Identity is such an interesting concept. It's one of those uniquely human things we sit around pondering, or alternately worrying about--I highly doubt my cat lays about the house thinking, "This is so unlike me--who have I become??" Which isn't to say she doesn't have plenty of personality--she just doesn't sit around thinking about it. Maybe she just can't stay awake long enough.
For the last 13 years or so, I have been a Vegetarian. That's who I am, Kristen the Vegetarian. I'm also Kristen the Girl who Speaks Spanish, Kristen the Orioles Fan and Kristen the Writer, but the way vegetarianism has shaped my life leads me to associate more strongly with that moniker.
However, after some serious thought, I recently decided to start the Great Seafood Eating Experiment.
My vegetarianism has always been a burden on me, but I really started fretting about what a burden it is for the boy (who, incidentally, has stopped eating beef, pork and chicken, and now only eats seafood), and what a burden it might be for my future child(ren). Constantly checking restaurant menus in advance (almost impossible to do while traveling, and often fruitless because there's nothing vegetarian available anyway), trying to tactfully warn relatives and friends who invite us for meals, attempting to politely decline meaty foods without insulting them when they forget, frantically searching for vegetarian foods meat-eaters might be willing to eat when we invite them for meals . . . not to mention being frequently put on the spot to explain my choices, which I aim to do without disparaging the meal sitting in front of us. It all adds up to a giant pain the culo.
(Spanish lesson for the day: culo means ass; not "cool")
Which I am ok with for just me, but as I get older, I more fully realize that it often entails imposing my choice on those around me as well. (Not that my wonderful friends and family aren't willing to accommodate me!)
So I thought I might try to meet the boy halfway and add seafood to my diet. It will help me get more protein (important for baby time, whenever that is), most (not all, but most) seafood is wild caught rather than farmed (and farmed sea creatures are raised much more humanely than chicken, cows and pigs), and wild sea creatures are quite likely to be eaten by other predators.
These are the justifications I'm using anyway, they help me sleep a smidge better.
And thus far, the experiment is going well. Fish is fine--I missed tuna. Shrimp is . . . well, larger shrimp are too meaty, I need to start small (And I swear I can feel them swimming around inside my tummy--guilty conscience much?). Thing with tentacles are really just not for me. I don't know about crabs--as a Baltimore native, I dearly miss steamed crabs with Old Bay, but being boiled alive sounds pretty horrible. We'll see about that in June.
But what's more of a concern is the nagging feeling that I'm losing a part of my identity. That makes me a little bit sad. Or a lot bit, depending on my mood.
Fortunately, I have other things that make me ME. One of those is being a Knitter. I haven't been a Knitter nearly as long as a Vegetarian, but I've certainly embraced it. And I hope to find a new identity soon as a Designer. Sure, I only have one pattern, which I haven't even released yet, but something about having a creation that's my very own gives me an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. I feel like I have the potential to become Someone, which I sadly don't feel much in my actual career.
Which is probably why I've already jumped the gun and created this: