I've been a vegetarian my entire adult life. On Thanksgiving day, 1990, I made the decision to become a vegetarian, right after I finished eating enough turkey, ham and prosciutto to call it a night. A few weeks later, I did eat some steak milanese, which was one of my favorite things, but I've never intentionally eaten any poultry, meat or fish since.
Until this Thanksgiving.
I already had two very strong cosmos and always loved the smell of turkey roasting. Like the year before, I sat at the island in the kitchen watching my uncle carve the turkey, directing him on where he should cut, watching him and thinking how I'd do a better job.
And just like ever year, I wanted to eat a piece. In the past I resisted, but this time, I felt myself sitting there and thinking, "Do it. Eat it. You want it." And I found myself working up the nerve to reach into the roasting pan and grabbing that delicious looking piece of meat that just just fell into the juices at the bottom. So I grabbed it and ate it. I had expected not to remember the taste but it tasted exactly the same.
Everyone stopped and watched. My uncle, aunt and two cousins were momentarily silenced and then they started shouting like their football team just won the superbowl.
So, why did I do it? For a while I didn't have an answer. I didn't really make a decision so much as leap off a cliff. The way it came on felt like a dare. I've been analyzing and analyzing ever since and now I think I know the reasons why:
1. I made the decision to become a vegetarian when I was seventeen. A huge, major core of how I live my life, a huge part of my belief system has pretty much remained static and unchallenged.
2. Lots of stuff happened this year, like my grandmother dying and getting some uncertain medical news that led me to want to not hold back and to be conscious of the things that I do, the choices that I make.
3. It was a moment where I just said to myself, "Fuck it."
So what now? I'm not sure. I don't see myself reverting back to eating meat. My core belief - that we are needlessly cruel to animals and we don't need to treat them this way and it's a reflection on the type of people we are individually and as a whole - still holds true. Yet, I cannot say that I won't try and taste more things. It makes me feel conflicted and hypocritical because my belief in the value of animal life is strong.
I think I need to hit the reset button and choose again.