Thursday, 1 September 2011

Scant emotion

There's a really good post over at Feministe, not least due to the excellent commenter's who have written about their experiences with eloquence. It refers to the chef Karl Wilder's account of trying to live on a low food budget (food stamps allocation). It feels more real than these accounts often do. By relaying the kind of emotional toll it can take,I found myself relating to it in ways I usually don't with these experiments.

Managing on the lowest income requires a high level of skill in many areas, the opposite of what's insinuated by the some of the more self flattering classes. This tension of incompatible opposites is the genesis of (a) double consciousness.

When a particular groups real life or functioning existence is at odds with what society insists are its universal values.

More often low income is equated with; low skill, none too bright/ ill educated, sullied if not somewhat degenerate, the cries of  "all you/they have to do is x" are defensive.

I've no objection to teaching children some home economics alas vulnerable to being thrown aside for that which is deemed "more important".

Its a general rule that the greater the level of skill required for anything the more people will fall short of that standard.

The emotional component of managing low finance tends to get sidelined. My cooking can be erratic from out of sight to unspeakable, more so when I was very low on self belief in general. If I'd had more confidence and faith in myself, I would have done a lot better.

What brought me down even more than the lack of money was the feeling of being trapped with a tightening noose around my neck;
I am opening all my cupboards and checking every item in the freezer. I am hungry and want everything I don’t have.

I felt hounded by this feeling way too much, it could become acute in the blink of an eye. Don't get me wrong, I'm profoundly grateful to live in a society where people fought for that most basic of provision.

I can't explain some of it, often these feelings got on my nerves. I get people who've always been in low paid employment who think, for goodness sakes, that's how they express the pressures. Sometimes I made a game of it; being crafty, planning things out, noticing every little way I could make things go as far as possible, getting into some kind of rhythm. 

Other times I found myself out of synch and falling short, not always sure why.

I'm neither justifying or not, just saying that's how I felt about it. Give children as much training as possible in as many areas of food and its preparation, growing it to if possible. Variety and flexibility really can make all the difference and is some defence against the blandishments of the marketing budgets selling overly processed fare.

But also, tell them the truth about being poor, they often have to be better whilst being painted as worse.

No comments:

Post a Comment