A Memoir by Lisa Vaughn

Lisa was conservatively raised in a Catholic family in no-where middle America, where excitement is scarce and dreams are for sleeping. Little did she know, at age thirteen, she would suddenly find herself on a totally different path.

Through an unlikely chance meeting of a fellow classmate, she's surprisingly mesmerized, almost consumed, to befriend a girl who is obviously from the other side of the tracks...the cool side. Lisa does whatever she has to just to be accepted into this small club of coolness. Little did she realize, she was signing up for a lot more than social status. The two best friends find themselves innocently taking their relationship to a foreign level neither had experienced or saw coming.

A rollercoaster ride littered with choices and challenges Lisa never fathomed facing, especially in no-where middle America. She will find out what she is made of as she faces the consequences and struggles that come along with going against the grain.

Throughout their six year relationship, you will witness a touching story of human nature at its best...and at its worst. Showing just how far the human spirit can be challenged and pushed to a point where your “fight or flight” instincts naturally kick in. Struggling just to survive in a world where you are not like everyone else, but at the same time you really are. The daily struggles - both internal and external - are exhausting, yet necessary in their quest for one simple human need....love.

Finally breaking through all constraints that hold them back, reaching levels of one-ness that few actually obtain in a lifetime with their partner...only to find once they've reached that special place, it's not quite the right fit...for one of them, at least.

This contemporary story, told in the voice of the teen that lived it, will lead the reader through highs and lows, giving insight to the everyday challenges of the socially unaccepted, which will no doubt leave them rooting for the underdog. A true story of human resilience and the power of love...plain and simple.

*Please be advised, this memoir is real, honest, and raw. If you're looking for your typical 'sterilized' read, I'm not your girl - but if you're looking for a read that is written from the heart, certain to impact you on a human level, follow me! Have I got a story for you!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

FYI: Top Questions NOT To Ask A Vegetarian!

Okay all you carnivores, listen up! I know you don't mean to, perhaps you're just short on information, so as a public service I will publish the answers to those burning (and annoying) questions we vegetarians get asked most often, thus eliminating the need for you to ever ask them again...hopefully...maybe? Please. 

First off, I have not always been vegetarian - although I swear I was born to be one, but like most families raised in the midwest, I was brought up on a permanent menu of 'meat and tators'....ground meat, pulled meat, shredded meat, MEAT, MEAT, MEAT. Even as a child I remember separating the hamburger clumps from my mac-and-cheese (YES, my mother even put meat in our mac-and-cheese! Which I lovingly dubbed 'Cheese Crap' - and that's how we referred to that dish from that point on) I knew I didn't have 'the taste' for this odd food item, as early as I can remember, but I definitely lost my taste for it when I learned where meat actually came from. Surprisingly it didn't just magically appear from the back room of our grocer's meat department, as I always pictured...no seems it came from a dark, hidden, sinister place of which we did not, and should not, know the details of.  But it was clear to me, those innocent cows and pigs I saw happily grazing in the fields of my hometown, were soon to be somebodies 'Crap' in their Cheese-Crap! Holy Crap!  Nevertheless, children did not have a say back then, so I ate what I was served - hiding meat under potatoes or in napkins every chance I got.

Fast Forward: It's the early nineties. Oprah is going through her 'Mad Cow' fiasco. For the first time I sat and watched in horror as hidden footage revealed sickly cows and pigs being drug by their necks up ramps to begin the slaughter process. I was mortified. I was outraged. But more than anything, I was so impacted by this display of animal cruelty, that I vowed from that moment on I would never, ever eat red meat again. How could I? Even though I was never a big meat eater as an adult, I must admit I'd absentmindedly wolf down a Big-Mac or a plate of bacon if you put it in front of me.  Not anymore. That 60 minutes of TV gave me the incentive I needed to boycott red meat once and for all. It would take a few years, but eventually ALL meat - including chicken and turkey - became obsolete from my diet. And ever since that day...the questions. Oh the constant questions a vegetarian receives! The odd, sometimes insulting, questions. From my experience, here are the most asked - usually at mealtimes - and always in front of  large groups of friends or family:

1. You're a vegetarian? Do you eat fish or seafood? 
My fav by far. First off, I've always hated seafood - even when I was a carnivore. (My mother used to force me to eat salmon patties, which I choked down whole chunks, drenched in ketchup, while pinching my nose closed to avoid the taste!)  This question always amazes me. What does vegetarian mean? Aren't fish and seafood of any kind living creatures? Hello. My response? "I don't eat anything with a face or a mother". End of discussion...unless you have a smarty pants in the crowd that insist a head of lettuce has a face.

