All the emotions, some in disguise.

We picked some corn.

Actually, we picked marginally more corn than we expected, given all the potential for the adverse weather conditions to do their worst. We had hail and wind claims this year and, in face of this drought, are almighty thankful we are on the water mound resulting from the canal irrigation system established two generations ago.

Next-to-last day of harvest, with wonderful neighbors doing the combining and trucking, and with dramatic sky and all the dust.

Corn harvest is inherently emotional because it’s the capstone of my farmer’s year.

The standard corn-harvest farmer emotion is such a mix of things. There’s the feeling of denouement and accomplishment, the feeling of being verklempt, and exhilaration and disappointment. There’s aspiration and desire, and anticipation, and planning. And stress.

Jeremy is pretty chill, and you may never know all these things are on his mind. That is kind of old-school farmer style emotion. People on the outside are given to see laughing-happy, neutral, and angry. Not much between.

For me, you can see all my harvest emotions where they live, right there on my sleeve. My own association with harvest is not an autumnal sort of thing; it’s perpetual. So for me an additional emotional part of corn harvest is having not-my-dad pick our corn and also having my brother not be harvesting at all. This is the second year of it and, well, it would be fine if those particular emotions could shift a little further back on my sleeve so I couldn’t see them myself.

In quite a few scenarios, I can’t help but have the emotions on my sleeve. Harvest is one where the pieces that are a little sore to the touch are offset with enthusiasm. I show enthusiasm for math and science and reading and good design. When there’s a good book, you’ll know I think so. If I’m upset by the way parenting is going, or irritated by the way a leader is behaving, or conflicted over the dynamics of a group — you’ll know that. It’ll show.

On the other hand, sometimes I try really, really hard not to show that I have whatever feeling, and I come off as cold. I don’t like that.

Unsurprisingly, I have thoughts on this topic.

I recently took the 16 Personalities quiz for the second time in my life. (I previously took it on paper, so that tells you how long ago that was.) It appears I’m an INFP-T, a gobbledygook series of characters translated as Mediator, the description of which is shockingly accurate. Last time my result was ISTJ; this time the percent margins on the last three letters were minimal, and I could see either way depending on the day, so whatever works is fine. But, not shockingly at all, I’m 90 percent introverted.

One reason I work to hide emotion (even if I already know the hiding will fail) — what kind of introvert wants that kind of attention? No introvert, that’s what kind.

This includes things like I can’t show my kids how much it hurts that I ran over Jenna’s kitten, and the guilt because it maybe possibly almost could’ve been avoided, maybe. I hate that I ran over the kitten. But farm kittens cannot last forever — they just don’t, most of the time. If Mom is all broken, then there’s a ton of comforting that has to take place, and not only is that an introvert’s heck-no scenario, that also doesn’t set a great tone for the reality of the situation. So, no showing that emotion.

Ever heard of RBF? I bet you have, and if not, it has a Wikipedia entry, so feel free to Google. I have it, but I hate the term. I recently identified someone else who has it, I think for the same general reasons I do, but (not to my credit) it’s taken me 20 years to realize it. I think I would like her and I’m going to try harder to be friendish that direction. My personal opinion is that RBF is just an effort at self-protection for the introverted-est among us. There’s an emotion there, trust me. We’re just not sure how you’re going to take it.

Another reason I tend to hide emotion is that I don’t quite walk in a social lockstep with other humans. Lots of things I find humorous, others don’t. Lots of things others find humorous, I don’t.

I think this is hilarious. I stole it from the internet, and I don’t know where it originated.

My skepticism is vast and sometimes includes things people might hold dear, and often people themselves. I have a hard time reading body language, and most nonverbal cues are a mystery to me; this feeds my skepticism and tends to make me very cautious. There’s absolutely no need to show an emotion if it’s going to make someone angry or somehow be hurtful; and I count as someone, so if another person’s response will make me angry or hurt, then let’s just avoid that.

It is interesting to me that it’s a crapshoot as to whether I’ll show or hide — big emotions and small emotions seem to fall on either side alike. That could use some self control, probably. And, while emotion is normal on a human level, I feel like there should be some kind of faith aspect to handling some emotions, but I don’t think I ought to tackle that at the moment.

So, upshot, harvest is emotional, but at least I can sort of interpret the whys to it and how to handle that. It would be neat if I could do that with pretty much everything in life, but such is not the case.

4 thoughts on “All the emotions, some in disguise.

  1. I can understand your thinking better. I have four introverts in my family, me being the only extrovert. I see your emotions/logic in so many of their situations/personalities in life.

    Being an extrovert, when my emotions get so full, I explode, cry and feel so much better. Probably feel sheepish it all happened. That has always been something to work on. Or I just say the thing that pops off into my head. (Then I get “the lector” from my introverts saying I said it all wrong or I degraded myself. )
    Oh well, I’ll never be a politician! And the one that counts knows me best; The Good Lord knows me completely; That’s enough. I’ll never do communications if life any better.

    I heard someone say, after reading your blog, you should become a politician! I’ll leave it at that!

    God bless. We need every blessing God bestows upon us. He gives them because we need them for many reasons. Keep your eyes on Him and life really comes along easier. We just have to let Him!


  2. I just found this essay in my list of unread emails.

    For some reason I’ve been thinking about you lately. I drove to Colorado Springs (and back) last weekend and I had a dozen hours of “head time” on the plains of southwestern Nebraska and eastern Colorado. I had a lot of time to let my thoughts wander.

    I know I’ve always been drawn to you. Even before working at the Hub, I knew you when you worked at the library. I think we talked one time and I offended you — or at least I felt that I offended you. You’ve always been an enigma to me, a delightful puzzle that keeps so many questions at arm’s length.

    I think this essay explains so much about you, things I suspected but had no reason to confirm.

    My favorite memory of you happened after I started working at the Hub. I was over my head, had no idea what I was doing and I was doing everything poorly. After one particularly poor performance of missing deadlines, robotic writing and general sloppiness on my part, you came over to my desk, slouched to the floor and said that it takes about six months to “get the hang of things” at the Hub. If I remember correctly, you were one of the first people to reach out and acknowledge me. I think I felt like crying.

    My second best memories of you happened many times in the early mornings, before the other staffers arrived, when I stopped at your desk to talk, even at the expense of getting things done for deadline. It seemed like you lowered your armor during those discussions and I always enjoyed listening to you talk.

    “All the emotions, some in disguise.” I think that sums up the way we navigate our lives in so many ways. I should learn to hang back and protect myself more but I usually forget that advice when I meet someone like you.

    Lovely essay. It speaks beyond the words and allows me to fill in, and identify with, so many of the topics you address. Thank you.


    1. At the library that one time, it was when Sam had quite a bit of hair going on and I thought he was Heidi — because the computer doesn’t tell you in just so many words how old the person you’re looking at ought to be. Anyway. I was so embarrassed. So that was likely what came off as offended — me self-insulating, as usual.

      Love your response, RB. O’dark-thirty at the Hub … good times, good times.


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