This is Blog 2 in a 365 day series!
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Today I reminisce on January 4, 2016. The day my social conscious met my environmental conscious. I call this moment Agri-Shock. A phrase not meant in the traditional sense which is actually the name of an electric cattle prod (ironic, in a way) rather I mean it in the sense that I was awakened to the horrors of corporate farming, of agribusiness. Maybe I should title this blog Who Killed the World? (yes, a Mad Max reference. . . Im not very original). At any rate, on January 4, 2016 my eventually-soon-to-be and I watched Cowspiracy immediately following a meal of something incredibly meaty (and delicious). I cant for the life of me remember what it was, but I do remember eating an animal because halfway through the film I felt nauseous. . .both in stomach and mind. This moment of inspired vegetarianism ended in shameful failure as I met an old college friend for sushi without delay. Lets call this person Legal Regal.
Legal Regal and I met in undergrad. Two socially responsible feminists fighting injustice on campus but being met with patriarchic resistance routinely. We were self-proclaimed revolutionaries. We were transcendentalists. We were unapologetically enthusiastic in a dry humor, we curse a lot sort of way. And we eventually graduated, sharing hearts and some minor indiscretions to which we will not speak we were young 20-somethings, after all. Anyway, she ultimately flew far, far away for law school living a higher-class, movie-like lifestyle filled with stories of ostentatiously rich (sometimes pompous, but always handsome) law boys with promise of taking over mommy and daddy’s firm; always entertaining stories. I, on the other hand, flew nowhere but did drive about an hour away to pursue a Masters degree in social justice. Thats right, I have a Masters degree in Social Work. And now I’m finding any excuse to take my mind off of it. Is that wrong?
I love my job. I do. Working with children and families, advocating for the overlooked, believing in the goodness in people. . . it fuels me. But it also depletes me. Thats the honest truth that the strong, selfless “change agent” in me does not always want to admit. I deplete. But this is why I sought an outlet. Food makes me feel alive in a carefree sort of way. In a I want to do nothing but travel and eat and cook and write, sort of way. But believe me, I’m nothing fancy, as my recipes will reveal. Otherwise I would have gone to culinary school. Shit. . . I wonder if I should have gone to culinary school.
Anyway, back to my long overdue reunion with Legal Regal. We sat at my favorite sushi spot and my mind fought itself in a ridiculous tug-of-war. Order a Dynamite Roll. Don’t order a Dynamite Roll! Order more sake. Order more sake! (no tug-of-war there). One tiny roll. . .but we are fishing out our oceans! Fishless oceans by 2048! Order more sake.
I ordered a Dynamite Roll.
It was phenomenal.
Ultimately, I decided to confide in Legal Regal about my new found, environmentally conscious vegetarianism. I was nervous and I found this strange. . . I was nervous to admit that I didn’t want to eat meat anymore. . . and more nervous to admit that I had a complete and utter lack of self control. I’m worse than a part-time environmentalist, I’m a fraudulent environmentalist. I’m the Milli Vanilli of environmentalists.
But to my surprise, Legal Regal did not flinch. In fact, this person that I care so much about used to be vegetarian. . . apparently for a long time, too. Now I’m really embarrassed. How did I not know this? Either our conversations rarely veered from feminism and alcohol, or I’m also the Milli Vanilli of friends. I need to double check my active listening skills.
Her and I talked about the relief I felt by her reaction (or lack of reaction). We talked about my fear of judgement. . . because this decision isn’t meant to be a fad and it isn’t meant to be a statement. Its personal. But at the same time, I feel the need to talk about it. What’s that about?
My biggest takeaway from this conversation with Legal Regal was that people are going to criticize. People are going to question. People will scoff. Their faces will turn in disgust and confusion when you tell them you are changing your habits. When you tell them that you are no longer eating beef, they will say, well, what about the chickens? Its normal. Its going to happen. You’ll want to explain that this is but one small step leading to a series of leaps. You’ll want to explain that you are well aware of the way all creatures are suffering and the devastating impact of agribusiness. . . that you do feel guilt and shame when eating pork or salmon or turkey. That you do feel somewhat immoral for not becoming vegan with one snap of the finger. You’ll want to say a lot of things. . . but you wont, because &#%$ them. It’s normal. I can’t let that keep me from making the change and I certainly can’t let that keep me from blogging about it.
Let’s just leave it at this, and leave it at this for good, because this blog is not intended for repetitive preaching: Cowspiracy changed my perspective. . . on everything. Added a new frame of reference. Roused me. So, while we are not yet vegetarian, we are going 365 days without beef. I want to chronicle the experience the social, physical, psychological (likely frustrating), experience. These entries will be my record. 365 days of behavior change. Whats your thing? I like that.