Step By Step Vegetarian

So, I read Skinny Bitch, finally. Damn those ladies know how to make you feel like a fatass. Long story short, this former model (with a Masters in holistic nutrition) and former model agent are promoting a vegan diet, largely on the grounds of improved health and vitality. Yes they talk about the ethical treatment of animals. But more importantly, they talk about why eating meat and dairy are just plain bad for you.

It’s not as much about the ethical issues, it’s more about all the shitty chemicals that the U.S. government allows us to ingest on a daily basis (fuck the USDA, just sayin’). When I was in high school I had to read Silent Spring, and the only thing that I gathered (or at least distinctly remembered) was the concept of biomagnification, whereby chemical pesticides increase in concentration as they travel through the food chain. Now, I don’t know another single thing about biology, but the concept totally makes sense to me. If a cow eats contaminated corn and then we eat the cow’s meat, the pesticide stays in the meat, traveling through our bodies and damaging our cells, organs, and neurons.

I’m not going to keep going on about all of that, but let’s just say that I’m gonna try this whole eating healthier thing. And by healthier I mean no meat. I’m not ready for the no dairy yet. Besides, that big of a jump from omnivore to vegan would be a bit of a shock to my system. And by “a bit” I mean “completely disastrous.” As soon as I clear out all the meat I’ve already bought (1lb ground beef, 3 cans of tuna, 1/2 pack of deli turkey), I will do my best to dedicate myself to being a vegetarian.

So why post about this? I don’t know… I haven’t had anything better to write about lately? I’m going to chronicle this whole (likely) slightly painful and stressful transition. So step one? I plan on writing about all the stupid meaty cravings I have. You ready? ‘Cause this might get boring. It might get silly. It might get a little self-serving and ridiculous. Wanna hear my plan? Make the whole thing as honest as possible, just for you, my lovely readers. Real talk. Because let’s be frank, trying to become a vegetarian and convincing people you’re not a pretentious jerk is going to be a feat of hilarity, if nothing else.

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Your Mind is a Temple

 

I’m willing to bet that every woman reading this in their teens, 20s, and 30s was told at some point during her childhood that she was beautiful, unique, special, worthy, important, and/or had the ability to change the world. Whether you heard it from your parents, teachers, or other adults responsible for your upbringing, chances are that you’ve been told one or more of these things. Some girls believed it. But I’m also willing to bet that a lot of us didn’t.

You know what I think has to happen before we can achieve true self-confidence? We have to get let down enough times that, not only do we have to learn how to pick ourselves back up again, but also realize that the reason we keep getting let down is because we let our lack of self-confidence impact how we view other people. Take a serious, relatively healthy romantic (even to some extent platonic) relationship for example: If one individual has little-to-no self-confidence, she will be constantly looking for validation from her partner. When she doesn’t get that validation (because no one is able to provide that emotional support every single day – it’s draining) she starts to resent her counterpart. Resentment breeds contempt, and that’s where relationships wane and can even ultimately fail.

We learn from our mistakes, or at least that’s what they say. But I think for me I have to make the same mistake a couple of times before I get it through my thick skull that I’m doing something wrong. You gotta get your heart kicked in the ass a few times before you understand anything about love. The same holds true for understanding our own behavior, which is directly linked to our perception of ourselves.

Self-confidence is something inherent in a few people, hard-won in others, and never attainable in the select few who refuse to try. Women are generally more introspective than men (Science with a capital ‘S’ said so!), and suffer from depression more frequently. Of course those statistics could all be skewed by reporting, but I can say from my experience that I know a greater number of depressed women than men. And, as I’ve always found boys easier to get along with than girls (until I joined a sorority) I’m friends with a pretty even number of each. Women over-analyze every situation, which is the source of our confidence issues, or at least, that’s always been the source of mine.

Ladies (and I suppose gentlemen), listen carefully. No one is paying attention to the crazy shit tumbling around in your brain. You have to deal with most, usually all, of it on your own. You may one day find a partner you can share it with and who can help you deal with it (I hope we all do!), but you have to learn how to shore yourself up against your own insecurities. For me, it can’t be about getting validation from others, or even success at the things that I do. An A in a class or a job promotion isn’t going to help me overcome insecurities because I’ll constantly be looking for someone to pat me on the head and tell me I did a good job. It has to be about yanking out each one of my crippling flaws and overcoming them. I haven’t overcome every one of them yet, it’s a huge work in progress, but I have faith that one day I’ll get there. Not only will I have picked myself back up, but I will have also built something inside myself that I can look at with pride. A sort of internal temple to my awesomeness. Christian theology will tell you that your body is a temple. Yeah whatever, the body is secondary, the mind is the true temple.

 

 

Every Single Night

Every single night,
I endure the flight
Of little wings of white flamed
Butterflies in my brain.
These ideas of mine
Percolate the mind,
Trickle down the spine,
Swarm the belly swelling to a blaze;
That’s where the pain comes in,
Like a second skeleton,
Trying to fit beneath the skin.
I can’t fit the feelings in
Oh every single night’s alight
With my brain… – Fiona Apple

I effing love Fiona Apple. LOVE. I don’t care how crazy she gets or the ridiculous things she says or if she smokes too much and gets scary thin or wears an octopus on her head, I just love her. I was introduced to her last summer with Extraordinary Machine. Now the only two Pandora stations I listen to are her and Peter Gabriel. Nope, I’m not a hipster, just have a thing for art-pop, promise.

