Yah I’m Vegan… And I don’t drive a hybrid!

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Photo by Jeffrey Valerio

Or an electric car.  Or the transit.  Or a me powered bike.  So many misconceptions when people find out that I’m vegan.  As if there is only one way for me to be vegan?!?!?  And of course the expert on this one way is going to be someone who isn’t even vegan?!?!  Or more importantly someone who isn’t even me.  Sure.  Seems legit.

The car thing is just one of them.

“Oh, okay.  You’re vegan, but you still drive a car.  So…”

Ummmmm.  TF are you even talking about?!?!  I guess because I am vegan – for the animals, for my health, for the environment or any number of reasons, which of course this ignorant mofo has already decided my reasoning without asking me…  Then it must follow that I should live off the land or only shop at farmer’s markets, also be a minimalist, zero waste and be the most perfect, angelic, green, zero carbon footprint chick ever.  That means I should not, ever drive a car, which of course is polluting and destroying the environment, ruining it for our children (well your children since I’m not having any).

Yes.  I drive a car.  A regular, old car that runs on regular, old gas.  That only recently became old enough to require emissions testing and clearly passed as I’m still driving it.

I’m vegan and I drive a car.  Because at some point most vegans were meat eaters and I’m one of them.  I would love to own a more environmentally friendly vehicle (and will in the future) but I’m not going to get rid of my car and buy a new one now because I’m vegan.  Nor would that be financially feasible and is a complete waste at this time since my beautiful Daytona is still running just fine.  Nor is it necessary as just because I’m vegan doesn’t mean it’s for or just for the environment.  And it def doesn’t mean that you get to dictate what being vegan means to me or how I choose to fit my choices into my lifestyle.

So yes mofo, I’m vegan and I don’t drive a hybrid.  TBH, my values are my own and I couldn’t give zero-er more fucks about what you think about them.

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What is comfortably uncomfortable?

Sometimes being uncomfortable is exactly what you need

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Comfortable…

Other than in reference to temperature that word doesn’t have a positive connotation for me.  Not negative either though.  Just not a word I would like to use when describing my life.  Happy.  Exciting.  Pleasurable.  I’d take either or all instead of comfortable.

Comfortable for too long of a time almost feels like complacent.  And complacent..  Well nawww, complacent just won’t do.  Comfortable would mean I have no desire to go further,  no appetite for more or thirst for something…  Something else.  Comfortable would mean that I’m content to remain in this spot.  Know this though,

I don’t associate comfortable with happiness or with fulfillment.

Comfortably Uncomfortable…

Now if I’m comfortably uncomfortable that’s a different game altogether.  It means I’m okay with the sickening, stomach dropping, most uncomfortable feeling in my current position.  More than okay with it; I revel in it.  I embrace it.  Surround it.  Inhale it till my lungs can’t hold anymore and I’m coughing and wheezing from the burn.  Because I need that discomfort.  To say to me;

“Hey J!  Are you good?  Cuz if you’re good then cool.  But we both know, you’re not good.  So next question:  What are you going to do about it?”

We’ll see then won’t we.

 

Are You Trapped???

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This idea of being trapped has been lingering around me for some time now.  I hear it mentioned more than I’d like.  Thing is, I don’t feel it.  Or at least not in the way it’s intended.

I’ve found myself in situations I’ve wanted to get out of.  Some more difficult than others but I will say that I never felt trapped by the situation.  I have felt trapped by myself.  Knowing the trapped feeling is transitional.

When I decided to study fashion arts and had to work full-time concurrently to pay for it, I made a promise to myself.

I promised myself that I would suck everything I could out of the program.  Go 200, all day, everyday, no matter the cost.  I barely slept.  I ate poorly, if at all.  I didn’t train.  But I finished with a 4.0 GPA and more importantly I was overflowing with skills and perspectives I could have only dreamed of obtaining otherwise.  And the cost?  Well the cost was 40 lbs of extra weight.  Forty pounds and I knew exactly where they came from.  Not sleeping.  Not eating.  Not training.  As my previous identity was all wrapped up in being a competitive cheerleader and training 5-6 days a week, this was hard for me to reconcile.  But I didn’t feel trapped.  No chance because nothing can hold me boss, promise.

