The combination of these three words: Compassion, Justice, Authenticity, comes from Melanie Joy’s TedTalk on “carnism”. I HIGHLY suggest watching it.
The disturbing and wrong-in-my-guts feeling of eating animals started when I was little, as far back as I can remember, I was thoroughly disturbed by eating eggs. I was horrified by their formation, even before I knew the details and had chicken friends of my own. There was just something so wrong about it. I recall in Walt Disney World, at the character breakfasts with Chip and Dale running around, my parents for some reason were insisting I eat scrambled eggs, which were nauseating me. One of the characters came over and was trying to entice me to eat them, when they saw the struggle I was putting up, and I remember crying and refusing while being hugged by the character while he tried putting the fork in my mouth. I remember also feeling (hysterical) but a relief that I was able to illustrate just how I felt for once, as this behavior was not allowed in my home.
Milk and cheese always tasted good (well, cheese did, milk ugg I hated milk but was forced to drink 2 glasses of skim every. single.day) but I always felt hollow, bubbly, stomach pains and vaguely queasy afterwards. This continued until I left home and could make my own food choices, as differences were not allowed either.
My father was a vegetarian for 2 years, but my mother did not enhance this decision of his, nor were we allowed to all partake of it. She would make absolutely foul smelling, looking and tasting bland dinners for him, that were things like burnt broccoli, white potatoes and onions covered in cumin. I can still smell it. Because she herself did not consider alternatives or get creative with food or flex whatsoever. She wanted the crap she always ate and that was it. Totally lacking in originality or interest, back to her chips and mystery book, alone in the cold, silent, lifeless “living room”. Furnace set at 62 degrees, no exceptions.
After that, in college, I met several straight-edge people, in particular, one was my roommate. and another one I worked with in the mail room of the dorm. His name was Rich I think. He was gorgeous, these piercing dark blue eyes with black eyelashes, tall, straight posture, wore skater clothes, had XXX tattooed on his hands. He had this steady, penetrating gaze, he seemed to find me interesting too. He seemed to have many things figured out and was guiet but thoughtful, very intelligent, respectful. I often think of him. I also knew vegans at my other job – Kinko’s – one was always sniffling and under the weather. For a long time I equated veganism with him – sickly, vitamin deficient, oddly abstaining from macaroni and cheese, surely there was no harm in it?
From this period in my life, I recall eating meat very rarely. One time at the cafeteria at school I got chicken wings, due to lack of alternative interesting looking food, I liked those because I could drench them in sauce and blue cheese dressing and they tasted just like those things, I hated the taste and texture, the weight, of chicken. But this time, they were even beyond all those things and I was confronted with the reality – the wings had a couple toenails and a tiny piece of a feather sticking out of one. I was HORRIFIED and took my plate over to the cooking staff, who promptly and without being shocked – explained that “That was how they came sometimes, it’s fine”. And went about their tasks again.
Then at my next college in North Carolina, I met another XXX girl who was also a vegan. She was very interesting too and took a liking to me as well. I went over her house many times to eat spaghetti and watch movies. She had a very short haircut, many piercings, tattoos and as Rich, seemed to be very self-sustaining and strong, clear in thoughts. Straightforward. I don’t remember why I stopped hanging out with her, maybe it was just the move back to Massachusetts.
Off and on, the issues with meats would come about. Then 10 years ago my close friend very vegan for 1 year. She told me a great deal about it and I found it fascinating. But also confusing, like, how can she deal with being out in the world? What to eat? How to not overdo the carbs and get enough protein? Will you get sickly? And so on.
Then in the last few years, my meat consumption was decreased and often I have thought or said to my husband “how nice it would be to just not eat meat, don’t you think? Don’t you think it would be not only cheaper but feel better? It seems so much cleaner. No bacteria in the kitchen. No dragging myself to the kitchen to render a carcass. No sadness. No feelings of shame and remorse and worry that I have to squelch by thoughts of “but this bacon is so tasty”. The full-on knowing of what it done to there animals.
I have said it again and again…left to my own devices and when I lived alone for years, I never cooked chicken or meats, I ate a lot of eggs, a lot of vegetables, a lot of starches. I had steak from take out once a month or so and it was good, but something inside always said “oh dear” when I looked into the box. Pushing down the real feelings and stuffing myself. I would usually eat toast, sandwiches, falafel, things like that.
So then last year, I recall suggesting several times in particular – that we try no meat for a week, my husband always comes back to the “enough protein” thing and we both don’t love eating beans. So on it went. Then I hear stories of people who go vegan and get these deficiencies and all these issues digestively, but I also hear the alternative.
Then I am actually seeing veganism everywhere I look, it’s not just a coincidence. And I am so glad to see it. It makes me happy and feels free and clean. Clean from suffering andf knowing something it wrong but doing it anyways. Something has been yelling inside. I am thinking about it, it pops into my mind quite often….it is an evolving revolution….And I am following this vegan and that one and watching this documentary and have chickens of my own and read this book and follow this guy and that woman and now here I am.
This video was introduced to me by the estimable Lee Davey of the Truth About Alcohol website. Honestly, I don’t care much for dogs, as I equate dogs with humans at this point. So her parallel for me would be better served as any other animal pretty much 🙂 but this video is just well…miraculous. And we can clearly see how you can also replace the word “meat” with “alcohol”. You can definitely see the connection, how everything comes together.
Her video was very interesting, also horrible to see the factory videos. I had know most of this information, but to see it again was just unexplained. I cannot understand how people could do these kinds of jobs, just to get a paycheck. I imagine the people who do the jobs go home and watch tv and drink beer and try not to hear the screams at night. All for what. I had to really brace myself to watch the videos. I’ve actually been thinking more and more about vegetarianism and veganism, for a long time now. It’s akin to quitting alcohol, very much so, and that whole process of thinking beforehand for long times, checking in with myself while still eating meat, seeing how saying things like “I’m not eating meat this week” makes me feel etc. But just to stop this suffering, would make everything so much more worthwhile. So terrible.
-It is like last night when I watched the Amy Winehouse documentary called “Amy”. I was on the verge of tears for the entire 2 hours. Seeing her so happy, then so destroyed. With no one really helping her, with people literally ruining her. Her onstage completely trashed and helpless. I had to look away many times, as it reminded me of myself and I remember the pain so well.
-And I agree the same information can be taken towards alcohol and beyond. “Everyday we engage in a behavior that requires us to distort our thoughts, numb our feelings, and act against our core values…we don’t even know we have a choice…”
-To watch other people put meat/ alcohol into their mouths…is unsettling to say the least. I think it must be even harder on the meat side of the issue, than the alcohol side. Because I think it must be more emotional.
– Compassion, justice, authenticity – those are so crucial.
– “We pay for our carnism with our hearts and our minds”
– myths versus facts
– filters of seeing the world
On a side, much easier to digest note, something I am noticing about vegans – she/they look fantastic. Not only healthy and alive, but wow, so so much younger than they are.
Same happens with non-drinking doesn’t it.
– This new way of seeing alcoholism, well I am overtaken. It’s just been such a brighter way, I feel horrified, such an understanding, but then freed from the oppressive bubble of beliefs that are just taken as “how things are”.