The Black Vegetarian Struggle: Eggplant

I have to give a shout out to a special person in my life on his first blog post. We all have our vegetarian cuisine hatreds; for me, I haven’t found it yet. I’m sure my mom, who said I was such a picky eater as a kid, would be so surprised! Great job, babe, can’t wait for the next posts!

My Life: A Change Done Came

I am a private person. I like being a private person. After learning through trial by fire that if you want something to remain your secret, you tell no one, I curated a small group of confidants. Even within that group, I’m private. So this post is kind of a big deal for me. I was inspired to share this after my mom and I sat down to Easter/birthday brunch last week and she told me in her sage, Yoda-like way, “You have a gift with words, and you need to share it. You don’t know how your story will affect others.”

So here it goes: my transition that I’ve alluded to in previous posts is that I’m between jobs.

Even typing that makes me cringe. Ever since I could legally hold a job, I’ve worked. It’s part of my identity, connected to my self-given purpose. I remember clearly going to pick up my checks – yes, that paper slip that conferred moneys before the ubiquitous direct deposit most of us use now – and how it felt to have funds to put gas in my tank and get me some grub on the go. Ahh, the days of simpler needs.

Now, to be without a place between 9 and 5 is a supremely foreign feeling. This is not to say I’m not doing anything. I’d been preparing for a change for a while, feeling that God was leading me elsewhere. I stayed prayerful, started making contacts and thought about my purpose and passion. I had quite the reality check from my inner circle when I began to stress about bills and if I could buy my first house this year. The statement affected me deeply, and it’s become my thinking: You are a child of the Most High, why do you have so little faith of the great things He has prepared for you?

The past month restored me. I didn’t realize how much I was internalizing my stress, thereby blocking my creativity and personal drive for success. I’ve been reading for my own enjoyment again. I have a growing wish list of inspirational books on Amazon and the fact that spring is coming doesn’t hurt. As an April baby, and after experiencing a true winter once I moved to north Texas, spring has a magic. The dry and cracked branches suddenly burst forth with white, pink and yellow blooms, the temperatures produce a warming effect that has everyone walking a bit lighter and all the bleakness of the previous season is left behind to nourish the harvest of the next.

It feels like I’m in my spring, blossoming and growing. I’d love to hear about your season of transition, share with me!

Why Fear The Unknown

We’re supposed to be the Golden Generation, unafraid of anything, any failure, any unknown factor. And yet, according to a recent study commissioned by the American Psychological Association, we’re one of the most anxious generations and I’m starting to understand why. Though we’ve been told to shoot for the stars, land among the stars, gold star and blue No. 1 ribbon for everything we’ve ever done, when you’re confronted with the first true possibility of failure, you become the deer in the headlights. It’s an unfamiliar beast, coming up on you fast, lights blinding, engine roaring. So will you turn tail and pray you can outrun it or will you adapt and face it head on? That is the test of true faith. 

I’m looking over the the lip of the diving board, looking down and seeing my personal cheer squad. They are all saying the things one needs to hear when on the ledge. “You Can Do It!” “Believe in Yourself!” And I think to myself that it’s easier said than done when you’re in the pool and I’m out in the wind, shivering to myself and wondering why the hell I climbed up on the high end again. Then I remember, the alternative is to be at the edge of the pool, tipping from foot to foot, thinking and rethinking if I want to dive in and swim or stay in the shallow end and doggy paddle. I’m starting to think that I’d rather do the duck paddle – cool on the surface and peddling furiously underneath – than the doggy paddle – splashing and making a show of myself and getting nowhere fast. 

So what’s the best way to take two steps, bend my knees and make the diving board feel my weight and then head to the next level? 

The Stretch Goals

My mom always joked with me as a kid that I was born late. While it is true that more often than not, I’m running behind, I am also a master procrastinator. It’s under control, as it has to be in order for me to make a living doing anything useful in life. Joy of joys, I’ve just entered final paper season of school, also known as the point at which I start to question my life decisions. So my challenge this week is to write on here at least four times, get a decent draft of my computer mediated communications class paper down that doesn’t give me heartburn and stop being a seasonally affected bum and work out. Let’s go!

From the Inside Out – The Rewards of My Diet

In my second week of attempted veganism (key concept – attempting), I’m realizing how much my diet, and therefore my well-being, has changed in the last year. My diet shift started much like my natural hair journey – a type of curiosity to test the limits of my existing beliefs. In the case of how I ate, I was also moved along by my relationship with my current beau, who is a lifelong vegetarian. That was over a year ago, and even to this day if I had to pick a death row last meal, I’d pick steak with blue cheese and butter, mashed potatoes and something with bacon. I can keep it real, I remember well how delicious meat can be.

