Poverty porn:

Poor as an adjective means: lacking sufficient money to live at a standard considered comfortable or normal in a society.

What is normal for one person is abnormal to another.

Growing up with lack or mired in poverty is normal when you know nothing else.

When you have not eaten for days because there is nothing to eat isn’t supposed to be “normal.” It has been “normalized” by a society that walks past poor people, that don’t have on their way, on the way to those that have.

Far more than the lack of food meant to develop strong bones and mental capacity is wandering as a child when “being poor,” will end.

You wake up each day in the same tiny place, going to look in the same kitchen; even a crudely constructed one, to see if maybe, sometime during the night a generous fairy godmother waved her magic wand and put slices of bread on your table.

Being poor is not a crime yet, you’re treated like a criminal because you have nothing. Poor people are only noticed when there are charity drives such as soup kitchens and “blisters for bread” runs. Between those charity drives, you don’t get fed and the worry of not knowing where your next meal is coming from replays in your mind. You dream about food and what you would do if you were ever at a table that people refer to as a “banquet.” 

The images of food and the groups it belongs to in your Grade 3 textbook, rather than teach you about health, serve only to fuel those hunger pangs you hoped would be quenched by drinking water. Your stomach rumbles loudly in a quiet classroom when your textbook is opened, as instructed by the teacher, on a page that has a warm pot of food cooking on the stove.

You can smell it, you can taste it, and your body prepares for it, whilst you swallow down your saliva. You know what “mouth-watering” is because as a physical reaction, your mouth waters at the sight of food.

An estimated 1.3 tonnes of food is wasted each year. So why are you still hungry? How cruel are people who waste so much food when all you want is a tiny portion of that to fill your stomach and make your mind concentrate on more than just food?

What is it about you that makes you not worthy of being fed? You’re told it’s because your parents don’t work hard, but you’re confused because they’re at work every day. So a part of you resents your parent/s for not “working hard” enough to feed you. Yet, your parent looks tired and wears a defeated look on their face so you know there,s something going on that your child’s brain simply can’t comprehend.

You’re bullied and teased because even the saliva that generally wets your dry, cracked lips to hide your hunger seems to be lacking. Your lips burn from the salty taste, and you continually force down sour bile that rises in your throat, making you want to vomit. 

What is it you need to do as a child to be fed? What is it you need to do to make people sit up and notice you? How can you make them understand that the insecurity you feel is only momentarily appeased by the meal you had that day?

You’re too young to understand when someone says, “your Government” has failed you or must feed you, while you see those very people sit with food? You wonder why they can’t feed you, even if it is leftovers from their plate or at the very least point you in the direction of this “Government” they always talk about.

Your parent/s tells you, “they don’t earn enough,” and you wonder what they need to do to change the “not earning enough” status.

At the tender age of 6 or 7 years old, there is a part of you that’s defeated by much more than an empty stomach; A part of you that doesn’t get why strangers are feeding you and a bigger part of you that simply wants to curl up in a ball and die. Especially when those strangers that feed you ask you to smile because they want to take a picture of you when you finally have a plate of food in front of you.