This is my personal story of my transition to a vegan life. I was in a 21 year relationship where I allowed myself to be completely co-dependent and fell into the dark abyss of alcoholism. When the relationship ended, I was forced to create a new existence for myself. It wasn’t easy, and I still struggle to this day. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy, but my struggles today are nothing in comparison to what they used to be.
On a typical day before I left my old life behind, I was at least 50 lbs. overweight. We had no heat because there was too much snow blocking the way to the propane tank, and the pipes were frozen so there was no running water. I worked when I could at a greasy diner for minimum wage and crawled into the trailer I called home at the end of the day because of the pain I was in. The trailer looked like an episode of Hoarders because I had no energy or time left over to do anything. I got my child after school in a broken down, unregistered Zephyr with no insurance, and we took empty containers to the local Laundromat to fill the jugs with water, mostly so we could flush the toilet. My husband was in jail.
The relationship I was in was all-consuming, and when it ended I was left with a shell of a person who had no idea who she was, what she liked, what she wanted to do. My previous life was defined by this other person. My coping mechanism was to withdraw from life and hide in alcoholism. It took three more years to figure out who I am and that will always be a work in progress.
I would have to say my personal journey started on Facebook. I liked Peta, The Humane Society, Best Friends, Organic Authority, Sunwarrior—the list grew from there. I started learning and getting educated on things that matter to me. It may sound silly, but just having the ability to “like” something was a beginning for me to get to know myself.
My next step was beginning to act on my new found knowledge. I became a “cheating” vegan. That is a vegan most of the time until you go out to eat with your mom or forget or don’t have time to pack your lunch for work. The cruelty and pain we inflict on animals is something I knew about for a long time, and it was my original reason to become a vegan, but I didn’t really feel empowered to do anything about it. Then I watched the video Earthlings, and in the same way you can’t unsee something, I will never ever be able to eat meat or an animal product again without feeling some sort of guilt.
For me and most other vegans, veganism is much more than just what you eat, it’s a lifestyle. Once you start, you want to do more. A few things I have incorporated in my life besides not eating animals or animal products are always taking reusable shopping bags with me and using natural cleaners like lemon, vinegar, water, or baking soda. I use rags where I can over paper towels. I haven’t bought deodorant for three years, and it doesn’t mean I stink either!
I don’t push my views on others, but my posts reflect my views and I am always met with opposition online and in person. I don’t argue and I don’t understand why they try to, but it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that I live in accordance with my values. I am far from perfect, but life is good now.
One of my favorite sayings is, “What you think about, you bring about.” And today, I have awesome kale, spinach, cucumber, tomatoes, apples, lemons, mushrooms, onion, grapefruit, oranges, etc in my fridge. I try new things. I feel good. I have a beautiful rescue dog, Rocky. I have a volunteer job at the local animal shelter. I am healthy, happy, and I have hope for a fantastic future.