Friday, September 22, 2006

about meat

I was a vegetarian for about four years. My reasons were vague. I loved animals. I wanted to be healthy and good. But I also loved burgers and missed them. I became very thin. My knee joint snapped during ballet rehearsal and I flubbed the Juilliard audition.

Then in college, I signed up for a class on the psychology of eating. One of the things I remember most is the professor—a breast cancer survivor, mother, and marathon runner who became a good friend—saying: You should eat what you want to eat. Your body wants it for a reason.

I took that advice to heart. I left class and my friends Brad and Lauren drove me straight to a ribs place.

Now, I eat what I want to eat. I read what I want to read. I wear what I want to wear. I follow my interests, which presently include lobster fishing and Biblical names.

My friends Laurel and Charlie have been talking recently about not writing poetry and being okay with that. I’m okay with that. Vegetarianism was not for me. Poetry is for me, but only sometimes.

The truth is, I go with my heart. I go where it takes me. That journey has nothing to do with politics or theory or famous people or fashion or trends or money or popularity or school.

My heart said go to NY. So I did. My heart said stay. So I did.

I’m trying to let go of what everyone thinks of me, what I was supposed to be, what has been expected of me.

My heart says love, write, mother, teach. Everything else—-what genre I write, where we live—-is a detail. Do you hear me, world? I could write greeting cards. I could love you in a cardboard box. I could teach fifth graders to tap dance--and have. They are details, and details change and expand and shift and gather and grow. We are so much more than any one thing, and have so much more to do in this world than any one life could possibly fit in. So let's do it. Today.

Oh yeah, and I wrote a poem about meat, Mad Cow Disease, and strippers.