But Fried Chicken

But Fried Chicken

Apparently being black and a vegetarian are mutually exclusive.
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For two years now I've been vegetarian. I made the decision because I love animals and do not agree with the way they are treated in the mass food industry. Many disagree with my decision but that's not where I'm going with this. I'm not PETA here to throw paint on your fur. I'm here to ask why in the living hell is being black and a vegetarian such a paradox?

Yes, I know. However will I be accepted among the black masses if my plate does not both have fried chicken and collared greens? My chicken and waffles is lacking in chicken! Oh God! Oh Lordy! How can I be black?

Now that you've had time to soak in how utterly stupid that is you now understand my feelings in this situation. I tell someone I'm a vegetarian and they say "but you're black."

Yes. I am. Thanks for letting me know. What does my dietary lifestyle have to do with my ethnicity again? Oh that's right.

Nothing.

Not only have I gotten "but you're black" but also "you're not black." Not white black person but I simply am not black. After quickly giving myself an inspection to make sure all these veggies hadn't depleted me of my pigment(it hadn't) I wondered why anyone would say that. Then glass shattered and light bulbs lit up around the world as I had the most enlightening question hit me like a soul food induced heart attack.

Is my entire race defined by our fried chicken?

Don't get me wrong. When I used to eat meat my dad's fried chicken was a religious experience but I have several friends that will tell you the same. Oh and guess what. They're not all black.

Oh and guess another thing.

There is no race restriction on being a vegetarian.

Black Card Intact.

Cover Image Credit: gunaxin

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19 Reasons Why The 'Part Tomboy Part Girly-Girl' Is The Best Type Of Girl

With us, you get the best of both worlds, the best of BOTH girls.
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1. She has a guy’s sense of humor so you will constantly be laughing together.

2. She knows how to handle your sarcasm, and she’ll throw it right back in your face.

3. Your friends will love her because she is basically one of the guys (except for the facts that she smells good and shaves her legs).

4. She can kick your ass in dizzy bat, pool or maybe, on a good day, beat you in shot-gunning.

5. Little things don’t bother her- she is rational and level-headed.

She knows how to put things into perspective and knows what is worth getting mad over and what just isn’t.

6. BUT she also has a sensitive side... she knows the ways to your heart whether it is an amazing home cooked meal or a good back scratch.

She is always thinking of ways to make your day because she is thoughtful.

7. She will call you out on your BS, because let's be honest... someone has to.

8. She’ll eat pizza and drink beer with you, and maybe if you are lucky she’ll even smoke a cigar.

9. She cleans up nice.

Sometimes her hair is in a messy ponytail and a hat, but other times she looks like she just stepped off the red carpet.

10. She doesn’t mind getting dirty.

She can spend a day on the boat, fishing and wakeboarding, hunting, shooting guns, or eating unlimited chicken wings with you.

11. She is go-with-the-flow and always up for anything and everything.

Festival? Amusement park? Concert? Drive-in movie? A day at the beach? Hell yeah, sounds awesome.

12. She likes to work out, but she isn’t a health freak… sometimes you just gotta have a McChicken.

No regrets, you know what I’m sayin'?

13. She has an open mind about people, places, and trying new things.

You will never be bored with her.

14. She can get along with pretty much anybody.

15. She doesn’t care what people think.

She’ll be the first one on the dance floor at the wedding, but the same person who helps an older man carry his bags to the car at the mall.

16. Your sisters will adore her, but so will your brothers.

17. She isn’t afraid to voice her opinion and stand up for what she believes in.

18. Not only does she not mind doing “guy things,” but get this... she actually enjoys them and will do them with you.

She’ll watch late night ESPN with you, play basketball in the pool, be player 2 in "Tony Hawk Underground," go fishing, dirt biking, you name it, she is down.

19. Safe to say, we’re pretty word.

So word, in fact, we might even be going extinct... So, if we just so happen to grace you with our majestical presence, you better make damn sure you don't let us go.

Cover Image Credit: Catherine Anne Guarino

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I Didn't Recognize Myself In The Mirror For Two Years

And it took me a while to get to where I am today, make fun of me all you want.

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Some people might downplay the way that advocacy can aid an individual in being able to heal and call it a silly blog or journal, and it needs to stop. Flat out. I've personally heard this from people who have mental health issues themselves when one of the biggest problems with mental illness is not being yourself and feeling incredibly alone in your path. Downplaying what a person is feeling is what is creating this problem and continuing it.

I did not recognize myself in the mirror for two years, or at least, I didn't want to recognize the person I saw.

I can't really sugarcoat it, I've been through some sh*t. I dealt with bullying from a very young age, sexual harassment even before I had hit puberty, and even rape. Did I deserve any of it? Absolutely not. I wore Target clothes because they were comfortable when I was a kid, not because I was asking to be bullied in elementary school. I was kind because that's what I was taught to be with people, not because I was asking to be sexually harassed since middle school. I trusted people because I always wanted to see the best in people and believe the words that they tell me, not because I expected or wanted to be raped because I trusted them.

I can't remember a "me" without depression or anxiety at the very least.

These past two years have been especially rough. PTSD kicks your butt every single day of your life, even after you get it under control. At this point, I have undergone intensive therapy for an extended time, learned how to get myself out of suicidal thoughts and be able to actually live day-to-day even when I see things that trigger me. When the things that trigger you are the things you need for something as seemingly simple as going to class, believe me, it's harder than it looks.

I don't know when my rapist is going to be in the same place I will be. I know there is a no-contact order and he has to leave if he is in the same place as me, but I live in the constant fear that he will be there anyway. And that kind of fear changes you, especially for an extended period of time like two years.

I didn't see myself in the mirror after I was raped. It's hard to describe because I was there, but I wasn't me. It was like I was separated from myself in almost all aspects of my being and I watched myself continue to "live" without me.

And it makes you feel angry, sad, helpless, frustrated—such a myriad of emotions that you don't know what to do with them. And no one could possibly want to deal with that, so you sit alone in your room, desperately trying to understand your own emotions. But that doesn't work because you can't do this alone, even though you don't want this to burden anyone or make them feel responsible for the things that you are feeling (unless they are the ones who are, in fact, responsible for it, like a rapist).

It took me 9-10 months to even allow myself to say in my head that I wasn't OK after what happened. It took a couple more months for me to tell my boyfriend and best friend, even longer still to tell my family. I didn't get help until a year and a half after I had been showing symptoms because of what happened. Picture not recognizing yourself the entirety of the time that you are trying to handle an overload of symptoms and emotions that are not your fault to be feeling in the first place.

You lose yourself even more. The shadow of yourself that is watching "you" live your life gets weaker, it doesn't understand.

So I did what I could to bring me back. Not the me that my rapist forever has because of his actions, but the me that I want to be. I changed the way I looked, I changed from the way he had known me to look so that I was my own again. I got piercings to personalize myself to what I wanted to show, the beauty that I knew had been inside me. I got a tattoo to remind myself every day why I'm fighting, to show that version of me that is lost to my rapist that she is no more. I change the color of my hair so that I see the growth, the effort and the time I've put in to change.

I recognize myself in the mirror now. It's been two and a half years. And I'm not going to stop.

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