Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

Apifera Farm is a registered 501 [c][3]. All images ar©Katherine Dunn.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Am I still worthy for you if I'm not helping animals?

One thing I have been quietly pondering in my shift of the move is my worth and value not only to myself, but to the outside world, and my followers. I began to feel a couple years ago that if I decided to quit adopting old and crippled animals, that I would fall from the graces of many people who follow me.

There are some people who want me to be one thing-an animal 'rescuer'. I've never labeled myself that for many reasons, and I detest being called one. I have never gone on to someones property and taken an animal, nor have I reported anyone or worked with law enforcement on rescue missions. I simply decided animals were welcome on my farm, and the doors began opening, and roosters showed up, you know the story. I am simply open to helping animals, but also want to help people, something i find some animal activists forget-people need help too and too many activists are quick to judge and point fingers when they find a needy animal. It's why I won't work with rescues anymore, one of many reasons. I help as many needy animals as I can, but it is not my only mission in life.

I write about this today because I was thinking of all the former misfits from the old farm. I look back on the list and see how many I helped and how many I buried. I needed a break. But I had this poking in my gut, a voice,

Who will love you now, who will care about your posts if they aren't about the old animals? Go get another elder goat, hurry.

I have not brought on any new elders for some time, since we knew we were moving. And I felt a disconnect with some readers.

It's interesting how we can project our needs on to others. I've been guilty of it, and since being aware of that through my own self exploring over the years, I always attempt...ahem, attempt, I say.... to consider my motives when I find I am especially angry with someone online I don't even know, or the opposite-completely attracted to someone online I don't even know. It has always been more uncomfortable than flattering for me to get love letters from strangers about my work with animals. Most mean well, but I can tell they are seeing one part of me, not all of me. They are attracted to a part of me that fills a need for them. It's the danger of online relationship. Would they still love me if I decided to start...raising corn?

I know the people that know me in real life- some who have come into my life because of my animal work, or reading my blog and then we do become real friends- I know they see me as more than one dimensional.

I do plan to still help Misfits, and take more in. I have to admit I can't have the amount I had at the old Apifera. Not only is it very expensive, it is too much for me emotionally. I operated out of my own pocket, never getting donations of more than $2000 a year [and appreciating every penny] and at $500 a month to care for them-you do the math, I just can't do it. And i want to evolve Apifera here in Maine into a healing place, where I work with animals and people-that's always been my goal. People, so many of them, of us, need healing and love, and compassion and understanding. It's not just animals that need me, people need me too. I need me.

And somewhere out there, is a goat like dear Stevie. He'll find me, in time.


Palma said...

Keep following your own path and do what feels right to you. No ONE can save the world. I, for one, will be sticking around.

Anonymous said...

I personally come for your wonderful and whimsical art, Katherine, even though I also am an artist and may never be able to purchase any of yours. I would be just as entranced with your art, photography and words if it was pondering and reflecting upon, say, foxes and trees and corn (!!) as I am now when it is of donkeys, etc. Giving needy animals a final home is admirable, but it is not your only gift nor your only possible contribution in this life by far, I am certain. You are not a one-dimensional creature! Now, go to town and don't forget your purse. You certainly deserve a break, and to follow your own heart (but I know it's scary when there seems to be money involved). ♡

Patricia Kowalski King said...

I think of this as the doer me and the be-er me. We can't escape, certainly not in this culture, the onus to DO. Our value is measured by doing, instead of being, to everyone's detriment. It is a terribly uncertain and uncomfortable space to hold when one is reassessing all that doing and just trying to figure out how to be, be one's true self, be kinder to one's self by defining limits, be in a whole new world. That's when self-doubt creeps in, for me, at least. Your tribe is with you because your heart, your being, sings to us. Those who think they know what you should do, and judge or reject you for it, well, I know what I'd tell them to do, if not aloud (because I might get kind of 'colorful')at least in my head. Remember: "Apifera" is a word that references bees. Be(e) you; lots of us have got your back <3

Brenda said...

The short answer is "yes". : )

Anonymous said...

I follow your blog because I think you have a beautiful spirit, you are so in touch with your inner child and so open and vulnerable about your feelings. You remind me of the me I'd like to be, or at the very least of the me I was when I was a little girl, the one I'd like to find again. Even if you aren't actively taking in new animals, you'll always be an animal lover, loving your own animals and representing them so wonderfully in art and writing. So yes, I'll still be here! I trust your judgment and you'll do what's best for you.

Katherine Dunn said...

thank you everyone here and on fb too who took time to give these thoughtful comments! Gus-Pat, that really resonated with me what you said, that it is hard to just sort through things while busy doing....

Mugwump Woolies said...

I come to visit you...and yours...regardless of what hat you might wear on any given day.

Terra Hangen said...

Helping animals and people, what could be better. I will still be a loyal follower, no matter your focus. I ask God to lead me to do what he wants me to do; don't mind what other people think. As they say, follow your bliss!

Karen said...

Hi Katherine~ I ;ove your posts and the work you have done that has gone beyond what any person with a gigantic heart can do...but I see you as artist equally and a darn interesting one!! I love following your work and your work on the farm, your pies, working with people and just setting back with your hubby over a glass of wine. There are so many sides to you that you present to us, as well as your deep, unconditional love for the animals!Yes, i will follow you as long as you are there to follow! Love your books and love your art!

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Thank you for reading! The farm and my art/writing keep me hopping, so might not respond immediately. Thank you for understanding. ~Katherine & Apifera ~