Friday, April 26, 2013

Lunch Fail!

Lunch and dinner from my fav Thai place
Well, my plans were foiled when my lovely staff decided to buy me lunch for our last day in the office all together. I would have used it as an outreach opportunity, by refusing the lunch and explaining why I'm "living below the line", then asking for financial contributions instead of a lunch out. But one of my staff had an extreme, violent tragedy in her family 36 hours ago, and this just didn't feel like the best time to discuss "the less fortunate."

So I graciously accepted lunch, but said I felt like a light meal. I ordered a cup of tofu vegetable soup and side of brown rice to stay as true to the challenge as possible. I decided to eat half and save the second half for dinner. This would absorb the remaining $1.15 budget for the day. The actual meal cost almost $7.

By 12:30pm when we ate, I was so so hungry. Breakfast didn't fill me up, and I drank lots of water in the hours leading up to lunch to stave off hunger as much as I could. I probably could have finished my entire lunch, but I ate until my hunger was sated and set the second half aside.

By 4:00pm when I left work, I was experiencing all the terrible-ness that comes with hunger: stomach pains, light-headedness, lack of focus, weakness, and a less-than-chipper attitude toward the world. I told myself I could eat when I got home. I left work two hours early.  Driving home I kept thinking "I'm doing this wrong. I shouldn't be hungry. I'm doing this wrong." But then another voice in my head said "No, you're doing this right. This is what it feels like to go without."

It is easy to forget how painful hunger can be when you never experience it yourself, and my closest experience to real hunger is through fiction. Katniss Everdeen talks about "hollow days" in The Hunger Games - days when, no matter how much you eat, you can never get full. Harry, Hermione, and Ron quickly learn that a good meal means good spirits, and hunger means bickering and worse in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I have fasted before, but during time off when I would rest and read and take long baths and enjoy the garden - not in the middle of moving and changing jobs! I need all the energy I can muster.

Even in this challenge, I'll never know true hunger. I'm nibbling on the second half of my lunch/dinner as I type (it's how I'm managing to spit our mostly-coherent sentences). Tomorrow, I will have more to eat. One day of being sort of hungry and I'm falling apart. Pathetic. To people who live on less every single day of their lives, I am a spoiled, pampered girl who has never faced hardship.

Help those who do face hardship, every day of their lives:

-Selfish Blogger

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