“How does it feel when you got no food?”
So, how does it feel when you have no food? What can I say about the Live Below The Line challenge?
I don’t want to talk about the food I ate or the dishes I created. I want to talk about the experience. Sort of. There is certainly a big part of me that doesn’t want to talk about the experience. That doesn’t want to share with you that I cried, that I got bitchy, that I felt isolated, that I got angry, embarrassed, hurt and shut down. I don’t want people knowing that I get like that. You know… human.
I do want people to know that those emotions are real. That I’m not alone in feeling them. That this is what happens when you are struggling to feed yourself and struggling to feed your family. Poverty and chronic hunger are emotional.
It was hard. No shit.
I was hungry. No surprise.
I was emotional. I think I mentioned that once or twice.
It was hard work. Counting every penny spent in every meal is a pain in the ass and takes a lot of time!
Here are the FAQ:
What did you learn?
I still have some baggage around the times I’ve been truly hungry.
The language nuance between being “broke” and being “poor” is significant to me. I’m sure I’m not alone.
I hoard food and will suffer now to avoid suffering later.
It’s easier with a partner. Thank you Gerry!
There are a LOT of people who have struggled with hunger and think about the issues in smart and creative ways
Basic Home Economics skills like cooking, budgeting and nutrition are critical in fighting the impacts of poverty and hunger in our society. They won’t fix them, but they will help!
I am happy I don’t have to try and live like this with children. I spoke briefly with my mother about this. After she stopped berating me for not asking for money when I was struggling, we discussed how awful and terrifying it must be to deal with this kind of poverty with children.
My mother, who has taught in some very poor areas, said “if you have kids, you make compromises with yourself that might otherwise make you throw up.”
How much did you raise?
I have raised $308, and my team as a whole has raised $1568. Thank you ALL for your contributions and to the Bloggers Living Below The Line for doing this with me – Andrea, Bridget, Jayda, Meghan, Rhonda and Vivian. We each came at the challenge from different place and I learned from each of you.
If this journey has engaged or entertained or moved you, please take a second and donate through my Live Below The Line Page, to Second Harvest, to Daily Bread Food Bank, to the Stop or to your local Food Bank or Food Security Charity. Or learn more through the Community Food Centres of Canada
Would you do Live Below The Line again?
No. There are diminishing rewards to doing this again and again since it would become more of a game each time. Finding ways to do it better, to beat the rules and eat better to prove that I can do it. I don’t want to trivialize this challenge.
For me this was an authentic revisiting of the emotional impact of being hungry and struggling for the next meal. I have delved into my past with hunger and unearthed some emotions, behaviours and memories I’d be happier not to reinforce in my life. And living like this does just that. It doesn’t clear them, it pushed me back down into that dark, hungry and lonely place. I have zero interest in living there again and I certainly don’t want anyone else to live there either.
It was also a stark reminder to guard others against living like this. To watch for the signs in others when they won’t speak up for themselves and work towards a world where no one understands what I’m talking about. Wouldn’t that be great?
Could you do better?
Yes. But again, the goal of this exercise is awareness and education. It’s not proving that I can do this, or even do it better than you or the people who have to do it every day.
This was not an exercise in superiority it was an exercise in empathy.
Note: this post is part of my Live Below The Line series where I will be on a $1.75 food & drink budget from April 29th-May 3rd.
This is a game for me but a serious reality for 1.4 billion people in our world today. Help support me by donating, or supporting Second Harvest and Daily Bread Food Bank.
If you want to know more about what I’m involved in, you can read my disclosure statement here.