Ever wondered what it’s like being an out and proud lesbian walking into church for free food? I must have because I did and boy was it interesting. I obviously don’t flaunt my lifestyle in front of everyone, but I don’t exactly hide it either. I went with my partner for free food which happened to be in a church and tried to be as un-obvious as possible. I did sit next to my loved one and had conversations that the whole church could hear since the place might be 600 square feet of room that all of us try to fit into. I tried not to be offensive to my girl or the church. Wow!!! Talk about awkward!!! You never know if they will “love you” for being yourself or turn their cheek because you aren’t their “ideal Christian“. It’s weird being stared at and pondered on as you are sitting there trying to be as normal as every other hungry american out there. Sure you live a slightly different life style, but to actually stare and whisper while staring because me and my partner came in for food like the rest of them? I have a house with a job and a family with hungry kids just like the rest of them.
There was one lady in particular that gave me the creeps and heebie geebies so bad that I almost got sick sitting there. I don’t know what it was about her, but her overall aura was just evil and mean. She was the only one. It may have been the way that she stared everyone down like she was the head of “judgement”. It may have been how she seemed to stare right at me glaring regardless of any assumption or position I was in as to why I was there myself. It may have been her silence and anticipation of who was there that could have possibly been worse off than she was. I’m not sure what it was, but she made my skin crawl just sitting 2 or 3 feet away from her. I’m not a judgmental person and surely don’t look for ways of doing it everyday, but this lady was just a one of a kind evil that I haven’t felt in a long time. If she did smile … it may have made her cry since her face seemed almost like a dried clay statue of angst.
So after claiming 7 in-house and going for my free food, I once again went through the looks, stares, comments, whispers, and so forth because of how many I had in-house that I was feeding. I thought churches were supposed to be loving and all accepting…. I thought no matter who or what you were or were coming from or going to, they were supposed to accept you into their house of GOD and be understanding that you were in need. Well, I don’t take advantage of the free food thing very often cause I’m blessed with a job and my tribe helps me with their supply of programs; however this time was desperate and we needed food. Since four of us are children, I have this extremely strict rule that children eat first and get full first before adults can eat .. period. Adults can fix their own and eat whatever is left. I feel that the kids are the most important regardless of time or reason.
This probably came from my childhood being the complete opposite. When I was growing up you got whatever was cheap and left over. If you got macaroni and cheese and hot-dogs.. it was pay-day!! Otherwise it was steak and full meals for the grown ups and peanut butter and jelly’s or ramen noodles for the kids. I got real talented with the microwave. I was self-taught to make just about anything work for the microwave. I remember my brother used to gather whatever liquid non alcoholic concoction he could come up with and tried to make protein shakes that filled him cause he got tired of the same food all the time. When food was up and available..it was the elders first then the kids. So in other words .. the adults got all the yummy flourishing of an awesome (in our eyes) gourmet meal. We got our left overs and noodles.
I’ll tell you what.. when my sister came and along and showed us a whole new “trick” of adding chili to our mac n cheese? Wow!! Then having hot dogs on that? Holy cow!! That was heaven!! We prayed for payday everyday!! Then we moved up to goulash.. or what my mother felt was goulash at the time. Oh boy did we ever enjoy that!! Something different and as long as you had a standing love for garlic .. you were in love. Now I couldn’t stand the garlic cause they seemed to pile it on so badly it was hard for me to breathe. Come to find out? They had to because they were alcoholics and if they didn’t pile on the garlic and hot sauce, they wouldn’t take anything. Cause all their taste buds were shot from drinking for years. All I knew back then .. catch the pot just before it was done and make sure you had enough finished before mom came to “try” your food. This meant she picks up your bowl or plate.. dumps tons of salt, pepper, and hot sauce on it.. mows down like 3 or four huge bites.. then gives it back to you and tells you “come on, eat, it’s good stuff”.
