Monday, March 01, 2010


I'm not sure many of us (I mean people who read this blog, or people I interact with most days) really know what Hunger feels like. We know what it's like to want to eat, we know what it feels like to skip a meal, but Hunger (with a capital H)--the kind that is a statistic, the kind where there's no food to eat and no idea where the next food will come from, the kind that's painful--is not part of most of our everyday experiences.

The reason I'm thinking about this is, of course, that I've been sick and so have eaten basically nothing for two-and-a-half days now. And I've been trying to figure out, through that whole time, if I'm hungry or if my stomach is still upset--even the slightest hunger pangs are easily confused with other signals that actually mean "DON'T EAT!!" It's amazing to me how quickly I have forgotten, or how easily I mix up, a message from my own body that I feel every day.

Which probably means I don't really feel it every day--I get a pang and, like most people I know, I eat something. It may not be the healthiest something, or the thing my body actually needs to function well. But something with calories goes into my stomach so the feeling will go away. (I confess that often, especially when I'm sitting in my office, chocolate fulfills this task nicely.) But now, when I need to be able to distinguish the signals from one another, I'm not sure which is which. Maybe it's time to listen to my body a little more carefully before just answering the need with a want. This is what the 30 Hour Famine is all about, too, of course--giving us a taste of hunger (if you will) and helping us think about where and when and what we eat and why...and how that affects others, and how others can't just pop a piece of chocolate in their mouths whenever they have the slightest twinge. (the RCLPC 30 Hour Famine isn't until May, but I've just had my own personal 30 hour famine here and, as uncomfortable and frustrating and icky-feeling as it has been, it might have been good for me.)

Having said all of that: I think I'm actually hungry, for actual food, so I'm going to go find some real food and see how that goes this time!


  1. I've been actually hungry twice in my life. Once when work cut back hours in the offseason, and automatically deducted our employee housing rent from our paychecks, so our actual takehome was nil. I lived for weeks with my sister on dried apricots and granola.

    And the summer I did summerstock I had $8 in my pocket to last me six weeks. I lived for a long time on ramen, a couple of pork chops sparingly cut up, coffee (as long as it lasted) and some peanut butter and onions. The frustrating part was, I would have known how to make the $8 stretch in Cambodia - no way in our country!

    I was quite hungry, but not actually starving. Not like most of the world, but it's the closest I've been.