Here’s How Fucked Up My Heart Is

If you’ve never heard of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), it’s when community members purchase a “share” at local farms in which they pay upfront and receive farm goods periodically over the growing season. It’s a wonderful concept that takes some financial burden off of smaller farmers, while providing fresh produce and other surprises for the community.

This is the second year that we’ve participated in a CSA because we were absolutely thrilled last year. Every week brings something different, it forces you to get creative, and it’s amazing to try new things you’ve never had that were plucked from the ground just minutes ago. It really gets the culinary juices flowing, and it’s very rewarding to give back to our underappreciated local farmers.

csa

Monday is our CSA pickup day, and we actually look forward to hopping in the Mustang and taking a drive to the farm. You simply bring back last week’s reusable, cloth bag, they give you a full one as they explain the week’s features, and you’re on your way. We stopped buying grocery store eggs a couple of years ago as well, so we always stock up at the farm when we need more.

Two days ago after being handed our CSA bag from one of the farmers, my husband asked her if they have any eggs left for the day. Already appearing a bit frazzled, the woman threw her hands up in the air and said, “Nope, no eggs at all today.” Looking as though she’d like to vent, we listened to her further.

She told us that no one has been able to go into the barn today.

After cocking our heads in interest, she went on to tell us that in the barn they have about 120 baby turkeys along with all of their chickens. Every night someone turns on their water spigot for them to drink overnight. Except the previous night someone forgot to turn their water on. And 45 baby turkeys were killed from dehydration.

Most of you probably just went “AWWWWWWWW,” possibly pouted, then continued reading. But me? Immediately my eyes welled up, my heart felt crushed, and I literally began mourning the deaths of the baby turkeys. Thank goodness I was wearing sunglasses, because as she continued giving details of how many they lost, how horrifying the barn is, and how distraught the farmer’s wife is, I began to cry and was overwhelmed by sadness. I didn’t speak on the ride home as tears quietly streamed down my face, and my husband held my hand in silence gently assuring me that everything will be OK.

I can’t explain why I was so affected, but it’s a perfect example of the person I am. I’d never even met the turkeys, but the sheer sadness of the situation engulfed me. I thought of the poor chap who forgot to turn the water on who is forever responsible for 45 deaths, I pictured the poor farmer’s wife who happily checked in on them everyday just beside herself with sadness and anger, and I imagined the baby turkeys each gasping for their final breath as death senselessly took them.

I don’t know why I think these things, but I do.

That’s just the heart that I have. I used to ask my parents if I could sit with old men eating alone at restaurants to keep them company when I was a kid; and I remember them telling me, only to make me feel better, that he’s probably just trying to get away from his wife for an hour and not to be sad. Not a single holiday party went by in school where I didn’t bring back some of the food home for my parents and sister. Even if I was given one cookie, I would literally bring back crumbs to share with my family. I truly don’t know why, but that’s who I am.

Now that I’m older and am more in touch with who I am, I attribute these things to being an empath. I think of everyone around me, I put others before myself, and I feel everything that happens to and around me.

It really is a curse sometimes.

26 thoughts on “Here’s How Fucked Up My Heart Is

  1. We should all have that kind of caring heart. Actually, I’m pretty similar. I can’t even watch nature shows because they always show some animal getting killed. I know that is the way of the animal kingdom, but usually the shows show the deaths of animals by poachers. Or elephants who get PTSD because of tourism and harassment.

    People only think of my state of NJ as being urban and suburban, but actually there are a lot of small farms in NJ. A lot of people raise animals, like chickens. My brother does, and they are the luckiest chickens and ducks around. It feels so good when we eat eggs from chickens and ducks who have acres of space to roam.

    My state also has co-op farms. My husband buys from one every week. I remember an old boss even participated in a cooperative situation like you described where they came and were entitled to a certain amount of veggies and eggs and stuff by contributing to the farm. I hope more of these situations crop up (excuse the pun).

    I’d like to thank you for your kind words about my nephew on another blogger’s site. My nephew was only 24 and committed suicide this past June. I know he was NOT a coward, and I can’t believe that blogger would ever write such a thing, even if she thought it was helpful in some kind of opposite psychology sort of way.

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    1. I’m sorry, “opposite psychology” wasn’t the correct way to describe her intentions. Anyway, making a depressed person feel like they could have a lower self-esteem than they may already have is not a good idea. I wish I knew what could have helped him stay alive. There are always “should haves” and “could haves” that run through family members’ minds.

