I wrote the words of our story. Never
Thought it would mean something to any of us,
As the words flowed it all felt so clever.
I never thought I would have to adjust
When I began writing that story. We
Were still together, always together.
Still remember those times by the blue sea
When this time felt as light as a feather.
It was all so easy like one, two, three
Turns out I was naïve as you lied to
Me. You were this mastermind, so artsy.
The craft of lying as you tried to screw
But I soon found out the disgusting truth
I realized you rotted out my sweet tooth.
There are some things that you always hear when you tell someone your vegan and here is my personal list of things I hate hearing. This might be unique to myself or maybe it is something that’s pretty among us herbivores.
“How do you get your protein?”
Here’s the list of things that have protein that are PLANT based: Lentil, Quinoa, Pumpkin Seeds, Peas, Beans, Oats, Chia Seeds, Almonds, Peanut, Tempeh, Pistachio, Hemp, Brocolli, Artichokes, Sun- Dried Tomatoes, Black Turtle Beans, Chickpeas, Peanut Butter, Asparagus, Corn, Lima Beans, Potatoes, Nuts, Soybeans, and Guava.
Protein is not just milk, eggs, and meat. That’s a myth and really, it’s none of your business so please stop asking me.
“Why are you vegan?”
To be honest, this is a complicated and hard to explain answer. I’m vegan for about 110 reasons and honestly, it’s because it’s the best option for my lifestyle and health. That could be different for you but that is what the situation is for me.
“What would happen if you ate non- vegan food?”
It happens, obviously. There are somethings that you would never expect to not be vegan and then when I first went vegan, I ran into the moment of surprise every once in awhile. It happens but it’s not the end of the world, you learn and you never eat it again. That doesn’t make me a fake vegan, it just means that I make mistakes.
“It’s so annoying when vegans talk about being vegan.”
It is so annoying hearing people talk about how annoying it is. It’s a lifestyle, a diet, and a campaign that we follow so of course we’re going to talk about it. It’s something we’re passionate about. You probably have your own things that you never shut up about, you’re just upset because it goes against your lifestyle.
“So how is that vegan?”
There are many alternatives to animal products that allow us never to eat such monstrosities, Gretchen. It’s called soy milk, almond milk, tofu, tempeh, soy beans, chick peas, and really the list goes on.
“So how is that made?”
How do you make your food, Gretchen?
“I was vegan once but it made me really ill.”
There are some people where the vegan diet doesn’t work for them. It’s also very common when you’re not being healthy about it. Likelihood is, you were missing vitamins or various other things. But just because it happened to you doesn’t mean it will happen to me, okay Gretchen?
“I could never give up cheese, milk, meat, etc.”
There are alternatives to all of the above. I suggest Follow Your Heart Cheese. The milk options are endless and I’ve actually had burgers, bacon, chicken, sausage, beef, bologna, and turkey that I have enjoyed so much more than I ever enjoyed it beforehand. Stop making excuses Gretchen.
“If you hate meat so much then why do you eat that vegan stuff?”
Fun fact: Before I went vegan I disliked the taste of non- burnt beef, chicken, and steak.
But I actually did enjoy tacos, spaghetti, turkey, ham, and many other meats. But I went vegan for the animals, that doesn’t mean I hated the taste of them. I’ll admit they were great- taste wise but I didn’t want to eat them anymore. I didn’t want to be the cause of hurting them any longer.
Being vegan is pricey, how can you afford that.”
Sure, some vegan things are more expensive but if you don’t have the money for that kind of lifestyle than you can easily spend very little. Walmart, Dollar Store, Harris Teeter, and even Target all have relatively cheap options but there are always more expensive items just like some of your food is on the more expensive side.
“Vegan Food is so processed though.”
Yes, some vegan food is processed. If you’re against that lifestyle and abide by it as an omnivore than you can easily find non- processed alternatives. However, if you eat processed food and say this to me than back off because YOU’RE NO BETTER. NO DIET IS PERFECT.
“Do you mind if I eat this in front of you?”
Don’t kill an animal in front of me, Gretchen. But otherwise, have at it. I don’t care, I just don’t want it in my body.
“What about bacon?”
Vegan bacon exists.
“I don’t like vegan food.”
