Here we are.
I’ve had all day to think of what to write, and now that I’m here, I’m not sure what to say.
I’ve got a bit of a confession.
A while back, a post on Facebook had caught my eye. It was titled something along the lines of “the video the meat industry doesn’t want you to see” and it had a picture of Jared Leto (a man who looks like Jesus, basically), who is also vegan. I have to admit this picture drew me in.
So I watched the video: a detailed look inside commercial animal farming and slaughter houses. Some parts of the video were particularly hard to watch; I did cringe. I remember refusing to turn it off or to pause the images so I could compose myself, to better rid them from my mind.
I remember promptly having pork chops that evening.
I remember rationalizing my actions, the actions of those in the video. I reasoned that animals were kept that way because it was the most economical, and made millions of people like myself happy everyday.
Going Vegan for Lent has taught me that you can’t rationalize your feelings. That you can’t take the most purest expression of human nature and justify it with fancy psychological terms and types. Maybe everything can be attributed to science, societal evolution, to God, even. But it doesn’t mean that you must live your life that way.
When I made the decision to change my diet, it wasn’t a pre-meditated, planned out ordeal (though I had flippantly considered it before hand). I felt like going vegan, so I did. Perhaps it’s because I’m young; perhaps it’s because I’m pretty used to eating little. I didn’t think. Only felt.
Watching that video, it’s difficult to see why anyone would still eat animal-based products. It’s impossible to not be disturbed, to not be provoked into some sort of reflective thought.
How can I go back to living the way I did after accepting that kind of carnage?
The answer is, I won’t.
I’m not going to think the same way I did 46 days ago because I’m not the same person I was all those days ago.
I’ll resume a normal diet tomorrow, yes, as it’s a matter of convenience and consequently, in the best interest of my health. I was told that I’m apparently at risk for developing an eating disorder. I may do this all again permanently when life is more stable, and I’m able to fully embrace a vegan lifestyle–not just diet.
According to PETA, one vegan saves approximately 198 animals every year. I divided this by 364.25 days and multiplied that quotient by 46 days. The result was about 25 animals, which doesn’t feel nearly as significant.
Picture the 25 most important people in your life right now, or any situation in which you were in a group with 25 people.
Now. Imagine them all dead.
Imagine them all ripped, suckling, from their mother’s breast, thrown naked into a pin and raised on sickening growth enhancers and no-concept of nurture. Imagine them going mad, smashing their heads into the iron of their cages. Imagine ten of them dead before anyone notices. Imagine them being greeted with the sweet relief of death, yet enduring cruel minutes of throat-slitting and muscle spasms before Death ever comes.
That’s the condensed version, as I have a confession to tell.
Shortly after this, I began thinking, completely out of the blue. What if I were to write about what happened to those animals? That matured into the question of, What if I was one of those animals?
What if there was a dystopian society where cultures and supremacy had become so divided that some groups were considered not even human, below more priveledged members. For isn’t that how the majority of people think of animals, livestock? That these lower-beings were crowded like slaves, or prisoners, into filthy cages and sheltered lives. That they were cultivated and eaten, merely because they tasted good?
Just revisiting the morbid and cannibalistic thought sickens me, and I can confidently say it is one of the darkest thoughts to ever cross my mind.
I thought that if I were to write a novel under this premise that it would cause shock waves, and that I’d disgust and change the opinions of many people. I suddenly craved this controversy.
At that point, I, a very content omnivore, would be a hypocrite writing that novel. I was disappointed but couldn’t allow myself to indulge in hypocrisy.
I saved 25 animals. That IS the same as saving 25 people.
I’m a hero, guys.
Am I ever going to write that book? Nah. It’s not my place. Besides, it would never get published.
From this day on, I will acknowledge every bite of diary, egg, or meat that I take. I will feel that death, that forced sacrifice in every part of my being. This may come in the form of a prayer before every meal or a simple nod.
If you remember nothing from this poorly written post about Going Vegan for Lent, remember this: Don’t rationalize your feelings, your actions, or what ever you believe is good and evil in the world simply because you cannot care to understand it. If something is bad, do not allow yourself to be ignorant of it. If something is good, do not allow yourself to overthink it.
In the holy miracle that is Easter, allow yourself to be born again, maybe not in body, but in soul and mind.
I want to thank everyone who’s supported this journey, everyone who has stayed with me through sickness, sadness, late posts, and cupcakes. It also means a lot that I’ve saved more than one animal for every single person who’s followed me.