Thursday, 16 August 2012

I must vent, apologies

I always seem to take the this blog as a way of venting, usually when I am upset or feel I cannot express myself or have exhausted all outlets.  I am a little worried that it might portray the vegan way of life as depressing, so let me just state – I have never been happier, nor more at peace with my actions and my existence than I have been since I have converted.  I believe it takes a phenomenal amount of strength to break away from normality and follow your own convictions in a world that doesn’t readily accommodate nor understand.  To do this, I have had found and nurtured an inner strength and resolute compassion for other living beings that allow me to feel a sense of almost purity in my core self.  The battle is the outer environment, but I liken it to a strong solid tree that might have to withstand varying weathers – sunny days, thundering storms, blustering winds.  Yet it remains – sturdy.  I wouldn’t have the opposite, the inverse, a life of ease but decaying and rotting from within.
I am quite a sensitive soul.  I always have been.  I am extremely in touch with my emotions to the point it can transpire I end up in little emotional wells from time to time.  What has changed however is that I am able to pull myself out of these by myself as opposed to waiting for someone to extend a hand.  I believe this strength has grown further since being vegan as I have had to take my own path and deal with the reaction from omnis I come across in life.  I have not been working the past year due to my inner ear problems, so it has been quite a private journey.  Yet the other day, I went to a wedding, where a lot of old workmates attended and I felt the need to dispel some preconceptions of vegans.  I never want to be viewed as awkward or an inconvenience.  I spent time the night before preparing food to take with me so if any stops were made on route I didn’t have to face the uncomfortable situation of having people buying McDonald’s or the like and me not eating anything as I refuse to give them my money.  It just takes a little forethought and a little consideration – which is symptomatic of the way of life I suppose, consideration.  I did get the initial questions as we stopped in a service station and I browsed through a salad recipe book and someone asked whether I could eat tuna.  So I just reeled off the list of stuff a vegan doesn’t eat, ‘No meat, fish, fowl, dairy, eggs or honey.”.  Phew.  That seemed to be the end of it but I sensed there was more that they wanted to ask.  I am very open to answering questions as I don’t preach.  So it is a nice opportunity to share information and just open minds a little, although most of the time I find myself biting my tongue.  Driving down the motorway, it’s inevitable to pass fields of cows, sheep and pigs.  Hearing “Aw, I love piglets”, and “aw look cows!” made me want to scream, but I just swallowed it down and sent them apologies for the human race and their inevitable fate where they would one day not be in the field and on someone’s dinner plate.  I did see a truck load of sheep off the slaughterhouse – which I wish hadn’t looked at because my tummy fell to the bottom of my seat.  I cannot bear to think about it those poor, beautiful babies.  This world is ruined.
The wedding itself was beautiful, though as expected it did get me thinking about my own romantic prospects.  Or lack thereof...  My stance to abstain from animal cruelty as much as possible bar living in a caravan with my own vegetables (which doesn’t sound terrible to me, in fact quite the opposite), has found me in a strange position romantically.  I have blogged in the past about omni-vegan relationships and the difficulties that can arise from this differing ethical stance.  There was an article about it this morning and naturally the anti-vegan comments have been coming in abundance.  One even likened wanting a vegan partner as being racist – HOW!?  It doesn’t do much to strengthen omni-vegan relations, all this animosity.  I don’t agree with using animals as commodities, though I am well aware that the consensus opposes this.  I have close friends that are meat eaters, who I love very much.  There are vegans that cannot abide meat eaters and some that are indifferent.  There are some that manage to work an omni-vegan partnership, and others who cannot.  Now, I have been very clear in the past blogs as to why I would prefer a vegan partner, or at the very least a vegetarian.  For me it is a question of compatibility and of shared ethics and beliefs.  It is not the inconvenience of cooking different meals or working out where to eat as these obstacles can be overcome and although a bit irritating, have a solution.  For me, it is watching the person I love, who I share my innermost self with, my body with and my life with, doing something that essentially opposes everything I stand for.  Whilst they may be considerate and thoughtful about it, in perhaps not doing it around me and trying vegan meals, it would feel like a smokescreen to me.  I know that deep down they just aren’t on the animals’ side.  I am not saying I would NEVER date an omni, but I cannot deny myself what I know I need from a partner.  This doesn’t extend as passionately to friendships, as I feel whilst I share myself with friends, it is not as intimate as a partner.  I won’t be cuddled up to my friends each night and nuzzling myself on their chest or Eskimo kissing.  They won’t be the person I speak to each night and tell about my day.  So it doesn’t have the same significance whether or not they share my ideals or not (even though I would love for all to be vegan!).  Does that make sense?  Saying that, I do find my time with my veg friends to be very relaxed and like the coming together of shared minds.  Which is indeed very comforting and it does make things feel a lot more harmonious.  Yes, harmony.  I think that is what I crave.  That feeling of peace, which whilst I have created in myself, is not reflected in the world.  So it is nice to find companions of the same mindset.  Though, I have said it before and I will say it again – there are very different vegans in the world – and not all get along!  Ah, it is quite difficult sometimes.  I wonder if I am even making sense at this point. 
It is an interesting experience being vegan in a non-vegan world.  Often challenging, but equally, if not moreso, morally rewarding.  People say to not be defined by your diet – but to me it is the most compassionate way of living, and to define yourself as a compassionate person is no fault in my eyes.  And as a vegan woman, there are few things as sexy as a man who extends his compassion to all creatures.  FO’SHIZ.  Just had to add that in!  *wink*  J

