Hot tears scorched my face as they rolled down my cheeks. I sat there, staring, mouth agape, as the credits rolled – some sort of distant reminder that the world was still spinning, still moving, that people were still doing their thing. I could not bring myself to wipe them away. I needed to feel them. I deserved them. To not would be to do some further great injustice.
My partner had left the room, busying himself in preparing a drink in the kitchen – his way of dealing with what we had both just witnessed. All the arguments I’d heard before, all the logical deductions and trains of thoughts I’d had throughout my life came swimming into my consciousness. They’d been so uncomfortably set aside in my mind. For so long there had been this discourse between what I’d logically surmised to be right and ethical and how I’d actually behaved and the attitudes I’d projected into the world.
And for what? To fit in? It all seemed so ridiculous now. Un-real. Inauthentic. Incongruous. To hold a truth yet to ignore it. To compartmentalise in such a way.
It was in that usually festive time between Christmas and New Year of 2012. As a childless and committed couple we’d been using this time to kick back and watch film. We’d had a huge year of celebrations, graduations, weddings, birthdays and travel – lots of travel. This was meant to be our unwind. We’ll indulge in film and a few good docos. We’d seen The Cove. That was difficult enough. We’d just finished Earthlings.
Our choice to become vegetarian was easily made. No longer could we turn a willful blindness to the treatment of animals in our culture, nor deny that inner impulse towards compassion that we, as fellow animals on the Earth, seem to possess.
I recall how liberating it was – to choose to live a lifestyle in line with my inner fundamental beliefs. I’d begun living a life that was more real, less manufactured. It involved a strange kind of “coming out”, where we had to go around telling everyone we were veggo now.
I remember thinking I’d have to give up being a “foodie”. But I love food, and the food we eat, so much more than I ever did before. I have a respect for it, and I am continuing to grow and understand it more.
Two years on and I have not looked back. Not once. I’ve never missed animal flesh from our diets. The food we eat is tasty, nutritious and satiating. And once meat is removed from the menu a whole new world of flavours opens up as one seeks to focus on what else goes into a meal. I get really excited about food!