Pledging to Live Below the Poverty Line for Five Days
By flaursen on April 21, 2014
I signed up today to participate in Live Below the Line, a challenge to raise awareness and funds to help some of the 1.2 billion people living in extreme poverty.
I've pledged to live on food and drink that cost no more than $1.50 per day for five days. The challenge is from April 28 through May 2. I've also pledged to raise $250 for UNICEF.
I first heard about Live Below the Line from Tom Hiddleston, who did the challenge last year and sent a tweet about it today.
I've become quite an admirer of his, not so much because of his acting, which is quite good, but because of his work as a junior ambassador for UNICEF and the dozens of inspiring quotes attributed to him. He spent five days in Guinea seeing first-hand the work that UNICEF is doing there.
After registering, I became so anxious about actually doing the challenge, I ate a small piece of berry pie. Hours later, I started to write this post, and I had to eat another small slice of pie.
It has been about twenty years since I had to get by with very little. I had a year after college when I made $50 per day before taxes. This was in LA during the '90s. I got by by renting a room in a house, taking the bus or riding my bike, and eating mostly instant noodles and Campbell's soup.
It's not just the having to eat so much less that scares me, it's what will I be like? I suffer from anxiety and depression, and having low blood sugar is one of my triggers. I already struggle with keeping my temper now, how much worse might I get?
I have a three-year-old daughter and a six-year-old son. Is it fair to put them and my husband through the horror I may become? I've written before about what my depression "looks like," and it's not pretty.
Part of me wonders, "Who am I kidding? I can't do something like this. I'm too weak, too unstable, and who the hell do I think I am?"
There's the quieter part of myself that asks, "How will I know if I don't at least try? Will I let my depression stop me from trying to make a difference?"
I don't know what will happen, but I know that transformation isn't possible without giving up something, without taking risks.
I started this blog to challenge myself to be vulnerable and courageous, especially emotionally, and I think I've been doing that. I think now I can take the chance to be vulnerable and courageous physically too.
I won't have food to turn to to numb negative or uncomfortable emotions. I'll have my dialectical behavior therapy handbook, my friends and family, and the reminder that I'm doing this to raise awareness for the more than billion people who have to live this way every single day. I expect to spend a lot of time meditating and praying.
There is one change I'm going to make in that I will do the challenge one day earlier, from April 27 - May 1 because I will be driving long-distance on May 2 with my family, and I don't want to risk being weak from hunger that day.
The other stipulation I have is that if the health or safety of my children or me becomes jeopardized, I will stop immediately. My husband will help me judge if that is the case.
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