Good November 1st to you, Zimtees!
I trust we’re all coming out of our post-Halloween sugar rush mode? (And cue the Christmas shopping madness…).
Today is a particularly special day. It seems like every day on the calendar has something it is associated with- I’m thinking mostly of all the “chocolate” days (yes, there’s a Chocolate Cake Day, a Chocolate Ice Cream Day, a Chocolate Chocolate Day). Despite these days having some obvious significance to me and to Zimt, there’s really no day more special than today- World Vegan Day. If I take a step back, and check into how I feel about it, descriptions such as “hope” and “progress” and “work” all come to mind.
It’s been over 9 years since I decided to start living vegan. I’m thankful every day that a very dark time in my life resulted in what is easily the best thing to ever happen to me. It’s helped bring me back to my true self- away from societal norms and pressures, in a number of ways. The main two that come to mind are how I as an informed child would have chosen to behave, and how I can, hopefully, raise the bar and show others how valuable this form of respect really is.
While cleaning the house, I have to have a podcast on. Or a Ted Talk. Yesterday as I was scrubbing floors, I listened to Melanie Joy explain our brains. It is fascinating to learn how simple it is to arrive to our present beliefs- to follow, to accept, to move away from our true selves. I encourage you to listen to this very well researched talk- see if it resonates with you! It certainly resonated with me- I, like most of us, just loved animals as a little kid. I would never have wanted to hurt them. But, for a few years there, I most certainly did- I used the same reasoning, as we all do: it is normal, necessary, and natural. Definitely not to make myself sound high-and-mighty, but like I said, I am thankful for every day that I am no longer in that place.
Now, my perspective can be summed up in the following quote by Kerry Wyler:
Let me clarify. I am not vegan because I “love animals”. Rather, veganism is about justice. It is not a “lifestyle choice”. It is not a “personal preference”. Veganism is not about you or me at all. It is about the fundamental right of non humans not to be used, owned, labeled, branded, enslaved, exploited, and generally commodified, to serve our interests and convenience.
That dark time in my life, when I was able to have the mental clarity to realize it, was somewhere I never wanted to go back to- ever again. And a lot of that was for me- I want to be a healthy person who can live her life to the fullest, treat her body well, and give her brain a bit of a break. But it was, perhaps even more so, for the animals. I want to be an ambassador for them. I want to inspire others to embark on a compassionate, respectful, and conscious path- veganism is a great place to start. I want to be healthy- I know others want to be healthy. Maybe if people see that I am healthy, and vegan, they will see veganism as a means to reach this goal? Maybe they will move beyond themselves, and know that this respect carries far beyond one’s own body. I hope.
Zimt is going to achieve wonderful things. We already have, but- I want big things. Although I live a life of what I would consider extreme privilege, I know that similar lifestyles are enjoyed by so few. I have a safe place to live, running water, a loving family- I have beyond the basics of food, clothing, safe shelter. So many don’t.
This past week was interesting. I found myself doing more “hands on” work that I haven’t had to do in a long time- over a year. My initial thought was, “I’ve failed. I should have set things up better.” It quickly changed. It became, “Two steps forward, one step back. Focus on the end goal.” Essentials need to be done. They are not glamorous, nor easy. But, they need to be done, because without them, we wouldn’t be able to keep building things, growing things, and we wouldn’t be able to have Zimt reach the end goal- helping those who need it most. That’s my end goal. If my end goal were to, say, be making a decent living fast, I would have quit long ago and used this university degree more efficiently.
But I’m not going to do that. I’m going to sometimes have very unglamorous days. I’m going to be thankful for a paycheque that is literally a tenth of what it would be, had I taken the more efficient route. I’m thankful for the opportunity to work with amazing people, and to grow something wonderful for those who need it most- and you better believe that animals are at the top of my list.
Happy World Vegan Day- I hope you feel hope! I feel excited.