Well my appetite would go down real quick until I learned to eat my bowl before the pot was done and get as much down as I could before she came. My brother on the other hand would just come to terms with “starving”. Once she touched it.. it was done. So he got talented with drink mixes and opening cans of veggies or whatever he could find to fill up before meal time. Then there was also the “kitchen soup”. This meant everything in the kitchen she couldn’t find a purpose for or even figure out how to cook, went into the kitchen soup. This was a mixture of whatever left over beans, veggies, meat, gravy’s, noodles, or spices she found no meaning or purpose for thrown into a crock pot to sit for 6 hours. YUMMY!!! I know what your thinking.. “how are you still alive?” right? Well I’m skinny for a reason.. lmao!!
So go figure.. mom wouldn’t cook very often.. cause she had to be actually home for that. So whatever guy she was with at the time, would generally do that cooking or our favorite babysitter.. Keefer. When this guy would come over we loved it! He spoiled us, played with us, talked to us, gave us little tasks that we would learn to earn allowances from, and of course cooked for us. Now the downfall of this self-proclaimed chefcooking was he wouldn’t start until he was 3 sheets to the wind. Which being an avid drinker, took him many hours. So starting a meal from him was about 8pm. Then he was so drunk that when he did cook, he had these weird recipes that he would tell us about and find the strangest looking and smelling things from the kitchen and throw then in what seemed like 4 different pans at once with all the spices in the cupboards and dump his beer in once in a while after a good swig between stirs. When his meals were done, not only were we complete frightened to try it, we were exhausted from waiting for it to be done so we could eat. The kids in his world were more important than the adults. So we got the biggest most extravagant meals from him with colors and designs and all the nasty stuff that adults eat with their stuff clumped together on a plate with cute little herbs to decorate it with. He’d always wait around in drunken pride waiting for our answer as to how much we liked it. We would both give fake smiles, a hard smile, and start to excavate the dish. We always tried to take a good bit in front of him to show our appreciation of his love and attention, but could never seem to come up with enough stomach muscles to swallow that first bit with out the complete disgust look on our face popping up.
So I suppose this could be the reason I’m such a picky eater and why I don’t like a lot of spices and why I am not a sauce person. However I’m very stern about this one rule, “If I can’t eat it or drink it, I won’t make my kids do it either!” So that always put things on pause when I want them to try something that I as an adult don’t like already. Like mushrooms.. they almost killed me as a kid and I haven’t eaten them since. I can’t stand ketchup and I don’t like sweet barbecue. So of course with these things in mind, I can’t make my kids eat it either. Grrrr.. that gets frustrating.. but life goes on.
So what do we get at these free foods? Usually anything that the nearby stores couldn’t sell or didn’t want. What does that usually mean? Well watch all your expirations, check your pastries for mold, and make sure you shake your drinks before trying them. Other than that. . the only thing you may need to worry about? Your meats being frost-bitten… but if you can come out without any of that.. well then sitting there getting stared at, judged, whispered about, and constantly glared at for 2 hours isn’t so bad to make sure a household of 7 with 4 kids gets fed on time for bed and well enough till school in the morning. I’m sure all these reactions have nothing to do with the fact that I’m a very happily loving mother of 4 with a beautiful life partner and a father who lives with me on disability.
Oh and by the way.. we ended up having homemade waffles with sausage from the church. . . blue berry waffles at that.. as a family at the dinner table… just in time to get the kids in bed for school..
So in short.. I guess a standard family eating what’s available at the table in the evening… regardless of where you get the food should be praised.. in my eyes whether you are single, married, lesbian, or gay as long as you’re happy and your kids are fed well!
Or is that weird and unnatural these days?
- How my sons helped me confront my food issues | Babble (babble.com)
- 2013 Is the Time for a Thinner, Healthier You! (mjruns.wordpress.com)
- Vintage Cookbook: ‘Christianity In The Kitchen’ Has Weirdest Food Rules Ever (huffingtonpost.com)
- Roasted Asparagus, Red Pepper, and Bacon Roll-ups with Tomato-Basil Hummus from Perry’s Plate | Babble (babble.com)