The Year of the Girl (and Quinoa)

The Year of the Girl (and Quinoa)

I didn’t make a New Year’s resolution for 2017. I was over setting myself up for failure, so in the spirit of self-love, I decided to challenge myself in more productive ways. I set short term goals, like not getting too drunk to remember the ball drop (failed) and not crying at midnight (allegedly failed). 

I did, however, develop a theme and set of rules for the new year. My mantra?  “2017 is the year of the GIRL.”

2016 was all about boys for me. There were way too many boys in 2016. Frankly, I’m over boys.  When I hear “2016,” I think “boys,” and I decided that 2017 was going to be the year of the girl.  Once I decided this, I realized I would need some rules to help me stay on track, so I thought about what was most important to me and wrote it down. Here’s the exact list I developed, written in pink colored pencil and titled “RULES 4 2017” on page 111 of my journal:

1) IGNORE BOYS!!!

2) never let boys be the focus in ANY way

3) drink more skim milk

4) do what u want

I figured these guidelines would lead me down a successful path as I embarked on the year of the girl. I quickly realized, however, that it’s hard to not focus on that one boy with curly hair. And how was I supposed to follow rules one and four when ignoring boys was the last thing I wanted to do? (I pretty much had the skim milk thing down, at least.)

As hard as it was to follow my rules, I really wanted 2017 to be the year of the girl. I started looking for distractions that would give me something other than boys to think about. I tried to focus on myself and all of those dusty resolutions of years past started flowing through my head again: Go to the gym. Watch less TV. Eat more salads. For God’s sake, go to the gym. I didn’t want to fall into the same routine of failure that I had in past years. It was on January 8th that I found the perfect distraction.

Veganism.

Veganism is cool, okay?  Let’s all stop pretending like we’re too cool for veganism. It’s undeniably the ethical choice, but I don’t really care about that. I pretend to not see dog vomit around my house so someone else will clean it up—ethics aren’t everything to me. But our planet is dying and we’re all kind of pretending it’s not happening and when we do acknowledge that it’s happening we pretend there’s nothing we can do about it. Vegans are the one group of people who have realized you don’t have to dedicate your life to conservation in order to make a positive difference.

Aside from ethics, veganism is fun. Going to the grocery story is a scavenger hunt now. And the thing is, veganism isn’t profitable enough for companies to mass produce shitty food. If you’re going to go to the trouble to make a product vegan, you’re going to make sure it’s delicious too (Enter: Peanut Butter Panda Puffs, the perfect cereal).

I decided to try being vegan and was surprised at the impact it had on my life and my goals for 2017. I stopped thinking about boys and started thinking about the black bean burger I was planning to buy for lunch. I stopped writing poems about guys I don’t talk to anymore and started writing down recipes I found online. I spent a lot less money on Cook-Out and a lot more on fresh fruit. I mentally whined about having to pull up my jeans every four seconds at work before I realized it was the first time in a year that my waistline didn’t hold them up for me (I promptly called my best friend and tweeted about this lovely realization.)

I didn’t realize it, but veganism was doing for me what my four rules hadn’t: veganism was making 2017 the year of my diet. Veganism was making 2017 the year of my body. Veganism was making 2017 the year of the girl. (I also discovered quinoa, which, not to exaggerate, I would literally sell my soul for.)

Last year I started telling myself  to “be nice to your body.” I stopped calling it names. I let it do yoga more often. I stopped feeding it when I was full. But somedays I just couldn’t help but finish off that entire bag of chocolate covered pretzels. Not much has changed; I just eat Oreos by the sleeve-full instead of Chips Ahoy now. But for some reason, my body has been thanking me.

Veganism has made me happier because it is fun and makes me feel good and lets me buy cute food (Reenter: Peanut Butter Panda Puffs). It makes me feel better physically and mentally and it makes me feel a part of something bigger than myself. The only problem is that I haven’t been able to follow rule number three for a few months now.

It’s important to have compassion with missions like this. I have forgiven myself for the time I drunkenly stole the butter-soaked piece of toast out of my friend’s Zaxby’s box and secretly ate it in the back seat of his car. What really matters isn’t the pound of butter I ingested, but that I woke up and ate Peanut Butter Panda Puffs instead of Reese’s in a bowl of almond milk instead of 2%. 

I’m doing a good job of making this year about me. I’ve stopped thinking about boys so much.  Now I just have to work on not eating an entire pint of dairy free Ben & Jerry’s every night (little wins, people, little wins).

[Photo by Julie Bloom.] 


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