unhappy, and horribly negative.  My personal life was a wreck.  I was exhausted from pretending to be something I wasn’t.  At the age of 47,  I hit rock bottom and cratered.  I quit work.  I desperately needed a sabbatical.

One-Room sleeping house “cabin” with no running water!
Our kitchen, living and bathroom/shower quarters!

About the time I quit my day job, FD and I decided to move to this ten acres we live on now.  We started making plans to clean up the area.  We put up a 40 x 60 metal storage building.  During the weeks and months that followed, I worked at tearing down old stock pens, burning wood, and cleaning up the pastures to prepare a site for our home.  Hard physical labor had always been a therapeutic way of working through problems in my mind – a coping skill if you will.

Our house in town sold before we were ready to move, so we opted to utilize a one-room cabin (the “sleeping house”) behind my mom-in-law’s home on the same property, for our sleeping quarters. To supplement this temporary arrangement, we borrowed a 24-foot travel trailer from FD’s sister for our cooking/shower/TV and computer area.

I often marvel at those two months we lived like gypsies between the old “sleeping house” and travel trailer.  All of our household goods were in the storage building, including our refrigerator. Each morning, we would gather breakfast food and clothes and head to the trailer (hooked-up in a nearby area of the property) where FD would shower while I cooked breakfast.  FD would go to work around 7:30 and I would head out to the area where the house was going to be, continuing our site clean up and preparation efforts.

Through this process, I dealt with contractors, including some who didn’t want to talk to a woman.  Sometimes I felt overwhelmed; like I didn’t accomplish enough in a day and needed a man to dicker with the contractors.  Often, I was frustrated, but FD would leave work and come to my rescue when the contractors needed a little “guidance”.  These were the hot summer months of September and October.  I was overwrought, tired, and filthy dirty most afternoons when FD got home.

Life in the travel trailer was… well, an adjustment.  Dinner was generally cooked out on the grill and, afterwards, I would clean up dishes in the tiny midget-sized kitchen of the travel trailer.  Showers were hurried.  With only a 10-minute supply of hot water, it was more like a spit bath.  We both literally crashed into bed each night, completely exhausted from the day’s work.

I keep my smiling Eeyore Patch in the kitchen window.

One morning, I had to make a Walmart run to pick up a few necessities for the travel trailer.  While living gypsy-style, I often found it necessary to go shopping every few days, as it seemed we always needed blades or a tool or a food item.  This particular day, I had to have supplies before I could get started with my outside work.  In a bit of a funk (which seemed usual those days), I dashed into Walmart and hurriedly grabbed the items I needed.

On returning to the car after filling my shopping cart, I noticed something that lay on the ground directly behind the trunk.  It looked like a badge of some sort, so I picked it up.  As it turned out, it was an embroidered patch of Eeyore, the donkey character from Winnie the Pooh.  The patch appeared to be clean and had a couple of little rhinestones on it.  I became instantly aware of… or rather “felt” the message from the badge – it was plain as day to me what it meant.  I had become Eeyore.  I knew it.  I thought briefly about flinging the little patch back out in the parking lot; after all, who knew where it came from?  But something inside told me to keep it.  The character on the patch depicted Eeyore smiling; well, as much as Eeyore ever did smile. I felt it was as if he was gently chiding me, in his lovable way.

That little black cloud that follows us around from time to time.

Eeyore, the old grey Donkey, stood by the side of the stream, and looked at himself in the water.
“Pathetic,” he said. “That’s what it is. Pathetic.”
He turned and walked slowly down the stream for twenty yards, splashed across it, and walked slowly back on the other side. Then he looked at himself in the water again.
“As I thought,” he said. “No better from this side. But nobody minds. Nobody cares. Pathetic, that’s what it is.”

