Back in high school when I lacked self-esteem and didn’t know what the word confidence meant, I still saw myself as someone who was organically me. Sure, I felt that there were things about me that made the boys not look at me the way I wanted them to. I also had zero desire to change the way I was because how exhausting would that be? Trying to be someone else all the time. Nawww. Couldn’t do it. As I got older, wiser, stronger, I became even more unapologetically me. That meant losing friends and most of the time being perceived as a weirdo but I’m cool with that. If you have a choice (and you do), why not choose to live your life as authentically you as possible? That’s what I felt I was doing. Until almost a year and half ago when I watched a documentary; Cowspiracy.
The details aren’t important right now. Just know that this documentary led me down the path of questioning…
Was I living my life according to my values?
I wasn’t, but until that moment I believed that I was. I believed that I was being the only me, the most honest, organic, authentic me possible. That was true and also not true at the same time. Questioning my values about and my treatment of animals made me question other aspects of my life. It had been so easy for thirty plus years for me to ignore something that I felt so strongly about. To ignore something that when I took just a few minutes to think about it, a real talk, focused, no scrolling through Instagram think about it, I knew right away that I had been doing something I felt was inherently wrong. This led me to ask…
What other values am I ignoring?
As the weeks and months passed, I began to and continue to address that question.
Becoming vegan made me think about minimalism.
Not just minimizing stuff, but relationships, people, time. It made me question my return on time. My return on energy. Made me say no to more things. Made me say yes to more things that were important to me. Made me see the value in my own skills; confidently speaking up when I can add value and keeping quiet when I can’t.
Becoming vegan made me think about the direction of my life.
Am I living the life I want to, making choices because I want them for myself? Am I with the people I want to be with? Am I who I want to be or at least on the way to who I want to be? I’ve always felt that how I make my money is more important to me than how much money I make. Without veganism I wouldn’t have picked up on the nudge from a recent @garyvee Instagram story, which reminded me that feeling it and living it are not the same.
Becoming vegan makes me more open.
If it didn’t, I wouldn’t have been receptive to minimalism, to thinking critically about the direction of my life, to thinking deeply about the things that I say to myself over and over again but haven’t actually been living and breathing. It makes me more fearless. It makes me more inclined to do things that are uncomfortable.
Having such strong feelings, attitudes that are less popular means that I’m often under fire. I’m asked to defend my values; myself. Yah! They’re one in the same. My values ARE myself. I used to be reluctant to put them out there. I don’t attack anyone for their life choices and I don’t impose my choices on anyone else. If you ask me why I choose to live my life this way, I’ll tell you. If you throw punches, you better believe I will light you up in a millisecond. It’s easy. So easy because it’s authentic to me. I’m passionate about it because I’m passionate about me and now that I’m on this journey, I can’t imagine living any other way.