Why I Stopped Being a Vegetarian After 7 Years
To become a vegetarian was an ethical choice for me and a decision of one evening.
Surprisingly enough, I managed to get through my first year of being a vegetarian with grace and full determination that it was the path for life but a few years later things started changing for me.
It was easy to stay away from meat of any kind, fish, and dairy for all those years. I was reading a bunch of literature about vegetarianism, watched documentaries, and happily followed every vegan I could find on Internet. I was head over heels for this lifestyle and just like every vegetarian and vegan I saw a better future for our existence in it.
But you see, the only vegetarians I knew were the people on Internet, the ones I followed but never talked to. Those people were miles and miles away, in other countries and parts of the world. I was living in Russian and I honestly felt like the only vegetarian in the country of 145,934,462 people which is not true of course but made me feel even more an outsider than I was my entire life.
Going out with friends became a problem…
They wanted KFC chicken… I wanted smoothie…
They wanted to barbeque red meat… I wanted to barbeque eggplant...
Over time we became like water and fire – incompatible. Even gatherings with my family could at times result in me feeling like a third wheel in this two-wheel life of others. Though it was not the worst.
The worst was when people focused their attention on my food choice, bringing all kinds of arguments to the table.
Plants also bleed, they said…
Red meat is essential for good hemoglobin, they said…
And other things like that.
Over time, I started noticing that people stopped inviting me for parties or picnics. According to their logic, since I was a vegetarian going out for a glass of beer and a bucket of chicken wings would not be fun for me.
That going out on a picnic to fire-fry meat would not be as interesting to me as sitting home munching carrot and reading novels.
Well, maybe! But I tell you this, my emotional and mental state had never been as violated as during those years of me being a vegetarian.
It was the worst feeling in the world.
I was the object of constant jokes and arguments. In the culture where food is one of the main ways of establishing connections between people, I could not make real connections with my colleagues and classmates because my choice of food was not the same.
But I am stubborn as hell, so it took me a few years of inner struggle to decide on coming back to the club of meat eaters again.
And though, I do not exclude the possibility of me coming back to vegetarianism one day again, right now I feel like a huge weight of social pressure has been lifted off my shoulders.
Socialization became easier and my food choice is no longer an object for people’s attention.
I feel like a part of this community I am living in and though I do respect and still follow some vegetarians and vegans, for myself I decided that staying a vegetarian was not good for my mental health anymore.
This is my story, a quite huge chunk of my life. Looking back, I regret nothing, and those seven years of being a vegetarian did teach me a lot about life, humanity, health, ethics, love, and spirituality.
And I believe that this choice of mine is a step back to help me take a bigger step forward.