Monday, 6 August 2012

Oops, hello August!

Wow I haven’t been on here in a little while.  I have had some lovely comments coming through which has lured me back to an embarrassingly slow computer.  So thank you J
July has been a busy month for me.  I have applied to enrol on an Animal Management course, which speaks to every fibre of my being.  It would make me so happy to work with animals everyday – as heartbreaking as it will be at times.  But I like the feeling of being proactive about my passion, so this is another way in which to do so.  I could so easily see myself living on a piece of land, in a caravan, with many animal companions around me – all rescued – and all fiercely loved by myself. 
Talking of sanctuaries, last weekend I visited the vegan run sanctuary again for their fundraising weekend.  It was a fantastic experience and was amazing being around so many vegans and all the lovely babes.  I got to feed a pair of beautiful piglets – so much squealing!  Hungry little girls!  I also fell in love with an ex-battery hen who sat on my lap for a good half hour, as I stroked her and sang to her.  She had been there a few months and came in bald ... but now has new feathers growing back!  Like little teeny paintbrushes on her back.  They’re such gorgeous birds.  I have been examining the garden to try and decipher whether or not it can accommodate some ex battery hens but it doesn’t look good .... *hopes for the patch of land dream to materialise*. 
I had hoped, secretly, deep down, perhaps, to maybe find a vegan prince there but alas, that dream continues as well.  Slim pickings out there!  Slim pickings...  I have my Rosie though – who is curled up next to me as I type, purring away.  What is life without animals?
I did have a little drama whilst I was on my little weekend away at the sanctuary.  It was a camping affair so I was conserving my phone and pretty much shut myself off from the rest of the world for the weekend.  Why would I let myself deal with normality when I can run about (flip flop about..) with free running lambs, a deer and other gorgeous ones?  However, I did receive a text, after a couple of vegan ciders, and a friend’s wedding I am to attend is looming.  And there was a problem catering for me...In the end it got sorted but it got me thinking how far my line is.  What would I be willing to compromise for my beliefs?  Would I take a packed lunch all the way across the country whilst everyone else gets to eat a lovely dinner?  Or would I simply refuse?  Would it be a test of the friendship to understand that my diet is so much MORE than just that and is a way of life?  An integral part of my being?    It transpired I wasn’t to be forced to realistically considering these ideas, but it is and can be a huge deal.  Look back to my post about omni-vegan relationships.  Whilst not the sole reason for its break up, it was a contributing factor, in that I cannot see myself with a meat eater.  I live in a vegetarian household and refuse to purchase eggs, milk and cheese when doing a shop for my mum.  I just cannot bring myself to.  All I see in the cheese is a calf without its mother, with milk is a mother screaming for her baby, with eggs – the conveyor belt of death for all the unwanted male chicks.  Maybe I am being too righteous?  But I refuse now to do anything that makes me feel uncomfortable or that doesn’t sit right within myself as far as I have control.  Although I must give my mum credit as she now makes a conscious effort to buy non tested products and is embracing vegan cheese.  It’s these little acts that I truly respect and I felt my heart swell a little for her consideration. 
It’s hard not to become consumed by it all.  For the simple fact that these are LIVES of creatures that are MURDERED daily.  In horrific volumes.  How can a person expect a vegan to not become angry at this horror??  To be passive about it?  No.  Apathy is a disease of the world.  Compassion is a rarity.  Compassion that extends to animals especially.  It’s not that I don’t care about the human cause, but rather I feel that we seem to hold ourselves in such high regard that we really ought to be able to sort our stuff out on our own.  The animals?  They are the true innocents and mistreated beyond belief, and haven’t the capacity to voice in a way that ignorant humans will even listen to.  They ignore the screams and the cries.  So activists fight for those who cannot.  For the animals that are electrocuted, kicked, punched, hung upside down.  Whose throats are slit in front of each other.  Whose last moments are taken away so that humans can eat their remains.  I don’t know how many different ways I can express how truly wrong this is.  It’s simply murder!  So yeah... I will put my beliefs before most.  I will not betray those whose souls I hope are at peace and away from this hellish world.  A voice for the voiceless.  Always. 