      Sorry I’m posting about this in your blog, but the blogger I mentioned seemed to have some triumph in what she wrote. I figured I’d stop following her. I don’t need the stress.

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  2. Hi Ophelia, thanks for the follow at Chlohemian.
    I remember watching one of those videos about veganism, one that showed a lot of footage of gross mistreatment of animals. I won’t put it here as obviously it would also be upsetting, but I know that it stuck in my brain so horribly and every time I think of life’s unfairness, or whenever my mind wants to torture me just as I’m about to fall asleep, it pops up. So I can completely relate. :/

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  3. I’ve been depressed for a while for good reasons usually and that was bad enough. Yeah I find myself getting verklempt more often as I get older. And accidental mass death of baby birds really is sad and shocking for anybody. Thanks for sharing, you write well, and your site is bright with nice pictures

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  4. I relate so heavily to this! I am a sponge to others emotions, I can feel them change, even if I’m not looking at them, its almost like I can feel a change in temperature or pressure. It doesn’t even have to be someone I’m in the room with, vlogs, tv programs, books – I feel others emotions as if they were my own. It is a gift for sure and I’m grateful but it can feel like a curse too because sometimes I don’t know how I feel. Stay strong and I’m mourning the turkeys too xx

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  5. Your heart’s not fucked up.

    I relate so much to your response to seemingly lonely and sad old men. I remember as a kid wanting to and even still wanting to sometimes go over and keep them company.

    I really love how your husband held your hand in the car when you were grieving over the baby turkeys.

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  6. ❤ I have similar experiences that send my depression into an uproar at times. It’s so hard to not feel. I’ll still take feeling over not, especially after a period where it felt I no longer had a range of any emotion. ❤ It’s okay to feel and to express yourself.

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  7. Thank you for sharing. I really appreciate your openness. Feeling things deeply can be so painful and, for me, sometimes alienating when I’m around others who don’t feel things quite so intensely. But I also wonder who I would be if I didn’t feel things so deeply, and if I would like that person. Do you ever feel like that?

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  8. When I was about 10 years old, my parents took us to Mexico for vacation. While we were in Monterrey, we were in one of the plazas, enjoying the vibe when a ban walked by carrying a baby goat on his back. The goat was crying and bleating. I asked my parents where the man was going with the goat an of course, they told me it was probably on its way to the slaughterhouse. I sobbed like a baby for the next hour. I just could not stop crying. I’m quite sure my parents had wished they had given me a different answer.

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  9. I work in rural areas, driving between inspection sites. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stopped to pick turtles out of the road and slowed down for vultures to get their big butts in the air from whatever they were eating (never good to get a close look). In the back of my head, I’m kind of weighing that against the meat I eat, the occasional suicide squirrel or crazed robin that I can’t swerve fast enough to avoid.

    Then last week, I was filling up at the gas station when an Amish wagon came in, loaded with cages of rabbits. The two kids went into the gas station for whatever and I found myself looking at the rabbits, who were looking back at me. That started a whole cascade of thoughts, wondering if they knew where they were going, what their fate would be, if they were wondering why I wasn’t setting them free, on and on. I seriously considered trying to buy all of them from the kids but I had no idea what I’d do with them. Put them in the back of my pickup? In the cab with me? I’m staying in a hotel, I’m sure they wouldn’t be amused, on and on it goes. Finally, I finished and got out of there, carefully not looking at the wagon again but the thought of those eyes looking at me has haunted me for the last couple of days.

    I eat meat, I like the stuff and I know where it comes from. I buy a cow once a year from a farmer and make it a point to go meet the calf and check in once more before it’s slaughtered. I know it’s had a pretty awesome life and I know that Cliff is really good at what he does and when the end comes, it doesn’t suffer. Maybe it was the cages, maybe it was the kids laughing going into the store or what.

    I DO know that part of it comes from seeing the world in a different way. The thought of anything dying of dehydration would haunt me as well, probably for days. But as much heartache as it causes, I wouldn’t want to change the way I see the world. I think our curse, and the curse of the human condition, is not being able to control the armor around our hearts.

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  10. I ran over a frog while mowing yesterday. I am still traumatized by the experience. I turned it into something ‘cute’ for FB, adding a quote by Lady MacBeth, but it hurts. It is OK to hurt for others living creatures. Man or beast.
    {hugs}

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  11. I’m one too. And yes, it can be a curse sometimes, to feel, even for people and/or animals we don’t even know. But, would you rather be ambivalent, or worse? To me, not giving a shit is a much more severe curse to be saddled with. 😊

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