Fraudy Cat

Despite a really interesting and very thinky/action-packed last few days, I’m having some fraudy feelings right now. *


Field of Debris. I mean, Dreams. 

Fraudy feelings. Ever have them? (I’m not hoping you have fraudy feelings – because I sincerely do not want you to – but I don’t want to be the only person with fraudy feelings, thus confirming that I am, in fact, a fraud) Fraudy feelings are the those feelings you have when you don’t feel up to the task, or you don’t feel you deserve what you’ve worked for, impostor syndrome, etc. Mostly my current fraudy feelings have to do with OMG it’s April 14 and I haven’t planted greens yet and the garden is a weedy mess and generally horrifying and I’m having tater tots for dinner and I am years away from having chickens again at this rate yet here I am talking to people about garden and food and livestock stuff like ‘I got this’ when really I got nothing and maybe I just kinda suck… WTF. There are other fraudy feelings, but we’ll just stay with those for now.

But, you know, I know a few things. Like:

I know the garden will get planted. Jeez.  Why the histrionics?! Jim helped me clear out the worst of it Sunday and now it’s all over but the pulling weeds and composting and planting.

Yep, I’m having tater tots for dinner. And a turkey burger and some salad mix from Blue Moon. It was all delicious. You take the good, you take the bad, you take ’em both and there you have… 

I’m years away from having chickens again, but… people still give a shit about keeping them; the “Henthusiasm” video is getting views, and I hear some Future Chicken Keepers of Bloomington-Normal, IL might even be inspired enough, thanks in part to the video, to try again to get them legalized with their City Council. Please share the video if you’re so inclined… it gets the word out and helps PBS Food and PBS Digital Studios love us a little bit extra. (Do people even bother with YouTube anymore? Or is it all Facebook video these days?)

I got this.

* I was having these feelings three days ago. It’s taken me that long to scratch together a few minutes to somewhat coherently finish this blog entry.


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Two books that have been floating to the top of my brainspace lately: The Good Life Lab: Radical Experiments in Hands-On Living by Wendy Tremayne and The Unprejudiced Palate: Classic Thoughts on Food and the Good Life by Angelo Pellegrini.

These books have deeply influenced me; it really does matter when you read them that first time, though. The Good Life Lab came out a couple of years ago; I bought it for subject matter and amazing design. I read the whole thing in two days, coinciding with a week I was taking off in August/September 2013, and all I did after reading it was lay in my chair and feel despondent and fraudy. It was weird. I had a garden outside and food to deal with and a week off to get some quotidian home-life junk out of the way, and all I did was lay in my chair in the air-conditioning, hating every second of my fraudy existence.

I love Wendy (and Mikey’s) story, past and present. I follow their blog and thanks to them am now obsessed with living in a Honda Element (I spent some of my young girlhood living in a VW bus, so I know what’s up). I get it now, at a time where I’m feeling quite fraudy. I’m filing the info away while I commit to other things right now and that’s fine. Same with Pellegrini’s book; I love his unromantic romanticization of his youth. Dude eventually moved to the US, became a teacher, bought a place, and put in a jealousy-inducing garden.

[It was a different time, but seriously, this guy was incredible]

Pellegrini’s book crosses my mind often when I do the work I do outside. When I get grumpy about it, I shame myself a little by pondering the way he prioritized crafting and enjoying the simplest of food. I’m not subsistence farming or foraging. What I grow or find is not connected to my family’s survival. I live in an area of the world that has some of the best soil on the planet, so growing things isn’t even that hard. Both books are coming from a place of privilege, even though both books involve a lot of hard work o the part of the principals while coming from different perspectives. Both have “the good life” in the title, and in our current culture, that phrase means a lot of different things to different people.

What does it mean to you?

LOTSA (Lisa’s Open Tabs Saved Aggressively):

Got eaten by WordPress, along with the best edit of this entry. Super-sad.

6 Replies to “Fraudy Cat”

  1. We all feel like a fraud sometimes. Everybody–even those super-confident-looking, laid back, overachieving, make-it-look-cool folks are secretly feeling overwhelmed and vulnerable and insecure. It can be paralyzing if we let it be. (But now that you’ve put it out there for everyone to see, it won’t be!)

  2. Oh, yes, those fraudy feelings. If it helps at all, they come even when you do have chickens, and sheep, and goats, and ducks, and fruit trees, and asparagus, and rhubarb…. I still don’t feel as if I’m a REAL farmer. But I feel like somewhat less of a fraud than I did when I was professoring, so that’s something. Still, it always helps to remember that people I think of as extraordinarily competent (like you) have these feelings, too.

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