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

My feet need some loving. 
They are rather sore.
Today I walked a good 7 miles - partly up a hill! - in preparation for a sponsored walk I am to do in just over a week now.  It is for one of my favourite animal rights organisations - Animal Aid.  I really adore this group and everything they stand for.  They peacefully campaign and put pressure on horrible groups and promote veganism and even have an ethical shop full of vegan chocolatey treats and cosmetics!  Ahhhh *swoon*.

I have been trying to get myself out there with volunteering and stumbled across the opportunity to do this and thought, why the hell not?  I am really looking forward to it.  Should fill my inner peace tank up a fair bit!  Just got to find some sponsors now!

It sadly falls on a day where there is a trip to one of my favourite places - F.R.I.E.N.D Sanctuary - a vegan run home for lots of rescued animals; piggies, cowsies, turkey, chickens, doggies, kitties and a deer to name but a few!  But I am committed to my walk now and either way, that day is a day for me to help the voiceless.  And that is all that matters.  When I went there last time, I went with my lovely vegan friend, and just had the best time.  It made my heart soar so high to see the animals free to roam around and interact with each other and see the different interspecies friendships that had developed.  The beauty in a pig's eyes is something that I have taken from that day.  You don't quite realise just how big they are!  But there is something about being around them. 

I really wish all society viewed animals not only as equals and gave them the respect they deserve, but also all species on the same level.  I hate the prejudice bestowed onto pigs because they aren't widely considered 'cute' or 'fluffy', and therefore are subject to a life as commodity and one whose death sentence has already been decided once born.  And not just pigs, all animals who are farmed for the use of humans.  What makes them different from the animals we call pets?  Nothing.  At.  All.  They are the same.  A pig is a dog is a boy.  I found this the other day, and I really really stand by it.

People need to realise what they are doing.  And make the change.  Make the connection.  All animals deserve the right to live their lives.  Not to be greeted by slaughter when a human sees fit.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Lonely vegan

I type this with difficulty as I have my little Rosie constantly headbutting my hand whilst overseeing what I am typing.  It is times like this I appreciate her company more than ever, because quite frankly, I feel so lonely.
I don't think I was prepared for the social aspects of becoming vegan.  Not only inflicted on me by society but the inner turmoil I would have to contend with in regards to those in my life.

