I’ve been going through a period of uncertainty of late, confused about what I should and should not be doing in my life. I feel now, like it has been a process of letting go what was and a figuring out of what should be.
Change doesn’t come easily for me, which is why, I think, I have found it so hard to let go of some of the things that have served me well for so long. My identity has forever been wrapped up in the fact that I focus so much on my health; I have updated anyone who will listen, on my latest exercise regime or the fad diet that I was trying. I thought that I had all the answers; that my way was only way.
Even with all of my focus being on my health, I have never been happy with what I saw in the mirror. Regardless of what the scales told me, I have never been skinny or toned or pretty enough. Regardless of trying all of the latest super foods or wonder vitamins, I have never felt the picture of health and contentment that I envisioned in my head.
I’ve had a bit of a shitty morning; a morning of self doubt, in particular with regard to my parenting abilities. Sometimes it seems like all I do it tell Grace off and sometimes it seems like all Grace does is moan. Honestly, she does not know she is born. I’m going to sound like my mother now, but when I was a kid I didn’t have a fraction of what she has.
My childhood was typically working class and whilst we didn’t go without, there was a feeling that there was a lot more out there to be had. My parents also separated when I was 12, which nowadays is the norm I know, but back then it felt like we were the exception.
Grace’s childhood, on the other hand, couldn’t be more different. My husband and I have a stable, loving marriage, having established our relationship long before she came along. We have a beautiful home, a brand new car, several holidays a year; she goes to the best school, and whilst we try not to spoil her, she never goes without. Although she’s an only child, she’s surrounded by cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents and our pet dog Barny is her shadow.
This week has been a nightmare. Let me put this statement into context; nothing serious has happened, nobody has died or anything like that, but in terms of personal growth it has been a very bad week.
I don’t know whether there was something going on with the moon and mercury was in retrograde AGAIN but I felt like I went bat shit crazy.
It started Tuesday last week with some mild moaning at work; this is not like me because I want everybody there to like me (seriously, they think I’m this mid mannered, always sunny person without a bad word to say about anyone). I tried to laugh it off but when I went to my car, already late to get Grace from school, to find that I was blocked in, I turned into Anger from Inside Out, all fire shooting from my head and shit. I’m not the most competent or confident of drivers at the best of times and no joke I was millimetres from ripping the side of my car off. Hours of manoeuvring later (OK ten minutes), I was out, only to be met with a double parking situation at the car park entrance, where I had to squeeze my 4×4 though a laughable gap (I breathed in with all my might).
So a month ago I decided to become a vegan. No, I take that back; I don’t want to subscribe to any labels…. a month ago, I gave up eating dairy. I realise that veganism is much more than not eating animals or animal products, it’s a complete lifestyle choice and I’m not quite there yet.
This isn’t a decision that I’ve taken lightly. I first went vegetarian around ten years ago but even before that, I never felt comfortable eating meat. When eating from a bone all I could see was animal and if I got a piece of gristle while chewing, I couldn’t finish my meal. I was always queasy when eating meat and could best get through a meal when it was disguised as something else or covered in a sauce. I didn’t question it though because it was all I’d ever known. Back then, being a vegetarian wasn’t as widespread as it is now and restaurants were not very accommodating, all stuffed peppers or mushrooms, ugh, I lasted a year, then ate a steak.
Then almost three years ago, on New Years day, I tentatively gave it another go, putting zero pressure on myself; just to see how I felt with a limited mean intake. From that day, I never knowingly ate meat again (there was that one time that a restaurant put bacon in my omelette…..). It was easy. It was obviously the right time for me because I have never once missed it and finding suitable replacements has never been an issue – there is so much more on the menu for vegetarians these days.