XLVIII. Notes from a non-vegetarian- mixed-message-sending-pacifist-cynic.
Preface: In past posts I have wrote about differences - from Post “III. The Human Paradox” up until 40 posts later, Post “XLIII. Possession, Application, and Quirkiness”, in which inherent individuality was elaborated upon.
I think some of us stray away from the mainstream more than others.
I myself think I am pretty mainstream in terms of what music I listen to.
So me and so out of any concept of a normal price range for a pair of pants. Determined to save for future consumerism on a less consistent schedule of buying, they were rejected; But tis’ fine because just as oddly beautiful a pair of pants, high-waisted with a white background to a green and yellow floral print, was bought on sale, for less than half the price of the other pant.
My fashion sense is pretty different from most people I come into contact with as has been validated by recent interactions with relatives who refer to my outfits as “how Reshmi styles”, or as my father says, “you know how to carry yourself”, referring to what to the odd ensemble I literally threw on yesterday: Genie pants and an oversized printed shirt, with bangles running down one arm.
My family is also largely made of meat-eaters on both the Punjabi and Puerto Rican sides.
This is why myself prior to college, me- shying away from, but always coerced into eating meat, to myself post-college, me -full-fledged avoidance and rebuttal of aforementioned coercions, always leads to a never-ending played out topic of discussion in my kitchen: “Why is Reshmi not eating chicken/turkey/pork?” (my family doesn’t eat beef).
Self-considered “full” Punjabi, I knew that the whole Indian identity and common vegetarianism wouldn’t fly as a reason for my recent meals not consisting of meat.
India, as we all (you all) should know, is not a monolithic identity. Rather, “Indian” is a unifying identity. Within India there are twenty-eight different states and over 1500 different languages spoken.
Punjabi Sikhs tend not to be vegetarians.
I still do not call myself vegetarian but I have consciously not eaten meat in maybe a month; perhaps just short of a month.
Clearly I have not been keeping tabs on the number of days I have not eaten meat because meat is not some kind of evil, addictive, noxious substance that after having been consumed one must be de-toxed from.
My name is Reshmi, and I do not have any spiritual, religious, and/or philosophical reasons for not eating meat.
It makes sense that animals, us humans, eat other animals for nutrition. For that is biology and there is no foul play within the realms of logic.
Why have I chosen not to eat meat then?
1. Meat is hard to chew no matter how well it’s cooked. Honestly, my jaw feels like it is going to fall off every time I chew it.
2. The possibility of pieces of bone lodged in my throat is not appetizing.
3. Even if chicken was tasty, it is always because the marination and/or sauce and not the actual chicken. The meat, like “0”, acts as the place holder for tastiness to be dumped upon and therefore has no significance in my meal - in terms of taste. I am aware of the nutrients bequeathed by the skinned dude/dudette.
4. Whenever I eat meat I feel more lethargic and weighed down. However, when I refrain from eating meat, still consuming proteins in the form of lentils and beans instead, I feel more lively and light in a non-pounds-seen-on-the-scale sense.
So: I still do not call myself a vegetarian. I still eat the sauce from a meat dish. I still eat eggs. I do not mind if a spoon used to serve chicken is used to serve another non-meat dish, as long as said spoon was not inserted in anyone’s mouth and is used for the sole purpose of serving.
I am not a vegetarian and I am not trying to be rebellious, my concerned parents.
The above four reasons are cumulatively the sole explanation for why vegetables, (not raw), are now the contents of would-be-caricatured thought bubbles over my head if I were hungry.
What about other vegetarians?
Most regard poultry and beef as they would the abortion debate: It is a living thing that has died and therefore, it was living, but humans also die and it would be “inhumane” for a human carcass to be eaten- right?
I do not know, but I would answer no; not right; wrong; false.
Plants are living too because they are cell-based and breathe, no? (Rhetorical).
How do you explain the flower in full bloom in comparison to the flower(s) you have ripped from the ground in an attempt to symbolize your pacifist self?
Those dandelions in your hair are now dead, and you killed them. (It’s OK though, you didn’t eat them.)