In Your Words: Sensing SNAP Guilt

Sensing SNAP Guilt

Yesterday, I had a fashion show at the Venue Scottsdale, which included a nice dinner.  After the fashion show was over I decided to leave and not stay for the nice catered meal because I was doing the SNAP Experience.  As much as I wanted to stay and talk to people who saw the show, I just couldn’t be tempted to eat of the food.  It would have also been difficult to watch as everyone bit into the most delicious catered meal I’ve seen this year.  It was an interesting feeling to have to be pulled away from something I am good at, which is talking to strangers and eating.

People had asked why I wasn’t staying for the dinner and rather than explain that I was on the SNAP Experience, I made the excuse that I was waking up early for my fitness workout.  This kind of made me think, if I wasn’t able to afford the $65.00 dinner at the event what would have I told people.  Or would have I missed the opportunity of showcasing in fear of the cost of the meal.

Doing the challenge last year and again this year, I thought I would have already learned what I needed to about “living on food stamps.”  I say “living on food stamps,” like I actually know how it is to live on food stamps, but I know that a whole week doesn’t amount to the hardship people face when dealing with a severely low budget to live on a day to day basis.  What do you tell people when you get invited to events that is outside your budget?  Why is there a sense of shame when you know you’re on food stamps or on a low budget for food?

Why didn’t I just tell people about the SNAP Experience challenge?  I guess last night it was easier just to tell people I had to wake up early rather than have people look at me oddly for taking on a challenge that is out of the ordinary for fashion designers and event coordinators to even consider.  Food is such a big part of many social settings and many of the events I attend.  I guess a part of me feels like I didn’t want to be judged amongst my peers and I would rather have given a “good excuse” for skipping out on the meal.

And why did I feel the need to even make an excuse for leaving early in the first place?  I suppose when you turn down a meal that was ready for the taking, you feel guilty for leaving it behind. And to feel right with yourself, you make excuses of why you didn’t want it in the first place.  I think given what I learned, I will also tell people that I was on the SNAP Experience even if it may take longer to explain.

-Jennyvi
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