Why Vegan?

This post, by its very nature, will probably be more controversial than my trauma posts.  People seem to have more trouble hearing about veganism than trauma sometimes.  So, to start– I am not judging vegetarians or even omnivores.  I’m simply writing about my experience in case it helps others along the way.

I went vegetarian all the way back in 2009.  A friend of mine worked in what’s referred to around here as a chicken barn.  It’s actually a large, windowless metal building where chickens and chicks are caught, debeaked, often have their wings broken, and killed sometimes in gruesome ways.  My friend laughingly told me stories about how some of the chickens died.  I was horrified, and no piece of chicken has ever touched my mouth since.

That experience got me thinking about other animals who are used for food.  What made them less than a chicken?  Why was I okay to eat those but disgusted by chicken?  I didn’t look up anything about the animal food industry, but I did decide to stop eating animals one by one.  First went other poultry, then fish, then finally beef (I didn’t eat pork anyway).  By the end of that year, I decided to try one more cheeseburger just to make sure.  Literally could not keep one bite down.  It felt disgusting on my tongue and had no taste at all.  So that was vegetarianism.  All from the story of chickens in a barn.

Veganism was harder for me.  I went on and off of it many times.  Learning about the dairy industry was enough to make me detest dairy, but I still slipped up.  When I feel tempted now– and I still do sometimes– I just remind myself that that calf’s life is more important than my desire for cheese.

I am vegan because I believe it is the only way to truly respect all life.  I believe it is the most kind way of living and that it leaves a lighter carbon footprint.  It’s best for the animals, best for the planet, and best for my mind and soul.  From one tiny little chicken in a barn came a whole new lifestyle.

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I highly recommend Alicia Silverstone’s ‘The Kind Life’ to anyone interested in vegetarianism and veganism.  Interesting facts and some tasty recipes, too!

The Best Laid Plans

I got the job I really wanted.  And kept it for less than an hour.  I had been looking forward to this position, even hoping it might lead to full time one day.  My housemate, however, had other ideas.  He phoned up the temp agency, said he was my boss, and cancelled my position.  They phoned me to confirm.  With the threat my housemate poses, I had no choice but to tell them I couldn’t take the job.  I was– and remain slightly– crushed.

A funny thing has come out of this, though.  I know I’ll be ok.  Financially, things are dismal.  This job would have solved many of my problems.  It obviously isn’t possible for me to take it, though, so I’ll just have to make do with what I have.  And, for the most part, I know I can.  See, there is something resilient about the human spirit, and I can see that part of myself.  I will persevere.  In fact, I will live well.  Afterall, I am the only person who can truly ruin my life.  They will never break me.

Decisions

There are always stumbling blocks.  I am edging ever closer to the job I’m really excited about, but now healthcare threatens it.  I’m in America now, the land of horrible coverage.  Because I am well below the poverty line at this time, I qualify for what amounts to free care.  If I get this job, however, I will only qualify for reduced care.

What does that mean?  Copays on meds and doctor  visits, and a monthly insurance premium out of pocket.  Work one job, barely afford necessities.  Work two jobs, lose health coverage.  I have two chronic conditions that require expensive medication.  Neither will spontaneously go away if I get the second job.

This has me in a tizzy.  My best friend reminded me that I haven’t got the job yet, but I’m just trying to be proactive.  Too bad finding out information about copays and premiums is bloody impossible outside of the ‘enrolment period.’  America must consider itself the land of the healthy, because it’s almost impossible to afford healthcare.

Relapses

The self-injury sparked by yesterday’s flashbacks has me thinking.  I feel ashamed of the behaviour, in part because I feel I should have grown out of it by now.  I buy in to the stereotype of the teenaged girl with a razor.  But that isn’t an accurate picture of self-injury.  It comes in many forms, both genders, and a wide range of ages.  I’ve heard as young as 10 and as old as 62.

One significant problem here is that adults who self injure have very little support.  Entire treatment programmes exist for children and teens.  Adults are expected to outgrow that and magically become able to cope with stressors upon reaching adulthood.  It doesn’t quite work that way, though.  Even with a great therapist and a new bag of coping skills, I fall back on self-injury sometimes.  Maybe I always will.  I *hope* that isn’t true and that one day I’ll stop forever.  From where I sit now, though, that doesn’t seem realistic.

If you are an adult who self injures, please know you aren’t alone.  There are many of us who understand and who are riding along this struggle with you.  I wish for you peace and for the ability to learn new coping mechanisms that will ease your pain without creating more.  It’s never too late to ask for help.

Flashbacks

WARNING:  This post contains graphic descriptions of ritualistic abuse.  Read with care.

 

 

 

I *hate* when flashbacks ruin progress.  Due to some events from last night, a flashback triggered in my mind.  I found myself caged, a collar around my neck and unable to stand in the confines of what amounted to a large pet carrier.  I was a child, maybe eight or ten at the time, and completely terrified of what was happening around me.  There were other caged children in the room.  Some were completely silent, staring with empty eyes.  Others were scared and crying.  Thinking about it now, well past the flashback, it makes my stomach hurt.  I’ll never understand how people can do those things to others.

