Digress is a word an acting teacher and director used to use a lot in high school. We used to put on some shows that were of caliber to possibly what you would pay to see in a professional theater. I remember not being a leading actor ever so that I could really watch from the wings or hiding on set and feel submerged in the show. I guess this particular director was someone that settled there for who knows what reasons. Many times it’s creative freedom and being able to work a lot of potential from younger students or aspiring professionals in more noticeable ways. Despite the talent in our upper and lower classes and our direction as well as stage management, there was no lack of enthusiasm and when he got into speeches or monologues with us he would catch himself and say, “I digress…”
This year with three years as a vegan and getting out of my comfort zone with foods I’d buy and products I wouldn’t, I am getting out into the places that risk it all – emotionally, philosophically, standards-wise and in concern for principles. I think I am making the opposite of progress. It’s humbling and I might feel like a kid causing trouble in rebellion of my vegan overseers, so fun as well. The danger is running in the opposite direction because although it is easy to become vegan, it is not easy to say, “…okay after three years of sacrifice and research, I think I’ll become vegetarian cause it’ll be easier to socialize and eat-out and make friends and live”. Little compromises hurt like when you discover your favorite granola added a honey product to their line and now I don’t support them anymore forever. They turned around somewhere with that choice when I was loyal to eating their product everyday and it feels like betrayal.
Today my discoveries told me that although Magnesium Stearate may not be derived from animals, pretty much all western medicine and stamped pills are tested on animals. So, even if they don’t believe in it or have evolved to take all the animal products out of them, to be legal, they must have been tested on animals. One lady said, ” Animals first.” So, an unofficial lab could be making it up… Then that is where we are at. Looking into what do you support based on the brand if you cannot make it yourself with ingredients you made or know who made. Owner companies or with a store like Target, brands that contract them to make the products to sell in their stores. This is another place I am pausing with the term ‘private label product’. Can I support them? They say to Target – make this for us, so we are like the boss and let’s say it is animal product free? Target makes it and also makes another private label product with leather. How do view this type of association? A group of vegans could be thinking of how to make their product and get it to the masses and thinks it is an ok compromise to deal with Target this way. Someone like me who likes to say all these sub-companies can’t be supported. However I can buy this independent vegan friendly product sold in Target. I now see a separation in this philosophy even if I digress into the ‘may be it’s okay private label product’ as some of these aren’t Target’s own labels. I found Target on the animal exploitation list because obviously they carry leather in these brands and what-not and I was surprised because they have some of their own brands with their symbol on them that also separate from each other in certain ways. This is a little different than Nike who makes a leather shoe with their brand on it, but makes Target a more guilty party than just selling them. The private label contracted target to make the leather shoe. So, I shouldn’t buy anything Target branded is the usual idea. I have two food containers made by Target Signature brand I have to replace then. Even though Target Signature brand is an offshoot from Target. Should I buy an Embark air mattress though? It starts to look like different companies all using each other to make money in a generally safe arena of an image they are ok with. The more humanistic idea is that we are dealing with so many different people. The Target in Santa Monica, California is different than the one in downtown Chicago. All these products get really distorted from conception to production to distribution to sales. Target sells a lot of in-between brands some of which one site calls ‘fake cruelty-free’. At least they have more wannabe vegan brands however, where some stores could be on a completely ‘non-caring list’ or otherwise ‘otherside’. The ones that don’t believe veganism is acceptable for whatever reason and that certain animals are made for our consumption and health and sport or safety in testing. Or the idea is respect the animal and use every part of it. Outlandish… I loved that cow you ate, I want to wear it in grief. A few companies respond in positive ways like Bic I think it was. Statements along the lines of… Of course we don’t believe in animal testing and especially if not required in the US by law. If we sell products in other countries, then we try to let their lawmakers know and push for change in a better direction… etc… Is it genuine or political salespersonship? Even in politics we can be genuine and honest while still using the right words to make a sale that may not be ‘kosher’.
So running around Chinatown I am talking about living with pain for over a month and one doctor says it’s close to your brain or herbs take a long time to work or you must see the Chinese doctor and drink a custom concoction for seven days all costing another 90$ or so. Getting dizzy from the sharp pain and enlarged blue veins behind my ear I woke up with today, I got the generic brand of antibiotic sold by fairly knowledgeable shop that says the company doesn’t tell us certain sources, but are willing to share medicinal documentation and what-not. I remember from living in Taiwan that Chinese medicine is about prevention and so if you are getting a piercing I guess you start consuming special teas in case this happens, but I pretty much did it to myself. Pretty cruel to put yourself through a month of pain though it doesn’t make me feel any better for this reason. I feared this day would show up and what do the real vegans do? Die or end up like burning man. I guess I wanted to do that this week instead of resort to today’s discoveries when my prayers failed and I am cursing Jesus, demons, spirits and God knows what. I am still stuck at being accidentally gluten-free except for possibly the pills too because of the fertilizer debate earlier. I loved bread and now I could care less. If I were to make anymore compromises I would buy vegan certified Silk Chocolate soy milk which has the dreaded U-D symbol on it and a step further I would be less strict with processing statements for vegan products like Vega mixes because they are probably more strict with cleaning and vegan cleaning supplies versus some of the products I don’t look into as much. I respect when a label is super honest and revealing. I guess the reason for me then was… I am homeless and don’t want to compromise, so why do you? Principles over the actual thing of it. Lately I am not allergic to anything I know of and start to think – what am I eating? when the product looks like it was made for someone who balloons up at anything they get near their mouth. If we get more mystical about the belief… The cows disappear and so do the diary eaters on the next level. Then where you used to see McDonalds, is a vegan fast food store on every corner. Not over the next decade, overnight when you make a certain decision. Certain family members or your girlfriend and your place of work may not exist either. So is that a dream or a fear mongrel? If you are a regular non-questioning atheist type society member, then you may never have been introduced to these ideas, so I put them out there in this update with all the previous lines in question as I battle where to settle or how to make this life better moving into my fourth year of veganism. Striving to be cruelty-free or at least aware of what in my life I am unable to find a replacement for that isn’t and why I must compromise. I saw a billboard when I was looking for a different apartment with a picture of a dog saying that animal cruelty is unlawful. In this context only? Funny how the law makes it mandatory though while we still improve technology. Torture and pain isn’t the only cruel part on this journey. When you decide to continue down this path the cruelty is in thinking processes and where the emotions come from, why you think you are having a good day, what place to you go when you die. Spiritual death, soul death, body death, mental death, lifestyle death. All serious ways of leaving these places. I think the decisions we make toll us. If we turn around, they leave a mark and you can pretend to live like you used to, but it won’t be the same. Some bridges have lose-lose choices and if a pioneer a responsibility could be to make it a place to win moving forward.