Today my name is Laura because that is where I began.
I began as a coddled child, but an ecstatic and creative one. I was forced into vivid imagination as I was often alone, no siblings, no very close friends. Always the odd one out, I was the sensitive strange one, easy to pick on, which I was, to the point of major harassment.
As time went on I built up a wall, and hid within books, music, mountains of sugar, writing, and obsessions with boys. My trusting nature and sensitivity never changed, but I became brooding, self-loathing, and antagonistic. I was overly defensive because when I was growing up I had no defenses - they grew to be overwhelming. But it worked - people did start to leave me alone. Sometimes, though, this included the people I did not want to intimidate. My brutal and blunt attitude cost me friends when it was not necessary. It took me years to balance it.
I suppose I am just describing a typical teenager, and I'm not looking for sympathies from how I grew up - in fact, I am glad for everything that has ever happened to me. I actually miss being a teenager, as some of it was enthralling. I am telling a simple version of my life so I can get on with the good stuff but give a basic idea of who I am and how I got this way.
To keep it blunt, I was a negative, impatient cynic who was dying for someone to show me love, when really I just did not know how to love myself. I looked for it everywhere but within.
A couple of years ago, I was deep in doldrums. I was in the worst possible rut, and did pretty much nothing with my time. I had no job, I laid around my room all day, I gorged on chocolate and pizzas, I dealt with people bailing on me constantly, convinced no one liked me and never being able to understand why. My anger grew, my anxiety was the most extreme it had ever been, as in I would walk my dog in the evening with my key through my knuckles in case someone attacked me and I had to throw a nasty punch. I always looked behind me...in all aspects - I just thought I had it coming.
I am going to say something weird now, but keep reading and you will understand.
Getting furious at my dog is the best thing that ever happened to me.
Why? Because it was something completely opposite of who I am. I intensely love animals, and I especially adore my dog, who I admit can be frustrating at times when it's dark and raining and cold out and she just won't do her business. And so I would lose my temper, verbally. Every time I would see her cower and then I would cry, because I felt the most intense guilt I had ever felt, and the most deep self-hatred. Who had I become? A person I couldn't stand, a person I hated. A person who often thought about dying - which I'd never honestly considered in my life.
This was my turning point. I did not want to be who I was anymore - I knew that this was not me; I was not an angry, boring person. I had a lot of desires and ambition but no drive. I did not want to lie around and think about what I lacked. I did not want to just read self-help blogs and have no real transformation. I wanted real results, and I begged the universe to show them to me. I stopped being a cynic, and from the core of my being, I was ready to change and I believed that I would get an answer from somewhere, because I was completely open to doing anything it took to find who I really was.
Not long after, in one of the self-help blogs I read - one of the only really helpful ones - I read about raw food. Since the writing was engaging, and I'd once picked up a raw food book years before at the library (which I never ended up reading), it immediately caught my interest. And so, I got caught up in reading about this person's experiment with a raw vegan diet, every day. It was the first thing I'd read, and I eagerly awaited the next entry for more insight. I was obsessed.
I read everything I could about it, and only after a couple of days I knew that this was my answer. Food. How simple? I'd been noticing that the more crap I ate the angrier and more anxious I would feel at the end of the day, and my sugar intake was the worst it had ever been, probably 4 to 5 chocolate bars a day. Reading about raw food, it was ironic that my crutch on sugar - which was soothing as I ate it - was the reason I was depressed in the first place.
I was often depressed for no real reason, which made me even more frustrated with myself because I actually had it pretty good. I would often write about what I was grateful for, and I had a lot of things to write about. I never understood why until I linked my food with my brain.
Everything I read about raw food made more sense than anything I'd ever read, about anything. I was already a vegetarian, and I wanted to make sure I was very informed before I made any major changes. Long ago I had been vegan but extremely unhealthy, so wanted to make sure I did everything right. I was not doing it to lose weight, and I was not doing it for ethical reasons - it was all for my well-being. I wanted to be happy, for real.
I spent a couple of months reading everything I could, and then on February 1st, 2008, I went on a vegan diet. I had my farewell to cheese dinner with some deep-fried brie and mango sauce. I relished it. I also cut out refined sugar as much as I could - I would have things with evaporated cane juice and natural sweeteners. I decided to do this for two months and cut things out slowly, and go raw on April 1st.
Because I was so specific, it worked out well. I first cut out potatoes, and rice, then any treats like Luna Bars, and finally, bread. That was the hardest. And I did exactly what I had planned - all raw, 100%, April 1st, 2008.
And it was actually easy to stick with, because I had a real reason to stick to it. I wanted it more than anything. I'd tried to quit sugar so many times to lose some weight, but it never stuck. I always wanted to feed my addiction because it made me feel better mentally. Now I wanted to feel better mentally, so I knew I couldn't eat that way. I also knew a side benefit would be weight loss, so I didn't even worry about that. It was not as important.
I expected a bit of detox, and mine was not too harsh, as I had not had meat in a very long time and the rest of my diet was still full of fruits and veggies and tofu - my main culprit was the candy bars. My only detox symptoms were lethargy, a few enormous pimples, diarrhea, and a bit of a snotty nose. This all passed within a week, and after 10 days, my lifetime of depression disappeared.
It was gone. I was in a state of euphoria to the point where I could not sleep. But when I did sleep, it was deep. And When I was awake, I had astounding energy. I was sublimely happy and positive. Everything was more vibrant. My skin glowed and cleared up, my smile was constant, I was calm, my attitude changed, I attracted new friends into my life, 25 pounds melted off in 4 months - and I ate as much as I wanted. In addition to ridding myself of depression, my chronic bladder infections stopped, as well, which had been a source of agony for most of my life.
Changing my diet to this simple, natural way of eating has been the most important thing I've ever done for myself. It works for me. I am of the opinion that no creature is vegan (even herbivores ingest insects) - I am this way for ethical reasons, and I will never eat meat again in my life. I may not always be vegan, but I will always be ethical and I will always eat raw. I am not militant, either, and will never try to change anyone - I do what I do for me, and if it inspires others, great. I am not an extremist - if I eat a minor amount of cooked food, I don't feel guilty - it's rare, and always simple (baked sweet potato, for example).
The whole point of this blog is to share what works for me, and to share some things that may inspire you to find out who you really are, buried under a cloud of whatever is holding you back.
I embrace the light and dark parts of myself - but now I am a positive, energetic, and happy person. It was hard to let go of who I identified as for the vast majority of my life - but it was not who I really was.
Sometimes the answer to a problem is the simplest one, almost too obvious that we ignore it.
If you're interested in my physical transformation, here it is. This is a year to the day apart (when I started as just vegan, not raw - Feb 08-Feb.09 - no workouts were involved in this, either, though I did become more active due to having a lot more energy), though I had pretty much the same results after 4 months.
Nice to meet you, I hope you will introduce yourself to me.