I first turned vegetarian when I discovered that I could not stomach meat...
… I would get terrible aches and well, toilet visits weren’t fun, so to speak. I did care about animals but my main reason was health. I had some intentional or unintentional slips from time to time. However, last year I started to do some research into the meat industry and was appalled with what I found out. I believed I watched ten minutes of the infamous documentary Earthlings before I decided to give up meat for good. No slips anymore. But I would still eat dairy and eggs.
I have been on an amazing and inspirational journey this past year or so. I have really been thinking about myself and how I want to develop myself as a person. I had been heavily depressed for the majority of my life and, at the start of 2014, I finally started actively working on my recovery in a lot of different ways: I sought professional help, started a blog about the process and I started to do as many things as possible that make me happy. I have seen and learned a lot and one of the conclusions I made was that cruelty-free living made me happy. I gradually started to eliminate animal derived products from my diet and when I found out about Veganuary I immediately decided to participate. It only took me two weeks to decide to make the change permanent.
It feels like a giant weight is lifted off my shoulders. I really cannot express the joy I feel; that I’m able to make a choice and am able to say a firm no to animal cruelty simply by eliminating animal by-products from my life. I am currently in the process of replacing or wearing out the animal products that I already have, for veganism is a lifestyle and not a diet.
I think the biggest challenge there lies in my love for drawing and painting. I do not think it is right that something that I cherish so much and strongly believe to be magical and life-giving should have its origins in suffering and death. I was appalled to find out that even my paper was sized with gelatine and thus not vegan. I am currently in the process of finding artist’s quality art supplies that are suitable and free of animal by-products… and I think I have found the perfect water colours and paper today! I hope that when I use up my old supplies I’ll be able to call myself a truly vegan artist, (mental health) activist and be able to live a life that’s happy and free from fears, anxiety, and, not in the least, animal cruelty.
I hope to inspire many others in my journey, which is never over. Life is a beautiful and magical thing that we should cherish and protect.
(My soon-to-be-vegan artworks can be found at my Facebook page.)