There is society in England called “The Society for the Assistance of Ladies in Reduced Circumstances”.
They do wonderful work, often with women asylum seekers nowadays, but any woman, living alone, without other income can apply to them for payments and help with buying appliances or big bills.
I was reading a book recently called ” Lovely Things to Make for Girls of Slender Means”. Based on the novel Girls of Slender Means “For the Pecuniary Convenience and Social Protection of Ladies of Slender Means below the age of Thirty Years, who are obliged to live apart from their Families in order to follow an Occupation in London”.
This raised some questions for me. We all talk in business about making, money, charging, our worth and so on. There seems to be lots of pursuing in the outside world and less in the inside.
I have lived with frugality for many years. My biggest luxury? Having the central heating on. I grew up in a big old Victorian house which was barely heated. We wore coats and hats to bed. Last week my grandmother and I spent the day around the fire, wearing our coats. Indoors. It is cold here. When washing, one can’t turn on the hot tap and have hot water come out. To do that you would need to keep the hot water tank heated all day, such a waste of energy and money, so you just boil the kettle instead.
I think I have only ever had a few baths where the water came right up to the top, and the bubbles too.
I like it when something is wrapped too tightly for me to save the paper, then I get to tear it. We wrap all our gifts in scarves and fabric you see so it can be reused. So in the odd occasions I get to tear wrapping paper it is a little fun and a little treat.
I am happy with our frugality, with living within our means. I would rather spend time with my loved ones than pushing for more to be able to use the money to spend time with my loved ones.
But not having money and doing everything yourself takes so much energy and time.
But what is life but this? Creating, living, making food, clothes and fires. There is much contentment here.
The question is, in the folds of working and earning or frugality and saving, where are you fraying?
What are the pieces which rub against you, wear you down, fray at your soul.
I love our lives but I got worn by being cold and making so many phone calls for prices before buying something. Those are what fray me. But growing our vegetables, making our clothes, not having hot water or using the library instead of buying books are all great to me.
So now we are having the heating on, and I am thankfully earning and able to buying things (like a book case, and, you know, wood) without having to try and make them myself.
There may not be shame in being a girl of slender means, perhaps it is your way of living lightly upon the earth, of prioritizing the time you spend rather than the money. We don’t have to be rich or poor. We can find our rough edges and learn how to hem them, how to repair the damage with self nourishment and change the folds so our irritation is lessened.
Where are your fraying edges and how will you hem, today?