It's no secret that I am vegan and I openly advocate my beliefs in the vegan lifestyle. I chose to take on this title because it's something I believe in and I wanted it to be known... as well as, at the time that I went vegan, I felt I needed the attachment to the title in order to keep me loyal. (after a couple years of reading and research, I don't need the title to keep me loyal anymore though. There's nothing that could break me now from my veganism) I have this image in my mind that giving yourself a title attaches you to that cause and keeps you strong, because in order to stray from that title... you would have to "Break up" with it in a way. And breaking up is a lot harder than simply changing your mind.
Over the past couple years, my views on a lot of things have changed and morphed and I've flirted with the ideas of attaching myself to some other titles. I've yet to do so though, out of fear of changing my mind. I see these choices like I see getting into a relationship with someone. I haven't done it because it's so much easier to change your mind if you don't have someone or something to "Break up" with in order to do so. Hence the reason I've stayed where I am in so many aspects of my life. But lately, a particular thing has been weighing very heavy on my heart. I don't know if it's because of recent happenings with people I know and love or if it's just my own personal ideals changing, but I feel it's time that I make another big change in my life and take on one more strong conviction.
My entire life, I have never once touched drugs, never smoked weed or cigarettes or anything of that sort. Anyone who knows me, knows that I refuse to take medications (aside from after my intensive foot surgery... I most definitely took my pain medication... though I did attempt to refuse it... I only lasted an hour or so). When I was 18, I even got an "Above the Influence" sign tattooed on my wrist to openly proclaim my personal animosity towards drugs. I know "influence" implies all chemicals that alter your state of being... but I did not attach it with alcohol at the time in which I got it. I am not some crazy drinker. I don't like alcohol much and I rarely ever want to drink... but I have drank in the past, this is no secret. Usually if I have an urge to drink, it's due to something deeper going on in my life... and I started doing this because of watching other people in my life do this. When I was a little younger, holidays were particularly depressing for me, so I would drink on holidays (some friends have even referred to me as a holiday drunk) to attempt to forget about whatever was on my mind... just to find that it did not help. I also started drinking a lot after a close friend committed suicide (didn't help then either). You forget for a couple hours and then wake up in the morning feeling worse...
And recently I've noticed what alcohol is doing to some people whom I love very dearly and even to myself... I'm seeing first hand how destructive it can be and the damage it can do. And I'm not comfortable with it. I don't like the way it makes me feel when someone I love hurts me because they're too drunk to know otherwise. I don't like the way it makes me feel the next morning when I realize what I may have done the night prior. I started realizing that I didn't like who I was when I was intoxicated. I did things I wouldn't do in my normal state of mind and have actually been ashamed of some of my actions. I get ashamed of other people's actions when I'm sober and can see what they are doing... I've realized I'm beginning to have a very low tolerance for drunkenness. I find myself getting easily annoyed and frustrated with people who are constantly intoxicated. Just everything... it all adds up to me detesting alcohol more and more each day.
And I've actually never had a problem stopping drinking... I can go years at a time without a drink, and not have a problem with it... which got me thinking... Why do I continue to do it... even intermittently... if I dislike it THIS much... why even partake the very little amount that I do?
When I'm around people who don't know me very well... and we get to talking about "recreational activity" people often ask me if I'm Straight Edge because I don't do drugs (medical and not medical), don't smoke weed or cigs, don't drink caffeine, and rarely ever drink alcohol... But, I always say No. Partly because people kind of scared me away from the title by some bad stereotyping. I didn't want to be associated with a lot of the things I had heard about. As well, obviously with the fact that I do have a drink every now and then... and I was worried about claiming a title like that, when I knew I'd probably one day want to have a drink again... and it would be a bit of an ordeal to break Edge to have a drink rather than not claim anything and have a drink if I so desired. But you know what... I don't want to have the choice anymore. Aside from already not being really into it... a recent incident with someone I love more than life itself made me never want to touch alcohol again. Also, since I turned 21 I have had absolutely no desire to drink... the only drink I have had was at my sisters bridal shower and it was a glass of champagne that everyone was given (I even stood there with it in my hand for about an hour debating on weather or not to drink it). I want to have a reason to say No that is bigger than me and goes beyond me, but it strictly for me.
I do not and will do my best to continue to not judge others for their lifestyle choices and their desires and activities. Just as I have always been against drugs, but dearly love people who partake in them, I am taking my stand now, as well, against alcohol, but will continue to love the people I know who partake in it (which is pretty much everyone). I will not judge people or have issues with people who are not Straight Edge, but I am making the decision to, for myself, take on this lifestyle. I hope it does not, and that I do not offend people that I love and care about by this decision, but it's something that I feel is right for me now. So yeah... that's that. The decision is made. And I'm happy about it, and feel like I will hold true to it and fall more in love with it everyday, just as I did with veganism.
See, it may take me some time to figure out my stance on things and where my heart lies... but when I do figure it out, I stick with it like my life depends on it. I'm learning that it's best to do your own research and learn what you're getting involved with... and make the decision for yourself. I spent too many years following other peoples beliefs and calling them my own... living them out and being unhappy with myself... and I can honestly say that I'm just now starting to really find myself. I don't have it all figured out yet... but everyday I get a little closer. And that's good enough for me.