From: “Winnie the Pooh”

Realizing the essence of being Eeyore in this manner, I decided I did not wish to be pathetic anymore, nor did I wish to have this little black cloud of expectant gloom and doom follow me around any longer.  The Eeyore patch was a “sign”, to me, that invoked change.  So I asked for help, knowing sometimes I wasn’t even aware of my blatant negativity, because I had practiced it for so long.  With FD’s loving words of encouragement, and constant reminders from my Sissy Jo, I slowly began to see my cup as half-full instead of half-empty.

It has not always been very easy taking the steps necessary to change my ways, and I still backslide sometimes into the abyss of the half-empty glass.  When those moments or days arrive, however, I now focus on finding a way to happiness and contentment.  Most of the time, as one might suspect, I find it right under my nose… here on this little piece of land with FD, its enchanted forest, my 3 Chin(dren) and my loving Daisy deer!

My two greatest and most loving encourager’s, my husband, FD and his sister (my Sissy) Jo. This photo was taken on a Western Caribbean cruise in 2005; about the time my “Cup Half-Full” therapy began!

© Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…


31 thoughts on “Discovering the Eeyore in Me…

  1. Well, my oh my! I did look good there didn’t I? Couldn’t you have edited those neck wrinkles out?
    I’m so depressed now… oh wait. CUP HALF FULL! The rest of me looks pretty good!

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  2. Once again a very insightful story that we all can take something from. I once read something about a hiker who had a bad attitude. While hiking it started raining and it just angered him immensely. Here he was hiking and now he’s wet and miserable. It finally hit him though. He had a choice of being wet and miserable or just being wet. The miserable part is a state of mind. You have a choice on how you approach or handle less than ideal hurdles in life. You can be wet and miserable or just wet. Love the story and keep up the great writing.

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    1. That is exactly it… about choices. And the mind/ego is great at dwelling on the things that make us crazy and miserable! I was most intrigued that I wasn’t aware how negative I had become until a few good people helped me see just how much I was voicing it. I just expected and accepted that life was a misery. It’s all about growth, and experiencing “who we are not” sometimes, so that we may discover who we really are!

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      1. Well it’s great you had those people to help you become aware and that you were able to accept that kind of input without taking offense. Unfortunately some people spend their whole lives in a negative cycle and never realize what they’ve missed out on. Life is too short to approach everything and everyone in such a manner.

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  3. Isn’t it infuriating when you have to deal with men who don’t want to deal with a woman? Isn’t it wonderful that we both found men that back us up 100% and encourage us to do big things? It sort of wiped out all the negative from our past, and we began to believe in ourselves. We are so blessed! ~ Lynda

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    1. The sign must work. You are one of the most upbeat people I know. This winter as I was driving out of the driveway one morning, a red bird flew in front of me. My first thought was “Lori would say this is a sign”. Guess it worked. I looked for that bird every morning.
      Thanks for the great blog and teaching me about signs. Love you loads. r

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      1. Of course “signs” work!! I can’t think of a scientific reason why… but I’m sure you could explain it to me, my favorite retired science teacher!! YOU, my friend, are one of the most upbeat and loving people I know! It’s why I need my “Ruthie fix” every so often!

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    2. Lynda, yes indeed we are blessed! Learning to believe in myself has been a struggle. However, some of the most difficult times I have gone through have built me up in the most positive way. My self-confidence has blossomed. I just get out there each day and tackle something, knowing I can manage just fine with a little gumption and a positive attitude!

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  4. Excellent post (as usual) and I enjoyed it immensely. I have four bluebird houses (no residents) and I was hoping to get some nesters, but no luck. I did see one on the fence a week or two ago, that was great.

    Always remember …. “He who expects nothing is seldom disappointed.” That is my rule.

    Have a great week.

    DS

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    1. Hmm, I like that saying, but it does sound a bit “Eeyorish”!! Right up my alley, eh? We have lots of bluebirds here, maybe because we’re at the edge of the woods. They’re beautiful. I will have to wait about 9 years for FD to retire to have him build me some bluebird houses.

