Why I Kidnapped My Friends

I grew up in a predominantly white, rural town. Some people identified as Latino or Hispanic, but in every single class that I was in, whether it be dance, school, gymnastics, or karate, I was always the darkest one. There would be another Black person occasionally, and it wouldn’t be until I was able to explore more around town that I finally saw the rest of the community. The ones with darker skin like mine were, quite literally, segregated on the other side of town. None of the people I hung out with even knew about it. My classmates would even freak out when we got another Black boy in class.

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How To Be Alone On Top Of A Mountain

I was alone for the first time in the woods. I went onto the trail without a sign from anyone around, but on the way back, I saw a pile of fresh bear scat in the middle of the trail. I first heard noises behind the trees off to the distance and then saw the bushes move. “Of course I would get mauled by a bear the very first time I decided to hike by myself,” or so I thought, and so I picked up my hiking pace three-fold and made it out of the heavily-bear-populated mountains with a story. That was a little over a year ago.

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The Lost Letter

old-letters-436503_1920Five years ago I wrote myself a letter. “Dear Future self…” it began. I was part of series of letters that I had written every couple of years to myself since I was eleven-years-old. I had started keeping a journal after becoming obsessed with the Dear America book series for children and thought it would also be fun to keep another time capsule that I could open with surprise in the future. I would write briefly about my life at that time, what I was doing, and what I was interested in. However, the conversation with my future self always turned to the important questions. What does the future entail? What happens to me? Continue reading “The Lost Letter”

Where Do You Get Your Protein?

Photo taken by rhubarb via Flickr
Photo taken by forced rhubarb via Flickr

Every vegan and vegetarian that I have come across, including myself, has been asked this question, where do you get your protein if you don’t eat meat? To be honest, you don’t need as much protein as most people think, but it’s easy to get what you do need from non-meat items such as nuts, seeds, beans, grains, soy, and greens.

The U.S. recommended daily allowance of protein is only 0.8 grams per kilogram of bodyweight (.36 grams per pound) for the general population. And although athletes need more to repair tissue after working out, you can still be completely vegan and an athlete if they wanted to. Continue reading “Where Do You Get Your Protein?”

Knowing When to Quit

A colorful eddyThere is this idea, especially in popular culture, which says one must never quit anything, ever. You may start something, and although it gets difficult to continue doing so, one is encouraged to carry on striving for that something no matter what. It’s a wonderful concept to hold on to when the going gets tough, but when that something no longer falls into line with what we believe in, or with what we are ultimately trying to achieve in life, then it’s okay to step back from the quote that has been driven into our heads, “winners never quit and quitters never win,” and follow whatever is best for you.

Recently I’ve had a lot of friends change jobs, living arrangements, end relationships and leave significant others. For them, times and situations have changed and so have they. These friends have carried themselves forward in the gently stream of a certain life path for so long before the current changed and life took a different direction. They have “quit,” but they have had reason to do so. Continue reading “Knowing When to Quit”

Me, Myself and Vegetarianism

tomatoSomehow in a house full of carnivorous people, who looked questioningly at vegetables as just garnish for their steak dinners, I have found myself living as a vegetarian for about six years. Often times I question how I even became a vegetarian while living on the outskirts of town next to cattle farms raised for meat and the dairy cows milked for freshly churned ice cream, but I managed to do so and I continue living a vegetarian to this day. The thing is that I didn’t do entirely on my own. Months of research in books about vegetarianism, articles online, documentaries about where our food comes from and conversations from other vegetarians helped me safely transition into a life without meat. Continue reading “Me, Myself and Vegetarianism”

Carpe Diem

timeLately I’ve been seeing way too many people talking about how they were stuck in situations where they didn’t want to be in. They complain of not having the time, money or opportunity to go out and do the thing that they would like to do. Instead of attempting to take each moment as a new chance to break away from their currently trajectory they put their blinders up and continue on the same path. But there is a way to break the mold. You are never too old or too young to chase your dreams and seize the day, and you can always change your situation or at least change the way you experience life. Continue reading “Carpe Diem”

Death, Rebirth and the Dixie Chicks

The Dixie Chicks (from left, Emily Robison, Natalie Maines and Martie Maguire). Photo by J. Emilio Flores for The New York Times
The Dixie Chicks (from left, Emily Robison, Natalie Maines and Martie Maguire). Photo by J. Emilio Flores for The New York Times

The night before the “end of the world” was an event that snowballed into an evening of silly apocalyptic confessions claiming they “let the dogs out,” interesting pictures of “raptured people,” and comments about how the Mayans were terrible at predicting their own demise. A slew of “doomsday” parties were thrown for no other reason than to drink, and gullible idiots had panic attacks in their makeshift bunkers.

It’s December 21, 2012 today and we’re all still here (as expected), but in the midst of apocalyptic nonsense, last night got me thinking about what I would do if I actually knew when the world was going to end, and about the Mayans’ cyclical view of time. Continue reading “Death, Rebirth and the Dixie Chicks”

Death on a Roller Coaster

space-mountain-night-12I remember the first time I ever got on a roller coaster. It had to have been the second time that I had ever visited Disneyland because I believe my younger sister and I barely made the height requirement for the Space Mountain ride. I was just a kid waiting in the long line of people winding its way inside this highly decorated and dark cave. Each step I took to get closer to the front of the line made my heart beat a little faster and my nerves rattle like the venomous snake’s tail out in the hot desert sun. I was scared out of my mind and by the time I my family and I stepped onto the carts I nearly had a full-blown panic attack and felt my body falling into what I thought was a conniption. Continue reading “Death on a Roller Coaster”