Whilst I would never ever go back to a non-vegan life as the benefits to the world and to myself of becoming vegan outweigh any negative issues I might experience, it still does get to me every now and again.  I imagine it will be something I contend with quite regularly.

In my previous post I talked of the conflict that can arise in an omni-vegan relationship - a partnership where the two people share completely different ethics.  These problems can spill over into friendships, and whilst not as intense, for me I have found I do have to wrestle with how to conduct myself as a vegan around those whose ideals differ from mine.  I feel like I am living the truth and the rest of the meat eating world partake in a cruel, sinister, unnecessary animal holocaust that should not exist.  Anybody who buys into this world are as guilty as those with the blood on their hands.  I do not find any justification in it at all, and it is difficult to then not project these views onto those around you, your friends.  These are people who obviously have redeeming qualities to have become a friend in the first place, but it can sometimes be an elephant in the room when around them.  But I do not want to be a preachy vegan.  If it's a view on something like not liking garlic for example, someone would be able to express themselves quite freely.  But if a vegan does the same it's preaching and imposing.  And society views vegans as a group to be quite militant and judgemental and difficult to deal with, and I do not want to conform to this image.  Whilst it can be true and indeed there are many vegans who are quite negative in their approach to dealing with meat eaters, for example saying they're eating rotting corpses as their friend tucks into a beefburger.  In my eyes this doesn't achieve anything apart from hostility and forcing the friend to dig their heels in further.  People don't like being told they are wrong.  But in my own time, on my own facebook wall I will from time to time express myself.  People don't like that either.  I was told by one individual not to impose my beliefs on them..... They can sit and swivel.  All I can impose upon is somebody's conscious.  I find the defensiveness stems from a deep seated guilt that they are wrong.  But I shall delve into that another time.  The point is, from being in situations with those who lifestyles directly opposes yours makes friendships quite different.  It is hard when a strong ethical view that you are aware of everyday conflicts with the actions of those around you who you care about, and to try and disconnect that choice with the person who is your friend.  It's so hard.  I haven't yet mastered it.  But do I??  I live in a non-vegan world.  Vegans are a minority.  In real life I know 2, one fantastic girl who I've grown very close to recently, and one awesome guy who is a very supportive friend.  They are both awesome in their own right, and it is nice to have people who just 'get it'.  I notice the ease when being with my vegangirlfriend.  I liken it to a pie chart and it just feels like a huge portion of it is shaded in and understood.  A huge portion of what is important to me is shaded in and understood.  Of course after that you have to consider what else you have in common and can you form a friendship full of trust, humour, compatibility etc.  Of course being vegan doesn't guarantee this at all, another issue I have come to find. 

I have joined a few veg*n online community sites to try and find more friends with a common interest.  And though logical, it still came as a surprise that I didn't have more in common with those I spoke to as I thought I would.  Friendships are so strange.  I went to a sanctuary help out day not too long ago, and met with a group of vegan strangers.  Whilst I went with my friend so interaction with the rest was not as prevalent, I still found them to be a little..... much.  I remember listening to their conversation on the train and it just made me a little uncomfortable.  It is such a fine line.  To be honest it depressed me a little bit!  I seem to feel in the middle of these two conflicting sides - one has a ridiculously larger pool of people within for friendships/relationships but their choice to eat meat and dairy conflicts with my view to abstain from that cruelty, and the other is far far smaller but seems to include a strain of personality that conflicts with my rather inward self.  I am being very very general and painting both sides with a large, very different paintbrush - but it has let me to feel very isolated.  From both parties.  It's just people. 

Saying all this, I have a few close friends who eat meat and dairy and with them I don't have an issue at all.  I don't see them as perpetrators of the animal holocaust - they are just my friends.  I suppose that is because I truly love them, and them me.. but everyone else, I have a lot of difficulities with.  Acquanitances or those I am forced to spend time with albeit in a workplace or social situation.  I don't know how to handle it.  Either way, it is very very isolating. 

Monday, 4 June 2012

Omni-vegan relationship?

