“Have you had the burger here? It’s awesome!”
“No, I haven’t actually.”
“You gotta get it.”
“Oh thanks, no, I actually don’t eat red meat or pork.”
“Oh right, Jewish, I forgot.”
That’s funny, I think, never said I was Jewish…. also would love to learn when not eating red meat is a part of keeping kosher. Fact is, there’s no actual reasoning behind while I don’t eat red meat or pork, just the way I grew up. For some reason, I proclaimed at four years old that enough was enough! I would no longer be eating red meat! Why? Erm…not so sure. I’m pretty sure at the time the other women in my family didn’t eat red meat, or at least not often and I, being quite the little lady decided the same. And at 12, I decided I wouldn’t eat pork either. But I’m pretty sure that was just because I thought pigs were simultaneously adorable and filthy and therefore, I could stick to the poultry and seafood.
So, yeah, not exactly logically thought out reasoning there but also, for once and for all, you can rest assured, it is not because I am Jewish that I don’t eat beef.
So, phew, now that I explained my agnostic dietary restrictions, I can reveal to you something that only few know (and those who know it find it hysterical, I know). I have been hiding this for about a year now and I’ve felt so ashamed. I’ve tried to hide it, but it’s to the point where I need to tell the world or I’ll forever live in disgrace…. OK *spoiler alert ahead*
I. LOVE. BACON.
I know, who doesn’t right? Me, Me! For 15 years, I was so staunch in my eating habits, never failing… even dramatically spitting food out when I realized it was spoiled with red meat or pork filth. So, how did this happen you ask? It’s a slippery slope my friends. I tell you, only to beg for your understanding in my hypocrisy.
1. You start off strong. Like determined 12 year-old girl strong. You declare you don’t eat pork anymore and yes, that includes bacon.
2. You realize that everything on every menu everywhere has bacon on it or in it, you find the few items that don’t and you order those.
3. You get sick of being limited to a few items. You order other items, sans bacon. This goes well for the most part, but a lot of times someone gets it wrong and the meal arrives with bacon. You send it back.
4. You get sick of sending every meal back. You swallow your pride, attempt to push the bacon to the side and eat your meal.
5. Little bits of bacon you pushed to the side creep into your bites over the years. You like it. You say nothing.
6. The pushing to the side turns into “picking around” the bacon. You hope no one notices as you steadily do a worse and worse job.
7. You eat the bacon that came on the food you ordered.
8. You order bacon.
My name is Laura and I love bacon. I still don’t eat red meat or pork… only bacon.
Resume vs. Reality
I am 27, Ivy League educated, completely self sufficient, a lawyer at a large corporate law firm in Boston and compared to many, I have been known for the large part to “have my shit together.” This was 3 weeks ago.
Oh, I left one thing out: completely miserable.
Many would tell me to never admit that for several reasons – don’t show weakness, no one wants to be around someone who is miserable, no one wants to hire someone who seems unhappy, it’s not a “good look”….. the list goes on and on.
But here’s the thing, do you know how empowering it is to admit that you’re unhappy? What once felt shameful to say out loud now feels energizing. However counterintuitive this may seem, once you admit you are unhappy, you can begin to try to figure out why it is you are not or even, what can help you chip away at that unhappiness. I’m not talking a pros and cons list here, no. I’m talking what your every day life looks like and what parts bring dread, and what, if any, bring joy.
For me, what I found may not be surprising to those on the outside, but was a personally starting revelation. I asked myself how I ended up unhappy and found that I could not trace it from any point where I can say I was truly happy. For as long as recent memory could recall, I felt like happiness would come once I finally graduated Penn Law, started my “dream” job as an attorney and with this, truly could live my life as an independent adult. But graduation came and went, months of #adulting came and went and the lawyering did not bring the so-called happiness I expected. In fact, it did the opposite. You see, by placing these intense expectations of happiness on one step, I also set myself up to fail and when failure is in the form of personal well being and mental health, that fall is crushing. By failing to live in the moment and instead constantly thinking of how things will be different in the future, I was bound to fall and fall I did.
Every day was a struggle – it simultaneously felt like every 24 hours lasted 24 years and like my life was passing me by. I woke up in tears and couldn’t explain it. Why did everything feel so hard! I really can’t explain it. The only thing I know is the most adult thing I’ve done in my life was sit back, admit I was unhappy and make an immediate and deliberate change. So, three weeks ago, I quit my “great” job in Boston and moved back home to Houston, Texas in search of my happy self. No, I’m not making the salary I was making there and yes, I’m living with my grandma who’s in her nineties. Some would say I’m currently doing the opposite of #adulting, but I really couldn’t care less. It is a beautiful thing to wake up every day and deliberately tailor your day in search of happiness and your true self. If this is failing, I’m alright with that. Because I have to tell you, taking the pressure to “succeed” off of myself feels pretty damn good.