Over the years I would say that I have had bouts of vegetarianism even veganism. The latter never lasted very long. I would last a month or so and then find myself calling K and making demands like, “If you do not come home with a cheese pizza don’t come home!” I was eating around the clock and never felt full or satisfied.
My first attempt at vegetarianism lasted several years but I really went about it the wrong way. Although I was not eating meat, I was not eating healthy. The carbohydrates flowed like water.
I credit my lack of interest in animal flesh to several experiences in my younger days. Around the age of five I witnessed my Dad stepping down out of his workshop and crushing my new kitten under foot. It was an accident and my dad felt terrible but that did not stop me from crying uncontrollably and screaming “MURDERER!!!”. Sorry Dad.
I also saw my Dad knock an opossum out of a tree with a brick and then brick it to death. I am sure he had a good reason for this but not one that made sense to me.
I once found a black snake in our front yard and ran inside to tell my mom. I was excited and a little scared. I had never seen one up close before. My Mom took a hoe and chopped off its head. I doubt I would have told her if I had known that was going to happen.
My Uncle A had a cat that had had kittens. I am not sure the reason but they were unwanted. He told the kids that he was taking them somewhere. In my mind they were going somewhere they would romp and play with balls of string and drink from endless saucers of milk. While my cousins went about their business, I followed him. He walked off a little ways into the woods and I watched him through the trees as he took each of them by the tail and bashed their heads against the nearest truck. I don’t think I ever saw him the same way after that.
My Uncle G had a chicken house and I went there a few times. It is REALLY HARD to eat chicken when you see how they are kept. I can still smell it and it has been 30 + years.
One of our relatives had felled a deer and shared the meat with our family. We ate dinner that night and it was mentioned that the meat tasted different. My Dad piped up in a jolly laugh and said “You just ate Bambi!”……. Mother?!…..Mother?!…..
Another time I was told we were going to have liver. I stated that I did not like liver and did not want to eat it. So I was given something and told it was not liver although it tasted suspiciously like liver. When I finished it after many protests, it was evidently very funny that it was indeed liver. Can you say trust issues?
I think these events not only shaped how I felt for animals but also colored my view of adults. I think I identified with the young helpless animals and wondered where that put me.
My journey has not been a straight one. There are twists and turns as I have worked out how I feel about eating meat. When it first came to my awareness and I started experimenting. I shared my views with a classmate that was quite a bit older than I was and she screamed in the middle of class that she had seen me wear leather shoes to class and that is what she really hated about these vegetarian hypocrites! Wow! I also tried to talk to people that were what I now refer to as militant vegetarians. I wanted bask in their knowledge and learn what they knew. But I was not hard core enough for them either.
I think there is a lot of coming to terms with death wrapped up in the whole meat issue. For now I feel at peace with the fact that animals die so that we may live. For that matter so do the plants the we eat. It may not be that same kind of consciousness but they do die and some studies suggest feel pain. So what’s a girl to do?
It really is about humane treatment, making sure that they have great quality of life and a painless death. I have to think this way because the whole world is not going to stop eating meat. But this clearly puts me in a camp where I can not condone animal testing, animal mills etc.
Here is the really hypocritical part. I can not stand to eat meat if it resembles a living creature. I will not eat anything “on the bone” because if I bite into it and come away with a vein, you do not want to be sitting next to me. I also can not stand the smell or feel of raw meat. It makes me want to hurl. The slippery texture of chicken really puts me over the moon. I am ashamed to say that cooked meat does not always disgust me. I salivate along with the rest of humanity.
I am hyper aware of what it is I am eating when I do eat meat and make a point to thank the animal for its life. This can get pretty complicated. Especially when I found out that there are many different cows in my burger, not just one.
All of this bellyaching is to say that I am crawling back on the veggie wagon. I will not call myself a vegetarian because I will not be scouring labels for trace amounts of animal products. Madness lies there for me. I will be fasting from flesh and doing my best to make peace with earthly existence.