Friday, December 9, 2016
Feeling A Bit Like A Fraud
For the past little bit I've been having this thought running through my head- that I'm not being the Penny I've always been. Since I started packing and preparing for our move, and since we've moved in, in many ways I feel like an impostor, a fraud, and just not myself.
Two months ago, if you asked me to describe myself using fewer than ten descriptors, they would probably include:
Frugal (and extremely frugal)
Healthy Eater (mainly Paleo)
Tiny House Liver
and a few other things.
But now, I'm finding a hard time finding me since most of those words don't seem to be describing me or my life anymore...
Since planning and packing for our move, we made the decision to make some huge purchases. Like a new washing machine, and dryer, and oven. When we got married we got used or refurbished appliances, and when our oven died we bought the cheapest oven on the market 7 or so years ago. Since then, that oven got gross and one of the double panes of glass broke and some of the burners stopped working, so even that formerly new one was gross and yucky for the past many years. And our washer and dryer were far from perfect, and eventually the dryer died. We decided to completely replace those instead of paying to move subpar and ugly ones to our new place. Finally, after 10 years of marriage, instead of having broken, ugly, falling apart things, we have new, fancy, pretty, expensive machinery and while it feels very great and right, a big part of me feels like I'm a fraud because of that, even though we ordered them on sale on Black Friday.
And that's not even counting the couches. Two beautiful grey couches, that have yet to be delivered (it said up to three weeks, so it is still within that). I really, really wanted nice couches for our space that can finally feel living-room-y instead of at first not having any couch, and then after having a really small Ikea not so comfortable couch, that was bought not for style or taste, but simply because it fit between our fridge and our wall. But we still have that couch, however I didn't want it in our new place- I wanted a couch set, so we can entertain comfortably, and lounge around, not just sitting round our table. Those two couches again were bought on Black Friday, so they were cheaper, but a big part of me is shouting about how frivolous that purchase was- it wasn't a need, our little couch works even if its not my ideal... So of course, I feel like a fraud writing a frugal blog and then making a big purchase like that, just because I want it...
And in general, so much money is passing through my hands, on a contractor, on a kitchen, on things for the apartment in general, huge amounts of money, more money than we usually make in a few months... Of course my mother is funding it, but that doesn't mean that part of me doesn't feel guilty every time I don't try to get away with the barest minimum of things and just making do, the way I've been used to doing my entire married life.
Then there's the foraging. I've been so busy with packing and unpacking and setting up the apartment and dealing with the construction of the apartment rental unit upstairs that I haven't had time to forage. Haven't foraged a thing in probably a month or more. The other day I was taking a bus back somewhere and I saw so much mallow growing outside the window, and that just rubbed in for me how much I'm missing that foraging.
I did do something slightly foraging related, though. In our back yard, I pulled out the non edible weeds and will be encouraging the edible plants I saw growing there (amaranth and lambsquarters) and will be seeding it with garland chrysanthemum, purslane, wall rocket, mallow, chickweed, salsify, sow thistle, and pineappleweed seeds as much as possible, so that we can have a nice edible ground cover that is non thorny.
I miss going out to forage though. I can't even forage right outside my apartment like I sometimes can, since this is a brand new project so it's mostly covered in fresh dirt, no plants...
As for frugal shopping, again with the time crunch of moving and having to be here and running around, I haven't had the chance to go to my usual frugal grocery stores, and certainly not to the market. There is supposed to be a bus stop just down a few short steps right next door to my house, but for now those stairs are closed off, and to get to the bus stop I actually have a 5 minute walk down hill or down a lot of stairs, and then uphill or up stairs on the way back. This makes it very hard for me to carry heavy groceries. To be honest, most of our groceries have been bought at the nearby mom and pop's type minimarket just a few hundred feet from our new house for this reason, and I don't want to think about what my grocery bill will be until they open up the stairs to the closer bus stop... That said, yesterday I did do a bigger shop at the nearby cheaper grocery store, and earlier on in the week I did a bigger shop at another cheaper grocery store, but it's not as cheap as the market, which adds a lot to my grocery bill. We'll see at the end of the month how much extra my grocery bills are for this reason.
As for healthy eating, especially Paleo... with this move and things being packed up and trying to get the house together, I haven't been doing my usual type of cooking. A lot of quick meals, and definitely not two meals, one for me and one for the family. I've been eating a lot of rice with chicken and veggies, and while rice isn't exactly Paleo, at least it isn't unhealthy per se, and some even consider white rice Paleo. Problem is it makes me bloated, and I got people asking me if I'm pregnant because my stomach ends up sticking out. And I've been eating a little too much junky snacks because I've been short on time. However, in the past two weeks I didn't weigh myself at all, and today I saw the damage on the scale... lol at least I actually lost the 5 lbs I gained recently in the past few months, and didn't gain anything like I was worried about.
As for homeschoolers, I still am one, but next year am planning on sending the girls to school to learn the local language (like I did with my boys) so I'll just have my oldest home, since Ike is already in school and thriving in his school for kids with High Functioning Autism... But still, part of me feels like I'm losing a bit of my identity.
And then there's messy. Not that it ever was something I was proud of, but it's just been such a big part of my life because of circumstances and personality, but since moving into my new house and the bigger kitchen I've made a huge effort to be much more neat and tidy, and even though we're still in the middle of unpacking, etc... my house is already so much neater than my old one ever was, and that is awesome, but I just feel like a different person.
And then things like last night happen. Our fridge/freezer conked out. And instead of calling the repair person, I emptied it out and cleaned it out and saw that, as I suspected, the problem was water spilling and freezing and blocking the fan from blowing the cold air around properly. So though it was a huge pain and was the last thing I felt like doing, and added a headache to my already stressed day, a part of me was happy about it. Because I felt "Hey, this is the Penny I remember. This is me. The DIY gal who knows how to take care of things on her own instead of paying a repairman or replacing it."
And all the building my husband and I are doing together, out of pallet wood and other reclaimed wood- that's the me that I know and have been missing.
It's hard. I do appreciate all the good now in my life, and I know I deserve nice things, and there's nothing wrong with having more space or new furniture or appliances or whatever but that doesn't mean that, at the same time, a part of me is feeling like I'm losing my identity.
I'm really looking forward to having this construction finished, and finish building the furniture for our apartment and unpacking and having our house settled in, and having them open the stairs to the bus stop (I was told next week, but we'll see) so I can go back to my frugal shopping, foraging, and all sorts of the other things that I've been missing.
But I also need to figure out how to wrap my head around this new identity of mine, the non slob, non living in a sardine with yucky/embarrassing looking things, but the Penny with nice things, that still is frugal.
Have you ever had something happen that made you feel like you lost a big part or many parts of your identity, and how you described yourself, making you feel like you're a new you or a fraud or something? How did you get over that?