I knew exactly what needed to be done but I also knew they were not changes I could make quickly while maintaining their longevity.  I needed to make them slowly.  I did and continue to do so.  The only reason why I’m able to do this is because I know that I am the determining factor.  I’m the only one that can allow myself to feel trapped.

This is in my bones.  I believe it in all aspects of my life; above all.

I am not trapped.  I am only caged if I allow myself to be.  The difference between where I am now and where I want to be is defined by…

How much sweat I’m willing to give.

How many tears I’m willing to shed.

How much pain I’m willing to stand.

How much work I’m willing to put out.

How much shit I’m willing to eat.

How much patience I can squeeze out of me.

I am not trapped unless I allow myself to be trapped.

And I don’t allow it.

 

How to: Patience AF

but patience is HARD

I’ve been quiet for the last little while but quiet doesn’t mean stagnant.  I’m working.  My head is down, my eyes are open, my mind is processing.

Werk.  Werk.  Werk.  Werk.  Werk.  Werk.  Every once in a while I poke my head up to take a look around.  Take a look back.  A quick check to what I’ve left behind (won’t miss you) and glance forward to make sure I’m still in line for what’s just ahead (and further still).

Promising myself that I will be patient as fuck and failing every once in a while with a volcanic eruption of anxiety prompting me to check & correct myself.  Reminding myself that…

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I’ve realized that while I’m the one in my circle that people come to when they want a raw, uncut opinion, I don’t often take my own advice.  Tried a little experiment the other day when I was feeling especially anxious and worked up about something.  I wrote down what I would say to one of my friends if they came to me in the same mental state and then made a voice recording of myself saying it.

Listening to my little rant two nights in a row was enough to kick those negative vibes.

I realized that the reason why I communicate in this blunt, tough love kind of way is because that’s the type of communication I respond to.  While it doesn’t work for everyone, a lot of people respond to it as well.  If you’re one of these people, try it.  It couldn’t hurt – just saying.

There’s something to this recording and listening to myself talk to myself as crazy as it sounds.  I’m sure I’m onto something.  In the meantime:

Werk.  Werk.  Werk.  Werk.  Werk.  Werk.

Patience.  Patience.  Patience.

Why apologize for being authentically you?

The miseducation about 30 something women

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As I’ve got a fresh new piercing and on the brink of completing my half sleeve, I recalled a comment made to me along the lines of women in their thirties having a late 1/4 life crisis scenario and rebelling against, well whatever it is they feel they need to rebel against.  Desperately attempting to feel young again.  I’m guilty of this judgement too just a few years ago and now I feel like a royal bitch (and not in that boss ass bitch kind of way) for thinking it.

I remember being at the hair salon many times in my early and mid-twenties, getting every kind of funky colour you could imagine put into my hair.  The ladies a bit older than I was at the time stank eyeing me heavy.  Mind your business boss!!!

I remember a pretty thirty something woman once.  She was getting her blonde touched up but steady creeping the pink in my hair.  Do it!!!  She hemmed and hawed for a bit and eventually went for it.  I thought to myself then,

“This poor girl.  So afraid to try something new.  Something she clearly wants.  So worried that what?  It will make her seem undesirable?”

But to whom?  And why should that matter if it feels good to you?  Yet also thinking, how lucky to feel so liberated by a single decision.  “She wants to feel young again” and now feel guilty for those thoughts.

Thirty something ladies making moves aren’t having a late 1/4 life crisis or any other fucked up label you want to put on it to make yourself feel better for your own fears and complacency.  They are coming into their own.  Accepting who the are.  Making decisions on the grounds of that zero fucks given platform necessary to create what ever happiness means to them.

They aren’t trying to be something they’re not.  They’re doing the polar opposite.  Being exactly, truly, authentically who they are.

Maybe even for the first time in their life.  Rejecting projections that were forced upon them.  Embracing that they are their own women.  Acting not without consideration to what others think but with conviction for what they think.

Unapologetically. Exactly.  Who.  They.  Are.

 

Why embrace those negative vibes???

Should it always be good vibes only though…

I had one of those moments this week.  You know the one.  Where everything seems like it’s crashing down around you and there’s no end in site.  Where everything else is forging forward and you’re left behind.

No attainable goal in sight, or there is, it’s just so far away in your eyes that it may as well not be there at all.

I was tempted to push these negative feelings away.  To pretend this wasn’t happening, to convince myself this wasn’t really what I was feeling right now.  To say, ‘calm the fuck down J; let this shit go’.  This is what I usually do because maybe if I pretend it’s not happening, then its not real.

