A new life, and a new me

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…

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8 thoughts on “A new life, and a new me

  1. Jen says:

    Quite sad to read this Dawn. In all the years I’ve known you vegetarianism was a huge part of who you are.I still clearly recall you many many years ago asking me to stir some soup for your dad while it was cooking because it was oxtail.With respect this Dave guy at your kungfu doesnt sound like he knows what hes talking about. Yes he may be a martial arts expert but he is not a doctor.I can’t think of any pain that can be cured just by eating meat. He sounds more like a butcher with a mission.Have you tried consulting a doctor about the pain and problems you have been experiencing?

    • Jenny, I hate to say this, but if you want to be mates, I suggest you don’t say things like that about someone I have a lot of respect for. This was my choice, and my choice only. If I hadn’t wanted to do it, no one in the world could have made me. My instructor is an expert, and knows what he’s talking about. I trust him. That should be enough.

    • Dave reckons I’ll be a changed woman in three months (even though he admits I’m already a changed woman!). I wait with baited breath… 😉

  2. Laz says:

    @Jen, @Dawn

    You two are friends; please don’t fight.

    When I heard about this meat-eating theory of Dave’s I have to admit I was as dubious as Jen about the need to eat meat to train effectively.

    I am still somewhat dubious; however I don’t think Dave is likely to be ‘a butcher with a mission’ either. I think that, at worst, he is a person with an opinion which I am not convinced is correct.

    I can also say that it seems to be true that the decision to eat meat has been Dawn’s alone.

    Dave has expressed his opinion, but I think he has done so respectfully. I’ve met Dave. He seems like a nice guy. Perhaps you could argue that he has applied ‘pressure’ but of course, he is her trainer (Dawn’s ongoing decision) which makes it his responsibility to advise her according to what he thinks is best for her Kung Fu (and by extension, her health — again, in his opinion.)

    I’ve kept out of it. It’s none of my business.

    I am not a vegetarian myself, but I don’t think it’s for me to decide what other people eat. I like vegetarian food, and I like vegetarian people, as long as they respect that my choices and principles may be different from theirs. A lot of meat-eaters, it is true, seem to think that vegetarians are weird, and criticise their choice not to eat meat. In my opinion, those people are arseholes.

    The bottom line is that we have to make these decisions for ourselves. If people don’t agree with each other on what to eat, it doesn’t necessarily make them enemies. Isn’t that obvious?

    As far as I can tell, this is all about Kung Fu; it’s not a question of Dawn suddenly giving up her principles, and it’s not a question of her instructor being an arsehole, nor of her boyfriend (me) being one.

    Time will tell whether or not eating meat helps with Kung Fu, or with pain.
    Speaking to a doctor wouldn’t hurt, though.

    If eating meat doesn’t help, maybe Dawn will go back to being vegetarian. I’m cool with that, and, as I understand it, so is Dave.

    On the other hand, this ‘changed woman’ thing… that might not be so cool. I guess we’ll see.

    • The ‘changed woman’ thing was most definitely meant as a compliment 🙂 My confidence has grown enormously over the time I’ve been training. And to be fair, I haven’t seen Jenny for a lot of years and I’m not the same person I was then. I think for the better. But everyone is entitled to their opinion. (I’ve been an advocate of free speech for so long now that it would be hypocritical of me to say otherwise.)

  3. Please continue to let us know how your switch back to meat has helped you (or not). I recently made the switch the other direction, for exactly the same reasons: wanting to improve my KF strength and endurance. My sifu is a vegan, and touts the benefits of vegan diets. Go figure!

    Thank you for the posts!

    Carey Head
    Charlotte, NC, U.S.A.

    • Hi Carey, nice to “meet” you!

      Yeah, it seems to be making a difference already. According to my instructor, I have more colour and more endurance, not dropping by the end of the class and having more stamina. Another of the people I train with commented (without knowing I’d made the switch) how much stronger I was looking, so that’s interesting. I wasn’t expecting a difference so quickly, but apparently, it’s there. I haven’t noticed much of a difference myself, except that yes, I have more stamina in class.

      I’ll write another post about this in the next few days, I expect, so keep an eye out! And let me know whether your switch the other way makes a difference to your training, too.

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