Counting Calories (Short Story)

 

She stared at her food, calculating in her head how many calories each and every item on her plate was. Could she really afford the 500 calories that stood on her plate? It seemed like a lot, more than she could handle and she knew that working off these 500 calories would be a lot. It didn’t help that she could hear the snickers surrounding her, she knew what she was. The school’s fat girl.

 

When she looked into the mirror, she understood how she managed to obtain the title. Her rolls spilled out of her jeans, her shirts were either too tight or went to her knees, and her boobs were just flabby. While they had the size to be attractive, they simply weren’t because she was too big to pull them off and they honestly just looked like pathetic globs of fat adorning her body. Instead of cherishing her boob size, they were her reminder of the size that she hated.

 

The snickers intensified as a shadow went over her food and something dropped onto the table, the clatter of plates hitting the table and the talk throughout the cafeteria almost seemed to quiet down to watch the exchange, meaning that the person before her was likely no friend of hers, or at least somebody who was friendly considering she didn’t actually have any friends. She didn’t want to look up, she was almost afraid of the interaction that was about to happen, she didn’t want to see what was dropped onto the table because she knew it wasn’t a tray.

 

“Hey,” The voice was sickly sweet but she recognized it to be more sinister than upon first glance. Because the girl before her was Heather, a girl with admittedly beautiful brown hair that seemed to have almost been kissed by the sun as it cascaded down her back and she knew that the girl also was incredibly skinny. An attribute that she longed for. “You looked a little hungry, so I wanted to give this to you,” The voice continued on as she finally decided to look at what was dropped onto the table. It was one of those Hostess cupcakes, the chocolate ones with the white swirls that she often dreamed about in her sleep. “I got in the mail by mom, she thought I should have something sweet to keep in my dorm but I’m watching my figure. I don’t want to end up looking like you,” The voice was as sharp as knives and the words cut deeper than she would have cared to admit.

 

“No thank you,” Came her weak response, her voice quiet as she continued to keep her eyes downcast. It was safer to simply look at the plate before her, the pathetic looking broccoli being her focus.

 

“Oh, but sweetie. You simply look ravenous. That broccoli couldn’t possibly be enough for you, here take it,” The girl continued to encourage, picking up the cupcakes and moving them closer to her plate. “They’re really good as I’m sure you know.” The temptation was strong, the memory of the delectable chocolate and the filling that she would surely find inside was haunting her memory. Perhaps one cupcake couldn’t be too bad? So she decided to hesitantly take it, her hand reaching out to the small package as the girl before her let out a laugh.

 

“See, that’s why you haven’t lost any weight. You have no control because you’re simply pathetic,” The words hit home. The same words she constantly told herself was now coming out of somebody else but she simply grabbed the cupcake as she pushed her chair back quickly and rushed out of the cafeteria. She tried to run all of the way back to the dorm, ignoring her body slapping against her own flesh as she ran, not even bothering to hold her breasts to stop them from jumping up and down. They were simply a reminder of her body, she ignored Heather’s words. Trying to block them from her mind. As she reached her dorm, she stared at the cupcake as she ripped open the wrapper, the scent of chocolate hitting her nose as tears welled up in her eyes and she realized that she wouldn’t be able to simply throw it away.

 

She picked it up with her hands, staring at it while trying to will herself to throw it away and forget about it. Ignoring the memory of the last time she did this, when she drove by a McDonald’s and couldn’t stop herself from pulling into the drive thru to get a McFlurry. When she had come back to the dorm, she stared at it as well, trying to convince herself that the vanilla ice cream and Oreo crumbles were not worth the five pounds that would come from this decadent dessert. She had eventually thrown it away, placing it carefully in the trash can encase she changed her mind which she did. Late at night, when everyone else was out partying, she found herself staring at the trash can, laying her bed as she debated it. Did the calories really count at night? Could she eat the McFlurry and not gain anything? Or eat a stick of butter without consequence like she had watched in movies?

