Living small in the big city.

Before I woke up and smelled my late twenties I has a nasty little idea in my head that it is OK to be poor in NYC.

How dreadful.

Nothing is worse than being in the capital of capitalism with only a piddly chunk of loose change.

When my boss at my bar job fell into an ever-widening marijuana haze he started to hate anyone who did not bend down and kiss his ass. My guess is that he didn’t have enough sense left in him to feel anything else. My shifts were scaled back until I was counting pennies.

One might have gotten a new job, but one is not as imaginative as I. You see, instead of going through the demeaning process of looking for a similarly miserable job I pretending I was an immigrant girl living in the Great Depression. My family had sent me over to see if I could make it in New York — a little scrimping and I could surely pay for me mum’s voyage to the new land.

What this meant for my life in NYC 2008 was that I started to avoid all non-necessary spending. I didn’t eat at restaurants, stopped drinking even so much as a glass of wine with friends and spent 20 dollars at the farmer’s market every Sunday, which bought me food to stretch throughout the week. Carrot tops, radish greens, lettuce with paprika– Rachel Ray and Sandra Lee, you got nothing!

I must be honest in saying that I was also making myself loose weight for a modeling gig in Italy. The reasons for eating and living like a pauper got mushed up in my starving mind.

Was I eating less to loose weight or saving money by eating less? The answer depended on if it was a feminist or my therapist asking me that question. I’m still not sure.

During these dire times every cent that went through my paws was budgeted to stay afloat. Also let’s compound this situation by factoring the coming wedding of a good friend.

Which meant that every potential extra dollar had to go to fund the infamous bridal party dress and all the trimmings that come with the enterprise. The matrimony was great timing for the waistline, horrible for the morale.

At the wedding, the marker that I could move up to scraping from scrimping, I ate two plates of dessert and the rest of Denise’s leg of lamb to try to make back a six month calorie deficit. KeriLee pulled me away from the chocolate fountain and stabbed me with her fork to protect her plate.

My stomach was happy to be full again, but punished me the next morning by banishing the foreign substances. What is this thing called “fat”?

Since that juncture I learned the value of wealth and am now in a calculated pursuit to win my piece of the pie. During and after the destitute times I kept my situation a secret, knowing that admission might bring on reality. Until a recent conversation with my mother:

I said: “Ha, ha, hehe – it was so funny when I didn’t have enough money to eat.” My mother looked ill. If my grandmother had been alive and sitting at the kitchen table we would have had to rush her to Long Island Jewish for emergency cardiac surgery.

My mother sighed in defeat and said: “You should’a come back home for a nigh’ and eaten my food like the rest’a dem.” Meaning my two brothers and a sister who peruse my mother’s cabinets like they’re at Shop Rite: “Ma, where’s the jumbo box of RITZ?”

I had more pride than my siblings, but aside from hunger headaches, also a moral which I will pass on to you: To all those aspiring artists who want to be starving, being hungry is only fun until your stomach growls.

Blogger Bio: Lauren LoGiudice is an actor, model, performance artist, writer, host, producer, improv comedian and amateur chef. A native New Yorker—born in Queens, now living out in Brooklyn—who likes to shake the dust of the outer boroughs off to travel the world, living and working in places that range from India to Mexico to Italy. Part of the slim minority who does not like bacon, potato chips or milk chocolate. Often seen in farmer’s markets trolling for and the latest weird vegetable. Eats her greens. (