Once upon a time, in a sleepy redneck slice of heaven in Nova Scotia, Canada, a new vegan was born.
(Or, mostly vegan. Maybe 95 percent. Just enough to make life manageable in a region that is a dietary wastleland for those who didn’t eat meat.)
It was maybe 2004-ish, and my then 12-year old daughter was encouraging me to take the veggie plunge, due to her sudden fascination with the documentary Supersize Me. At the time, I felt bloated, fat, pasty, unhealthy AND in need of a pet project. Her request came at a fabulous fucking moment, and starting on January 1st of that year, the entire family agreeably gave up animal products in one fell swoop.
Thus began a very interesting slice of our family history that lasted, (for three of us at least,) until life circumstances made it suddenly very difficult long about 2011. (The above-mentioned daughter has stayed mostly vegan to this very day.) I channeled my creativity and need to share into a blog called A Veg*n for Dinner. The blog ended up being modestly successful, and I loved being able to share our struggles and successes with a like-minded group of people.
And then, shit happened. Life got busy and complicated, circumstances changed and priorities shifted. My kids grew up and headed off to university. All of a sudden, I found myself in a very unhappy place. I felt like I was drifting through life without a purpose, and found myself asking the very important question, WHO AM I?
Turns out, I didn’t know any longer, and years of being whomever everyone else wanted me to be had caused my soul to get lost in translation.
Time on my hands this year enabled me to finally face head-on the lingering results of a very unhappy childhood. In fact, I was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, (PTSD.) After some amazing and intensive therapy, which included yoga, meditation, and a focus on self-care, I came to the conclusion that I needed to go back to a way of life that fills my cup, rather than empties it.
That includes not drinking or taking any kinds of drugs, because as my therapist says, “you can’t heal what you can’t feel.” (I haven’t had a drink since April 3rd, thank you very much!) Part of my recovery is to always face, name and feel both the good and the bad that comes along in life, and not to chase those feelings away.
It also means I make time every day to do things that I love, like exercise and reading. (And painting badly…because you can suck at something and still love it!)
And it also means I’m going back to eating a plant-based diet, because IT MADE ME FEEL AMAZING DAMMIT, and I’ve never been so healthy as I was during those vegan-ish years. This time around, I don’t care how many people decide they need to mock my choices, make disparaging comments or feel the need to remind me how delicious bacon it. (I was very sensitive to these types of criticism, and yes, outright bullying the first time around.)
This time, I just don’t give a fuck. And I’ve spent the last few weeks dusting off my meatless cookbooks and stocking up on gluten flour, and I’m prepared to embark on a journey back to my a time when I loved myself just a little bit more.
I started with some seitan. I do loves me some seitan…
Join me, won’t you?
~Peace and piggies,