The goal, if I remember correctly, was punishment for disobedience.  The children had to prove that they were sorry through acts of self-harm.  We had to *prove* that we were sorry.  Hence the fact that my feet and arms are now covered with SI wounds.  It had been many months.  Yet here I am again, all bandaged up and feeling like an emo teen with a razor and a book of Sylvia Plath.

This flashback has left me shaken, no doubt, and it’s definitely something I’ll take to therapy.  The hard work now is to toss away the feelings and go back to life proper.  It is 2016, and I am, at least for the present moment, safe.

On a Side Note

Some things are best left static.  I tried to change the theme of this blog yesterday, to put a physical mark on the changes taking place in content.  However, I’ve circled back round to this theme.  The header is just so bloody beautiful.  Misty and cool with a hint of mystery.  And so it shall remain.

See?  Not every post on this blog will be deep and introspective.🙂

Dichotomy

That word defines my mother.  She was at once child and adult, beauty and darkness, safety and absolute danger.  Her multiplicity threw an interesting hook in to our relationship; I was more often parent to her than child.  She was very abusive to me and even moreso to my sister.  Even in her death, she left a sting.  The suicide note blamed me.

It’s taken years for me to accept that her death was not my fault but a bad choice on her part.  It’s taken years for me to learn that her treatment of me was not a reflection of me as a person but of her dealing poorly with her own Stuff.  Now, as I make changes in my life, she is on my mind.  I’m thinking of her as what she was, though: a person, separate from anyone else.

My mother had a very difficult life.  She told me in graphic detail about things that happened to her as a child.  She met my father early in her 20s.  A handsome soldier, he must have seemed heaven sent to rescue her.  She told me once he pitied her and married her for that reason.  Instead of rescuing her, though, he brought her to a cult where she was abused further and used basically as a breeder.  In an odd sense, she probably felt more wanted there than anywhere else.  Early in to it, before the serious harm would have started, the cult must have seemed like the first place to *need* her.  That breaks my heart.

She ran out of time at aged 51.  She made the decision to end her life because, if the note is to be believed, she thought I wanted her out of mine.  I had been making plans for both of us, though.  Had she just hung on a little longer, I really think things would have improved for her.  As it is, though, none of us will ever know.

New Directions

It occurs to me that, since I have started blogging again, this blog will likely take on a new direction.  I’m not the same person I was when I first started the blog, and I haven’t got the same concerns.  Back then, life was all about finishing graduate school and coping with the recently-divulged secret of my multiplicity.  Now, grad school is a distant accomplishment, and I am fully integrated.  Life has definitely changed.  Looking back at old posts, even the tone of my writing has changed.  Frightening and exciting all at once.

So what am I doing now?  Glad you asked.  Now, my life focuses primarily on bipolar disorder– something that can’t be resolved via therapy– and veganism/animal rights.  As well, I am proudly Wiccan and involve many Pagan practices in my daily life.  These are the pieces of me that remain post-integration.  I still deal with trauma flashbacks and will likely write about that subject from time to time.  It’s no longer a daily focus, though.  Now, my life is about using my beliefs to walk as gently as possible on the Earth.  I feel whole in my mind and spirit, so my focus is sharper on the causes I support.

That’s the funny thing about change– it’s ok!  We all change as life progresses, but we never lose our value.  Thanks for following along with this new leg in my journey, dear readers.  I hope you continue to share parts of your journey, as well.

Taking Chances

I’m slowly learning that taking chances doesn’t always mean failing or getting burnt.  Mercury is retrograde, which is typically a bad time to make business decisions or important changes.  Before I realised that, however, I made a request of my bosses and waited all day to see how it would turn out.  It was *amazing* news.

Taking that one chance has opened up the door to another chance that will open the door to opportunities I have been missing.  If things work out as such, some of my financial stress will be lifted, and I’ll be able to put money in to my savings account for a rainy day fund.  I won’t have to be so careful with every tiny cent.  I won’t be nearly rich; in fact, I’ll still be under the poverty line.  From taking this one chance, however, I stand to be one step closer to where I want to be.

Taking chances is so difficult.  It is also so necessary sometimes.

Hopeful

Today, I feel some hope.  This is as surprising to me as it probably will be to you, dear readers.  I’m cautious in my hope, though.  My brother-of-choice pointed out that I seem to have ‘time warped,’ and he is absolutely right.  This helps my perspective.  I can see the old tapes for what they are:  the thoughts that were meant to hold me down.  My living situation complicates things, but it doesn’t make life impossible.  I need to remember that.

Tomorrow is my job interview for the part-time position that I *really* want to get.  I tried not to get my hopes up, but they are.  To some extent, this is a good thing.  I didn’t think I’d feel hope again any time soon.  Hope I shall, though, that this job works out, that life outside of my house happens again, and that reconnecting with myself is an attainable goal.