juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
This post discusses my choice not to eat meat. Veg*nism can be a contentious topic, so if you'll take my personal choice as judgement of your own or a reason to argue, please do skip this post and avoid commenting!

I had a bite of meet about two hours ago. It was a meat burrito which I thought was a bean burrito—thought it was long enough to chew and swallow, although to my credit it's been 12 years since I've tasted red meat and nine since I've eaten any meat at all, so it's not a favor I can pretend to recognize. In fact, the whole incident was foreign to my tongue, my body. It still doesn't make sense.

I'm a vegetarian because I believe that there is, in this current day, no moral justification for me to eat meat—I have the resources to thrive without it, and don't believe "because it tastes good" justifies an animal death, the animal abuse that goes into most meat production, or the associated health and ecological issues. It's a personal choice and I don't pretend to make it for anyone else, in part because that's not my choice to make and in part because few good things result from going down that road. I used to be more of an activist and also more careful about avoiding contamination (like animal fats, or food that's come into contact with meat); these days, in large part, being a vegetarian is simply who I am: something I do by instinct more than conscious thought, a past decision that's created current habit. I just don't eat meat.

Well I'm sure as fuck thinking about the consciousness of that habit today, because I feel like I vomiting. The response is probably more psychological than physiological—one small mouthful is probably not enough to make me sick, even after so long without eating meat, although a few more bites might be; the disturbance is in my brain rather than my stomach. To Devon I described myself as "distressed"—I'm not anxious because this isn't anticipatory, the act is finished and done; I am unsettled and stressed in memory of it.

As a vegetarian out of longtime habit, I've more than once wondered why I chose not to eat meat—why that is who I am, and if there is still sufficient motivation behind the habit—if it is, in short, still a choice. Because memories of salmon still tempt me, and because it's too easy to get trapped in, and limited by, the presumptions of habit.

When habit creates identity, however, it has a certain aspect of validity. I've sat here for a few minutes now trying to come up with some vast and meaningful conclusion, the lesson this has taught me as if it were some great thing—but at heart it's simple: meat disgusts and sickens me*. I chose not to eat it for moral reasons and I still stand by those, but the choice has also become as innate a part of my personality as any other aspect could be—and even if it's something I sometimes take for granted, it is not an aspect that is weak or fleeting, but is rather so strong that betraying it makes me ill.

Because my upset tummy isn't improving.

Having reaffirmed that habit as a choice, I think I shall try to forget this whole episode. There's a certain comfort in the reassurance but the whole thing is still so unsettling that I would prefer just to be done with it.

* Not a valid explanation for every belief and behavior, but when it involves a dietary choice rather than something like social prejudice, I think it's fine.

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juushika

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