Part of my enjoyment with being a vegetarian who is transitioning to veganism is that I am very much the last person you’d expect to adopt this lifestyle, based on the way I was raised and how I ate up until I graduated from college. Growing up, we all ate meat. We even dabbled in chitlins once, never to return again thankfully. I had no idea about the size and scope of the meat industry or how my meat got to the store and eventually to me. I just knew it was on my plate, and I was eating it. The first time I questioned the system was in college, while grocery shopping at Wal-Mart (I’ve since stopped shopping at Wally World too). I was in the peanut butter aisle and right between the chunky and smooth version of what I wanted was a pack of pork chops. Room temperature, so clearly it had been a while. Gagging slightly, I started to wonder about the food I was putting in my body. By the time I started dating my beau, I’d whittled my meat consumption down to chicken and fish, with an occasional burger on a night out. I am sure I gave him the RCA dog head tilt when he told me he’d never had meat, not once, in his life. This was a man who is six feet tall and at that point about 220 pounds. Clearly though he was finding what he needed. So I said “Well if I go vegetarian, I can at least stop making additional food for myself.”

Since then, I’ve educated myself on the lifestyle. I count Food, Inc. and Forks Over Knives as two transformational documentaries, recommended watching for everyone I talk to about diet. What I’ve found most rewarding is how much more I’m getting out of my body because of what I’m putting in it. Exercising is a priority for me and between diet and working out, I’ve found annual allergies and sickness is nearly nonexistent. My skin is clear and my hair and nails are growing faster than they have before. The science consistently supports that a vegetarian diet is beneficial to one’s health, and to the wallet and in relationships apparently.

Just recently, a friend from college shared a documentary straight from the 1980s, complete with face-width glasses and an old school Power Point. Lack of presentations skills aside, the doctor in the video laid out a comprehensive case for a dairy-free diet, including why humans don’t need milk from mammals past infancy. I shared it with the beau and my mom, who is a pescetarian, and we were all sold on veganism.

I’m still working through my food choices, dairy is in so much of our food that you have to be very discerning . Plus I have to make sure I’m keeping my iron, protein and other needs where they should be. Mostly I’m just excited to take the next step and continue to challenge myself.

If you’re considering a diet change, here are some of the resources that helped me:

Food, Inc.

Forks Over Knives

The Omnivore’s Dilemma

Food That Kills – Documentary

So Then This Happened…

The first week of work, let me tell you…I’ve not had it better in my professional career. Warm people, hard work, great brainstorming on my first business trip for the company. Our hosts were so welcoming, and I can’t wait to work with them further.

So I go in, head held high and ready to take on the second week. Case of the Mondays has nothing on me! I have made it a personal goal to listen to the Our Daily Bread Bible study podcasts every morning on the way to work. Rather than zone out and miss an opportunity to start my day off on the right foot, I can catch two-three of the mini-sermons and learn more.

After a great lunch with coworkers in my department, fostering relationships and such, I’m walking up the three mini-stairs back to the office with a slight pep in my step despite the rain. Did I mention the rain…yeah, the rain. My downfall. Next thing I know, I’m on the ground. It was a moment straight from my favorite cartoon “Family Guy,” where he falls on the ground and sucks air through his teeth in a comedic show of pain. Except this was QUITE real and painful. I think I laid down in defeat for a second, really and truly.

Upon inspection I have a nicely bruised knee and torn skin on the heels of both my palms. I do believe I’ve been brought back to reality. But that still can’t bring me down. Second week, let’s go!

*This was me, laying in the rain. I would post pictures but they are kind of gross, no one wants to see exposed second layers of skin*

When the Best Intentions Go Awry

Wow, I had every intention of blogging regularly this month. Time ran away like it’d stolen my wallet. I looked up and it was Thanksgiving, which was doubly important to me this year with my sister being in town. So my brain was on “gorge stomach with food and wine, sit around watching judge shows, laugh and enjoy family/friends” mode. And I loved every moment of it.

Now it’s final papers, which are truly kicking my butt. I had a moment last night, after spending three hours on the paper and feeling like all I did was move text around on the page. A good Google search told me that literature reviews can easily read as annotated bibliographies, and I need to be cognizant of keeping an analytic eye as I parse the literature. I’m struggling with that because I feel like James Woods in that episode of Family Guy. You know the one…

Except my exclamations are “Ooh, a good article! Ooh, a good article!” on LexisNexis, JSTOR, EBSCO and all those fantastic research databases. As I told my family, my intention in pursuing my degree was to be challenged, yes, but I also want to be super awesome at it all. I knew when I woke up this morning, after only four-five hours of sleep (not even good sleep at that), and I was already in a crap mood that it was time to take a deep breath. I have to realize that more than likely, no one will fail me so long as I’ve put forth a sincere effort, which I have. And while my classmates were lamenting their draft reviews, I only got grammatical corrections. (Not bragging…okay, maybe a little bit.)

I’m back on it tonight, but I’m switching gears to my other beautiful project, a content analysis. At this point, that seems like a piece of cake…Ooh, a piece of cake!





The sunrise and sunset always make me feel closer to my source of life. Since I’m far from a morning person, I have to use the evening to gain perspective. Often I’m stuck at my desk all day, and leaving work is my first taste of fresh air in eight hours. So get your deep breath! It gives you something new.