OK

I am an American citizen on SNAP.  I receive $200 a month once a month to help me buy food because I am currently far far below the US poverty line.  I have health issues that prevent me from going back to work right now to buy my own groceries like I used to when I worked.

And I am sick and tired of you telling me what I can and can't eat.

I am 43 years old.  Until recently, I lived on my own - since I was 17.  I paid my bills, I saved my pennies, I developed tastes for little things to make my life comfortable as people do.  I'm a chef.  I know how to manage a food budget, to work with fresh ingredients, to prepare and serve healthy meals in a timely fashion.  I'm not stupid, or incapable of budgeting because I'm poor, I'm poor because I got ill and downsized and left behind because I am having a hard time getting well - not because I'm a moron when it comes to nutrition or have no idea how to boil water.

How DARE you think that you can tell me or other people on SNAP what we should or should not eat.  How DARE you think you know our personal situations, food sensitivities and local food resources that you can micromanage one of the most basic needs a human has - the necessity and comfort of control of our food.  How DARE you consistently and continually degrade us as less intelligent than you are because of our financial situations.  How DARE you think that you are the one to decide what little luxury I am allowed or not allowed based on your biased perceptions.

I drink Diet Pepsi.  It makes me feel like I'm a normal human being, not a poor schlub.  I don't DO coffee.  It's far to hot where I live to drink tea - and that doesn't have the level of caffeine my body needs to get up and get going in the society we live in.  I don't want some rip off brand adding to my self perception of a low wage loser dragging my already semi-broken spirit down - and rip off soda tastes like ass.  I don't care for things that taste like ass in my mouth, thank you.  I don't care for the looks I get with a rip off brand in my hand, or on my counter or to serve to my friends when they come over.  Shame tastes like ass, and I have enough already, I don't need you to add to it with your micromanaging food policing.

And I didn't ask for your opinion on my little luxury either.  I didn't when I was able to work - and I don't now.  I will and do eat a lot of off label things to make that $200 stretch, but I will NOT compromise on my Diet Pepsi.  My one little taste of my old life, of normality, of hope.  Hope that one day I will get better.  Hope that one day I won't need to go through the humiliation of filling out those forms again and again and again and sitting in that office and wondering if I will still be able to have ramen noodles and canned overcooked veg to go with my Diet Pepsi.

How DARE you think you have the right to take away my taste of hope because you don't approve.  How DARE you think that you can judge when most Americans are one paycheck away from where I am at any given time - I'm sure you have little things you like as well  - you may find are necessary for your self esteem should you find yourself sick, laid off and suddenly in the downward spiral of poverty yourself.  Look in a mirror and think on that a bit - you too are only a pink slip and a lingering illness from being here yourselves.

So you can have my Diet Pepsi when you pry it out of my cold, dead hands.  Until then, work to make the world a better place and stop being the damn food police.

Love,

Chef Mortifyd

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