2. If you don't eat meat, HOW do you get enough protein in your diet? 
Surprisingly there ARE other sources of protein out there for us that don't want to involve a bloody carcass. Beans, legumes, nuts, peanut butter, soy, and a lot of vegetables are rich in protein. Don't worry, we get enough, and probably more than most meat-eaters, if the truth be told. 

3. What do you eat when you go to McDonalds? 
I just have to laugh. First off, if you're a veg-head, chances are you are not frequenting these places unless forced to. Most vegetarians are health-minded as well, so unless you hold a gun to our heads, you will probably not see us taking up a booth at the Golden Arches...but if we do, there are always the salad choices I guess. Which leads me to my next fav...

4. Don't you get tired of eating salads ALL the time?
First off, I love a good salad, but it certainly isn't on my menu every meal. These days products like veggie burgers, soy bacon, and meatless 'hamburger' crumbles allow us to eat pretty much like everyone else. 'Morningstar' products are my savior in the freezer section - those green-boxed items of goodness supplement my menu and keep it varied and interesting.  Hats off to you Morningstar! Thanks to them, there is no reason to deprive myself of any meat items I used to enjoy.  Bacon, turkey, pepperoni, corn dogs...they have it all!  For every meat item, they have a faux version! 

5. You're a vegetarian? Oh that's how you stay so skinny.
BIG myth! Vegetarians are probably more prone to weight gain! Because some might not realize all the choices we do have - or get lazy like I do sometimes - they rely on carbs to keep them full and going. And everyone knows what a continuous bread-basket will do to your waistline. Twinkies, cakes, and cookies are also vegetarian...you get the picture. So no, sorry, I do not get a free pass...I have to exercise and sweat just like the meat-eaters. I only WISH that one were true!  

6. Why? Why are you a vegetarian? Is it because you feel sorry for stupid farm animals? But that's why they are here...for us to eat.
Now I really don't loathe this question, because it does give me a chance to explain and educate. I realize it's different for every veg-head, I'm sure, but my personal explanation is simple. I truly believe, in this day and age, that nothing needs to die to feed me or keep me alive. Maybe in the cave-man era, but no longer. To me, every living thing that is born, deserves to be alive. We all serve a purpose in this world. The cockroach, the snakes, the pigs, the cows, the humans. Just because we supposedly have a higher thinking capacity (do we?) doesn't give us the right to destroy what Mother Nature has put here for her purpose. Taking a life of another is murder. Plain and simple, whether it be an animal or human. And murder in my book is wrong. I'm sure if you were raised on a farm, you became accustomed to this practice, but does that make it right? 

7. If we didn't eat animals, there would eventually be too many and they would take over or starve out due to lack of food.
Three words: Supply and demand. If no one ate meat, we would not have to breed more meat, thus cutting out unnecessary births. I know this is a pipe dream, as I will never see the day no one eats meat. And as far as wild game, like deer...well, just as nature intended, the strong will survive, the weak will not. I don't think the eco-system needs our help to balance nature out...I'm pretty sure that's already built into the design. What wasn't built into the design is our abuse of the design. 

8. Is it okay if I eat meat in front of you?
Actually this is sweet. And yes, of course, it is okay. If I told you how to live, I'd be quite the hypocrite. 'Live and Let Live' is my mantra. I'd be thrilled if you suddenly declared your vegetarianism, but I do realize it is not for everyone. So no, I am not offended. In fact I live with a carnivore. He does eat less meat than your average Joe, but I have not convinced him to jump on my bandwagon, and it's been 15 years. But I still dream...

Bottom line:
Every night we lay our heads down to sleep. When I lay mine down, I am pleased to know nothing had to die that day to sustain my body for another day. I take great pride and pleasure from that. I know we are all different, and I respect that. I'm just asking for you to be conscience of how you are feeding yourself. There will always be meat-eaters. But I have to wonder, if every meat consumer were forced to tour the packing plant from which it came, would there be less? I could only hope for humanities sake, the answer is yes. 
Like Paul McCartney once said, " If slaughterhouses had glass walls, there would be more vegetarians"...Amen Paul! Amen. 
Thank you Oprah and Morningstar for changing my life for the better! I (and the animals I have saved in my lifetime) will be forever grateful!

1 comment:

  1. LOL my there are some gems here! But I admit to having asked the first one, only because a friend when I was young told me she was vegetarian but was really pescatarian. Sheesh.

    Have you tried Chinese vegetarian food? By far the yummiest vegetarian ever! Roast goose, sweet and sour pork (made from mushroom), even prawns made from flour and seasoned with seaweed for that fishy flavour)...now I'm hungry!

    One more FAQ to a vegetarian: do you eat dairy products? I suppose if someone said "no", they're technically a vegan?


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