By Dana Gornall
I have been vegan for almost four years.
January 1st is my vegananniversary and I have never been happier that I chose this lifestyle. There was just something that felt right about it. I can still clearly remember driving down the highway after getting halfway through my 30 day vegan challenge and thinking it was easier than I thought it would be and I should continue it. I remember thinking: I’m vegan… I am vegan. However, I am going to admit something right here, right now:
I am not 100% vegan.
It’s true. I have allowed a piece of chocolate to cross my lips on occasion (sometimes half a bag of Nestle morsels) and I have probably eaten bread or pasta of some kind that has been baked with eggs (gasp).
Also, I do not always eat healthy. In fact, I have an embarrassing addiction to potato chips. I definitely do not always eat organic foods or shop locally. As a matter of fact, truth be told, I rarely eat organic foods or shop locally; unless you consider the Target down the street to be shopping local.
I do practice yoga (and sometimes meditate). My friends and family who do not practice think I go to a dimly lit studio with chanting monks playing on an iPod and incense ribboning through the air; that my yoga teacher talks in a calm, soothing voice, and some probably think we all sit around on pillows and smoke a little herb, which is currently not legal in my state.
In reality my yoga studio has a lot of windows and is brightly lit. There is no music playing and my teacher not only has asthma—so most likely is not going to be lighting incense—but can be quite firm in her yoga instruction and is not shy about gently tapping students into place for adjustments; or pressing a strong knee into our backs to get us to sit up straighter.
For all of the people out there who are 100% vegan, eat healthy and organic (maybe even a raw diet), meditate every day for the minimum of 20 minutes, I say: Awesome.
That is amazing and something to which I aspire. Currently, though, that isn’t who I am and it really isn’t anyone I have ever claimed to be.
I aspire to be a lot. In that aspiring, I occasionally hit an almost-mark of that which I aim to be—serene, healthy, spiritual, compassionate and loving. It seems being this very human and very full of faults person aiming to be something more, I end up (at times) with a host of misconceptions that peel off and fall around at my feet, leaving a trail behind me.
Why do I feel this needs to be addressed? Because sometimes people seem to enjoy pointing this out.
Perhaps, I will be at a dinner or a family function and I will see the eyebrows raise when I eat a bread roll: That might have eggs in it. Every so often I will be somewhere eating or shopping and I will see someone who will comment, Hey, I thought you were vegan? Hey, I thought you were this mindful yoga chic who only meditated and bought raw, organic natural materials from people who made those things locally? Hey, why are you going shopping on Black Friday?
It’s times like these when I don’t feel like I really fit anywhere. Among my more spiritual/yogi friends I am not quite enough. What yogi sits on her kitchen floor eating Nestles morsels out of the bag? Among my non-yogi, meat-eating, friends and family, I’m the weird hippie chic that brings her own food to events and doesn’t eat turkey on Thanksgiving.
The truth of the matter is that I am vegan—mostly; some days I eat healthy and on some days I eat out of the vending machine at work. I meditate some of the time and some of the time I just read before bed, or collapse into the pillows with my phone and troll Facebook.
Maybe it’s balance. Maybe it’s an excuse. Maybe one day I will get there and be better at being a mindful, meditating, organic eating, local shopping yogi.
For now I will just accept my somewhat misfit status, and open another bag of Lays.
Editor: Alicia Wozniak