I’m out: I am vegan

go-veganAlthough I have been looking into this new lifestyle and even dabbling with it for several weeks, today is the day that I finally take the pledge and come out. As of today, Tuesday October 4th 2016: I AM VEGAN. As a I said I have been looking (understand: doing a tremendous amount of reading and researching) into this for months. Although I kinda-sorta gave up meat (red and poultry) weeks ago, I would find myself taking a bite here and there and not thinking much of it… so, what changed?

I guess it always bothered me that I was never able to pin point a date as to the start of this new life, and I was not really comfortable with the occasional one bite. I guess I needed further motivation, one last push to cross the final boundary.

“Earhtlings” did it.

I watched “Forks over knives” and “Cowspiracy” weeks ago, and those 2 documentaries had already motivated me. But “Earthlings” was the final straw.

When I see my kids and their reactions when they see animals, it’s a definite reminder that we are born into compassion for other beings. All other beings, not just humans. My husband and I often joke that our youngest will be a vet when he grows up, because of how much he loves animals. How can I watch him gush over the “baby chickens” he sees running through our yard, and yet feed him their cousin for dinner? Exactly, I can’t. Not if I want to be true to myself and to him.

I realize that this change of lifestyle is drastic. But I also realize that I have been fooling myself my whole life. My whole life I’ve been saying “I love animals” but here I was contributing to the massive suffering of billions of them. Why? Exactly, I don’t have a valid reason either. Nutrients? All available in the plant kingdom. Taste? Plants also provide. There is so much information out there, readily available, and easily accessible. There is no contesting possible.

It was almost meant to be that I would watch this today, and take the final step to change my life. You see, today is my best friend’s birthday. She is celebrating being 31 in heaven. Pancreatic cancer ripped her out of my life and left me no choice but to learn how to be without her. In her memory, I started a journey to becoming the best version of myself possible after she passed, 2 years ago. This journey started with health. Health truly is your biggest wealth. Without it, we can’t do anything else, not even think clearly.

So happy birthday, Best Friend, and happy day-versary to me.

Time to change

Before your kids are born, you have all these ideas (ideals ?) about raising them, and you think you’re all high and mighty because you know exactly how you’re going to raise them, and the things you will do, and the things you will definitely never do.

Am I right? Am I right? And how many of us have fallen off our high horse and landed flat on our face almost as soon as the little bundle showed up?

My whole life, my parents always emphasized the fact that they had never hit us. Growing up, our house was filled with the usual chaos of any home, but without the physical violence. My mom used to yell at us (quite a bit and understandably so) but we were never scared that she would lay a hand on us. My dad had a different approach. He didn’t yell, he didn’t hit. He just worked the saddest look on his face and just like that, your heart broke into a million pieces and you swore you’d never do whatever-it-was-you-did-in-the-first-place ever again. And all of that worked for us. In fact it worked so good that I always told myself I would never hit my kids. I told myself I would always find another way, because if my parents did it, I could do it too, right?

My kids are 15 months apart. They drive me, us, nuts. It started innocently enough, with a little pat on the hand when they would get too close to something hot or sharp. Then we would do it when one would push the other, a little smack on the hand. Then it was when they would scream at us when we said ‘no’ to something…

then… then…

Today is the last straw. Something happened between my older son and my husband this morning. I’m not sure what it was or how it happened. I was standing in the kitchen when I heard my son run in, screaming, trying to get away from his dad. My husband came marching in ordering him to “come here!” – I wasn’t sure what they were doing so I said “he thinks you’re going to hit him” – to this my husband simply replied “yeah, I know he thinks I’m going to hit him” – what bothered me the most about this exchange was the look on his face. He was almost proud that our son was scared of him. That’s when I knew it had to stop. I stepped in, diffused the situation.

My husband grew up in a home where they were all scared of his mother. He hated it. He hated how she would make them feel. How did he suddenly turn into her?

Today I swore to my kids, and to myself that it would never happen again. Never again. My job, OUR job, is to protect them. We somehow got carried away and I am disgusted with ourselves for letting this rage into our home in the first place. It started off as nothing and honestly never went beyond the smack on the hand, but this morning’s episode was more than enough to convince me that even that small of a gesture is unnecessary.

