“This beautiful creature must die
This beautiful creature must die
A death for no reason
And death for no reason is MURDER” -The Smiths
I was twelve years old when I first questioned the behaviors that I had been taught all my life. I came across a YouTube video depicting different instances of violence against animals, ranging from the merciless killing of slaughterhouses to the cruel torture of cows on dairy farms. Those images became ingrained in me. They replayed in my mind for days, even weeks. I didn’t want to keep eating what I had been told was “food,” but I was under the impression that there was no other way.
I first watched Earthlings when I was 14. To this day, it remains one of the hardest films I’ve ever watched. I couldn’t finish it in one sitting.
For the next few years, I was an on and off again vegetarian. Though I no longer “agreed” with eating animals, it was difficult at times to sustain myself with almost no prior knowledge about what to eat.
Throughout that time, I also unknowingly struggled with an eating disorder. I restricted so much of what I ate and obsessively used an iPhone app to record every bit of food that went into my body. In an effort to break the cycle, I succumbed to eating whatever I wanted again.
Maybe this was selfish. But maybe it was also what I needed at the time.
Three years later, I discovered veganism, and from then on, there was no turning back. Inspired by the vegan vlog community, I began to do all of my own grocery shopping. I cooked very basic meals for myself and found creative ways to “veganize” my favorite foods.
I admit that I struggled for a while. I found it hard to be vegan in social settings. I didn’t always feel like engaging in the dialogue about why I was vegan because frankly, I got tired of hearing the same responses. I began to resent the people around me for choosing to remain complacent.
But like most things, it gets easier.
Now, I no longer hesitate to speak up, even if it means facing the inevitable backlash that comes with it. I also realize that I can’t change every person’s mind. But that’s okay. I know that what I’m doing is the right thing, and that’s enough.