I love shopping. I love dresses. I love pretty things. Weirdest of all - I kind of love shopping centres.
I know right, how "un-vegan" of me.
But I do. I like all the crazy, busy people running around, I love all the different shops and different ways to give away all my hard-earned cash, I love all the food options, I love all the coffee possibilities, and I think I like the noise. I'm weird. Most people hate shopping centres. The amount of times a day (at the cafe) I'll hear people complaining how they had to go to a big shopping centre to get supplies, food, back-to-school stuff, etc and I am just envious. As I write this, I am sitting at a coffee shop in Chermside Shopping Centre (one of the biggest in Brisbane) typing away happily with an Organic green tea, watching all the crazy people around me and love knowing the world's my oyster. I can do anything! I could nip upstairs and see a movie if I want....I can go buy a new dress.....I could go up-up stairs to the gym (what I should do) or I can just stay here for hours and get high on caffeine. All nice options.
I feel like the "Vegan me" should want to just go and sit in a park for hours and write in her journal about plants or something....but it's just not me. Don't get me wrong - I like nature. Honestly. I like long walks and I love being outdoors, but it's not something I'll do for hours and hours on my day off.
What's the problem, I hear you asking? Well, there isn't one. However, one of my heros is Alicia Silverstone (I know I've said it about 600 times already) and she is so inspiring when she talks about "not being a consumer". She buys all her clothing second hand, she spends her time gardening, writing inspirational books and of course being an actor, mother and all around goddess. I would love that life. That life sounds amazing. Maybe some day I will even have it. But at this stage in my life....I really do just like a pretty dress. I buy Vintage and second dresses occasionally and I get comments on them when I wear them out, I must confess. So, nothing against second hand. But one cannot deny the joy that flushes through you when you purchase a brand new, crispy, expensive, perfectly-cut (vegan) dress. I'm sure Alicia would still love me, right??
I had this same problem when I read "Skinny Bitch" with my love of coffee. I was so on-board the whole book! "Yes ladies!" I remember thinking. "You're so right about everything! Everything you say makes sense!" Except.....do I really WANT to give up coffee? This is not a question of health. Of course I know coffee does me no favours.....and I'm not drinking it for it's "antioxidants" *scoff* or for it's apparent prevention of type 2 diabetes *double scoff* I'm drinking it because I like the damn taste! Sue me. My once-a-day cup of soy deliciousness I swear makes my day just that bit brighter and better. It puts me in a better mood and it's my INDULGENCE. I do not promote a life without the simple, yummy things and without indulgence. Now, there are plenty of vegan and health-friendly treats out there (raw superfood truffles, anyone?) and they are amazing, but seriously, there is something about a cup of coffee that I want in my life. I"m not drinking it because I can't function without it, I'm not drinking it because it helps me wake up..... I just want it.
I suppose, in the end: if you don't have misguided ideas about something and you're aware of the affects on your body: surely then you can do as you please? (As long as you aren't hurting yourself or others. Animals count). Therefore: I don't believe...on this great quest for health that I'm on....I will ever cut coffee totally from my life.
And I think the same goes for nice, new clothes. I really don't consume all that often. I used to. I used to consume a lot! Alicia would have thrown me out on the street! But now, I limit myself to the occasional indulgence, especially after finding all these amazing online Vegan clothing sites. Oh. My. God.
Everyone has to find what makes them happy. Not every Vegan is going to want to move into a hut in the middle of nowhere and meditate all day. And that's okay. I have started some meditation and I actually really liked it. Yoga too - I gave that a try and fell in love. These things can make you happier and richer, but once again, I don't think we have to box ourselves into anything. I think there's room in this world for Vegans who like to shop. And I'm one of them!
Just try and do the best YOU can. Put your money into places you can feel good about. Support small businesses. Limit yourself to indulgences, not over-consuming and it's so much more fun. If you're a coffee girl like me - go get the best! Find the perfect cup and enjoy one when you really, really want it. For me, it's usually after the gym with my favourite book. I sit there for an hour or so and that's my "me" time. Wouldn't trade it for anything - even the perfect body. What is that anyway? :)
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