Well, Since WordPress Asked…

“What are your feelings about eating meat?” Is not what I came here to write about, WordPress.

But, since you asked: As long as it’s not cannibalism, eat whatever you want. I don’t care. I am an omnivore.

Veganism is absolutely not for me, although I do appreciate (and still use) many of the recipes and cooking techniques that I learned during my time as a vegan.

One of the reasons I started eating meat again was actually because of how militant and hateful certain other vegans were. I was in a lot of vegan groups on Facebook, and a lot of the people in those groups would say incredibly hateful and disturbing things about omnivores.

And my former friend/current enemy Regina– I don’t think I’ve written about her yet, but I will– was the same way. When I met her, I explained that I was mostly vegan, but still ate meat.

After several months of friendship, she started getting really upset with me any time I ate meat. One of the last times we went hiking together, we hiked like fourteen miles, and then went out for Thai food. She got upset with me for ordering green curry with chicken.

When I explained to her that I don’t like tofu, she did not accept that it was possible that anyone could dislike tofu. She said that people who thought they didn’t like tofu just hadn’t tried hard enough. She said that, since tofu takes on the flavor of whatever it’s cooked with, and since the texture is alterable, it’s possible for anyone to like it.

I don’t like tofu. In case it’s not obvious, I don’t like Regina anymore, either.

I was recently reading about narcissism (as my psychiatrist had said that I attract narcissists as romantic partners and close friends). One of the symptoms is believing that their beliefs are superior to everyone else’s. They’re always right, OR ELSE.

This is how I see the way Regina approached the vegan situation. She saw her diet and opinions as correct, and everyone else’s as morally/intellectually inferior.

In retrospect, it seems like she thought that, if she tried hard enough, she could convince me to be vegan, and then pat herself on the back for the animals she saved vicariously through my diet.

She invited my daughter and I to a private screening of a film about the pork industry. The video was actually a bit graphic for my daughter, and we decided to leave early. On the way home, my daughter said, “I’m still going to eat bacon. It tastes good. Sorry not sorry, pigs.”

My daughter is much more of a carnivore than I am. Like her dad, she loves trying exotic meats. If she hears about a food she hasn’t tried yet, she doesn’t think, “weird!” or “gross!” She thinks, “I want to try that.”

She recently told me that she wants to try ostrich. I would never eat ostrich, but it doesn’t bother me at all that she wants to.

What would bother me is if she tried to force me to eat ostrich, like Regina thought she could persuade me into being fully vegan again, in spite of the fact that I am educated in nutrition, had already tried going vegan, and had made an informed decision that it’s not for me.

The way she pushed veganism on me so hard no matter how much I reiterated my own decision felt like a boundary violation. My diet is my choice. I can eat what I want. She kept saying that my choices, which are pretty damn healthy/normal, were immoral.

I’m just gonna try to get it out, since WordPress started this conversation….

Regina is very popular, and she does do a lot for animals. She’s generally competent, and most people find her like-able. She’s great at planning hikes, and her reviews are decent enough.

But, there are some humans who she has treated very terribly, and I’m one of them.

We used to be good friends. She approached me, offering to teach me the process of applying for state jobs if I would share some of my hiking expertise with her.

Eventually, she started setting up groups of women to go hiking, which was even more fun. We would all meet in a designated location, and would carpool. Everyone would chip in $10 towards the cost of carpooling, which worked out well for everyone. Even though I was broke, I pulled it off. I always paid for my share, even though I was struggling to pay for basic life necessities.

After some time, Regina asked me to go backpacking with her and another girl. I told her that I would love to, but there was just no way I could afford it. I didn’t have any of the necessary gear, at all. She told me not to worry, because, between her and the other girl, they had everything I would need.

It’s hard for me to accept help from anyone, but we had been friends for a while, so I reluctantly accepted this offer from her. For months, we planned this backpacking trip through Mount Shasta, which would have been my first backpacking trip ever.

(Spoiler alert: I’ve still never been backpacking.)

A few weeks before the trip, we met at a restaurant which had just opened in midtown Sacramento. We had originally met on a local review website, and were both excited to try and review this new hot spot.

It’s still hard to write about what happened at that lunch. It wasn’t technically “traumatizing,” because my life was not in danger. But, when I think about it, my brain goes exactly as foggy as it does when I think about the violence that I’ve experienced.

It still hurts a lot to think about it. She was cruel to me. And she was someone who I trusted during a very dark and difficult time in my life. After the events that caused my PTSD, she was one of my closest friends.

The weekend before, I had fallen down a very small waterfall on the Yuba River. I mean, we’re talking like, four feet, maximum, but probably less than that.

