Thursday, February 14, 2008

February, Φεβρουάριος, 2 月, febrero, fevrier, febrraio, febrar, whatever.

It's been a long time since I've written (Heath Ledger died!); things have just been sooooo busy! It's almost unbelievable, actually. I still have some time before I teach, so I figured now would be a good time to un-procrastinate and actually write!

I last wrote-wrote before I left Houston. And now I'm back in Houston, with a month plus-plus in between as writing hiatus. It is hard to get an act once it is put off; it is no longer habit, you see. So on this day of hearts, I have chosen to write--to send love not to one but to all who have shown me love, in various forms.

Before anything else, big news (but since last year): I am no longer vegan. My colleagues know this, and so do my parents, but I am saying it now. I am sure my parents are relieved and happy, but I credit it to teaching Bikram yoga. Honestly? Bikram is absolutely correct: this yoga is not for vegetarians. Maybe I just wasn't doing veganism right, but it gets too hard after a while, plus with living on your own. I need protein when I am up in that stage and telling people what to do with energy, assertion and a happy, smiling face! Also, to remember and assimilate the dialog? Vegetables just don't cut it. And carbs in the morning before class? Flatulence city, so no thank you. Protein--in the form of whey (thanks, Lynn!), fish, and the occasional fowl, have helped me improve--and continue improving--exponentially. Plus it cut the snacking and junk food out, so there you go. As to the rest of veganism, sorry, but I detest insects; I avoid killing them, but I will use repellent if necessary. Leather is still an issue with me, as is silk to a lesser degree, but I'm ok with wool, as long as it was done humanely (no mulesing). Gasoline and jet fuel is necessary, too: can't avoid that. I am still open to veganism, but at this point in time, it just takes too much time and effort. So maybe someday in the future...

What really bites about going back home--to the Philippines (because Houston is home too but different)--is the travel time. And leaving during the holidays is pure, utter CHAOS, to put it mildly. An hour-long delay in San Francisco cost me my connecting flight to Hong Kong and I had to stay the night in the airport hotel, after hours of running around looking for someone to help me get a flight to Manila. But all's well that ends well: through pleading, prayer, and what-have-you, I got on a plane to Manila the next day. However, that experience kind of put me off holiday traveling, especially Christmas, so I don't even want to think about this year's holidays! But anyway. I'm back, in Houston. And believe it or not, I am only getting back into the groove of things. My first class back was awkward, but it's gotten better, especially when I am a student in another class, myself. I am grateful for how pure the yoga is taught here, enhancing my own classes; things aren't as great elsewhere (I should know). Hopefully, I'm back to stay.

I told this to Joani, but I love Houston: I love the pace, the people, the immense possibilities that can be had, right here. There is that saying, "Everything's big in Texas," and it is the immenseness of possibility, of people's hearts, I think, in this warm Southern state that make it big. I especially like the neighborhood I'm in: right near downtown (though I've never really been there except this one night to listen to a band with Ana), near Rice U, with funky shops around (Gamestop, Whole Earth, and Teahouse tapioca included!), and Wholefoods a good walk away--enough to look around and reflect. Having Whole Foods nearby is spoiling me to only look for fresh, organic produce! But I guess that's best for the long run: we're talking about our bodies, after all. OK, so the weather can be a bit nuts (going from a pleasant 70 Fahrenheit to a miserable 45 in hours, if not minutes), but it's a part of this state's identity. At least gas is a bit cheaper, and taxes aren't as astronomical as California's. But...I don't know: there is a "6th sense," a sort of radar one has if a place, a situation "feels" right, or wrong. Ever since I've started traveling on my own, and especially now, living on my own, I have come to rely on it and not discount it. There are certain places that have a weird feel, and I avoid that place if on my own, and there are places that just give a warm vibe, and I am at ease. The place I'm great, and Houston itself, even with its immensity, matches itself with a big heart, so far from what I've seen and felt, however kooky that may sound. And I like it here. A lot. Not to mention I work in a good place, surrounded by good people. The yoga is taught the way it should be; people are (mostly) oh so kind and supportive. As I told a colleague, why mess with something good? It's been harder on my parents having me so far away (my boss knows what I'm talking about!), and there were tears on both sides when it became apparent I wanted a life away from the home I grew up in, but there was some reluctant acceptance. Besides, I wouldn't have decided so if the situation weren't good. But it is. Things are still a bit rough around the edges--growing always is (if it's not, something will present itself later on, so better earlier than later, I think), but I am blessed with supportive parents and great colleagues who treat me like family, thank the gods. Armed with these, I can only grow onward and upward :-) Next up, to learn how to drive. Especially in Houston, this is an essential skill! Then maybe we'll see about web design and holistic nutrition in the future. My parents are all for it, and I told them not to buy me any more stuff: an education is one of the most important gifts; I am glad my parents think so, too.

