I’m hungry, but I shouldn’t…
I just like the taste so I’d love more, but I’ve already eaten enough…
It’s dinnertime, but I need to save more…
These are not attempts to lose weight. These are the embodiment of first world guilt. Every day I struggle to balance my need to eat, my desire to eat something delicious, and my guilt about eating anything at all, let alone something delicious.
Part of it is money anxiety. If I just save these little remains of pasta, over a week it will build up, and that will be one extra meal. If I scrape my bowl more, I’ll scrounge out some more dinner when other people would just wash the dish. If I wait a bit longer before eating, then I won’t have to eat lunch and I can save on that meal.
But really, if I’m honest, at least 70% of the battle is this: I have food and Others do not. I do not deserve such luxury. If I eat less, there will be more available for Them.
When I plan my lunch, I automatically think about what I can cut in order to get by, to stretch my food longer. When I look at the non-staple foods at Tesco’s, I get anxious. When I finish a satisfying meal, the faces of starving people hover around my peripheral vision, haunting the washing up, berating me for indulgence.
Restaurants: it isn’t just the cost. Look at all these people enjoying food while there is so much suffering. Look at all this waste. The world’s poorest are peering in the windows, watching my every bite, and I just sit there, munching away, avoiding looking outside.
Last night as we put away dinner, I lost sight of the dishes I was drying. My insides began to churn with guilt. I was transported to that field of shame I know so well, where every soul except me fed the needy hoi polloi, looking backwards at me with disgust, embarrassment, and resignation. What a callous fool to waste so much leek and potato soup. Her eyes are bigger than her stomach. Consumerist whore.
I don’t deserve food until I can solve world hunger. Each bite I take is a debt to be paid.