Fulfilling my own Conscientious Belief

Lauren - Cypress, Texas
Entered on November 10, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

Animals should have the chance to live for something more than human consumption. I sat the table, fixated by my newfound realization. I knew that this conviction would change the way I live drastically, but that was not important. I was consumed by thoughts wondering how to break the news to my mom. She would not be happy. This was not something she believed in. I would merely be a burden to my carnivorous family.

It was like any other day in my life. I woke up early, endured a series of tedious classes, and sat down to eat lunch with my friends. I unwrapped a chicken sandwich and began to munch. For some reason or another, the table began discussing sickening food stories, and my friend was explaining about how meat had veins. Something in my head suddenly clicked… And I just sat there, staring into my sandwich. Of course I knew where meat came from, but I never really thought about it or never really cared to think about it. At that moment I did care, and I did think about it, and I just continued to sit there and gaze at the white wedged between two pieces of bread. Thoughts flooded into my mind. This “white” was a chicken: a living, breathing organism. What had it done to deserve to die? Nothing. It was ultimately bred for nothing more than death. Well, why am I eating this creature? I tried to think of an answer, but I could not. There really was not a decent answer. It was simply something expected of me. I placed the half-eaten sandwich on the table with tears welling in my eyes. The bell rang. My friend hurried off to class. I did not follow. I was trying to sort out the thoughts crowding my head. I could no longer view meat in the same manner. There was no way I could eat it any more. I didn’t know how to tell my family. My tears could no longer be held back and they tumbled down my checks.

I delayed telling my mom for a few days. During meals I would pretend to eat whatever meat I was given. I usually it back into the pot or on the counter with the other leftover meat, but I knew that I could not hide my feelings forever. With a lump in my throat, and tears in my eyes, I confronted my mom and told her my thoughts. I could see disappointment in her eyes, so my eyes shifted to the floor for comfort. She pretended to be supportive. She still does today, but I continue to feel her resentment at each of my meatless meals.

I have learned to accept the fact that my mom may never agree my acquisition. Two and half years have passed since that day in 8th grade. My notion remains sound, and I am morally fulfilled.