Animals have never been my thing. The closest thing I had to a pet when I was a kid were the slugs that I would jab sticks through and chase my little brother with. For like a week in preschool I wanted to be a vet when I grew up, but that’s only because my best friend said that’s the job that she wanted. I don’t hate all animals equally though. These are my top three least favorite animals:
3. Dogs- Been afraid of them forever.
2. Horses- One sneezed in my hair when I was 7 and I still haven’t recovered.
1. Anything with wings on it- Yes, even penguins.
So why, you ask, did I become a vegetarian? It all started with a freshman seminar. I somehow ended up in a class about veganism, and I didn’t realize that until my professor walked in donning a man bun and flip flops and asked us to call him by his first name, Ben. For the entire the semester, I was incredibly indignant. I refused to believe any of the bullshit propaganda that he was showing us. After seeing a chicken aspirate on its own blood, a part of me was still like, it’s just a chicken. One of my friends even brought in Chick-fil-a and ate it in class, and I gazed at him with complete admiration. On one of the last days of class, Ben asked us to convince him why veganism is stupid. My hand shot straight up. I passionately explained how I have a chronic fatigue syndrome and I needed all the energy that I could get. He paused and admitted he had never heard that argument before. I had won. 10 points for Team Meat.
As luck would fuck me, Ben came in the next day with new information. He had researched veganism and its effect on my condition, and he found that not eating meat would have anti-inflammatory properties. Still not convinced, I had to try it for myself to prove him wrong. He was right and I was livid. I felt substantially better, but I was still livid. I felt like I had lost a part of myself. I had lived my whole life with distain towards animals, and now I’m…sympathetic? I’m sparing their lives? I’m decreasing the amount of creatures that are shoved into little tiny cages to be fattened, fried, and forced into my mouth hole? I didn’t know who I was anymore. I was so embarrassed by my new restriction. I had to stop eating out with friends, in fear that they would judge me for being a vegetarian. It’s gone on long enough now that if I were to actually eat meat, it would make me sick.
I may be a vegetarian, but that does not define me. I still roll my eyes at hardcore animal activists. I still won’t watch that dog video you shared on Facebook. I still think that bacon is that of the heavens.
Please don’t judge me when I go to a sub shop and get veggies and cheese on a roll. Please don’t ask me why I’m not coming to wing night. Please don’t make a scene at Thanksgiving when I don’t eat the turkey (I’m looking at you, Aunt Joan).
Yes, that includes fish. Yes, I still eat cheese and stuff. Yes, it’s fine if you eat it in front of me.
Being a vegetarian isn’t everything people make it out to be. I’m not required to spend a certain amount of my day talking about eating meat. I didn’t sell my soul to
the devil PETA. I can go an entire week without even once mentioning what goes on in slaughterhouses. The images in the documentaries Ben made us watch are still etched into my brain. I can understand why people are moved by watching the soul of a cow leave its body as it takes its final breath, but it just doesn’t do it for me. I’m an otherwise sympathetic person, but I reserve my emotions for humankind.
Even though I’m a vegetarian, that doesn’t mean I have to identify as one. I am so much more than that. I am still the same person on the inside, there’s just less meat in there..
Image via Shutterstock