This is the first verse to the first song on her newest album, The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than The Driver Of The Screw And Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do. Quite a mouthful isn’t it? Though it has nothing on When The Pawn‘s full title, but we won’t go there. These lines, among others, have drifted around in my head incessantly the last few days. Frankly, they’re what are keeping me level.

There’s a lot going on right now, and sometimes I feel like each thought flits through my head like a bird (I’ve been watching the hummingbirds at my parents’ house the last few days). But sometimes the thoughts are more like bullets. They plow through defenses of realism and optimism and all the walls that keep my hope and positivity intact. But hey, I’ve got to keep my neurons busy, right? I have to clean up the messes I’ve made in my brain (I’d make a joke about glia here, but not everyone would get it, and those who would probably can come up with their own).

Thoughts destroy and thoughts create. Thoughts keep you down and out – until they don’t. We each live in a world inside our heads that doesn’t exist in any universe but our own singular one. Don’t get philosophical on me, I’m just trying to blog. 😉

Thoughts can be fleeting, but as we all know, ideas can change the world. My head is all wrapped up in dichotomous thoughts and I feel like I could be moving in all directions at once.

But I’m not. My feet are firmly on the ground. I know where I’m going and how to get there, I just don’t know exactly how I feel about it. I think that happens to a lot of us when we’re going through a transitional period. Some people are the exact opposite, they know their emotions without having a clue where they need to go. I’m glad I’m in the place I’m in, because it allows me to pursue my goals while figuring out things going on in my head along the way.

So as I’m walking down this solid path, I will try to predict the future, with each prediction in direct opposition with the one before it. I will continue to question myself, even as I strengthen my convictions. I’m going to be confused, and my heart will go through hell, which sucks, but at least when I’m feeling dizzy from all the thoughts, I know I can always go back to Fiona and know that I’m not alone.

UPDATE: You should watch this – http://www.upworthy.com/this-kid-thinks-we-could-save-so-many-lives-if-only-it-was-okay-to-say-4-words?c=ufb1

Incurable State of Being (?)

So, I have a problem. I admit that there is something in my life which I have little or no control over. This is a condition for which there is no medical treatment. It’s something I have to conquer personally, for you see…

I am a bitch.

Don’t worry, I’m not alone. Many women (and men) suffer from a similar affliction. But I, my friends, am a survivor. I will not let this diagnosis bring me down!

What I’m really trying to say is that bitchiness, being overbearing, even straight up bossiness is a disease of the heart. It gets into your system through poor parental mirroring, insecurity, and a cynical worldview and firmly takes root as a result of a constant need to feel more powerful than others.

Strong, independent women are often accused of being bitches, but in reality, that’s impossible because strong, independent women do not suffer from the insecurities that overtly bitchy women do. I want you to understand that being a strong, independent woman is exactly what I want to be, and being a bitch is not helping me get there.

So I’ve made myself a to-do list. I do well with lists.

1) Take a look at my bucket list I made so long ago to remember why I wanted to do all of those things and figure out whether or not they are still important to me.

2) Scrap and rewrite bucket list.

3) Read all of The Lost Art of Listening by Nichols (surprisingly helpful, as self-help books go)

4) Turn my phone off – for more than 60 seconds

5) Write here more

6) RELAX

Last night, I was told that I need to learn to let things go. I think what that means is that I need to learn to relax. I feel an overwhelming desire every moment of my life to live up to an arbitrary standard that is both amorphous and exponentially growing. I’ll never be able to reach it simply because if I keep attaining one level after another, it’ll just keep increasing to god-like proportions. And I’m enough of a bitch now, imagine if my standards for myself where that high! No. What I need is to just get happy with myself and what I CAN do.

Which is where the last and most important item on my to-do list comes in:

7) Rediscover my personal identity

No one can be happy without a good, coherent concept of themselves. So I’ve accepted the fact that I’m a bitch. In order to change that, to become a strong independent woman that won’t take bullshit from anyone, I have to understand myself. It’s a difficult proposition! Do I even want to change? Being a bitch has its advantages, namely: no one fucks with you. But there’s a way to let people know you aren’t meant to be fucked with, without demeaning the identities of all around you.

Recently I was in my sorority house and heard a sister crying loudly downstairs. My first reaction was one of rage and protection. I came downstairs and quietly asked another sister, “Whose shit do I need to fuck up?” That is one of those moments in which I felt, not like a terrible bitch who just wanted destroy a source of discomfort, but an invincible protector of my friend’s emotions. It was a natural reaction, not something I had to conjure out of thin air in an attempt to get some validation. It was real.

I have to realize that I can be powerful without exerting power over others. I can have a personal understanding of how beautiful I am without flaunting it and fishing for compliments. I don’t need to recognition, as long as I get it from myself. What a happy world I could live in if my life was lived for the pleasure of my own personal validation.

Moral of the story: be a Catwoman, not a Poison Ivy

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