The Money and Food Connection
Perhaps the way I saw myself most in Geneen Roth's memoir, Lost and Found, was the way I least wanted to -- the money and food connection. It's an issue I've examined before and would really prefer not to do it again. I want to hide it in a closet and not think about it much the same way Roth funneled her money into her Bernie Madoff savings account and well... we all know how that turned out.
"My relationship to money was no different from my relationship to food, to love, to fabulous sweaters: Because I was never aware of what I already had, I never felt as thought I had enough. I was always focused on the bite that was yet to come, not the one in my mouth." Page 8
Roth's relationship with food and money is not the same as mine. The similarity lies in that she found a connection between her relationship with food and money and so did I.
I'm not really sure where to start my story. Do I start it the year I went back to school to find an apartment and ended up living on my friend's floor for month? (Bless her heart for taking me -- and my cat -- in.) I broke up with my boyfriend of two years during my stay. A large part of the reason why I spend so long sleeping in her floor was because there had been a problem with the processing of my student loans. I got horribly sick while I was there and after paying for medications I need to get back on the mend I had a $25 in my bank account. I had no idea when I'd get more money. I couldn't afford to buy food.
Flash forward a year and you find me living in apartment I can't really afford. I had not moved in there alone but was now living alone and paying the rent on my own (that's a story for another day). My student loans didn't cover all the bills and I was already working part-time. I could have broken my lease but by the time I paid the fees on that, and all the moving and apartment hunting expenses, it would have taken so many months for me to get to the point where my budget balanced out I would have been finished classes. So I got second part-time job. And then a third one.
Money was tight. Yes, I probably could have made some smarter choices. I probably could have cut out the few luxuries I afforded myself but honestly, they were pretty meager luxuries. My one snack a week at work wasn't exactly going to put all that much money back in my pocket.
I didn't eat a lot during those times. When I was living with my friend I really didn't have the money to eat. A year later I wasn't eating much, even though I had a pantry full of food. I was terrified to eat it. Food equaled money in my mind. Having the food in the pantry made me feel safe -- it was my insurance policy. What if I couldn't afford to buy more?
Even today, having a full pantry (and chest freezer) full of food really does make me feel more secure. Luckily, I'm also at a place in my life where I'm not scared to eat it. We attack our pantry and use things up specifically so we can restock them. The thought of clearing out room in those places is actually a good thought, not a panicky one. I will probably always have times where I struggle with my own food and money connection, but know it's there and that I can deal with it makes it easier.
Did you make a connection between your relationship with money and other things in your life?