My blog has been a tad quiet for a little while, mainly due to the fact I have had some 'stuff' going on outside the world of Google - a break up.  They're never easy, they hurt and it is sad to close the book on a chapter of your life, no matter how inevitable or 'right' the decision may be.  But it got me wondering.  I turned vegan during the relationship, and whilst it didn't solely break things apart, it did pose the question of an omni-vegan relationship and how they work, if they work and can they work? 

I do think that omni-vegetarian relationships work a lot easier than perhaps a relationship involving a vegan.  This is at least how I have found things to be.  For me, when vegetarian, even though I was aware of animal cruelty in the meat industry I didn't truly know the extent of what went on to produce to byproducts of milk cheese and eggs.  Maybe I wasn't ready to know, but regardless, the depth of my knowledge and thus my anger was much less as there was less to be angry about.  I find that vegetarianism, though it can be out of concern and protest of the treatment of animals, is closer to a diet, whereas veganism is a way of life.  It is a way of being, of thinking, of considering others.  Of viewing animals and why they are here.  And this is what caused conflict in me.

When vegetarian, seeing my other half using milk, cheese and eggs didn't make my moral fibres flinch at all.  But now these actions have become hard for me to watch.  I see my friends encouraging the production by buying into the market and exhibiting a demand which just causes the industry to continue as it is now.  And even though I feel the same flinch within, to see it from someone you are in an intimate relationship with becomes a tougher demon to wrestle with.  You don't want to preach for fear of alientation, however you don't want it to continue for fear of resentment.  You love this person and they have amazing qualities yet it doesn't extend to animals.  You fight everyday against the system, against the 'normal' ideals and it almost feels like it's put to waste when you see that special person buying into the very thing you oppose.  They care about you, perhaps even have animals of their own, but cannot show that compassion to other living beings.  They are guilty of speciesism. 

Some people are able to put these aspects aside and continue a loving and successful relationship, even marriage and are able to raise children together despite these differing ethics.  Others cannot.  I am not saying the those who buy into the industry in any way are bad people, perhaps even the opposite.  These people are friends, family and partners and have amazing qualities that make you love them, and maybe that is what makes it even harder.  The fact that they are lovely and wonderful that you cannot comprehend why they won't make the change.  Why they won't live according to their good nature and go vegan.  I know it's not good to be seen as a militant vegan, if anything it puts people off.  It's good to promote by example, so for me that's trying to be the best person I can.  But I am far from perfect, and I guess I lack the ability to push aside my ethics and accept a partner that eats meat.  Some say that is a negative, others view it as something to be commended - that I am strong within my convictions and want to share them with the person I share my life with.  My veganism has become a huge part of me - I believe it was always there, I just had to find it.  So now that I have, I don't want to lose it. 

I foresee my future with someone who shares a lot of the fundamentals with me, and my ethics are a huge part of that.  I want to be able to know the person I wake up with is someone that extends their compassion to animals, that sees a pig and sees a sentient being and not bacon.  That sees a cow and sees its beauty and not a beefburger.  I want to be able to teach these values to my children, if I have any, without conflict from their father.  I want them to have that connection from an early age, and to live with that extra spark of love within them.  With the strength to follow their convictions and not apologise for it, to be surrounded by animals of different breeds and see no difference of importance between any of them.  I want them to be vegan.

So whilst it is definitely possible to have a loving omni vegan relationship, as there exists many, I don't feel it is for me.  I respect those who are able to make it work and feel they are lucky to find someone who they love so much that their differences don't split them.  But they way I feel right now, and how I've always been is quite stubborn, and compromising my beliefs is not the way I am wired.  I just have to hope my vegan prince exists, or it is a life surrounded solely by kitties and chickens and piggies for me!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Little lives and open minds

