Walking the walk, living my values and living a more ethical life has given me a sense of purpose and a new appreciation for life. The world really needs more compassion and love. Being vegan really isn't about me. It's the right thing to do.
My digestion improved a lot as a vegan.
My stamina and endurance has increased
I have become somewhat more assertive and have overcome some social anxiety and avoidance behaviors (I have diagnosed avoidant personality disorder). I had to speak up at restaurants to make my needs known, and come out to family and friends as a vegan. I also became passionate about animal rights activism in 2013 and did some leafleting at local colleges and high schools, and even tabled at a local college in their student Union with permission. For me this was HUGE because I am normally very shy and overwhelmed in crowds. I handed out almost 400 leaflets that day, and held interesting conversations with a few students and faculty.
That sort of confidence and passion and drive to do something beyond myself regardless of my fears led me to also finally complete college after putting it off for 17 years due to mental illness, eating disorder, alcohol abuse. I did three years of college, earned an RHIT certification, and landed a position I have coveted for years, all as a vegan. I also finally pushed to a normal weight for the first time in over six years, pushed past the point I could not get past in my eating disorder recovery before.
But It hasn't all been rosy either. I vowed to phase out having caged birds when I went vegan in 2011. Back then I had four birds. My last bird passed on in early September. I love birds but could not bear the thought of keeping them in cages anymore. Or supporting the pet trade. I still miss my beautiful bird terribly but I understand he was never "mine". I have struggled in my relationship to my partner I have been with for 18 years. I am not the same person I was when we first met. I feel like veganism has brought me back to my true self, what is really important to me and what I stand for. We have clashed in many areas as of late (such as religion, politics, animal entertainment). My partner is still an omnivore. In social settings such as work I am sometimes left out because I do not partake in the usual food gatherings, though I do bring vegan food to the ones I am allowed to. Its also very disappointing when I witness others learning about veganism but going back to eating meat and living in denial. And to know that there is still so much needless suffering going on in the world. But it helps me embrace the beautiful acts that I witness too, and appreciate the little things in life.
In the end, only kindness matters. - Jewel
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