the tradcath waif's guide to off-grid living
thirty-three tips on how to survive when you've gone insane and destroyed your life
I often think of Diana Athill’s description of Jean Rhys: ‘I have never known a sane adult less able to cope with practical difficulties, or indeed with the most commonplace little problems of ordinary life, than she was. Even the smallest crisis—mice in the kitchen, for example—submerged in her in a great wave of physical exhaustion.’
Until recently, I found this very relatable. As is the culture of millennial leftists who post possum pictures on the internet, I wore my incapability like a self-deprecating badge of honour. I talked a lot about my executive dysfunction and why it meant I couldn’t do the dishes.
Over the last year I have become less useless and pathetic. I’ve learnt that only necessity can do this. It took becoming homeless and not having any money to start taking responsibility for myself. If I stay at a friend’s for a few days, I still find myself slipping back into helpless dependence. When I found myself living on a boat, I had to figure out how to get gas, acquire a source of heating and find somewhere to do my laundry. I couldn’t just lie in bed and wait for someone else to save me—the bed was damp and mouldy, for one, and also I would have died. I’ve realised that learning to do practical things is important and much easier than I’d let myself believe.