Ever since I could remember I was interested in being a vegetarian. I remember very vividly asking my Aunt why animals had to die because humans eat meat. I was about eight or nine and looking back on it as an adult I realized it was a tricky question. She told me that it was “the way it had to be right now” and to my Aunt’s everlasting credit told me that I could be a vegetarian one day when I was an adult.When I got a little older I began to realize that the characters and people that I admired didn’t eat meat. All of my childhood heroes took the pledge to be a veg and I think the message sunk in for me.
My fave childhood vegetarians:
- Layla from Sky High,
- Sam from Danny Phantom,
- Mia Thermopolis from The Princess Diaries,
- Elle Woods from Legally Blonde,
- Beast Boy from Teen Titans
- Aang from the Last Avatar.
I liked the personalities of the characters and if I’m being honest I wanted to be just like them. I liked the fact that they were taking a stand for something that they believed in and thus went against the mold. As a child one of the coolest things that you could be was a vegetarian. Despite my efforts, I wasn’t able to refrain from eating meat for too long and would always end my stint a little upset but secretly relieved my no meat phases were over.
When I turned sixteen I took myself more seriously and stopped eating meat for three years. Practically overnight, I was a strict vegetarian who didn’t eat “anything that was alive”. (Sorry Pescetarians!). I remember during the first month of vegetarianism I got really sick but, I pushed through it. Before I knew it I was a vegetarian for three years straight. Although I was happy that I wasn’t eating meat I began to rapidly gain weight. Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that I wasn’t being healthy but I felt like a martyr for the cause. It didn’t matter that I was unhealthy I was doing the right thing.
When I was nineteen I went to my brother’s graduation after a two hour flight at six in the morning. I didn’t eat for over twenty four hours and my family had decided to go to a steakhouse. For the first time in awhile I had meat again. I remember thinking that this would be the last time but it was so hard to stop. For a year I began to eat meat. I would go crazy. I was a meat fanatic. I could fuck up a cheeseburger in seconds. I started losing weight because I felt like I wasn’t holed into eating chips in order to have a meal for the day. It was great but, I felt like I lost a part of my identity. I felt bad for eating meat which was something that I was morally against.
So I went back to vegetarianism. But, I decided that I would do it differently this time around. I’ve been trying to make better choices with the food that I have been eating and have been striving to get down to a healthy weight. But, even better since I stopped eating meat I started feeling like myself again. And all of the sudden it stopped being a chore to say “no” to meat. But don’t get me wrong, I still love the taste of meat. I would never call meat disgusting nor would I judge someone for eating it. But it will never be for me again.
And that’s okay.