February 20, 2020
My time on New York City streets brought me to some humiliating lows. I didn't have a well-formed strategy on how to ration food as I never found myself in this situation before. Realizing I would have no ready access to a fridge, and the ban on storing food in storage facilities (because pests would follow), I had to resort to a fast food lifestyle. Today, I consistently lecture people about how there's so much bad stuff in our food that we should avoid, but not long ago, this was my diet, so I have firsthand experience that eating this stuff is not conducive long-term.
I needed to keep food in my stomach because if I didn't, I would experience what felt like a crash. Everything would slow down, I would literally hear my own heart beat, and my reflexes would be subpar, which can be problematic in a crowded city like New York. I wasn't very good at budgeting, and I did not pick foods that would satisfy me long-term. I didn't have a great 'food clock', which meant that I was guaranteed to go to the restroom at inconvenient times. That created additional problems for me, and led to me making messes I wish I hadn't.
My low point came sometime in the Fall of 2015, where I was on an Ⓡ train in Brooklyn, and I noticed someone wasn't going to finish their 12-pack of chicken nuggets. I motioned to the passenger if he was going to eat them. He offered them to me. At that moment, I felt this feeling of clammy cold guilt. I never wanted to feel it again. I set forward an ambitious plan to ensure that I would have better rationing skills. I started standardizing my eating schedule, although sometimes, I slipped. I started carrying cleaning supplies with me (partial kits - the larger kits were kept in storage), and differentiating my library and storage stays.
I also started deepening my involvement with the paperwork process. This was crucial as it was my way of guaranteeing the state would trust me (and even now, as I write this, they have every right to). Historically, my social workers withheld information that was crucial to the success of the process, and I felt that it was avoidable. Thankfully, the state agreed. Our relationship changed for the better, and I was able to achieve some small victories. I also stopped eating food that was left around. As a precaution, I usually checked in with my doctor (still in Westchester County). No poison was found.
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