This week I was literally knocked on my arse with the gentle reminder that I am in fact human, in the form of a raging cold which I am sure originated from the depths of Hades.
I seriously could have used that.
I can't even remember the last time I had a cold. I mean I. never. get. sick. Au contraire. I guess in fact, I do. I am such a stickler for hand washing. I wash my hands all day long at work, being around the kids and, hello, diapers! I wash my hands as soon as I walk in the door to my apartment every night, and especially when I'm at the gym (multiple times I might add).
So I have no idea where this cold came from, but instead of rehashing where I may have gone astray (like I do with so many things in life), I finally decided to allow myself some grace and acknowledge that perhaps I didn't do anything "wrong" and I just caught a cold, like millions of other humans on the planet do each and every day. That, in and of itself, is a hard little lesson for our Jilly. Sometimes you don't do anything wrong and crap happens. We are own worst critics, well I know I am anyway. When other people are sick, I feel empathy and want to soothe them. When I'm sick, I first deny it, and then try to soldier on as if I don't deserve the TLC I so willingly give others in need. Being sick feels like I failed. Failed what, I have no idea. Crazy.
I am actually thinking that the recent lack of meat in my diet could have contributed to my lowered immune response, but I'm not sure. For a bit of background, I actually attempted to go vegetarian once before, many many years ago, as a freshman in college. I was 18 and admittedly I probably made many unhealthy choices when I eliminated meat, but I only lasted a couple of months. I was sickly, run down, and literally starving so I caved and once again became carnivore. My roommate actually lasted a couple of years as a vegetarian, but she eventually got tired of being sick all the time and now eats meat again too.
So, I don't know. Maybe I have to give myself grace on this front too and admit that I may be the kind of person who needs meat in their diet. The thing is, the more I read about factory farming and what happens to the animals I ultimately end up consuming, the more guilty and disturbed I feel biting into a hamburger. I can't unlearn the things I've learned. Once you go down that rabbit hole, there's no going back. I know many people choose to ignore these terrible facts and I've done that, I do that, as well, but I feel I may be a 'highly sensitive person' (check out this article for more info), and it's always in the back of my mind.
I literally cannot stand the thought of a chicken spending it's entire life in a pen the size of a sheet of computer paper with no room to move, to flap its wings, or do anything other than lay eggs. Or a pig trapped it's entire life in a crate no bigger than it's body, unable to move or turn around until it's eventually fat enough to become my morning bacon. And don't even get me started on milk. Thank goodness I'm allergic to it. Impregnating cows just so that they start lactating and then removing their calves from them the instant they are born, so that they LITERALLY cry out for DAYS for their missing babies, who will now become veal (Farmers have actually reported hearing mother cow's desperate wails for their children that they never see again.). I just can't even. How do I reconcile the realities of what has happened to these innocent animals, that now sit on my dinner plate? I have no answer for that. Sure, I guess some people will argue, circle of life, and food chain, and we are the higher beings and all that. Except that you don't see people sitting down to feast on the family dog or cat (whose fate was spared thousands of years ago when we decided to domesticate them), so those arguments don't really hold water. I know this for sure, if I actually had to hunt or kill my own food, I would surely starve. Being removed from the process, not being the one to actually do the deed, makes it far easier - true for so many things in life.
Maybe if all pigs played the guitar we wouldn't eat them??
So, I don't know where I was actually going with this post other than to say, I'm fallible, I'm human and I will continue to make mistakes, probably get sick again (?!), and probably let myself and others down more times than I can count in this one messy lifetime, but I think I've got to be kind to myself and allow myself and others the grace to be exactly where we are when we try and fail.
Anyway, after two solid days of feeling like the walking dead, and eating chicken soup (I know) every night, I am finally starting to feel a bit better.
I don't know what I'm going to do about the meat thing. I already don't eat dairy, so eliminating meat is difficult, to say the least. I love meat and feel my body needs it, but maybe I'm wrong. For now I'm going to continue my research and allow myself to just BE where I am in the process at this point in time.
*I have some websites, books and videos I can recommend if you're interested in learning more about where our food comes from, if you want to jump down that rabbit hole. If not, I understand! Let me know. I'd welcome recommendations from you on the subject as well!
When was the last time you were sick? Do you continue to work through it, or do you allow yourself some rest days?
How do you feel about eating meat?