By M.N.

I have thoroughly enjoyed participating in the farm stipend program.

While the work was not always easy, it was an opportunity to relax and strengthen my body.

There was no pressure, no distractions, and nothing to upset me. As an abused woman, I suffered neck and back pain daily. After a few weeks in the garden and hoop houses, I felt better physically and was able to straighten my back and neck up more.

In a group we were all asked a question, “What ruled you today? Was it good or bad? Did you rule your emotions or did thy rule you?” What ruled me one day in the garden: “I can’t.” It upset me and I realized I wouldn’t accomplish as much as I wanted to. I kept working and finished eventually.

That day I ruled myself, and I was glad I didn’t give up on me.

I have always enjoyed the smell of the soil, flowers, and especially tomato plants. When weeding, seeing the neat, orderly rows of vegetables made me proud of myself and the others who worked with me. The money I made kept me from being broke and depressed about it. Now that I’m at the end of the stipend program, I realize I never suffered abuse.

My hurts were small. The pleasure from doing it outweighed any physical discomfort. As someone abused, I needed to have a success. I am delighted that I did it!

This post is part of our Field Notes series written by survivors of intimate partner abuse.