I like to go on about how I’m not much of a scientist.
I am qualified Marine Biologist, which should at least speak of my scientific nature, but I have always found myself drifting in science away from the details into the bigger picture and I cared about what it meant and how it felt and my curiosity didn’t seem to be for the “right” things. I’m not sure who decides who the “right” things are but somehow, to me, I just didn’t care enough about the “right” things to be scientist.
But then, when I talk about my experiences through life, its always been somehow connected to science. Farming. Marine Biology. Environmental Science. Working for the Ag Department in entomology (moths – I collected and counted a lot of mouldy moths) and environmental management and for farming environmental and research groups, and being a Climate Champion and I was meant to be a scientist. And I always felt like a bit of fraud. Because I couldn’t make myself feel anything about the things I should or understand some basic concepts that my brain just didn’t seem to want to process. And so, somehow I bluffed my way through it (probably badly). It culminated for me when I did a presentation in Canberra at the ABARES (Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences) Outlook Conference. I was one of only 2 female speakers, and one of perhaps 3 or 4 farmers speaking. I was told I should have plenty of statistics in my presentation. I didn’t have any. I got up on the main stage in the main presentation hall and I talked about people. About what it meant to be a farmer and to believe in something so much that sometimes you can’t see anyway out. I talked about being a Rural Financial Counsellor and how no matter how obvious it may be that a farming business wasn’t viable, it was very rarely the reason people chose to exit. Often it was because there was no way around it. And those people, how my heart broke for them and how hard I tried to make numbers work that didn’t work and how it didn’t matter a hoot about the freaking science or the maths when the whole system was collapsing. I talked about how my family’s farming success was because we had a whole system that somehow worked and that system included EVERYTHING. The whole she-bang. The system. The ecology.
And you know the bit I liked about science? I like ecology. I like ecosystems. I like the way things fitted together and depended on each other and connected. And now I realise that maybe, just maybe, I’m an ecologist. And that if you bring all the pieces together of who you are what you’ve done, no matter how varied or mixed up they may seem to be they create your ecology, and it all comes together into this thing, that is YOU and YOURS and is that thing I’ve been banging on about the whole time. MAGIC. Which is not very scientific. And that’s the bit where before now I’ve wanted to apologise for not believing in the “right” things, because I can not scientifically demonstrate this thing that is happening all around me. I’m terrified I am going to turn into some crazy, magic evangelist.
Maybe I already am that? And can I be OK with that? I think that’s probably the most important question. Because no one actually told me what the “right” thing to believe in was, I just decided that some things were more right than others.
And so I’m not actually very scientific (by some (not particularly scientific) definition I made up) but I love stuff like this:
I mean, it’s an armadillo.
Who knew? I can not stop watching that little guy play with that toy. I just did not know that a thing like an armadillo played. And then I didn’t really know what a freaking armadillo was anyway. So I Googled it. And did you know that an armadillo is a placental mammal? This means it bears live young. And they are mostly from Latin America and related to anteaters and sloths. And if you wanted to eat one, apparently they taste like pork. I’m so curious about them. And I want to know the facts about them and understand how the world is full as such crazy creatures that play like that, with that little pink toy thing. And I think that curiosity makes me like a scientist? And can I be OK with that?
And then (I know, I’m not sure where this is going either!) there’s God. And why am I so scared that it’s about God? And if you have read anything else of mine, you will know that half of this scientist/not scientist things comes from the fact that as a kid instead of Scripture we had to study a book disproving evolution over creation by the almighty creator Jehovah (we were brought up Jehovah’s Witnesses) and studying science at Uni seemed to be the ultimate “fuck you Jehovah” and somehow I thought I couldn’t possibly be a scientist and believe in God. And maybe you can’t be. Or maybe you can? And would that be OK for me?
And God just keeps showing up for me. Like yesterday when I found this book called Half Time on a coffee table amongst multitudes of magazines at my friend’s house, and it’s the EXACT book I’m meant to be reading right now about what’s next for me, AND I have the feeling God delivered that. And that is just too freaking woo-woo even for me. Well not totally, because obviously I’m completely woo-woo. Did you read all that stuff I just wrote? And about the armadillo?
I was awake at 1.30am this morning thinking about all this stuff, so completely excited. That my ecology is coming together. It’s starting to make sense. It’s all starting to make sense. Calmly and logically and simply making sense. Like a good piece of science. Mixed with my heartbeat, and this feeling that something magical is happening. Like the most woo-woo bit of woo-woo ever invented. Does this happen to other people? I’m scared about it. Can I be OK with that?
So here’s what I wanted to say about all of this. If it’s YOUR TIME then YOU have this too.
It can not be possible that I am the only crazy, armadillo-loving, magic evangelist scientist IN THE WORLD.
OK, that may have been taking it a bit far. I probably can be. But YOU have your version of that too. Something that is the coming together of all the pieces of you into something that the world needs to see or hear or experience. YOU. YOUR THING. I’ve been given a job to help you find it, and craft it alive and if I don’t tell you about it, then how will you know it’s OK? I didn’t know it was going to be OK, I just had to show you. And me, I had to show me. And then I’d know for sure I can be OK with that. The whole system. The ecology of me.