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faith

Alternative title: I Did Not Think This Through

I craved a vegan burger after my Advanced Ethics class where I gave a report on burden-sharing in international climate policy. I figured I deserve that chickpea mush after that comment from my professor. It somehow initiated a conversation that casually went on and on. He finished off with a remark that perhaps I should replace the secretary of the Department of Agriculture.

The conversation felt natural. Nothing was forced. I didn’t care if I made some mistakes. After all, I know the language; I should know my way. Replaying the moment in my head, I’m sure I left the building with a blank expression on my face as if thinking about overhauling a current research to crash back into an old, familiar place.

But just last night, I was over the moon because of a Neapolitan pizza. There’s this brick-oven pizza place across a gasoline station and I would say that, while I do like my usual margheritta, I am pretty obsessed over that prosciutto. My boyfriend, too, was obsessed with it but not with me obsessing over it. I remember him saying, “principles”.

Now I know why arguing for meat always leaves me feeling empty. My arguments are sound and my analysis can dig a hole for you but now it’s no longer about my argument. It is about me. My basic survival instincts would search for whatever is in my pocket to initiate my slow revenge. For context, almost everyone who knows me knows that I made a pact a few years ago to only eat vegetables. It was my attempt at integrity. Now I can say that one can never be too final. Of course, here I’ll cite my boy Sartre the Existential: Man is never finished. It would have been very convenient if human beings came with a button that transforms them into an inanimate being. But this is the cost of freedom. I wouldn’t complain. I wouldn’t want to be a teacup because I want to be human. Why? Because being human means being allowed to eat. Food is amazing. Spaghetti and meatballs! Dimsum! Chorizo Bilbao! Hell, even spam and eggs. A lot wondered why this is my current position which is funny because I’m not really important. I just found it so easy to come to terms with eating animals for the very charming reason that food gathers. Food saves. Food remembers. Some ingredients are deeply embedded in culture and with all the stories that they carry, you couldn’t just disrespect food just like that. Tofu meatballs aren’t the meatballs that take me back to a time. Quinoa dumplings aren’t dimsum enough. There is an apparent question on authenticity here. Interestingly enough, it is also authenticity that I wish to pursue that is why I eat a certain way. (Sidenote: My old vegetarian self has counter-arguments for this rambling so if you want me to hear them again, no thank you. Learn nuance.)

I do look forward to veganizing my favorites and I hope to carve my own life stories that shall be enough to charm me and my future self. But I’m not rushing. In fact, this had been my most patient and my most temperate relationship with food. Besides, what never left was my automatic preference for vegetables. Well, maybe vegan food is the real bed to my paradigmatic bed. The real beauty to this copy of a face. The more I fix my mind to the idea that something is more beautiful, the more I realize that I am not. And so I work hard to achieve a certain level of beauty, right? But in the end, there shall be a realization that it is not about getting a hold of beauty but it is about becoming beautiful day by day. Even unknowingly.

Maybe this is why we are hungry for meat. The hunger for meat is a pang for knowledge of oneself. Something needs to pull us back so we can reflect on our wounds and the wounds that we caused for considering ourselves enough. Fumbling within the tornado of random things and down the rabbithole, one can only pray for a rabbit to fall with you at least for a clue. Whichever rabbithole, of food habits or academic research, unknowing is totally confusing to the extent of pain. But in the midst, before the fall (good or bad), we see things that keep us going. Sometimes distraction is all that we have because existing like a madman trying to catch himself to prove his sanity is daunting.

So, fuck it. The abyss is the way to the eternal. Consider this my new attempt at integrity until, even in my gross humanity, I’ll desire to will one thing.

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This shall not be written in the same tradition that 2015 and 2016 had been written. The usuals, the highlights, and the breaks all took the same road. The ordinariness of life, the big things, and the deep plummets brought me to the same place. A place where contemplation is possible. This might put off some but they are the least of my concerns. This contemplation is one that’s never brought to a conclusion. For it is impossible to fully contemplate what is beyond – God.

The possibility of living in and through the mundane, the affluent, and the dips became so clear because of this very infinite force. My finiteness and everything that came with it became bearable and unexpectedly beautiful. It is a very special connection yet very painfully common.

It is not placebo. It is faith. One may be with me in the struggle of learning about it the hard way but there is indeed light that no amount of darkness can overcome.

Whether from the perspective of theology or not, you’ll know it when it lifts you up from a fall that was never destined to be yours to begin with. Wings, as a woman philosopher would call it. Grace, to simplify.

Take this pair of wings and rise against gravity for the years to come.

 

Happy new year,

Kim