*Correction: You don’t like the vegan food that you have consumed thus far. There is some vegan food that absolutely sucks and then there are some vegan foods that are absolutely amazing. It’s a matter of taste and opinion.
“Do you eat fish?”
No. Look up what vegan means.
“Plants feed animals, you know?”
Congratulations, I’m not eating all of their food, my loves. I am just eating some of it.
“What do you eat?”
Food, Granola Bars, Cereal, Soy Milk, Almond Milk, Tofu, Peanut Butter, and the list goes on. I eat food, Gretchen.
“So… Basically you just eat salad?”
I can eat salad but that’s definitely not the only things I can eat.
“Tofu is so disgusting.”
There are other options besides Tofu. Besides, uncooked and unseasoned tofu is disgusting to me too. I highly suggest trying the Tofu from Noodles and Company, which is still my favorite tofu of all time.
“Are you one of those angry vegans?”
Are you gonna ask me annoying questions?
“So, are you still a vegan?”
Yes, I haven’t had a sudden personality change.
“You don’t look like a vegan?”
What does a vegan look like?
My First Crush
My first crush was this entire whirlwind. It all started back in second grade. We never even talked, just wrote messages back and forth. Whenever we wanted to talk about something important, we would use a middle man to go back and forth between each other. We had cute conversations and he was honestly the best guy for my first crush because he was such a sweet guy. I couldn’t have asked for a better guy.
What did I learn from him? I learned that you cant just have other people be involved in the relationship, it should be between the two of you. Don’t have a middle man to have conversations!
My First Love
He was easily my first love, he was not exactly the sweetest person in the world. He was just this guy that I fell in love with. We went on dates and spent so much time together and I cared about him so deeply. But we were also incredibly on-and-off, we were constantly struggling in our relationship and despite how much we cared about each other, it was clear that we were not meant to be together.
What did I learn from him? I learned that sometimes, regardless of how much you care about them, that doesn’t mean you guys should be together.
The Picture Taker
When I first started high school, I only knew like one person at the entire school so when I met him, I enjoyed the company and the friendship. But he had these moments where I didn’t think he was the best person to be around… He had incredibly angry episodes, he would be incredibly demanding masked with a caring undertone, and felt he was so much better than everyone else.
What did I learn from him? Trust my instincts. If something feels wrong then figure out why. If you need to end it then end it.
The Awkward One
This one was actually insanely soon after the first. Like within days kind of thing and I definitely don’t think I was ready to be in this relationship. The entire relationship felt wrong and he was an incredibly sweet guy and I remember this one silly string fight that we had that was so much fun but ultimately, it wasn’t right.
What did I learn from him? Don’t try and move on too quickly. Be honest with them, tell them how you feel and don’t hurt them.
The Older One
He was the older one and admittedly, he was not the oldest guy I’ve ever dated. But he was a senior while I was a sophomore and honestly, our biggest problem is that I think both of us avoided voicing our annoyances and angry moments. I never told him when I was upset with him and instead, I buried my feelings when I shouldn’t have.
What did I learn from him? Be honest when you’re upset. Don’t bury it. Just tell them and don’t pretend everything is okay when it’s not.
The Long Distance One
The reality is that our problem wasn’t long distance, it was actually just an introduction to the problem that would eventually come about. He was probably the first guy that I genuinely thought I would marry, he was my best friend beforehand and he was just this guy that on paper was my dream guy. But I realized during the long distance relationship part that I had actually clinged to him at some point, believing that I needed him in order to be happy but while I was at University, I began becoming more independent and realized that he wasn’t as critical as I once believed which caused a lot of the other issues in my relationship.
What did I learn from him? I am independent female, and nobody regardless of their relationship to me is vital to my happiness or existence. I do not need them to be okay, I am just fine on my own.
I must admit that this is not easy,
Counting the syllables like one, two, three.
Confuses me to no end as I count
On my fingers the words I am trying
To say, which happens to be this poem.
I am not sure how I feel about this.
Trying to focus on the syllables
Has become my priority. Which is
Not ideal as I like to focus on
The meaning of my words and not the form.
I have yet to reach the line count of this.
At least I have kept up with this topic
The bain of my existence is iambic.
But at least Mabry taught me a trick for
This exercise which is my saving grace.
Looks like my line count is complete, goodbye.
