Today is my 22nd birthday. Two weeks ago I made the important decision of abandoning all those things that harmed my body and live my life under a new, brighter light.
These two weeks have been very hard for me, for I come from a traditional, not-that-openminded, conflictive family. When I first told them about my new changes, their first reaction was attack me with comments like “why do you always have to mess around with crazy !@#$ and make everything complicated?”. The worst treatment came from one of my two brothers, the one who is two years younger than me. When he heard me talking to my little brother about how they treat animals in slaughterhouses and the benefits of fruit, he began to fire aggressive statements such as “Don’t listen to her and eat meat like a MAN does.” “You are going to !@#$%^& starve with all that !@#$%^&*”. And for the next days he would come into my room and say “this room smells like $%^&. I would swear you have a monkey” and “why don’t you just go away and live in the jungle for good?”.
It has been hard for me. People just don’t seem to understand. But after listening to Dr. Doug’s advice on how to deal with social situations and after doing a lot of meditation myself, I’ve learned a valuable lesson: If you are a person with a strong character like I am, eventually it will come the day that you will need to learn about humility, and this is something I’ve been asking for, for a while. When you are put in such a vulnerable situation as this, and I mean, choosing a lifestyle that can create awkward social situations and most people will misunderstand you and question your way of living, you learn to silence your ego and as I have done, you can develop empathy and a wiser way of approaching other human beings. When you put your guard down, abandon defensiveness and politely explain to others that this is your decision and you respect their freedom to choose how to live their lives, with empathy, with kindness… Trust me on this one… What goes around comes around; you will receive empathy and kindness.
Today is my 22nd birthday.
A few hours ago I was getting ready to do homework and thought “this is it for today. It was an ok day. It’s time to do homework and then go to sleep”.
Someone knocked the door. My older brother came into my room and he had brought something with him. It was a pineapple. A huge, beautiful, delicious pineapple with a bow tied to the top.
He said “Happy birthday, I didn’t know what else to give you but I hope you enjoy this present”.
I am not the most expressive person around, so I think my brother will never really know how much this meant to me. All the issues, the arguing, the disagreements, it doesn’t matter. What goes around comes around. I think I have learned I will always be Ana, no matter what I eat, and for this has made me happier, my family has grown into embracing the way I live.
To all of you who have gone through a similar situation, these are my words of courage: Smile, live, love, and your own light shall give others the strength to accept you and appreciate you just the way you are.
- Sincerely, Ana.