I'm a vegetarian!

Funny pic of Mama
Originally uploaded by Chavaneth
I live in Oklahoma. The only state in all of America where every single county voted RED. This is steak and potatoes country. BEEF. It’s what’s for dinner. So a lot of people are very curious or perplexed and sometimes angry when I say I’m a vegetarian.
“But you eat fish right?” No.
“Chicken isn’t meat. You can eat that.” No thanks.
“You just haven’t had a GOOD steak yet”
“I don’t know how you do it. I could never give up meat”
I was born a vegetarian. I didn’t choose this. It’s in my DNA. When I was little I would eat processed meats – nothing off the bone. My family would grill steaks and put a hamburger out there for me. I ate chicken nuggets, fish sticks and hot dogs. My mom made two spaghetti dishes - one with meat sauce and one without. It really wasn’t a big deal – they just considered me picky and didn’t give me too hard a time about it.
One day my sister and I were eating some kind of chicken appetizer at a restaurant. I was about 21 or 22 and I got this image in my head of the chicken being alive and running around the restaurant with no head. I put the chicken down. And never ate another bite.
About a year later I was sitting in a Whataburger at 2am in Stillwater America eating a hamburger when I got a huge piece of gristle. It made me gag. I put down the burger and never ate beef again. I just decided I did not HAVE to eat this stuff! It’s engrained in our culture but it makes me grossed out thinking about it coming from living beings. I just can’t do it.
Sometimes I crave meat. I have eaten meat once each time I was pregnant – aching from an intense craving and then BAM! I’m over it. And after I had surgery once, I begged for sausage. But I could only take a couple of bites.
When I was going to William’s mom’s house for my first big Sunday meal with the family I asked William if he had warned them that I was white. He said “no, they don’t care!” I said “maybe they don’t care but it would have been nice to give them a heads up” He said “it really is no big deal at my house” I said “ok ok” but I felt very nervous.
I walked into the tiny Jersey City apartment crammed with 37 people and saw his mom sitting in her chair on the other side of the room. William and I were standing at the corner while he rattled off names that would take me months to learn. His mom says “what’s your name?” And William answered, “Mom, this is Sammi, I told you I was bringing her” But his mom looked visible puzzled. I knew it! He should have told them I was white ahead of time. She said “I thought you were a vegetarian” Oh. I guess William thought to tell them THAT but not my race! I guess he knows what is important to his family. I said “yes, yes I am” She turned back to the TV and said “Well you are awfully ‘healthy’ to be a vegetarian” And for the only time in the history of that apartment it was dead silent for about 3 seconds.

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