Hi there. It's been a while, as always. Things have been more or less the same which means, changing all the time, but there are the constants like cats and music. It seems that much of my time lately has been spent sleeping, teaching a handful of students, and rehearsing for this PMC Bach concert (June 11th & 12th).
I've also been doing a lot of research on numerous topics like, politics (because duh), consonants (as opposed to my usual vowels research), and veganism. Yep, I've (we've) made the leap to vegan. June will mark my one year of having gone vegetarian (pescatarian) and it was a breeze. I never liked meat much. I can remember my family doing steak nights for dinner and I'd just focus on my loaded baked potato and broccoli. I was very young when I first saw a pig being slaughtered and it affected me deeply. I swore of pork for most of my childhood, only occasionally having bacon. I'd order chicken, turkey, or burgers, the occasional carne asada tacos, and plenty of fish....but I was frequently disappointed. I couldn't understand why cuts of meat would be so fatty or difficult to chew. I'd get halfway through a bite and the texture sensation would start to take a turn on me. I couldn't linger long with a bite of meat. I'd have to chew it fast and not think about it. But when I'd think about it for even a second, I'd lose my appetite and almost gag.
I don't know what it was that convinced me to make the change last summer. I just hadn't been ordering or buying meat much and I thought to myself, "you know what to do". And that was that. I'm sure that the explosion of videos on the internet abetted that move. There was just no looking away from the truths. We chose to do pescatarian (fish) because we didn't want to stress about getting enough protein or shock our routines too much. And that right there is the sentence that gets me.....we didn't want to "shock our routines". It was a refusal to look at something clearly, push it aside, and be lazy. Fish don't feel pain, right?! The fishing industry is pretty above board, yeah? No animals are harmed for dairy or eggs, come on!
That's what I was recently forced to witness. One video. One very very persuasive video about dairy that left me absolutely sobbing with disgust. I immediately made the decision. It was no longer a question in my mind that I would push aside.
We didn't plan a transition, which doesn't make it easy at all, but once I looked at it plainly, I couldn't look away. Of course, as I said, it's been hours upon hours of research about this lifestyle change (not a diet, at all) and what we do and don't buy. I'm still figuring it all out. We're doing well so far, and I'm actually, maybe kind of masochistically enjoying tailoring my choices and finding the alternative options. Making conscious decisions on anything in life is so therapeutic. I'm inspired. It seriously looks like the world is going to shit lately but, then I look around and see so many people making more conscious decisions and I see so many people in the past who paved the way and held fast to their convictions.
I am now remembering a side of me that I quelled for quite a while, and for good reason. I was a VERY opinionated, whiney, and sensitive child. As I got into my teens, a dear friend said to me, "Afton, no one wants to be around you. Just stop." That hit me hard and I started to calm down, eventually to a point where I forgot. There were ghosts of some convictions that hung around, like my feelings about religion in politics, the education system in the US, the industrial military complex, and gay rights.
I needed time to figure out how to communicate my convictions in a mature way. I think we all go through this. Your 20s are about figuring all this out, who you are in this world, and your identity. In the last year, I've literally felt this sense of calm wash over me. But literally just months leading up to this wave, I had intense anxiety and uneasiness. I've been having incredible deja vu and flashbacks to memories I don't usually recall. I'm remembering things I've never remembered before. I also stopped taking my depression medication in April and it's had a profound effect. I guess this is what people talk about when they reach their 30s. I was worried that I wasn't going to have this experience because this time last year, I was in a pretty crummy state. It's an awakening, for sure. Actually, it feels more like an arrival.
So, yeah, that's where I'm at. I'm not settled but I'm definitely in a cool place and I'm excited to explore more of it.
As far as singing and music go, I've never been more in the groove. I'm not writing but I've realized that that is something that I have to actually stoke, so now I'm calm with that knowledge and I know I can do it when I decide to. I just haven't been too inclined lately, but that may change. Right now, I'm thoroughly enjoying singing with PMC, teaching my few but mighty students, and doing the odd gig here and there. I do plan on recording a bunch of tunes (covers and such) these next two weeks. It'll just be a collection of oldies that I've performed a lot. I'm going to release them on soundcloud as a rarities project because, why not?
So there you go. News! Like I said, the PMC concert is on June 11th and 12th at Altadena Community Church. Get your tickets here: TICKETS
Well, here's me signing off - have a great weekend!