So, a year and a half ago I wrote this compelling piece on why I became a vegetarian. And I stuck to it. Well, mostly – I started eating fish again about four months in, but that’s just because sushi is just so delicious and the yam roll wasn’t cutting it. But really, I have not once regretted the vegetarian decision. It feels good to stand up and say no to something I don’t believe in, even if I am just one small person who doesn’t eat very much anyway.
But then I decided to move to Burns Lake. And realized that I actually care about what people think of me. I want to make a good impression, I want people to like me, I want to make new friends. I imagined myself going over to my new friends’ house for dinner for the first time: they set a plate of juicy steak in front of me that they’d just spent 20 minutes out in the snow barbequing, and I say, “Oh, sorry, I don’t eat meat.” And I didn’t want to be that girl. I didn’t want to be the snotty girl from the city who has all sorts of high-falutin’ ideas.
So, I decided when I moved here, I’d start eating meat again. Just a little bit. And only when served to me. And sure enough, the second day I was here, the above scenario actually happened. And instead of saying, “Sorry, I don’t eat meat,” I said, “Just a little bit please.”
Since then I’ve had a few bits of meat here and there. And I’m not sure how I feel about it. This town isn’t quite as country-bumpkin as I thought it might be. My coworkers insist that I should stick to my vegetarian ways and stand up for what I believe in. (They also won’t let me stuff or carve the turkey we’re serving at the Christmas lunch today.)
So, I’m not sure what I’m going to do about this. I’m not sure why this is even an issue for me. Most people just go ahead and eat their meat and don’t think twice. Why can’t I just do the same? Is this a matter of picking my battles? I don’t “believe in” a whole bunch of terrible atrocities that happen, but I don’t find myself doing very much about them.
What do you think? Should I eat some meat? Should I find something new to get behind? Do you eat meat?
*Illustration by the amazing Zach Bulick.