 

She wanted to be stronger, in this moment, the thing that she wanted most was to simply be stronger. She wanted to have the ability to throw away the cupcake and she wanted to go to bed not thinking about that very same cupcake and she dreaded the thoughts of debating whether or not she could fish it out of the trashcan. She hated that she knew what would happen later in the day, when she found herself lost in her own thoughts. She was weak, she couldn’t resist the temptation as she brought the cupcake to her mouth and took a small bite. The sweetness of the cupcake erupted throughout her entire mouth, and she honestly could have let out a moan of pleasure at the delectable taste. It was something that she had craved for so long. All of a sudden, she actually was ravenous and all thoughts of how many calories this cupcake was completely left her mind, as she quickly decided that she would simply deal with it at some other point.

 

Once she finished the cupcake, she stared at the chocolate on her hands and she felt completely disgusted with herself and it almost felt like she could feel the weight that she had gained from eating that cupcake alone. Her stomach felt full and she felt nauseated, and she could feel the hate for herself bubbling up beyond comprehension. Her mind was racing with thoughts, uncontrollable thoughts that she hated herself for having.

 

She thought of simply not eating for a little while, there had to be no harm is skipping a meal or two every once in awhile. She surely knew that she had skipped breakfast and lunch throughout middle school after somebody had made a comment that it seemed as though she was losing weight. But maybe skipping meals for longer periods of time could be better? But no, she thought of her relationship with the cupcake and how the moment it stood in front of her, she couldn’t even stop herself from wanting it despite the fact that it was given to her by somebody who only wanted to make fun of her.

 

No, that simply wouldn’t work. She was too weak but as she stared at the toilet from one of the open stalls, she knew what she had to do. It was the only one that she would be able to feel attractive, it was the only way that she could ever hope to lose weight because she knew that the diet wouldn’t work and she knew that working out was never going to happen. She would take one step into the gym, see all of the attractive and skinny people working out and immediately turn around and walk away. This honestly seemed like the best option and she knew she wouldn’t lose all of the calories from this so maybe it could work? Maybe it was healthy enough to be able to pull it off and it was only until she stopped feeling so gross.

 

She thought back to Heather, and how they used to be friends before college. Back when Heather was at least 100 pounds heavier and unpopular, just like she had been. They used to bond over their weight problems, joking during gym class that it was just meant for pervy gym classes to stare at girl’s boobs jumping as they were forced to jump. She remembered a conversation, right before the summer of their freshman year.

 

“So, I’m thinking about trying to lose weight,” Heather had whispered to her in the middle of the night during one of their famous sleepovers.

 

She had stifled a laugh, “Good luck with that. What are you going to do? Eat a cheerleader diet and work out?” She had asked in a joking manner, genuinely thinking it was all a joke.

 

“No, of course. I was doing some research and I found some information. An alternative way to lose weight, I think it’s more feasible. You can eat whatever you want and you still wont have to take all of the calories.”

 

“What is this miracle drug?”

“Vomiting.”

 

She never thought Heather would actually lose the weight, she thought she had been joking and when she didn’t join her and she slowly began losing the weight, she became more confident and promiscuous until finally they were no longer even friends and in college, it was like they never even knew each other. After some time, she began joining in on the teasing and the joking.

 

She took a hesitant step forwards, convincing herself that it was a good idea as she knelt before the toilet and took two fingers into her mouth and shoved them until she felt herself gagging. Immediately she withdrew, questioning whether or not this was really a good idea but she wanted to go through with it, she wanted to prove that she was strong enough to do this. So, she took the two fingers once more and shoved them down her throat, ignoring the gagging sensation that went throughout her body as she felt the bile rise up her throat until finally she expelled it. She was strong enough to do this at least.

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Top Five Favorite Vegan Restaurants!

* In no particular order

* Doesn’t have to be exclusively vegan but does have to have at least one insanely amazing vegan option.

