Once upon a time, I was a fairly aggressive vegetarian. Meaning that I was a vegetarian, and I was loud about it. But as I got older and the Angry Young Man drained from my veins, I dropped it. In retrospect, it’s pretty clear that my convictions about not eating animals weren’t all that sincere.
It took years for me to come back around to vegetarianism — years of relishing the taste of meat, of buying leather shoes, suede bags. But in the back of my head, always in the back of my head, was the sound of my mother’s voice. Whenever I made a wisecrack about someone, whenever I kicked someone while they were down, mom would always stop what she was doing, look me in the eyes and say, “Put yourself in their shoes, Richard.”
I took that lesson to heart, applying it to animals as well as people. I haven’t been consistently kind — far from it — but I’ve been trying a little harder lately. And this time, the impulse feels more honest, less showy than it was before.
Now, my goal is to be a fairly good, conscientious vegetarian. To eat no meat, to avoid products made from animals — clothing, furniture, whatever. And I try to get a little better every day.
But I know I’m not perfect. I still eat meat socially. There’s nothing worse than spoiling a good restaurant meal by pitching a fit because there aren’t any vegetarian options on the menu. Basically, I’m a fan of compromise: I try to be vegan at home, vegetarian elsewhere. If that’s not possible when I go out, then pescatarian. Or worse, depending on the menu. No, it’s not ideal, but I’m not much of an idealist.
As far as I’m concerned, this is a process, and as I work through it, I’ll share some of the stuff I find — the clothes, the books, the recipes, and other junk I find useful. Hopefully, it’ll serve as a record of my successes and failures and offer help to others working through these issue on their own.
If you have suggestions or comments, feel free to drop me a line.
Background image by Casey Yee.