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      1. When I saw the picture of the donkey and the rain cloud, I was automatically reminded of the old comic strip Lil Abner, where they had this indian who would walk around all of the time and it rained on him constantly.

        Most likely before your time. Leaving on a road trip tomorrow see you in about a week.

        DS

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  5. Nice post Lori. When I was about 13 I found out what the word optimism meant and it became my mantra as I worked all alone at trying to see a brighter side. It is, to a certain extent, a choice we get to make. Smashing post, farm girl.

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    1. Oh, I love that word, “Smashing”!! I wish I had the confidence at such a young age, to have been optimistic and positive about my future. I guess I’m a late bloomer, but glad to have acquired it now and am cognizant of the “signs” of change along the way. It’s awesome to know some of your story, and relate to some of the aspects of what made you who you are. What resiliency and strength we have gleaned from the hurts of the past. I’m so glad you are my friend Mike.

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  6. Wow I can totally relate to this post!! I used to feel a bit inadequate when faced with this huge challenge of building an off-grid earthbag home and protecting native species’ habitat while helping NGOs worldwide become more efficient. It’s this giant dream! But last week I was diagnosed with an 8cm ovarian cyst, and instead of undergoing emergency surgery I decided to use home remedies to shrink it. I realized I, too, had been living like Eeyore (one of my favorite characters, by the way) and expecting things to go wrong – so my health went wrong. But now I have the chance to turn it around and be a smiling Eeyore, full of wisdom and self-confidence. Your post is part of my healing process. Thank you!

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    1. Sorry to hear about the cyst. How are the home remedies working? I too try to go the natural route. Back in my younger days I made lots of poor decisions about surgeries and wish I had listened to my inner voice and tried self-healing methods.

      If we’re thinking negatively that’s what we’ll bring to ourselves. Positive brings goodness! Keep me informed about your progress with the natural healing! I’ll be sending positive vibes your way Amanda!!

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  7. Thank you for posting this wonderful story. I too believe in signs, and your post is my sign today. It’s my birthday and I have been a total Eeyore about it. I will spend the rest of my day as Tigger. Much better choice 🙂

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  8. Thank you so much for your comment. Happy Birthday by the way! I tend to celebrate my birthdays. I don’t dread getting older, for with it comes wisdom and understanding. And you are correct! Being Tigger is a lot more fun and youthful than being poor, old, negative Eeyore! Smile and be happy to celebrate another year of looking for SIGNS!!

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  9. Littlesundog, I NEVER would have guessed you used to be a negative person! Your life now with FD and Daisy and the Chin(dren) and the magical forest are just so radiantly expressed here on this terriffic blog! So very pleased for you that you found that Eyeyore badge!

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    1. Granbee, that is one of the most wonderful things about life! We can change if we choose to. My Eeyore badge is displayed in pride now. If I ever have a “black cloud” day, I look at my smiling friend who reminds me a smile goes a long way! And with good friends like you… I’m reminded how very blessed I am!

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    1. Well, some days hanging in there is about all that one can do! Most of the time, I chase off the offending “little black clouds”. They pop up like a rainstorm sometimes, and that is when I must come up with a diversion plan and make a happy day in another way!

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  10. Oh, I fully expect that patch was there totally for you, at that very time.

    For me, God speaks to me in various ways, through different circumstances, nature, and people; and usually quite clearly, and in multiples, if I don’t get it the first time around! 🙂 (Okay, so I have a ‘bit’ of Husker hard-headedness, too.)

    I have always been a glass 3/4 full kind of person, and I’m not sure why. I try to keep things balanced in the middle and bolster against disappointments and get somewhat excited when things go great. Boy, I sound kind of boring.

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    1. Boring?? I think not! You have a real gift to be the glass 3/4 full! I agree, God/Universe, is constantly conversing with us. I am thankful that I’m not walking around with blinders on as I often did when I was younger. It’s so apparent that we are showered with goodness and “signs”, there for the taking, if only we look and listen.

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