That’s pretty much it. I can’t figure out what kind of skull it is – my dad found it months ago and I finally got around to cleaning it. Soaked in water to remove all fatty tissue and debris, then soaked in hydrogen peroxide to get that nice matte boney finish. Makes me want a candy cigarette, which makes sense considering they contain beef gelatin, which is partially extracted from cow bones. Of course, I will be skipping that and continuing to sip on my black coffee instead.
Over my past 8 months eating plant-based, I’ve been utterly confused by different stances, points of view, and my own personal struggles with how diet ties to identity. Seems ridiculous, right? Well it’s true. Many social interactions revolve around diet, and I’ve found some to be less than forgiving of, or just plain awkward about personal choice.
We always hear that question: Why do you have to talk about being vegan? Why does anyone have to know?
For one thing, good luck going to any restaurant, family gathering, or night out without it becoming unintentionally apparent that you do not eat animal products. Am I supposed to apologize for embarking on a new lifestyle? People who have other constructive hobbies are allowed to speak freely about them without judgment.
My hope is that one day, enough people eat plant-based that no one feels offended by that fact. Like, no one. That’s right – not even the really ignorant crowd of needlessly concerned individuals. Of course, I will be long dead before those people turn, as frankly, consuming and using animals for our gain is pretty natural and will continue to be a part of humanity for all of existence.
In fact, the above is why I struggle with titles. My older brother asked me a few months ago if I’d ever eat meat again, and I said sure, if I had my own farm (which would be pretty neat actually). The cool thing about this is that, logistically, most people do not and cannot raise and kill their own animals, myself included. Imagine how much the environment would improve if we only ate animal products processed by our own hands?
Of course this is unrealistic, but I think there is something to think about there. Do we really need fast food hamburgers, those sweet candy cigs, or the 3 pound wheel of brie I ate by myself last holiday season? These are all things that require tons of resources but take just moments to consume.
I cannot cope with the thought of shamelessly cramming a double bacon cheeseburger into my consumption trap anymore. Why? Don’t products like cheese, hamburger, and bacon taste good? Why, hell yes they do! But the more I read about the earth, humanity, and the shifts and changes we are going through, the less I can justify my meaningless and momentary pleasure.
And why are people so, so upset by others expressing these emotions of empathy and consciousness? Is it because they take it as a personal blow to their choices? Probably. But that is nothing other than projection, because honestly any reasonable plant-based eater or vegan focuses on the positive changes they can make, not on shaming others.
It’s not just projection, though. It is also because a subset of the vegan community makes people feel bad for merely existing and eating what they know. This is not fair, and this is hateful to your friends. It is just as ignorant as automatically disliking vegans. It discounts impoverished nations, people who live in food deserts in wealthy countries like the United States, people with food allergies, and people who have not been equipped with information on eating a plant-based diet.
I think our job as people is to share. Share things we like, things we learn, and share our views in this ever-changing place. If I could give people a glimpse into how easy it is to stop eating animal products, and how good it feels physically and spiritually, that is what I would share. Not share bad feelings that come from guilt, or the soul-crushing, complete obliteration of the blissfully ignorant mindset that comes with eating omnivorously – but the spike of good feelings you get when you feel the power of making a difference with your money and your time.
It’s exciting to scratch the surface of change. Of course, changing your diet is only scratching the surface. I think the reason many people don’t embark on eating plant-based is due to the overwhelming reality that most things are bad. Certain corporations are bad, people are bad, therefore why should I stop eating bacon? It makes sense, honestly, because it’s just plain easier to not try anything at all than get the flood of emotions that comes with thinking you have to change everything and fix everything yourself.
Basically, what I’m saying is this: I cleaned a skull and I don’t know what animal it is, and I am proud to continue the journey to becoming more conscious of how my decisions and money spent impacts the environment and the people and animals around me.
Time to have a good week.