For the rest of the day, I worked hard on using my words to explain things but also on using my ears to HEAR what the kids had to say. They both took a couple of turns in time out on a chair in the same room as everybody. The rule is fairly simple: sit on the chair until you are ready to join everyone, say sorry and be happy again. It worked just fine. We all have the right to get mad and frustrated, and as adults we know how to take the time to work through our emotions… I now strongly believe kids can do it too. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard and they will kick and scream their way all the way to the chair… but after a few seconds of you explaining and them sitting on their own something happens… and they get over it.

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So tonight I tucked my babies in, gave them each a big hug and plenty kisses, and promised them again, that from now on, things will be different.

I guess I wasn’t over it…

The last time I really thought about my failed breastfeeding experienceS (yes, because I failed with both my kids), I thought I had come to terms with it. I thought I was finally able to let it go, and I had come to terms with the fact that it just wasn’t for me. Both times I tried hard. Both times it didn’t work. And I had come to think “oh well, this does not mean I am a bad mother.”

I thought I was completely over it, until my husband started bringing up the subject of completely cutting dairy out of our kids’ diet. For months, we have been arguing about it, and I have finally given in. Now that I think about it, the fights were really unnecessary. I am not even sure why I was fighting his opinion so hard. I mean, duh! There ARE alternatives to cow’s milk. In fact, there are a lot of them.

Anyway, in a last ditch effort to convince me, he asked me to watch a lecture by Walter J. Veith called “udderly amazing”. So I did. And after about 10minutes in I turned it off. Not because it was boring. But because this supposed “scientist” (who, by the way does not believe in evolution) said that breastfed children had higher IQ’s than the ones who weren’t. And smuggly added “that’s a fact.” – I wanted to reach through my computer screen and punch this fucktard out.

It struck a cord – a very sensitive, deeply hidden string attached from my heart to my soul. There it was again. Another blaming comment for mothers like me, who weren’t able to breastfeed their kids until their teenage years (I’m exaggerating, of course, but I’m still pissed). Leave it to some idiot, some MAN, to make such a belittling comment.

I mean, what the fuck?! Parenting is hard, haven’t you heard?! It’s already hard enough, without stupid people and stupid comments. So I cried, and yelled at my husband because I needed someone to blame and I needed to work through my feelings. My husband had no clue about my emotional attachment to breastfeeding. I never really told him about it, and somewhere I don’t think even I knew it was still bothering me. Yikes.

Mama guilt

I can’t help but admire my kids everyday. From a totally objective point of view: they are the 2 most handsome boys on the planet. I’ll just let that sink in for ya 😉

My boys were born 15 months apart, and to those wondering: no, baby 2 was no accident. My husband and I wanted our kids to be close in age, so they would always have someone to play/argue/be with.

Although there is absolutely no question of regret about having our boys so close in age, I can’t help but feel guilty, at times, that I haven’t noticed every little thing my second son has done or accomplished so far – mostly because having 2 kids so close in change makes your life crazy busy, to the point that you barely have time to shave your legs!

I feel guilty sometimes, that I haven’t written as much in his journal as I have for his brother. I feel guilty sometimes, that I could never really remember how many weeks old he was until his first birthday (first time moms, you know what I mean!).

He is such an independent little guy, too, that it is almost hard to “baby” him. He does not like to be held for too long, and he definitely does not like to hold your hand to walk. He does not like to be rocked to sleep, or even to drink his bottle. He does have his moments when he wants to snuggle, and let me tell you: I take full advantage of those! But sometimes I wonder: is this just his personality or did he become like this from me not having enough time for him?

The second possibility gives me some serious anxiety and I wonder if I’ll every get over it…

Turns out, although some situations of motherhood gets easier with practice (remember the first bath you ever gave your baby?), it is not the case for insecurities.

What’s the next #prayfor gonna be?

