I realized today that part of my anxiety is that this crisis brings all my food insecurity issues back. There were times as a child and as a college student that I didn’t have enough to eat, and didn’t know where my next meal would come from. I remember trying to stretch a bag of potatoes to last a month. I got jobs where I could eat — a taco place at lunchtime and a pizza place on the weekends. But still, there was that haunting fear of “what if I can’t afford to eat tomorrow? Next week?”
So I’m going to use that realization and donate to our local food bank. I’m grateful and blessed to be fortunate enough to not worry about how I’ll eat now, but those memories never, ever go away. Or the shame of people making horrible comments about the contents of our grocery cart when my mom had to get food stamps to help us out. If you’ve never experienced it, let me tell you that shame tastes like rusty nails in the back of your throat.
My mom was a big damn hero—she got a job in a sewing factory after my dad abandoned us and worked her ass off to support three kids. The child support checks rarely if ever came. And she even went to college at night to get her degree to be a teacher. I was lucky. I got scholarships and became the first in my family to get a college degree. I went to law school. I have my dream job now. But I still remember going to bed hungry and I still remember the taste of rusty nails in the back of my throat. Help where you can, everyone. Let’s keep other children from going to bed hungry. And if you need help, please don’t feel shame. We’re all in this together.