My choice to be vegan is based on many ethical and personal health reasons. But the actual 'choice' - the action involved in the 'choosing', is all about how I believe in myself enough to follow my dreams. Being TODAY who I dream to be.
Today I finally embraced the vegan in me. This vegan has been dancing around inside of me for well over a decade. I never fully cut out some things from my diet, like the choice to have cheese. I love cheese. But like most other dairy products, it doesn't like me. And it's a trigger food.
I had slowly cut eggs out of my diet also - not purposely, just stopped wanting them. And slowly with out realising it, I was living as an 'almost vegan'. Honey in my chai the only thing I was having. But I have my agave syrup now (which is yum, btw).
Today I thought I would 'label' myself vegan. December 1st 2012. I hate labels, so I'm just as happy to not be called one. BUT I have to say, when out at a restaurant or something, it's easier to say I'm a vegan, than to give a list of what I don't eat. (sometimes I have to do that anyway) After my experience yesterday (see below) I AM going to call myself vegan, to the world. Even though it's not really a big deal (or shouldn't be) to anyone but me.
Today I thought I'd be excited. Elated that I have finally 'publicly' hopped from my seat on the vegetarian/vegan fence. No, I find myself grieving, and a little fearful.
This grieving layer is not the part of me where my values/ethics and sense of wellbeing reside. The grieving and fearful part is the binging little wounded child who can't trust herself that she'll survive without her favorite comfort foods.
I'm spending most of the day reminding myself respectfully to breathe. That everything shall be okay.
By the way. Yesterday I told a friend what I was doing. Without asking me how long I'd been considering this (my ethics), without reminding herself just how much study I'd done in the past in natural therapies and nutrition (my understanding), without stopping to think what this might mean to me (my journey), I received an exclamation and a lecture on the health properties of eggs and WHY on earth would I give up such a 'gift'?
Her response surprised and saddened me. I can still feel it in my chest. (she apologised later) Because I am trying real hard to learn to trust myself around food issues (regardless of which foods I eat), and because I KNOW how much self doubt has crippled my life, I NEED to know that my friends support my choices. I need to know that they believe in me. That there wasn't a 'right' or 'wrong' to my choice. But I did get judged. I was 'told' that I was wrong.
I resolved that telling my friends isn't safe. So I was going to keep this a big secret and make sure I don't put myself in this position again.
Eating disorders are secret disorders. Most of us binge in secret, purge in secret, obsess in secret, break diets in secret. You don't really know just how much we can put away in a day, and how much of our income is spent on food and food related activities, or how much our famililes are affected by our behaviours. You don't really know how much shame we daily carry over this. Making myself as open as possible - as vulnerable as I can manage - is part of my journey to believing in myself. It's not for my friend's sake nor for your sake but for mine.