I don't eat meat. Radical, I know. Or so you'd think, judging by some of the reactions I get. Jaws drop and the questions begin. I also get plenty of lectures about why I NEED to eat meat. And how I can't possibly get enough protein. I'm amazed sometimes.
I don't classify myself as a vegetarian because I consume fish, dairy and sometimes eggs. I don't need a label, but according to Wikipedia I'd be a semi-vegetarian, a lacto-ovo vegetarian, or a pescetarian. Whatever. I just don't believe my body needs meat. So there you go.
I haven't eaten meat for close to a year now, in case you were wondering. Now, sometimes, I understand the beans I eat out at a restaurant may have been seasoned with pork. I don't care. I eat the beans, not the pork. And sometimes chicken broth may be used in a dish that I eat. I don't care. So I suppose, in a way, I consume meat. But I don't put morsels of meat in my mouth, chew them up and swallow them. Why all the details? Because you'd be surprised at the questions I get when I say, "I don't eat meat." "But what about...blah blah blah?"
WHY WHY WHY all the fuss about me not eating meat? I have no idea. In my family, I know of no vegetarians. I suppose they could be there, but in the closet for fear. Now that I'd understand.
Now, this post isn't actually about me not eating meat. I have a different lesson for you today, but I needed to give a little background first. This post is about not picking the meat out of the lasagna. What? Isn't that about you not eating meat, Amy? Nope. Stay with me.
Last week, arrangements were being made for a small family get-together. The main dish to be served was meat lasagna. The suggestion was made to me (but not by the hostess, because she had no idea that I didn't eat meat) that I 'just pick the meat out of the lasagna'. Really? Now here's the deal...I have NEVER made a fuss over not eating meat. If I'm at a gathering where meat is being served, I always find something to eat. Trust me, I never go hungry. And I never expect the host/hostess to make special accommodations for me. I go along. And I'm OK with that. (again, you may THINK I'm back to this being about me not eating meat, but I'm not) What I don't need is for someone to be embarassed FOR me that I don't eat meat. Or someone to feel the need to explain FOR me why I don't eat meat.
Here's what happened in my brain when I was told to 'just pick the meat out of the lasagna'. Deny yourself.
As if I should be ashamed and just play along so as not to hurt any one's feelings. Seriously. I have spent most of my life 'picking the meat out of the lasagna', so to speak. Now, I admit there are times that it is appropriate to just go along with something, as long as no harm is done. But generally speaking, there's no reason to deny myself, who I am, or what I believe in. I have come a long way, but there was a time when I was so lost and confused about who I was. I had no identity except what had been given to me by others. That is some kind of screwed up right there! But with the help of God and the amazing support of my loving husband, I have decided I have an identity. Of my own. I am NOT what other people label me or need for me to be. Occasionally I slip, as I did about the lasagna, when I actually considered graciously taking a serving of lasagna and scooting it around on my plate so that it looked like I at least ate some of it. Why in the world should I have to do that??? To please other people. But I regained my footing and decided NOT to deny myself. I arrived at the party with a cheese pizza (for myself, but also because my son doesn't eat lasagna). And when offered the delicious lasagna (I have no doubt it was delicious. In fact, I'm getting the recipe and I'll be making it sans meat.) I politely said, "No thank you. I don't eat meat." And helped myself to yummy salad, delicious garlic bread and cheese pizza.
This is a reminder for myself and maybe a small morsel of encouragement for you. Don't deny yourself. Don't be ashamed of who you are, what you want or need. There's no reason to be ugly about it, just stand up for yourself.
And bring your own cheese pizza to the party.