Disclaimer: I am about to rant. I am French. And I am sick of the social media/mass media bullshit.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you already know what happened in Paris last Friday. Heck, you’d have to be living under rock, blind AND deaf to not know about it. Although my heart aches for all the families who have lost a loved one, my mind can’t help but wonder: Why does the world care so much?

Within a few hours of the attacks, my Facebook feed was flooded with blue, white and red profile pictures, and countless hashtags asking (commanding?) me to “pray for Paris” or “pray for France” – this is when I call bullshit.

This supposed solidarity shows up every time something horrible happens. In fact, it only shows up after a catastrophe or tragedy covered by mass media. That’s exactly what the problem is. 130 people die in the French capital, and all of a sudden everybody wants to be French (not really, but you get the idea). All of a sudden, there is a kind of sadness contest and people change their profile pictures, join walks, or take pictures of the candles they have lit in memory of those who died… some even go as far as to dress in black and take selfies, making sure not to caption it with one of the stupid hashtags mentioned earlier. WTF? When did sadness become trendy?

I’m so sick of people only showing “solidarity” when the rest of the world (or should I say the rest of Facebook?) does. Yes, 130 people died. But thousands of people die every day… of hunger, of disease, in accidents, in wars. Where are their hashtags? Where are their flags? Are we not supposed to care because the media do not mention them? Or do we simply not care because they are too foreign and not close enough to home?

I’m so sick of the fake solidarity. And I’m so sick of people thinking I am heartless for saying this. How am I heartless? I think we should care about everyone dying unfairly. After all, aren’t we all important? Then, why do people need something like terrorist attacks to show any form of solidarity or support?

Repeat after me: this is bullshit.

Who am I doing this for?

Since my weight-loss journey began in January 2011, I have been overly aware of how much I weigh. In my first year, I lost over 22kg on my own, with dieting and exercising. I did not become one of those “eat 2 pieces of lettuce a day” fanatics, or one of those “let’s run 5km before breakfast” weirdos. Absolutely none of that.

It has been 4.5 years since the beginning of my transformation. I started at 105kg, and am now down to 76.5kg. In the meantime I also had 2 beautiful baby boys, and the youngest just turned 1. I am almost 30kg down – quite the accomplishment! My ultimate goal is to reach 70kg… A weight I haven’t seen since middle school. In an effort to lose the remaining few kilos, but mostly in an effort to support my cousin on her transformation journey, I joined a weight loss program with a coach, nutrition advice and a gym membership. This was 3 weeks ago. It changed my life.

Here I was, thinking I was healthier because I had lost a lot of weight. WRONG! I learned a lot, about good nutrition and what is means to be healthy. So here we go, not on a journey to be skinnier, but on a journey to be healthier. For me, but mostly for my boys. For my husband, so he can be proud of his wife, for my sons so they can be proud of their mom. For the 3 of them, so I can be around as long as possible.

How is it August 8th, already?

The last 4 months, make that 8 months have been a whirlwind of packing, unpacking, driving, flying, crying, eating, crawling, potty training and most of all: adapting.

We moved. Far away. Not VERY far away, but far away nonetheless. We moved to another country, where my husband does not speak the language. Believe it or not, it was his choice. It took over a year to pull everything together, to organize the shipping, the trips for the visas and paperwork, to sell what needed to be sold, etc. etc. etc. I’m tired.

Today our 2nd son is 9 months old, and he just started to walk (officially) yesterday. Why is he in such a rush? The craziness of our move is finally deflating, and there is my kid taking on life like no other. Slow down, man! When we first got to our new place he was 5 months old and could not even roll onto his stomach by himself. Withing the first 2 weeks we got here he rolled. 2 weeks later he was sitting, about a week later he was standing, and now he is walking. Whatever happened to the little butter ball of barely 6lbs, I brought home?

My older son just turned 2 last week. Wtf? 2!!! For months he had me worried that he was slow because he refused to talk. It changed the minute we got here, and I now call him my little parrot. HE WON’T STOP!

My kids have been blossoming, and all of us are adapting to our new country. Istart my new job at the university on Monday, I’m stoked. I’m scared. I’m nervous. I’m happy. I’m tired.