It’s barely the end of September and my life has completely turned around, this year. On top of everything else that’s happened in the last six months, on Saturday at my instructor’s day camp, I finally became an ex-vegetarian. Yes, I did it. I’ve known for a while that I would crack before Dave gave in. I’ve been in some pain while training, recently, and Dave said he absolutely couldn’t help me unless I started eating meat again. That made me think some more about it.
Y’see, when I was with Tim, years and years ago, he used to take the piss out of me and wave meat under my nose. But it was all in jest (at least, I think it was). While I was with Greg, he made it clear that my being a vegetarian was a pain in the arse. OK, he said it would be healthier, but his main reason for him wanting me to eat meat seemed to be that when we were eating with his family, I was of course the only one not eating the stuff (a French family… I need say no more). And apparently, that was a nuisance. But it wasn’t a reason to start eating meat again, so far as I was concerned. I refuse to make life-changing decisions because other people want me to. I make them because I want to.
So then I had in mind the camp and mentioned it to Kristina, who got all excited and was dying to tell Dave. I said no, in case I chickened out (and no, the pun is not intentional). So she was sworn to secrecy and said that it would be a great present for Dave’s 40th birthday. Hm. Of course it would. What better way to thank him for doing all he’s done for me than by doing the one thing he’s been asking me to do for years? So then I knew I had to do it. I told Laz my plan, and he agreed I had to bite the bullet. When Friday evening arrived, I got a text from Dave, sent to Lise (another FWC vegetarian) as well, asking if we could bring our own food, as he was cooking laksa, a Singapore/Malaysian dish, and there’s no vegetarian version. So she rang me, I told her my plan and we agreed that we’d both do it and we’d both prefer no fuss, so then she forwarded me the reply Dave sent to her phone: that he would be delighted and promised not to make a fuss, no matter how much it hurt.
That was it: I had about twenty-four hours more of being a vegetarian. When it came to it, I was quite nervous, a bit shaky, but not too bad. Then when I had the laksa in the bowl, I said to Kristina, ‘Here goes, the moment of truth…’ and I dipped my spoon in the broth and sipped it. (It was good. Oh, it was very good!) It wasn’t as weird as I’d feared it might be, eating chicken. After so long not eating meat for ethical reasons, I really thought it would be a far stranger experience than it actually turned out to be. I even managed to save some in a pot so Laz could try it (we ate it with noodles together, the next day, after spending the night at his mum and dad’s place – we had the house to ourselves as they’re currently abroad). He liked it too (not surprising, really, it’s amazing).
The Saturday evening after camp, Dolan drove me to the station to pick up Laz, as he would be joining me at the party for Dave’s 40th birthday. As more and more people turned up, I got to introduce him to my extended family, which is more or less how being a part of the club feels. We had a great time, me being really proud to have him there with me, and proud to be a part of the club (which was partly why I wanted Laz there – it was an important event). I’d been hoping Dennis and Sharon would be there, too, so when a message came through that Kerry wanted a plate of food put by for each of them, I was really happy. I told him I’d eaten meat and he was pleased for me (Dave had been great about it all afternoon, keeping it low-key – so did they all, in fact, for which I’m grateful, and I’m sure Lise is, too).
And at the camp in the morning, I’d learnt nine more soft style moves, so now I know 18 (of 66). I tried to practise at Laz’s parents’ place the next day, but knew there was something missing – couldn’t think what. So I looked up the names of the moves and remembered, so I was then able to practise properly. That’s why it’s great that all the moves have names – even if you think they don’t make a lot of sense, they help you remember what you’re supposed to do. So my feeling of having reached a plateau has now been overcome and I hope my kung fu will improve as a result. (It’s already improved as a result of my much calmer state of mind, so we shall see what difference eating meat makes, too.)
What will October bring, I wonder…