I was extremely lucky that the river spit me out into a side pool, or else I definitely would have been swept away and drowned. As it was, the river stole all my clothes from me, and beat the crap out of me.

Nothing new for me, though; I grew up in low-income housing.

Regina asked how I was feeling now, a week later. I said that I was sore, but I was okay to hike. She said she didn’t feel comfortable going on the trip with me unless I got checked out by a doctor.

This upset me for several reasons. Well, firstly, she knows that I’m a trafficking survivor. Someone else making decisions for me (a.k.a. violating my autonomy) is actually a huge trigger. I tried to remain calm while I explained that I did not have any reason to go to the doctor.

I’m a nursing school dropout. I dropped out in my last year of nursing school. Just because I didn’t graduate does not mean that I didn’t learn anything. I had passed my upper division anatomy, physiology, microbiology, and pharmacology classes with A’s. I took the pre-med classes, too, not the watered down pre-nursing versions.

I had completed a semester and a half of hospital rotations, as well as my mental health rotation. While I know nowhere near as much as my friends who actually went on to become real nurses, I’m pretty sure I know more about the human body than a state worker who processes insurance paperwork.

Part of a nurse’s job is to assess whether or not someone needs to see a doctor. I was more than capable of assessing the fact that I did not see the doctor.

I did, in fact, hike FORTY miles that weekend (over the course of three days). I hiked them alone, at Mount Tamalpais.

Regina said that she would be more comfortable if I saw the doctor. Okay, you know how I said it’s her way or the highway?

I was like, look, let me be real with you. I’m on public assistance, and I’m having trouble accessing the doctor right now. I’m having issues with the state insurance not covering what they are supposed to.

As she happened to work for that particular insurance program, she found it deeply offensive that I would suggest that they could ever make a mistake. She began screaming at me.

She turned into someone else. Screaming like a pscyho. Calling me a bitch. Telling me this was HER trip, and I had no right to come.

I didn’t scream back. Not even once. I got up, walked to the podium, handed the server more than enough to cover my tab, tax, and tip, and left. Which is actually kind of impressive, because this was just a couple of months after my brother passed away, and I was having all kinds of difficulty regulating my emotions.

A mutual friend was with us at the lunch. When I was on my way to my car, she texted me, “Are you okay? Do you need to talk? I can’t believe she screamed at you like that.” But then, a few days later, that friend blocked me on everything, without explanation.

As the days went on, I began losing massive amounts of friends on social media, and on the food review website. I had no idea what was going on, until I got a message from another mutual friend.

This one also hurts, because this is someone who I loved and was friends with for years.

The message said something like, “Regina reached out to me with some concerns regarding your behavior. I’m sorry, but Regina is one of my dearest friends. I hope you are able to re-center yourself and find peace.”

I had already lost the entire friend group that I shared with my ex after I was trafficked. No one believed me. Some people screamed in my face that I was lying… Regina was one of the people who had stuck by my side.

Now, she was going through all of my friends lists, messaging everyone I knew, asking them not to be friends with me. I would estimate that close to one hundred people deleted me.

This all happened over three years ago.

In retrospect, I feel like, Regina knew how monstrous it was of her to scream at me in the restaurant like that. She knew that, if I told anyone, it would make her look bad. I wasn’t actually planning to tell anyone– I was planning to talk about it after she calmed down, work things out, and maintain the friendship.

Instead, she launched this cruel, awful, disgusting hate campaign against me, successfully.

At the time, I couldn’t even fight back. My PTSD was too severe to even write out what happened, like I’m doing right now. If I tried, I would get all mixed up, my words would come out wrong, I would sound crazy…

Regina’s bullying was the reason I left the review website. Regina was the reason I stopped writing reviews for three years. Regina made other people hate me unjustly, just to preserve her own image.

Years ago, Regina and I went to an art show together. We had planned to see the whole thing.

About ten minutes into the show, I noticed Regina ducking. I asked her what was wrong, as she was obviously hiding from someone.

She said, “I need to leave, now. Can we leave?”

Having survived the things I’ve survived, I didn’t ask questions. I helped her get the heck out of there.

As we walked away, she explained that she had seen someone who she used to work with.

I asked if he had hurt her. She said no. I didn’t want to pry, but it was just so odd. She said that he would have been angry if he saw her, and it just would have been a terrible situation.

In retrospect, I bet I can figure out why. She hurt him, and then she couldn’t face him, or look him in the eyes.

By the time I came back to the local review site, earlier this year, Regina had maxed out her friends list. The month after I came back, she was recognized as a featured writer of the month.

The month after that, one of the other girls who I used to be close friends with (JP), who dumped me at the drop of a hat based on whatever Regina said to her about me, was featured.

