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Cheers

I remember one time, in my early twenties, my cousin and I were about to leave to head to a bar together and the person driving came inside to say hello.

“Be careful,” my Mom said to our friend who stood wide-eyed in the foyer.

“This one pukes, and that one cries.” She had a wicked sense of humor, and she wasn’t wrong.

My cousin always ended up hugging the toilet at the end of our nights together. And I would cry.

I chalk it up mostly to my cheering her on, round after round of strong drinks and shots, knowing I was the one with the higher alcohol tolerance.

I would cry for whatever reason, from boys to school to simply watching my best friend suffer the consequences of my insisting to pound back enough alcohol until her petite body gave out.

One time she threw up so violently that a blood vessel in her eye popped, and since we went to the same university, we could only laugh at the consequences on the next commute in.

I miss those fun nights out, but the only thing that hasn’t changed is that I still cry more than anyone I know.

When my mom was in the hospital for the last time, I sat vigil at her beside from morning until night, and only left to sleep and shower.

I recall curling up in one of the visitors’ lounge chairs, waiting for them to do an MRI on her, praying and praying she would survive.

They wheeled her lifeless body back into the room, and I cried, again.

“I’ve never seen anyone cry that much in my entire life,” one of the nurses said softly to another in the room.

I believed her, because I cried until I had no tears left in my body to expel.

Leaving that hospital without my mom was one of the most excruciating experiences of my life and I will never forget saying goodbye to her.

They wheeled her away quickly after removing life support so that the long bones in her arms could be removed and donated.

My mother was a donor, and her long bones were all that the doctors could take from her body due to her multiple health conditions.

I am still proud of her selfless decision to donate, especially since we had discussed it years prior, which offered some solace.

These days, I cry almost daily.

Crying feels good, it is the only way I can properly heal from whatever is making me upset and I have stopped being shy or embarrassed about it.

Almost everyone in my life has seen me cry, and the only place I used to stifle my tears was at work, because I desperately wanted to “fit in with the boys,” as a tradesperson.

Once I accepted that I would never truly fit in but be welcome as I am, that changed, too.

Normally I excuse myself to find reprieve in a washroom, but if it happens abruptly and I can’t, I don’t.

If I know it is coming, I might say something like “I’m sorry if this is weird or uncomfortable,” which has become rare.

Mostly I just tell the person I need some time alone and let it run its course until I feel better. And I always feel better.

Holding my feelings inside until my inhibitions were lowered was the gun. Alcohol was the trigger. Combined, I was a drunken mess.

The party scene is long gone for me, and although I will probably always hate vodka because of that chapter in my life, I do enjoy an occasional beer or two.

I stopped drinking alcohol until I had straightened myself out. Meditation helped to free any negative emotions that I once held captive, and eating healthy food helps.

Taking time out to hold space for what I feel allows me to feel lighter and more balanced on a regular day.

It is not comfortable to feel through and process the more distressing emotions, but it has been necessary for me.

And it works. So, I share it today because maybe you are like me, strong until you can’t be, and that’s okay.

My toddler has seen me cry a significant amount of time in her life, and I want her to always feel normal for expressing emotions that pass through our bodies.

Holding the hard stuff inside is like a ticking time bomb, and it will explode at the most opportune moment.

Eating more nutritionally is one aspect of healing from which I have found significant benefit.

What we put into our bodies greatly affects our chemical makeup, and our emotions are, quite literally, different chemicals that float around within us.

I choose to drink water almost exclusively and eat a plant-based diet to support my health and consciousness.

The diet that I grew up with included a significant amount of meat, carbohydrates, pop and sugary or processed treats.

Vegetables were a side dish, not the main course.

Pop and sugary treats are much less included now, though not completely excluded, and priority is eating a rainbow variety with regards to fruit and vegetables, daily.

My acne disappeared and I dropped all the weight I had desperately tried to lose in my university years. I looked ten years younger, and felt a hell of a lot better. It worked.

My grandparents were farmers and hunters.

My mother made a steak so good that we rarely went to The Keg because their steak couldn’t compare, and family from Nova Scotia routinely sent lobsters down in the summer, which were promptly boiled and dressed in butter.

Seafood chowder, dried venison, corned beef and cabbage and spaghetti with homemade meatballs ranked among my favorite meals.

I respect the animal activism behind veganism or vegetarian diets. I even took animal rights courses which had me testing a meat-free diet in university.

But in the early aughts, there were far less options and it was a lot more expensive, which was difficult to maintain as a student. So I continued to eat at home.

Experiencing the benefits of a plant-based diet long-term outweighs the taste of the food I miss so much that I decided to raise my children on it.

This was a hard decision for me because I grew up on good food, good meat and did not want them to have a shitty food experience because of my preferences.

Because of the wide-range of meat-free “meat” available in almost any grocery store today I have no qualms with my children being raised this way.

Plus, I hope to spare them of the health aliments that I suffered which were attributed to my previous diet, as well as the spiritual benefits of forgoing meat.

And knowing I will spare them from the horrific realization that “chicken” on a plate means the same chicken that we pet at the farm is enough.

I remember crying about it as a child when I was told and how it affected my relationship with food going forward.

Coming soon is an entire section dedicated to sharing this lifestyle with recipes, restaurants and more.

Before, I thought we would be surviving off tofu, and nobody wants to do that. Although tofu, when cooked right, is delicious.

Food is such an important factor in my life now, when it used to take a backseat to almost everything else.

I am pleased to share with you something that has had such a profound healing effect on my life, and I hope that you may find inspiration there.

This was a long entry. I’m sorry about that.

Maybe I’ll go have a cry about it.

© 2019 KayNotto
All Rights Reserved

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