For a little over a year and a half, I skirted around the question ‘Why are you vegetarian?’ with the precision of a professional ice skater maneuvering her agile body around a host of obstacles on a slippery surface without falling once: in other words, I avoided answering the question very well.
I didn’t know how to answer it because much of it involved letting people in into a personal truth I just wasn’t ready to share.
As much as I do care about animal rights, it would be disingenuous of me to say that that was the sole reason for my conversion. [There was also the strange assertion that I cut out meat because I wanted to lose weight (laugh with me, please)]
The truth is I cut out meat so that I could be more in tune with myself and furthermore, my spirituality.
‘That makes no sense’, they’d say.
‘Let me finish’
I was in desperate need of something to ground and center me. Something that would help me heighten my awareness of being a citizen of the universe – of being even the tiniest spec in the world.
‘And what better way than to restrict the one thing you have to do every day, three times a day’
Think about it.
Every day, three times a day, I’d have to make the conscious decision to stay away from meat. I’d further have to rack my brain, and maybe even research new and fun meals for me to eat.
This may not seem to be a heightened spiritual activity but it does have its benefits. Everyday, three times a day, i was forced to be still, make a decision based on restriction, and even for a second realise that I was alive. That I exist. That the decisions I make now have a material effect on my physical, emotional and mental state of being. How exhilarating!
How many times do we forget that? How many times do we float in space and time only for us to one day realize that five months / years / decades have flown past?
It also helped me rationalise that nothing was beyond my reach! I’d strengthened my willpower by restricting what I ate and could therefore restrict or enhance the amount of time and energy I dedicate to things that devalue and enhance me as a person, respectively. If I had the willpower to stay away from meat, I had the same power to remove myself from toxic friends, relationships, and work.
I had it in me to dig deep into a strength I didn’t know I had and propel myself towards a more positive mindset riddled with self-awareness and love.
And as someone who equates cooking with love, i felt myself loving myself even more every time I made a meal specifically for me. Something that felt special and unique because it didn’t look like anything I would make for anyone else in my home or immediate circle.
I skirted around the question because I didn’t think people would understand. Do you?
Thanks for reading