I ran into JP at an event… that was the day I went to Mental Health Urgent Care, and got back on anti-depressants. I went straight to the Urgent Care after the event, after walking around the farmer’s market for a minute, and seeing her happily walking around with people who I used to consider friends, who will never be my friends again.

I haven’t run into Regina, herself. I have a feeling that she probably went to the local review site manager, and asked that I not be let into any of the same events as her, or something.

To this day, I am unable to post anything on the message boards, because, if I do, it gets flagged by so many of Regina’s people that it gets taken down within minutes.

It feels like adult bullying. Years and years of adult bullying. And it took till this year to really start to stand back up.

Damn, that was a lot… but WordPress asked. Sort of.

image by Magda Ehlers, Pexels
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14 Comments Add yours

  1. What can I say, Sylvia, to make you feel better? Sending you warm hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Punam ❤ I think this was one of those wounds that only time could heal, but writing helps, and knowing that you care helps, too ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Writing always helps, for sure. Keep writing, keep sharing and chin up. You are one brave gal and we are all here for you. ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you so much, Punam ❤ < 3 ❤

        Like

  2. Paula Light says:

    This took a lot of courage to write ~ thank you for sharing with us. I also saw that question this morning and it brought up all kinds of memories, some good some bad. We have a lot in common, though no question you have suffered much more. I too tried to be more vegan, when my youngest became vegan (my elder daughter was already a vegetarian), and I too experienced the rabid hate from vegan groups, if not directly then pointed at others. People screamed at a woman (in writing) to dump her boyfriend because he was taking too long to “convert.” I swear, some of these people are psychotic. I dumped the groups. After a while, I realized that veganism was not for me, and a while later began eating meat again too. I simply felt better eating it occasionally (and I even like tofu!), though not every day. I like having the option though.

    I absolutely relate to your experiences/attraction to narcissists. I too have dated (and married) narcissistic, emotionally abusive men. I also married a diagnosed schizophrenic because I thought he was more “interesting” than other men ~ he actually was a pretty nice guy when he wasn’t in one of his episodes, nicer than the narcissists, whom no one would call insane! But eventually I couldn’t deal with him and left. And I had a friend somewhat like Regina, who would blow up at people for no reason ~ I didn’t realize this until years into the friendship. Eventually, she turned on me as well and dumped me. It was over a hike too! She’d planned one and I didn’t want to go because of my back issues. She said I was “mean” and unfriended me. Right, it’s mean to take care of one’s own health ~ was she going to call the helicopter to airlift me out when I couldn’t walk? What a selfish bitch!

    Of course, our mutual friends didn’t see this ~ until she began treating them the same way. I think so often people have to directly experience someone’s nastiness before they believe them capable of it. A friend’s testimony isn’t enough. Nope. We somehow brought it on ourselves, right? No one wants to believe they’ve misjudged someone. Heck, I didn’t want to believe she was a bitch either, but after a while there’s no denying the reality of a toxic personality.

    Sorry to go on and on! Hugs!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s crazy how many memories one little question can bring up! That comment probably took a lot of courage to write, so thank you for sharing, too.

      I was trying not to use the word “psycho,” but I can’t help but agree with you. I have a theory that the vitamins and nutrients in meat must be necessary for mood regulation. I had a WAY harder time controlling my mood when I was vegan, and it’s hard enough as it is.

      I have the same problem with being attracted to “interesting” men. Someone who has their life too together looks boring to me. Whether it comes to being attracted to people with narcissism or other, more glaring mental health issues, I think what draws us in is probably the shared experience of a history of trauma. Trauma bonds are powerful, and can be hard to break.

      I agree, it sucks how narcissists are able to play “mentally normal,” and be so popular and generally successful. Knowing that they are empty and dead inside is a small amount of consolation for the pain they cause.
      And it’s crazy how other people would have to see Regina blow up to believe it, but apparently had no issues believing the nasty things she said about me. Maybe because I was having trouble regulating my emotions at the time, it seemed believable that I was the one to blame– much like some of my recent dating situations.

      I’m sorry you had to go through all of that too, hugs to you too ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Paula Light says:

        Thank you. It’s cathartic to write about these traumatic experiences, especially when you find shared bonds. Have a good day (and email me anytime if you feel like talking but don’t want to post)!

        paula.light@gmail.com

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you so much, Paula =D I hope you have a good day, too. I might take you up on that offer 😉 I need to update my site soon to put my contact email on here, too. It’s sylviacognac@gmail.com 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. It sounds like you’re going to make it! Good for you. The more you trust in yourself, the better off you’ll be. I’m pulling for you. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Susan ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Julydase says:

    It took a lot of courage to write this. Good for you. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you ❤ ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Julydase says:

        You’re most welcome. 🙂❤️

        Liked by 1 person

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