Today, whilst I was cooking, I was rudely interrupted by a teeny fly bobbing up and down around my food.  I soon found myself ushering and herding this tiny fly out like a sheepdog.  I directed it to the hallway and closed the door.  Took me all of 30 seconds.  I know most out there would not hesitate nor question the decision to clap that little fly and squish it and then would carry on with whatever they were doing that the fly's existence marred.  I recall being in high school and whilst we were waiting for our PE lesson to start, an unfortunate and misguided spider happened to scurry along.  Before I could  even protest or volunteer to scoop it up and set it free, its life had been extinguished amongst childish screams and laughter.  I still get sad about that.  To just snuff out a life.  That little spider, and the fly earlier, had every right to be bob and scurry along as I have to be here, so what gives me the authority to end its life?  What gives me the distinction above them to justify being able to hand out death?  I honestly feel they have the same right to life as me.  Humans are so incredibly pretentious to think themselves superior on this planet.  We claim ownership over the land, seas and sky, and over every other living species in this world.  Some call it evolution.  Some feel we have earned this right by forming the intelligence to build produce and distribute.  Is it really evolutionary to lose basic virtues as compassion and empathy though?  I wonder.  We have evolved to live longer and progress further.  I wonder if a long life on this planet is a blessing or a curse.  I wonder if we are progressing further or truly losing sight of what matters. 
I have started watching a couple of speeches made by people sharing the same ethics as myself.  I watch it from the other side of the fence, where the grass is supremely green, and I wonder if had I ever been a meat/corpse eater, would I have been moved by them?  I think it takes a certain sort of person to still be able to reconnect with the innocent compassionate parts of themselves and be open minded to admit that they are wrong.  I think it takes a certain strength inside to be able to realise the truth and make the change.
I am lying here, ready for bed, after having watched a particular speech by an animal rights activist called Gary Yourofsky.  It was just over an hour long, and it felt like 10 minutes to me.  It broke down the lies fed to society by the meat and dairy industries and it made me realise just how right the choice I have made is.  The choice to live in a way that causes the least harm and cruelty.  The choice to live in a way that abstains from involving myself in the needless murder of billions of animals.  I am so deliriously happy I am on the right path, and if anyone is ever so slightly curious to his words, and you have an open mind and a spare hour.  Watch it.


Friday, 11 May 2012

Kitty panic

Ah the stress of owning and obsessively loving a cat.  It's too much. 
Today my baby Rosie and I were gazing out the window at a fox, on the shed roof, eating bread.  It had a bushy tail which pleased me!  Anyway, after about 10 minutes or so, little Rosie starts heaving and I know some sick is going to make a visit, so I rush into the kitchen to fetch a towel, but am too late.  A little furball has glooped its way up and is sitting in amongst brown cat food juice on the chair.  But before I could clean that up, baby Rosie tries to jump off the chair, is all dizzy, and wobbles and falls off!  Hitting the vase of tulips on the way down and into, fortunately, my arms.  Caught my little one!  Scooped her up and popped her down and she seemed a bit fragile.  I kept an eye on her and almost immediately she was back to normal, and pretty soon after she was eating and wandering around as usual... THANK GOODNESS!!!!
But, sweet kittens, in them 10 seconds or so my panic levels had risen sky high!  Shaking, scared, worried.  ACK. 
I ended up doing a silly thing and googling what had happened, even after she had returned to her usual unsual self.  That sent me into another panic.  Talk of seizures, fits, arrrgghhhhhhhhhhhaksklnkewnwen.  But logic prevailed and I realised what had happened was she had become light headed after putting her all into vomiting.  Sigh.
I just love that kitty a crazy amount - my little pudding.  Words simply cannot explain how much I care about her.  She is my world!  A very small, black and white, pink nosed, long whiskered world.  Am still being a paranoid mummy and keeping an eye on her, just because... but she seems all good and is eating, sleeping, wandering around and wanting a good fuss.


Saying that - last night she kept me up something ridiculous!  It's that crazy Siamese blood - she cried ALL night.  Then she yelled at me from 5 am to give her some munch!!!!  I despair.  I have tried sleeping   coping through it all - but no.  All you hear is this yelling/crying/whimpering and I have to feed her and stumble back to bed.  I know I know... I have trained her badly.  She knows she will win.  But she's too damn cute >.< 

Tonight - EARPLUGS.