This challenge was never really about whether or not I could do it (I say defensively). I always knew I could – millions of people do, every day. I was just curious about how healthy I could be, and how much awareness I could raise. Man, was I confident.
Thus, the failure stings even more. I’ll post a picture of the amazing soup I plan to make tonight (the soup that should have been made on Monday) to cheer me up later, but for now… sigh. I’ll look at my oh-so-Important Lessons that I planned to rely on, and see where they let me down.
1. Soup. This would have gone excellently, had I actually made the soup. I wisely planned all soft foods, soup and mashed potatoes and scrambled eggs, knowing that on day 2 I would be having a root canal. Smart, except I forgot that the post-canal Vicodin would sap me of any will to make anything. Which means I sent loved ones out for piles of Boston Market mashed potatoes, milkshakes, and soup, all of which was way outside my budget.
2. Go Freegan. I actually kinda excelled at this, but it still felt like a failure, for reasons I’ll return to in a minute.
3. Plan. See item 1, re Vicodin.
4. Pick your shops wisely. A mix of failure and success on this one. The Sunday closing-time farmer’s market was as perfect as it could have been, but that success made me careless in other places, buying milk at Walgreens and a burger at In-‘n’-Out. Not that a burger anywhere should have been in my shopping plans.
I was weak, I know. People living on food stamps have days like my Vicodin-hazed Monday all the time, and they still have to stick to their budget. But I caved, and told myself it didn’t really matter. I’d get back to it soon enough, and finish up the week strong.
Except I didn’t. The leftovers from my weakness lasted me out the rest of the week, with a few freegan meals thrown in for good measure. Friends gifted me with Burma Superstar leftovers. Sisters brought me cheesy bagels and coffee. And there was a reeeeally good seminar at work that left behind brownies, cut veggies, and more coffee.
I ate it all with a guilty heart. Part of the reason I’m not on food stamps is because of my support system. Heck, it’s pretty much the whole reason. If this challenge was to really put myself in the shoes of a person on food stamps, wasn’t relying on them cheating?
Yes. Yes, it was. I’m consoling myself with the fact that I am still writing about it, and raising awareness, and really, if given the opportunities, wouldn’t anyone hungry do the exact same thing? But I cheated, with willful impunity. I’m sorry. I’m a bad, bad person. I think I’m going to go donate to the food bank in order to make up for it. You totally should too.