And because Ralph tagged me: "List 10 things that make you happy"

1. backbends
2. music, music, music.
3. walking, wandering, however you call it.
4. browsing/shopping
5. taking my time
6. engaging in happy conversation
7. dogs (and of course puppies!)
8. order and neatness
9. flowers
10. efficiency

Y'all can create your own list of 10 that make you happy, then tell me :-)

From Houston with love,
Therese (Trissa)


Anonymous said...

Thanks for mentioning you aren't vegan and addressing everything with complete uneducated nonsense. Way to misinform people as to the positives of the a vegan diet and letting us know by only mentioning diet that you were only vegetarian anyway. Ever tried

And also thanks for not addressing how you suddenly can have respect for life and support animal torture and slaughter through your new and improved lazy diet. Wonderful.

Unlearning Convention said...

Thank you also for keeping your comment anonymous and not saying out loud who you are. I never admitted I was all knowledgeable about veganism, and I was vegan for a while, but I couldn't do it without a kitchen, and I found it too tedious to cut up vegetables, or to eat beans or tofu and nuts, or even kale, all the time. Plus I have to eat so much more, and at the end of the day, that just exhausts me. So pardon me from your high horse. I tried vegan protein powders, don't get me wrong, no lactose, rice-based, but it made me feel weird. I was eating fake meats and feeling worse. I was becoming a junk food vegan. I knew then that at this point in my life, I was not ready to be vegan. So I stopped. It was difficult to decide to do so, but at this point in life, that is what I need. A friend told me that she waxes and wanes in her veganism. Right now she is vegan, but she can also go pescatarian sometimes. It is wrong to condemn others of their choices, as each individual is different. Condemning is not very vegan-like, if you are speaking of respect, as well.

Scott said...

Not sure it is important as to who I am. My name is Scott. I had hoped to meet you when you were posting on a website we both belonged to. I didn't realize you never realized what a vegan was.

How was I condemning? You still didn't address anything about animal suffering and your choosing to ignore that and become defensive, and to mention that you have a friend that "waxes and wanes" makes it clear you have no idea what being vegan is about.

If that is what you choose, that's just who you are, but it makes it clear that you were never vegan, and you should realize that anyone who "waxes and wanes" is not either.

I don't understand why people are so quick to label themselves with words that have nothing to do with their lifestyle.

You and your friend have both dabbled with a strict vegetarian lifestyle. It's not so hard to say. When all you talk and whine about is diet, it should be quite clear to you by now that this has little to do with veganism. Veganism is about animal rights. The diet is only the end result of what must happen to hold to those ethics.

Also, you said nothing to address all the vegan yogis and bodybuilders there are. You have to stop pretending that it is so hard and just be able to admit that at this point in your life, that you are lazy and uncommitted to any species other than human or ones that you perceive as having enough intelligence to warrant you not eating them.

As much of a bite as I may sound that I have, I can't believe that you can't see what you are saying. You know better than this. Just say that you are lazy and get it over with. Too many others are making it happen without all of this whining and misinformation.

Good luck on your journey.

Unlearning Convention said...

