Tag Archives: beliefs

A Life Without Bacon

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Hello reader!  How are you this morning?  Good weekend?

One day last week two friends and I were pootling towards central London on a Piccadilly line train, asking each other ridiculous questions and generally amusing ourselves.  One of these friends is a vegetarian who has decided that she will never eat meat again.  My other friend and I were impressed but perplexed: who can promise themselves that they’ll never eat bacon ever again?  Even if you could manage a few months or years, surely you’d crack eventually?  And if the bacon doesn’t get you, surely the burgers will.  No?  What about steak?  Pulled pork?  Chicken nuggets?? Apparently not.  Not to be put off by something as trivial as our friend’s important life decision, we started baiting her a bit:

“Would you rather eat meat or poo yourself in public?”
“Would you rather eat meat or have to sleep with your gay best friend?”
“Would you rather eat meat or have us follow you around asking these questions for the rest of our lives?”

I’m very proud to say that our silliness did not deter our veggie friend one bit: she will never eat meat again.  She was a bit taken aback by our fascination (partly, I think, because she has no idea what she’s missing – roast dinners, for crying out loud!) but mainly because in her head this topic has never even been up for debate.  She has never doubted her decision for a second, and no matter what we threatened her with – career failure, being single forever, bad hair – she was unmoveable.

I have an enormous amount of respect for her, and for her certainty about something that must inform quite a big part of her lifestyle.  I think that we all have things that we are fairly sure about without being absolute.  For example, I don’t think that I will ever watch a Keira Knightley film ever again, BUT if someone casts Christian Bale in a movie with that talentless ironing board of a human being, I will have to do some serious thinking.  I’m getting stressed out just thinking about it.  Ooh, coffee…

We all have opinions that we’re pretty sure of, and beliefs that we don’t think we could compromise on.  To a certain extent it’s more difficult in our generation to have any absolutes in our mindsets, because the internet, the news and the people who monitor equal opportunities can all throw us a curve ball at a moment’s notice.  New information, new opinions and new possibilities emerge all the time, and it can be a struggle to hold on to your beliefs in the wake of them.  I’m not suggesting that it’s a good idea to cling to an opinion that’s been proven wrong by science or what have you, just that if you’re a Christian (for example) and the Richard Dawkins brigade are throwing copies of his books at your house, it’s hard to keep resolution without becoming discouraged.

Well, let’s not be discouraged.  Let’s have some faith in ourselves and our beliefs.  Your instincts, thoughts and feelings are all valuable and worth hearing, and you mustn’t let anyone tell you otherwise.  I might be incredibly sad for my vegetarian friend that the joy of a cooked breakfast is forever unavailable to her, but I am very proud of her conviction.

Have the best Monday that anyone has ever had in the history of Mondays.

Where’s Seamus?

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Hello, lovely reader.  Are you enjoying your Tuesday so far?

Sometimes the universe is very quirky.  There are things that we know are not logically possible, but sort of believe in anyway.  Derren Brown has shown us how seemingly impossible feats can be put down to illusion and trickery (although less honest Channel 4 stars like Troy and Dynamo would have us thinking otherwise).  As children we discover the fallacy of Father Christmas, and as students we realise the horrors of budgeting.  Life is full of unwelcome truths.

If we are honest with ourselves, we sort of knew all along.  The Father Christmas thing; the WHOLE world in ONE night?  Even taking the time zone thing into consideration?  No way.  We don’t always like to be shaken out of our delusions, but once we’re out we’re definitely out.

I think that everybody has their own personal mythology to contend with, too: some people don’t step on cracks in the pavement, and some people have to turn light switches on and off a certain numbers of times.  I personally think that specific items of clothing affect my day: when I’m wearing a certain pair of shoes I always seem to be grumpier than usual; when I wear my green top I always get more drunk than I mean to.  (When I tried to explain this little oddity to my house mate she said “I’ve got some dresses that make me slutty.”  I’m not sure she quite got what I was talking about.)  We know deep down that these little idiosyncrasies don’t really mean anything, but as grown-ups we scramble to find a shred of a belief system that can comfort us in the absence of childhood fantasies.

Is that necessarily a bad thing?  Are we allowed to keep our bizarre beliefs because we can’t cling on to the old ones (without looking weird to other people)?  Is it better to have funny little habits than live completely in the real world?  I wouldn’t know, because I secretly think that leprechauns are probably real.  But if you are the kind of person who lives completely in the real world, do you think it’s better your way, or do you wish you could still believe in unicorns?  (Seriously.  It’s not that big of an evolutionary jump from horses.)

I think that it’s ok to have your own slightly odd belief system, as long as it’s not hurting anyone else or in complete defiance of fact.  If I said that I didn’t believe in dinosaurs, that would be stupid, and science would bitch slap me.  If I said that I didn’t believe in gay marriage, that would be stupid and wrong and my friends would bitch slap me.  (American politicians seem to get away with both of those quite a lot, by the way.  Someone over there be a dear and do some bitch slapping for the rest of us.)

I’m obviously not completely serious about the leprechauns and unicorns, but there is a part of me that thinks “well, why not?”  It may be wishful thinking, or it could be that the world is a big place and there must be thousands of undiscovered things in it, but who’s to say that bizarre things like that don’t actually exist?

OK, I know I’m being a bit silly.  But as an adult it’s my right to believe in whatever I want to, and as a fairly childish adult I’m going to choose mythological creatures.  If there is such a thing as leprechauns, I absolutely want to be friends with one.  His name will be Seamus, he will be an excellent Irish dancer and he will smoke a pipe.