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From Vegan, To… Me.

2 Heart it! Kiki Attonito 156
February 8, 2018
Kiki Attonito
2 Heart it! 156

“Hi, I’m Kiki, and I’m listening to my body.”

If only this particular coming out story were psychologically so simple. The first time I came out was as a lesbian, back in 2000, when this world was not quite as progressed as it is today, and I was riddled with anxiety, insomnia, and angst as I wondered, What will people think about me? Will I lose friends and confidantes? Will external judgment usurp understanding of my life? And, most saliently, What will become of my own identity, as the person I thought I was for so many years surrenders to the person who I realize that I must be in the present, in order to live my truth?

So here I am, age 40, coming out again, and all the same questions are arising, as this time I share that I am a former vegan. Former. Does that make me a Forgan (hey, someone needs to coin a term)? On a less superficial note, does it make me a worse and less moral person, as I shed those oh-so-bolstering labels of “living 100% cruelty free” and “consumer of no animal nor animal byproduct”? I remain in full support of anyone and everyone sparing the lives and souls of any living beings on this planet, but I have realized that I can no longer be part of that club. And it hurts.

Recently, I underwent a health situation that sparked in me a conscious decision that, for the best interest and wellbeing of my body and gut (which is connected to the brain but isn’t all brain, or else I would have thought myself out of it), I need to consume dairy again. My body spoke to me, and it informed me of such, and I do consider myself a somatic intuit. I likely will never eat meat again, but, as I have learned, never say never. Since this realization, I am healthier and happier than I have been in years.

However, I have not told anyone – until now. The reason is that my identity as “vegan” had become so strong and had such a powerful grip on me that, short of prophetalizing (which isn’t my live-and-let-live style anyway), I made very public my membership in vegan networks and groups, I donned cow-face t-shirts that read “Not Your Mom; Not Your Milk,” I professed to anyone who asked about my youthful looks, “Oh, it’s my veganism,” and countless more self-publicity opportunities to receive credit as this purist and animal rights activist. Now I face a reduction in “that world” to the level of vegetarian, and it makes me feel like I’m playing small. What will all of my vegan friends think? I went on a date once with a woman who only dates vegans; sure, I considered it a tad picky, but how many more social interactions will I lose? I talked in a Whole Foods parking lot for an hour with the head of a vegan education group, and I’m everyone’s go-to for all of the vegan restaurants and markets around.

I suppose it’s a risk that I take. I am aware through education that “anyone can be vegan” despite many individuals’ beliefs that they must consume animal byproducts in order to survive. However, I have made the intuitive move to embrace the needs of my somatic self at this time, and for this reason I choose to come out precisely as listening to my body and nothing else. I have been inspired by two friends lately, one of whom was well known for vegan baking and very casually but confidently slid into inclusion of animal byproducts into her concoctions based upon her own experience with an autoimmune condition. Another friend, who is as passionate about animal rights and saving species’ lives as am I, to the point that she promotes cruelty-free cosmetics and the like, recently informed me, also with encouraging confidence, that she realized that for her own health needs, she needed to experiment with re-introducing meat and eggs into her diet. To this day, this woman is doing all the better for having made that decision – and she owns it.

I am aware that cows have four stomachs and we have one. I know that dairy can cause mucous and that hormones within can be ‘toxic.’ I am well-versed on a lot. But what is more dangerous for me is to live a non-truth for myself. I wish that my love for animals could override my guidance from my higher self, and believe me, it puts up a good fight. Perhaps one day I will reclaim my status as “the proud vegan,” and perhaps I won’t. Perhaps today a vegetarian became a vegan and helped make my decision a macrocosmic wash. But just for today, I’m living – and sharing – my truth.

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2 Heart it! Kiki Attonito 156
2 Heart it! 156

anonymous Nov 25, 2020 5:37pm

This is great! I was mostly Vegan for over 3 years, and recently decided to incorporate eggs once or twice a week, and not fuss over whether or not something had butter, eggs or milk in the ingredients. I still eat mostly whole food plant based, and try to get as many varieties of plants in their natural form every day, but I am comfortable with my decision, and I can relax more around my friends and when I go out, not having to be ‘the militant vegan’ anymore. Everyone needs to do what works for them.

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