And then I checked myself.  Nawwww.  Let’s feel this.  Let’s feel all the anxiety, pressure, frustration that is this moment.  Let’s fucking soak in it (but not drown) and feel every last sorry, uncomfortable, impossible, unbearable second of it.  Absorb it all until there’s nothing left

And use it.  As fuel.

A Plant-Based Lifestyle Starter Pack

Thinking about trying a plant-based diet?

IMG_3706When people first find out I’m vegan, the second question they ask is,

But how did you do it??

Truth is, most of it was not that difficult.  Once I was enlightened and choose not to ignore but accept my true feelings and values about our treatment of animals, I couldn’t un-see it.  Consuming animal products was over for me and there was no way to turn back.  I’ve summarized what helped me into the four tips below:

One…  Educate yourself and form your own opinions

What started this all off was watching Cowspiracy.  Watch documentaries.  There are many others; just google it or check Netflix.  Read books and articles.  Do your research but whatever you read, also have your own mind.  Consider that any piece of writing, research, content is likely biased in one direction; sometimes even scientific articles (consider who funds the research).  There are always agendas.  I accepted some things as they seem logical to me and others I may reject because I find them too extreme.  Use what works for you and if you’re undecided but want to be decided, dig deeper.

I also did Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s 30-Day Vegan Challenge.  It was a really easy way to consume a lot of helpful content in small bite-sized doses.  Each day you will receive an email with either a short article to read or Sound Cloud audio clip to listen to.  I found it much easier to consume the info this way rather than getting overwhelmed with trying to get through a book.

Two…  Plan + Prepare

You will need to have instructions and options.

Instructions

Or in other words, what will you make?  Pinterest, YouTube, even Instagram are great resources to find good and more importantly free recipes.  You don’t have to go out and spend your paper on cookbooks.  You can sometimes find author’s recipes on their blogs/Instagram accounts for free – try them out, then decide if you want to buy their books.

Options

This one’s a big one.  You may be fine with eating food just to eat it even if it doesn’t taste good, but make this as easy on yourself as possible.  Aim to make delicious food; at least at the start.  Know which grocery stores have the best and freshest produce and try to find one close to you, because you will be eating a lot of it.  See if they have a vegan/vegetarian section, if they have plant-based milks, cheeses, plant-based meats.  Visit the spice/seasoning section.  Seasonings are gold for me and there’s so many interesting varieties available – mango chipotle,  siracha lime, mediteranian sundried tomato… Check the ingredients; most of them are 100% plant-based.  Find a good health food store close to you in case you need ‘specialty’ ingredients that you can’t find at your regular grocery store like nutritional yeast or egg replacer.

Look into what vegan options are available at the places you eat out at currently and/or research places you haven’t been to before that are full vegan or have vegan options – make it a point to try them out.

Three…  Know your vices.  Be flexible.  Be kind to yourself.

Of all the things you will no longer be eating, what is it that you think you will miss the most?  Mine are cheese and baked goods.  Not that you can’t get these cruelty-free but they can be more difficult to find.  For example, I no longer get a donut or cookie when I grab a coffee from Timmies.  Which is probably good for my pocket as well as my stomach.  But I made sure to look up recipes to make vegan baked goods, I looked at which bakeries I could get them from and which grocery stores had them already prepared.  I looked up recipes on how to make my own nut cheese and I know a couple of places where I can buy some.

Know that you will slip up.

Sometimes you will forget to read the ingredients before buying something prepackaged and it turns out it had milk powder in it (sneaky fuckers).  Or you didn’t bring your own vegan treats to the party and now everyone’s eating cookies and you desperately want a damn cookie laced with cruelty.  Don’t beat yourself up about it.  Let it go and move on, you don’t have to be perfect as you are already better than you were before.

Four…  Know your why!!!

You better believe that people are going to ask you why you’re vegan and they may be judgey AF about it too.  Oh well do you wear leather?  Do you drive a car, that’s bad for the environment too.  Wasteman!  STFU.  You do not need to explain yourself to anyone. But if this is going to bother you, just be prepared with an answer.  No one can logically tell you that your reason isn’t good enough because it’s your truth.  Many times when someone pokes at you, it’s really because they want to poke at themselves.  The only person that has to live with your decision is you.  So own your truth.