Thanks for introducing yourself, it helps to identify who I am talking to. You are absolutely right: I am lazy , in that I don't put animals first in my life choices. At his point in my life, where I have just started out on my own, and am afraid and unwilling to deal with a lot of kitchen preparation, instead focusing on being a dutiful and timely employee. What made me vegan (yes, I was) for a very short span was watching PETA's videos. It appalled me. I have since not watched them, and living on my own with no support has weakened me. I accept I am lazy that way, and have shut myself form thinking of animal welfare at this moment in time, but I am open to being more informed about veganism in the future. It is hard with no real support, but maybe in the future that won't matter. I think it is a hard decision and I applaud those who have made a strict commitment to it like yourself. However, it is a decision I have chosen not to make at this point. I believe animals have intelligence, but my concern is to get energy quickly, and to give it my clients, who are human. Leather is still an issue with me, but not so with wool. Maybe in the future I can make do without animal cruelty, but not yet. Thank you for your response and for your well wishes.

Farmer Savealamb said...

After seeing your comments about wool, I thought I should add.

As an Australian farmer I can only recommend you have a look at this site:

This issue is a very complex one and one that is not solved by boycotts.
Despite being describes as less than sensitive there are some other point you and other consumers need to consider.
The web site is a little rusty as it is the first time I have done one and only started this morning.

One of the things that is interesting is when you take a suit from Zegna or Ralph Lauren or other top designers, or some of the best knitwear.

A suit might cost a customer $1500 for a magnificent Aust Merino fibre suit, better than anything else in the world.

Yet the farmer will be lucky to get $15 for the amount of wool that will go into the suit.

So it is one thing to criticise farmers for doing what they think is best for the welfare of their animals to prevent them being eaten alive by maggots, but the consumer needs to know they have to be part of the a process that makes sure farmers are rewarded for their work, care and environmental stewardship in trying to clothe and feed the world.

It is a very complex debate.

The income of people doing it tough on the farm is at risk by people trying to say the wrong story. As I mentioned in the web page, no one likes having to mules their sheep.

Australian farmers on average work over 70hrs a week, which includes some of the most backbreaking hard work imaginable.

They spend hundreds of thousands of dollars feeding livestock they have spent many years breeding, to keep them alive in drought.

They receive little income after their ever spiralling costs are taken to account.

They then are pilloried by media and animal rights groups from around the world who are hell bent on taking away their customers so they will be financially and emotionally destroyed.

Once the farmers are gone, who will look after the most exciting source for sequestering carbon from the atmosphere, the soil?

Once the farmers are gone, who will look after the animals left to go wild and feral?

Once the farmers are gone, who will provide the food for the third world countries who cannot feed themselves?

It won’t be the animal rights extremists.

So when someone buys a $1500 suit and remembers that the farmer on the other side of the world is getting $15 for his contribution, it doesn’t seem much to think they might Save a Lamb by spending $50 so they will be able to buy another suit next year….and a farmer might still be alive and in business.

With the drought in Australia that has been so devastating over the past 7 years, there is one farmer killing themselves every three days.

They cannot cope with the stress that is being placed on them financially and emotionally. They aren’t coping with the lack of support and certainty they are able to provide their families.

They can not cope with the stress their relationships are under because of the amount of money and energy they spend looking after their animals to keep them alive and in many cases cant deal with the emotional and financial needs of their family.

One Australian Farmer commits suicide every three days!

Rates of severe clinical depression are highest in Australian farmers than any other group in Australia.

Australian farmers have to deal with this and worry how they are going to keep going and keep their families together.

And at the same time they are attacked from people from all over the world who like to go to work looking smart in their suits, who would have no idea that it was made from merino wool, have never been to a sheep farm and probably don’t know where milk, bread or steak come from, but will make a judgement about what a specialist, caring environmentalist wool grower is doing on the other side of the world.

I am really sorry to download on you about this.

I have had too many friends suffer from depression, too many stories of suicide, too many stories of people being evicted from their farms by banks because the global supply chain rapes them, then makes them out to be the perpetrators of a crime.

This is a very complex issue and a boycott will not solve it.

How do we so easily overlook the suffering of people in an attempt to make ourselves feel good by thinking we are doing something for animals.