The cold winter air hits my skin
Though I’ve been outside for so long
That I barely can even feel it anymore.
The shadow of the statue above me
Is shading the book in my lap.
Despite the fact that the lights are
Blinding me each and every time I look up.
I’m content as I lean against the cold material,
I don’t even know what he’s made of.
All I know is that my voice is echoing
In the empty night,
The only one to hear me is Rex,
The statue who listens to me read.
I’m not sure why I feel content,
Maybe it’s the air that I can’t even feel.
Perhaps even the book in my lap
Or my voice as I am overly aware of it.
It’s not my bed that I feel most at home
Not even that house I barely know
But moments like these,
When Rex is the only one to hear
My thoughts, it’s almost as though he is my family.
Despite the fact that you can walk passed the colorful wall,
Through the alleyway between the buildings,
And directly in front to the building that I call my room.
It is not my home, despite everything.
Instead it is a spot underneath the statue,
Being protected by his strength
And invisible to all those who do not listen to his roar.
She stared at her food, calculating in her head how many calories each and every item on her plate was. Could she really afford the 500 calories that stood on her plate? It seemed like a lot, more than she could handle and she knew that working off these 500 calories would be a lot. It didn’t help that she could hear the snickers surrounding her, she knew what she was. The school’s fat girl.
When she looked into the mirror, she understood how she managed to obtain the title. Her rolls spilled out of her jeans, her shirts were either too tight or went to her knees, and her boobs were just flabby. While they had the size to be attractive, they simply weren’t because she was too big to pull them off and they honestly just looked like pathetic globs of fat adorning her body. Instead of cherishing her boob size, they were her reminder of the size that she hated.
The snickers intensified as a shadow went over her food and something dropped onto the table, the clatter of plates hitting the table and the talk throughout the cafeteria almost seemed to quiet down to watch the exchange, meaning that the person before her was likely no friend of hers, or at least somebody who was friendly considering she didn’t actually have any friends. She didn’t want to look up, she was almost afraid of the interaction that was about to happen, she didn’t want to see what was dropped onto the table because she knew it wasn’t a tray.
“Hey,” The voice was sickly sweet but she recognized it to be more sinister than upon first glance. Because the girl before her was Heather, a girl with admittedly beautiful brown hair that seemed to have almost been kissed by the sun as it cascaded down her back and she knew that the girl also was incredibly skinny. An attribute that she longed for. “You looked a little hungry, so I wanted to give this to you,” The voice continued on as she finally decided to look at what was dropped onto the table. It was one of those Hostess cupcakes, the chocolate ones with the white swirls that she often dreamed about in her sleep. “I got in the mail by mom, she thought I should have something sweet to keep in my dorm but I’m watching my figure. I don’t want to end up looking like you,” The voice was as sharp as knives and the words cut deeper than she would have cared to admit.
“No thank you,” Came her weak response, her voice quiet as she continued to keep her eyes downcast. It was safer to simply look at the plate before her, the pathetic looking broccoli being her focus.
“Oh, but sweetie. You simply look ravenous. That broccoli couldn’t possibly be enough for you, here take it,” The girl continued to encourage, picking up the cupcakes and moving them closer to her plate. “They’re really good as I’m sure you know.” The temptation was strong, the memory of the delectable chocolate and the filling that she would surely find inside was haunting her memory. Perhaps one cupcake couldn’t be too bad? So she decided to hesitantly take it, her hand reaching out to the small package as the girl before her let out a laugh.
“See, that’s why you haven’t lost any weight. You have no control because you’re simply pathetic,” The words hit home. The same words she constantly told herself was now coming out of somebody else but she simply grabbed the cupcake as she pushed her chair back quickly and rushed out of the cafeteria. She tried to run all of the way back to the dorm, ignoring her body slapping against her own flesh as she ran, not even bothering to hold her breasts to stop them from jumping up and down. They were simply a reminder of her body, she ignored Heather’s words. Trying to block them from her mind. As she reached her dorm, she stared at the cupcake as she ripped open the wrapper, the scent of chocolate hitting her nose as tears welled up in her eyes and she realized that she wouldn’t be able to simply throw it away.
