If I had a dime for every time someone said to me “You need to eat a cheeseburger” – I’d have a fuck ton of dimes. Today however, someone said it to me and he wasn’t trying to tell me I was too skinny – he was trying to tell me that my body was waging a war on itself because I wasn’t feeding it what it needed. And it needed meat – specifically red meat. I burst into tears. I have been vegan for two years and hadn’t had anything but chicken or fish before that for about six to eight years – barring the occasional cheeseburger someone could always talk me into. I grew up eating meat. I probably ate a cow a week. We ate veal when I was six. But then I had a pot bellied pig named Elvis so the pork had to go. And then I hugged a cow so that had to go. And then someone I lived with went vegan so I thought – fuck it, I’ll go full V. I had terrible cholesterol anyway so why not give up the cheese and dairy. I really enjoy being vegan – but it’s not an easy life to feed.
It’s been a really interesting two years. The first year I never felt better. But damn this second year has been weird. I have a lot of anxiety I’m not sure I had before and I’ve had a lot of problems with my back not to mention the kidney thing and the appendix thing. If you haven’t been paying attention I celery juiced myself into a kidney infection and my appendix basically exploded in a fit of rage about six months ago. And I’m in really good shape.
Now if you know me, you know that when I get a new idea in my head I dive 100 percent into it. Three weeks ago after I couldn’t get up off the couch without screaming, I read a book that I believed healed my back overnight. I even went skiing for the first time the next day. Boom – it worked. But then the kidney thing happened and when I was done with the antibiotics – I still had weird pains in my back. I really didn’t feel – RIGHT. I knew I needed to see someone. Maybe just find out that my back was structurally sound because it just keeps getting worse. My back is ALWAYS sore. I don’t remember the last time I woke up and felt – good.
My friend Dan had a terrible back problem that basically crippled him and he had been telling me about this magic man who fixed him, for years. A body therapist so to speak. I remembered that the last time I did Ayahuasca – the therapist recommended that I get some body work done to release all the shit I had brought up. I had completely forgotten about this. I texted Dan. “Yeah he’s amazing. Unfortunately there’s a six week wait to see him.” But he called for me and I got a call back an hour later from his equally magical assistant who said – “I don’t know how this happened but there’s a cancellation. He can see you tomorrow.”
The minute he sat across from me and said “What are we feeling?” I burst into tears. Shit. This isn’t going well. I pulled myself together and gave him a little bit of my history about the past year and told him that I just didn’t feel right. It had just been one thing after another and I truly felt like I was taking all my anxiety and stress and holding onto it very deeply in my body. What am I so stressed about you ask? Honestly – I just spend too much time with myself lately. Not going to a 9-5 job will do that to you. Most people act and or write so that they can escape their crazy introverted extroverted minds. While everyone else was working all day – my mind had been spinning for two years in between small projects. And I know how to spin like a master. But – I digress.
“Okay, let’s take a look” he said moments after I arrived. I got on the massage table and after “assessing” my back, he began to crack every single solitary bone in my body – down to every finger and every toe. He moved me around and dug into places I didn’t even know existed on my back. The entire time he was talking to my body, saying things like “You are so small but you are mighty. You don’t need to hide.” Then I think he said, “Oh what he did to you. But I’m going to fix you.” I’m thinking – which he? Pick one. Honestly though, I was in a fog of emotions. He didn’t just dig into my back he got into my head. When he was done my entire body felt like it had been cracked wide open and all the garbage was spilling out onto the floor. “You are going to be fine” he said. “This, we can fix.” He told me quite a few things I needed to do to aid my back. “Drink warm water, not cold. Eat warm cooked food. Nothing cold should go in your body because you’re always cold.” Truth. “A salad is not a meal for YOU.” “You need cardio not weights and not yoga but yoga is fine mixed in. Get out there and hike.” There was a lot of information about my adrenal glands which are fighting my thyroid and affecting my sleep. Actually I wouldn’t call what I do sleep. I nod off for six hours if I’m lucky. And then he said IT. “You need to eat meat.” WTF? I told him I’m vegan and that I am for the simple reason that I can’t stand how we torture animals in this country. He told me he too used to be vegan as well and that I didn’t have to eat red meat if I didn’t want to. But he said – I recommend that you do. Fuck. I burst into tears again. I’ve become a public crier. It’s my most loved new attribute though. Everyone should cry a lot more. Especially boys and men.
But this was a big dilemma for me. I have given Veganism my all. My friend Brian said that I do everything 100 percent and that when I go for something I go all in – and while he thinks it’s me striving for perfection – (I wish I was smart enough to seek perfection but I’m actually quite lazy) I think it’s my way of always racing to some sort of finish line – some rainbow leading to that pot of life gold. If I do this workout I’ll crush life. If I eat this way I’ll be healthy forever. If I tattoo my eyebrows I’ll never have to wear makeup again. If I do this and that or this and the other thing – every thing in my life will be great. Which of course we know – isn’t the case and life isn’t about a race to an end – it’s about everyday being it’s own beginning and end of happy. And the hardest thing we have to do is live in the happy – live in the present – and always strive to bring joy into your life. So of course – I immediately ate a burger. It was good. I feel fine. And now I’m not sure what to do. Will I eat another? I don’t know. I’m sure there’s a way that I can figure out how to feed myself without red meat and get the nutrients my body needs and deserves but it’s so very complicated it seems.
So for all of you skinny shamers who have been telling me to just eat a cheeseburger already – you’re welcome, you win – I did it. Now what do you call a vegan who eats meat? SIGH. LABELS. The only thing I know for sure is that I’ll being going back to the Body Whisperer. I’m going to do what I have to, to feel good each day in this particular casing I have chosen. Now if you’ll excuse me – I’m going for a hike and maybe have a steak smoothie.