I’m too Broke to Pile on the Pandemic Pounds

And yet, there is more of me already. But not for much longer.

Food aid from the United States, 1947 — Photo by Austrian National Library on Unsplash

Day one of the bare cupboards reality check because it is time to remember I still can’t afford an appetite. But until everyone started working from home, I hadn’t realized how loudly my stomach grumbled for hours on end. I eat one meal a day, in the evening. That’s what hipsters call intermittent fasting and I call being broke.

I’m disciplined by default, not by design.

What few resources you have, you learn to stretch, especially when you don’t know what comes next. As a freelancer, you also learn to tolerate hunger until you no longer notice it. If my work is interesting, I will forget to eat, I will forget to go to bed, I will forget I exist. So yes, there are moments of grace when work, passion, and money align: You override hunger because you feel so fulfilled you don’t even remember you need to get paid for what you do.

Writing is a magical profession where you get to create alternate realities and sometimes you even live in them.

Some call it self-delusion, others call it marketing.

I have a massive self-delusion problem. I keep telling myself that I can write that punch to the mind that’ll pay the rent but only because it gave the heart a hug. And it feels icky, and manipulative, and crass to tell you how bad I have it when I have a roof over my head, human warmth on tap, and homemade soup every day.

If you’re not yet hip to the magic of soup, the internet has got you.

There’s no better way to stretch ingredients, mix textures, and produce something that tastes like love. Brew up a cauldron of magic potion and be like Obélix, fall into it. There’s nothing more comforting than soup, be it piping hot, ice cold, or anything in between. I live with people who understood that the best way to make sure I eat is to make soup.

I wish you a future full of soup.

See how the alternate reality thing works? It started out as pretty shit but we’re in a good place right now.

But my thighs though.

So the human body ages and gets comfortable and grows — or goes — sideways. My mind having done the latter for a considerable amount of time, I’ve always taken great care of feeding myself things the body could tolerate without too much distress. Digestion isn’t my strong point. My gut has very big feels about everything and it’s never not tied up in knots. It also has allergies — both literal and metaphorical — to many stressors like gluten and my mother.

I’ve started eating rainbow candy. [insert shrug emoji here]

It looks cute and you can group it by color before eating several in one go. Yes, that’s a lot of handling in those ‘rona times but it made me happy to sort rainbow candy on a square of kitchen paper for a few weeks. I never got to the flavor combination stage of the experiment, only the flavor ranking stage, from pale green (lime, meh) to yellow (passion fruit, meh, but they’re just so happy and they look like Minions, whose made-up language always cracks me up because I can make out lots of words and words are a sore point at the moment so I prefer to eat mine in very tiny candy format).

It feels like there’s either less space in my PJ pants or I washed them on the wrong cycle. And it feels like there’s an extra handful on my hips or maybe I lost the habit of wearing panties for so long I don’t remember they’re supposed to dig into you like that. Or they shrank in the wash.

Going commando is a freelancer privilege, or at least it was until everyone started working from home.

I had to become less of a slob and wear clothes again although I continue to sag happily in the name of gender equality. If nether regions can dangle, so can my tits. Just imagine wire around your balls and a chicken fillet squeezing them up. That’s how pleasant a bra feels. Thanks but no, thanks, I much prefer the sporty monoboob when support is required. Right now, gravity and I are bosom buddies.

Humans should be comfortable, not awkward.

Since lockdown began, I’ve donned the same uniform of dungarees with a black and white striped top every morning. Blue or black denim dungas, thin or chunky stripes. My vibe is Punky Brewster meets zebra, Gen X version. You don’t have to hold your stomach in dungas plus they’re roomier than usual pants and the bib covers part of the tits wobble. Then again, the meaning of life is boobs so there may be extra meaning in my dungas. The mammary glands no longer look like two dried peaches staring at my toes.

So what if there was a little extra to squish for a while back when we were all finding our feet and self-soothing with curious creature comforts? I don’t need the padding anymore so I’m letting it go and saving money, if only because when I explained the logic behind my no breakfast and no lunch habit recently, someone else understood.

For the first time.

And that surprised me.

I expected the usual look of utter incomprehension but many of us have no idea where we’re headed next and we are concerned. I never know whether to laugh or cry so I laugh because I’m still alive despite everything and life feels more satisfying than it has in a long time. For now, we conserve resources and take the stabilizers off the bike otherwise we’ll never learn how to ride it without face-planting.

Capitalism is like a Dutch bike, it hasn’t got brakes.

It doesn’t stop unless you begin pedaling backwards the moment you spot those who are on foot.

Otherwise, greed runs them over.

💛 If you enjoyed these words, please consider supporting my work with a modest cup of coffee. It’s cheaper than 🍽 and it keeps me warm. Merci! 🐱

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