2019, Community and Values

Happy New Year!

I know, I know: it’s January 23, so I’m a wee bit late. I don’t know about you but January has just passed by without me noticing. What have I been up to?

New year, new possibilities; New day, new opportunities!

Well, I’ve started my second term as a kinesiology student, enjoyed (?) many snowstorms (it’s currently snowing like crazy as I type this), felt cold temperatures that shouldn’t be legal, and tried to breathe and stay relaxed through it all.

Spoiling my plants to Beardbangs planters!

https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/Beardbangs?ref=l2-shopheader-name

I’ve also rekindled with my love of plants and have a few new plants to call my own. I’m trying out the once-famous Pilea and loving my Pothos and Prayer plants way too much. It’s been so relaxing taking care of our plants, re-potting them, dusting them, fussing over how slow or how quickly they are growing… I’ve even started a plant journal to keep track of all their progress and see what works best. It really has been my relaxation practice of the month. Maybe it’s because of all the cold and snow, but connecting with greenery has been so therapeutic!

One of my baby Pilea!

What about food? Well, I’ve been trying to keep up with eating all the greens and making sure to drink all the water. I’ve also started to take a vitamin D supplement, and I can’t say I’ve noticed any difference. However, I know I’m not getting any sunlight as I’m waking up before the sun and coming out of uni after sunset. As my uni doesn’t have any windows in the classrooms, I’m starting to believe that the sun is as mystical as unicorns. So, a vitamin D supplement makes sense for me at the moment.

A few weeks ago, Bonny Rebecca, one of my favourite vegan Youtubers, made a video about not being vegan anymore for health reasons. I felt for her and admired her courage for “coming out”. For her to be honest about this when she has built her entire brand around veganism must have taken so much bravery and guts. Yet, soon enough, the online vegan community came up with many response videos bashing her and calling out on her integrity, questioning her “level of veganism”, some even saying that she was never really vegan. Others even said that they would never give up on veganism, no matter how terrible the health consequences might be.

Really?

After seeing all of this, I felt so ashamed. Ashamed because I spent years calling myself a vegan, supporting the diet and lifestyle, believing that it was the one and only answer to all of mankind’s problems. Mostly, I felt ashamed of the community. How can I call myself a vegan, when other vegans are so plain mean and disrespectful? For me, compassion is the driving force behind my diet change. What would it say about me if I couldn’t spread this compassion to a young woman going through health problems? I’m in no position to judge, criticize or assume anything on her life. It is not my place, and it is nobody’s place. So what’s up vegan community? Are our egos so big that we have forgotten that we are dealing with actual humans? Is the chase for recognition, views and clicks overshadowing basic respect? That’s not the community I want to be a part of.

It would be hypocritical to say that I’ve never had slip ups or that I never crave butter or eggs. I find myself asking: what is really important? To be perfect or to do my best? I choose to do my best. Nobody can live up to the pressure of trying to be perfect 100% of the time. You just try your best and maybe even enjoy the process. It goes for veganism, and all aspects of life!

Beautiful scones of my heart…

As I came back to uni, in a completely new field, I’ve felt a lot of pressure and stress: Am I good enough? Am I fit enough? Am I young enough? Is my brain still capable of studying? Are they going to judge my body? Will I make friends? Will any of my former students be in my classes?

These questions and many more started to take all the space in my mind, and I was struggling with levels of anxiety that I had never experienced before. At my lowest, I realized that I was putting all this pressure on my own shoulders. Nobody but me cared! For all I know, all the other students in my program ask themselves the same questions… and all I can do is offer my best effort. That is more than enough.

This change of perspective came like a sweet wave of relief. All of a sudden, it was okay for me to relax and not work all the time; it was okay for me to eat chocolate and not feel guilty; it was okay for me to skip a workout when I was feeling exhausted; it was okay for me to go out with my boyfriend and have a cookie even if it wasn’t a vegan. It was okay for me to simply experience and live.

So, this is what I want to bring to the blog. Tips and tricks to help you cope with anxiety, plant love, plant-based recipes, vegetarian recipes, exercises, books, teas and cats! I want my blog to be a warm and safe space where I can share posts that will make you feel warm and safe. I’m not striving for perfection anymore: I’m striving for a full life that I can sustainably live. And that is more than enough.

Hoping that you will all join me,

Anne 

Oh, and I’ve also started taking horseback riding lessons! It brings me so much peace, and it’s such a blast working with these wonderful animals.

Saying No

At the end of June, I decided that I couldn’t keep on teaching at a regular school, that working from 7:30am to 11pm every day was not healthy, and that spending more time with my work than with my family and friends was not something I wanted. So, I made myself an amazing gift: one year.

One year to figure out what it is that I want to do. One year to work on my blog and see where that goes. One year to spend time with the people I loved and work on my relationships. One year to start a masters degree and see if I still enjoy education enough to pursue higher education for myself. One year to start fresh. One year to do yoga. One year to take care of myself.

Well, it’s been six months now. I thought it would be a good time to recap and see what I have learned so far.

At the beginning of this six months, I was really inspired by the “say yes to everything” idea. Say yes to every opportunity and see where it leads you. I liked the idea of being open and positive about what might happen and what projects might be knocking on my door. As I didn’t have anything on my plate, it was great to say yes to one thing after another. I felt busy. I felt energized. I loved working on different things at different times and rhythms. I loved that people were asking for my participation. The only  thing I forgot was to ask myself: do I really want this? Do I really need this?

no

In many cases, the answer is no. I do not want this project. I do not need it either. It doesn’t bring me joy, it brings me stress and anxiety. Worse of all, some of the things I’m spending the most time on these days are taking me away from my family, away from my blog, away from my mat and away from myself. I’m finding myself, yet again, in a position where I don’t know what I want, without time to think about it. And so that’s why I’m starting to say no.

It’s hard to say no because I don’t want to disappoint people. I don’t want to look like I’m selfish or not trying hard enough. But, I’m learning to accept that it’s healthy to say no. That it is okay to do only what I can. That there is no glory in being exhausted and overburdened all the time.

It’s also hard to say no because everyone seems to be saying yes to great things. Everyone seems to be leading these exciting lives. Everyone seems to have everything in order. But, see, that’s the thing: they seem to be. The more I share my worries and my views on this, the more I realize that most people my age are completely lost and looking for their own ways too. I don’t think we’re lazy or undecided as a generation. Maybe it’s just that we want to try something else than what is being handed to us. And that’s inspiring and amazing.

In a way, I think all of this is linked to respect: respecting my limits and my own desires. By asking myself if I really want to do something, I’m hoping to move, little by little, in a direction that will be meaningful and fulfilling to me, to my heart while giving my space for my priorities. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

So for the next six months, I’ll be saying no a lot more! You can expect more regular content on the blog starting mid-December and exciting projects growing and growing. Tune in in 6 months, to see where that led me!