Monday, May 26, 2014

Losing my V-card

Vegetarian. That word stirs up so much emotion and controversy with so many people, it's almost sad. There are so many reasons why people change and adapt their food ideologies and why some are so passionate about what goes on their plates.

I've been living the plant-based diet lifestyle for nearly 5 years now. It began one day when I asked myself, " I really need to eat meat?" I ate beef and chicken occasionally and really enjoyed vegetarian foods and seafood so I figured, I may as well cut the land and air animals out of my diet. As I did, I educated myself about the farming industry and the hormones injected in our livestock, and that was even more grounds for me to avoid eating meat. Having an endocrine disorder already (I have polycystic ovary syndrome) I decided eating animals injected with growth hormones was not something I really wanted to do. So I became a pescatarian, eating a mostly plant based diet that included eggs, dairy, and occasionally seafood. After 2 years of that, I decided to give up the seafood as well and become a "full vegetarian."

But over the last couple of years I've waffled over the idea of eliminating eggs and dairy, or adding fish back to my diet. And in the process I've learned there is a very strange phenomenon in the plant-based community. The V-card. The vegetarian/vegan label.

It's almost comical how vegans and vegetarians chastise each other for their chosen dietary restrictions. As if someone including dairy makes them less than you. You have no right to imply you are vegetarian or semi-vegetarian if you stray away from the strict ideals of an entirely plant-based diet. What is the purpose? Don't most vegetarians and vegans choose it because it prevents animal cruelty, or it lessens their carbon footprint? So if someone makes any kind of effort to restrict their animal consumption, shouldn't it be praised instead of picked apart? 

I suppose it is inconsequential to me because I chose to eat plant based for my own health. I don't think being vegetarian or vegan makes you a special little snowflake. I don't think someone saying "oh, I'm like a vegetarian that eats fish" is an offensive way to describe being pescatarian. And I also don't feel ashamed that I want to add fish and seafood back into my diet. Because at the end of the day, my body is my temple, and what goes into it is ultimately what makes me feel best. So my imaginary V-card isn't a label I need to feel comfortable about the foods I put into my body. Call me an omnivore, tell me fish is murder, whatever. But I know that what I'm doing is what feels right to me.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Bi Visibility Day: My story.

When I was 12 years old I had my first boyfriend. When I was 13, I had my first girlfriend. In the years and relationships that followed, I struggled with a way to accept who and what I was, and it wasn't until recent years that I've allowed myself to own the title:

I am bisexual. 

And with today, September 23rd being Bi Visibility Day, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to cross an item off of my 30 before 30 list.

24. Publicly come out.

As I said, I've know since I was 13 that I am interested in both men and women. The first kiss I ever had was with a girl. Realizing the crush I had on her was equal to the crushes I'd had on boys was a strange and scary thought. We dated, in the meaningless way that preteens do, for a few months. I told one or two friends and my Backstreet Boys journal about my feelings, but not a soul else. Until that BSB journal was stumbled upon by my mother...

Her reaction, unsurprisingly, was mostly that of confusion and worry. I heard all of the classic lines, "it must be a phase," "you're confused," "just because a girl is pretty doesn't mean you want her, it means you want to be like her," "you're too young to understand..." Etc.

I was brought to a psychiatrist and I spent the entire 45 minutes sobbing and saying nothing, until he finally asked. "What happened?!?" My answer "I kissed a girl..." His advice, "there is nothing wrong with you..."

After he had a follow up session with my parents and explained to them that there was, in fact, nothing wrong with me and that I was just discovering myself, the issue was not talked about again (until later in my adult life). My attraction to both genders remained but for several years after that I only dated boys. Not out of resistance to myself but just because of the fact that the people I was attracted to were boys. I wasn't interested in any of the girls at my school (save a few fleeting crushes that hardly seemed worth the risk of pursuing). It wasn't until I left for college that I dated another girl.

This time I was older, more mature. I made a fast friend in Waco, who quickly became my best friend. We were inseparable, and she just "got" me. After 2 years of bestie-ship we suddenly and surprisingly found ourselves in a relationship. She had never been with a woman, and I hadn't been with a girl since my preteen years. We dated seriously for close to a year, and after a rough break up and several months of turmoil, we are best friends again for the last 5 years.

She discovered her bisexuality through our relationship, and a relationship is NEVER a waste of time if it helped you learn something about yourself. She has dated a couple of women (and men) since then, and is now happily engaged to an amazing woman, and I am going to be her maid of honor!