She picked it up with her hands, staring at it while trying to will herself to throw it away and forget about it. Ignoring the memory of the last time she did this, when she drove by a McDonald’s and couldn’t stop herself from pulling into the drive thru to get a McFlurry. When she had come back to the dorm, she stared at it as well, trying to convince herself that the vanilla ice cream and Oreo crumbles were not worth the five pounds that would come from this decadent dessert. She had eventually thrown it away, placing it carefully in the trash can encase she changed her mind which she did. Late at night, when everyone else was out partying, she found herself staring at the trash can, laying her bed as she debated it. Did the calories really count at night? Could she eat the McFlurry and not gain anything? Or eat a stick of butter without consequence like she had watched in movies?
She wanted to be stronger, in this moment, the thing that she wanted most was to simply be stronger. She wanted to have the ability to throw away the cupcake and she wanted to go to bed not thinking about that very same cupcake and she dreaded the thoughts of debating whether or not she could fish it out of the trashcan. She hated that she knew what would happen later in the day, when she found herself lost in her own thoughts. She was weak, she couldn’t resist the temptation as she brought the cupcake to her mouth and took a small bite. The sweetness of the cupcake erupted throughout her entire mouth, and she honestly could have let out a moan of pleasure at the delectable taste. It was something that she had craved for so long. All of a sudden, she actually was ravenous and all thoughts of how many calories this cupcake was completely left her mind, as she quickly decided that she would simply deal with it at some other point.
Once she finished the cupcake, she stared at the chocolate on her hands and she felt completely disgusted with herself and it almost felt like she could feel the weight that she had gained from eating that cupcake alone. Her stomach felt full and she felt nauseated, and she could feel the hate for herself bubbling up beyond comprehension. Her mind was racing with thoughts, uncontrollable thoughts that she hated herself for having.
She thought of simply not eating for a little while, there had to be no harm is skipping a meal or two every once in awhile. She surely knew that she had skipped breakfast and lunch throughout middle school after somebody had made a comment that it seemed as though she was losing weight. But maybe skipping meals for longer periods of time could be better? But no, she thought of her relationship with the cupcake and how the moment it stood in front of her, she couldn’t even stop herself from wanting it despite the fact that it was given to her by somebody who only wanted to make fun of her.
No, that simply wouldn’t work. She was too weak but as she stared at the toilet from one of the open stalls, she knew what she had to do. It was the only one that she would be able to feel attractive, it was the only way that she could ever hope to lose weight because she knew that the diet wouldn’t work and she knew that working out was never going to happen. She would take one step into the gym, see all of the attractive and skinny people working out and immediately turn around and walk away. This honestly seemed like the best option and she knew she wouldn’t lose all of the calories from this so maybe it could work? Maybe it was healthy enough to be able to pull it off and it was only until she stopped feeling so gross.
She thought back to Heather, and how they used to be friends before college. Back when Heather was at least 100 pounds heavier and unpopular, just like she had been. They used to bond over their weight problems, joking during gym class that it was just meant for pervy gym classes to stare at girl’s boobs jumping as they were forced to jump. She remembered a conversation, right before the summer of their freshman year.
“So, I’m thinking about trying to lose weight,” Heather had whispered to her in the middle of the night during one of their famous sleepovers.
She had stifled a laugh, “Good luck with that. What are you going to do? Eat a cheerleader diet and work out?” She had asked in a joking manner, genuinely thinking it was all a joke.
“No, of course. I was doing some research and I found some information. An alternative way to lose weight, I think it’s more feasible. You can eat whatever you want and you still wont have to take all of the calories.”
“What is this miracle drug?”
She never thought Heather would actually lose the weight, she thought she had been joking and when she didn’t join her and she slowly began losing the weight, she became more confident and promiscuous until finally they were no longer even friends and in college, it was like they never even knew each other. After some time, she began joining in on the teasing and the joking.
She took a hesitant step forwards, convincing herself that it was a good idea as she knelt before the toilet and took two fingers into her mouth and shoved them until she felt herself gagging. Immediately she withdrew, questioning whether or not this was really a good idea but she wanted to go through with it, she wanted to prove that she was strong enough to do this. So, she took the two fingers once more and shoved them down her throat, ignoring the gagging sensation that went throughout her body as she felt the bile rise up her throat until finally she expelled it. She was strong enough to do this at least.