My parents have come to accept the fact, although it's not really talked about, and that will have to be okay. They love me and they have not criticized or condemned me for it. My friends are all incredibly supportive and non-judgmental. My older brother is a constant pillar of support and advice. In other words, I'm doing okay.

I  am happily in a 2 1/2 year committed, loving relationship with the sweetest most genuine man I've ever known. He knows and accepts who I am, and does not make me feel ashamed. But I am still bisexual. I hope to marry him, and have a family with him. But I will always still be bisexual. Because my identity as Bi does not mean I'm greedy, slutty, performing to impress men, crying out for attention, indecisive, or any of the negative stereotypes associated with my orientation. To call me "straight" just because I'm in a Hetero relationship would be an erasure of my identity. I am attracted to both men and women. I am bisexual. And I am proud of who I am.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

30x30: earlier running goals

I've ticked off a few of my 30x30 goals so far. Here's a recap! 

12. Do a color run/fun run

In April I went to my first Color Run with my friend Rosa.

Getting ready for go time.

Getting color-tastic!

It was a total blast!

We both decided to run/walk the course together, and ended up running much more than walking! It was exciting and so much fun! So of course, I did another!

This time I did the Run or Dye with my work friends Donna and Beth.

Team Love to the Max at the finish line.

I think fun runs/color runs etc. are an awesome way to dip your toe into the organized racing world, and it totally inspired me to run some timed races and check off more goals!

2. Run a 5k

In may I ran my first 5k. It was the Free to Breathe event in Plano, and it was my first time running an actual timed race. My goal was to run the whole thing and not come in last. And I actually did pretty well!

Finish line photo thanks to my sweet bf.

Then after my awesome 5k experience, I went even farther!

3. Run a 10k

I ran the Wounded Warrior 10k in Las Colinas in June. It was POURING rain for most of the race, and I missed the start gun because I was taking shelter in a nearby parking garage (oops) but once I got going I really kicked it's but (for a slow runner, anyway). 

Sporting my awesome finisher's medal!

So now that I've got the running bug, I'm so psyched to keep reaching fitness goals. Now I'm signed up for my first (gulp) half marathon! This New Year's Eve I'll be running the New Year's Eve half in Allen. 

Keepin' it moving! 

30 before 30

On my 26th birthday, earlier this year, I decided to take up on a recent goal-making trend. I created a 30 before 30 list: a set of 30 goals I aim to accomplish by my 30th birthday. 

While the prospect of attempting so many things is a bit scary, I'm up for the challenge of pushing myself to conquer 30 whole bright shiny and new tasks!

Here is my big scary list! 

(***=goals I've accomplished thus far)

30 before 30:
1. Lose 100 lbs and keep it off
***2. Run a 5k
***3. Run a 10k
4. Run a half marathon
5. Run a marathon
6. Attend a music festival
7. Learn (more) Amharic
8. Dance en pointe
9. Record an album 
10. Play a show
11. Complete p90x
***12. Do a color run/fun run
13. Wear a bikini (in public)
14. Partake in a dumb viral meme
15. Boudoir photo shoot
16. Go on a cruise 
17. Attend a dance workshop
18. Audition for another musical
19. Busk at a busy outdoor mall
20. Go to nursing school
21. Play a game of paintball
22. Climb a rock wall
23. Quit smoking
24. Publicly come out 
25. Ride a horse
26. Obstacle course/mudder
27. Pierce belly button 
28. Have a fun/wild adventure
29. See a drive-in movie. 
30. Get the tattoos I've wanted

As you can tell, some of these are pretty simple, while others are daunting. But everything on this list is something that will enrich my life in some way.

Blog posts for each goal to follow!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Run, baby, run!

I've always hated running. Ever since the days of 7th grade gym, being forced to run a mile in less than 10 minutes, feeling like your lungs will explode and your legs will fall off...

Well. I've just always hated it.

But I've recently been inspired to give running a fair chance. Maybe if I attempt it on my own terms, I could actually like it! So I decided to train for a 5k!

I took on the C25K (couch to 5k) app and 3 weeks into it, I'm actually enjoying myself! It's a challenge and I feel myself getting stronger each time I go a little farther. Now I think I may go all the way to 10k!

Who knew?

I'm a running tights wearing, fanny pack sporting BEGINNING RUNNER!