 

Little Choc Apothecary

Where is it? 141 Havemeyer St Brooklyn, NY 11211

Website? https://www.littlechoc.nyc/

What had I ordered? Crepe with Newtella and Raspberries, Raw B12 Truffle, and White Peony Tea.

Why did it make it on the list? Guys, this is the one restaurant that I vividly remembered the name and everything about it because I was absolutely obsessed. When I spent a week in New York, I actually fell in love with veganism just because of all the food I ate and everything like that but the one thing I still dream about to this very day is the Raw B12 Truffle. I have absolutely no idea why, I’m assuming I was lacking in B12 at the time but it was absolutely amazing and their vegan nutella is absolutely amazing though perhaps you should chose something besides Raspberries. I want to go back to New York sooo badly and this is definitely on the list of places that I want to revisit. (I will likely talk more about this in April for my Veganversary!

 

Grumpy’s

Where is it? 34 S Huron StToledo, OH 43604-8706

Website? http://grumpys.net/

What had I ordered? Vegan Reuben Sandwich and Vegan Tuna!

Why did it make it on the list? This made it on the list because honestly, a lot of the places on the list is the very time I’ve tried something specifically and what I’ve really learned about my vegan life is that I adore sandwiches. Anyways, I was actually on my way back from a trip with my family when we randomly stopped by this restaurant and they were so good. They also had vegan cookies (though I really don’t remember what flavors I tried, sorry!)

 

Pinky’s Westside Grill

Where is it? 1600 W Morehead St, Charlotte, NC 28208

Website? https://eatatpinkys.com/

What had I ordered? I have been here MULTIPLE times. Actually no, I get it delivered a lot. But I always get the Vegan Beyond Burger and recently, I started also ordering the corndog which after a LOT of research, I learned it was vegan!

Why did it make it on the list? So, I had actually ordered the Beyond Burger from TGI Friday’s beforehand and I was so disappointed because it honestly weirded me out. It was red and it was freaking me out because before I was vegan, I had to have my meat burned before I could eat it so I think I was psyching myself out. I realize now that in some way, it was under cooked but when I came to Queens, I noticed that Pinky’s also had a vegan burger so when I tried it, I was nervous but I absolutely fell in love with it. It was the best burger I’ve ever had to this very day and then recently after some research, I learned that they made their corndogs vegan, which is pretty good especially when you smother it in mustard.

 

Coffeeology

Where is it? 423 Tate St, Greensboro, NC 27403

Website? http://www.coffeeology101.com/

What had I ordered? I actually typically live in Greensboro and this is on my list of places that I go to each and every single time I ever back home. But I almost always get an Iced Soy Latte with Lavender and Rose (sounds weird but whatever) and then I always, always get the vegan breakfast sandwich with vegan egg, cheese, and sausage.

Why did it make it on the list? This is honestly one of the more cheaper places on my list and it’s so amazing and tasty and I absolutely love this place. I always get so excited and they have my absolute favorite coffee so the fact that they also have vegan food is my favorite thing ever. They also have a vegan espresso brownie and vegan cookies and I’m such a sugar-holic that it’s my favorite thing ever.

 

Deli St

Where is it? 2801 Central Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205

Website? http://delistclt.com/

What had I ordered? I always get the vegan club with smoked gouda (vegan, obviously) and their tropical smoothie. I’ve also had a couple of their desserts.

Why did it make it on the list? Honestly, trying vegan foods has become one of my favorite past times and the vegan gouda makes me so happy because it reminds me that you don’t have to give up ANYTHING in order to be vegan, just the corpses. Also, they make the best tofu ever with a close second being Noodles and Company. They are also an AMAZING reminder that tofu doesn’t have to be bad!

Answering Some Vegan Questions from Google!

Do Vegans Eat Honey?

This is actually a controversial topic that’s subject to the vegan themselves. I personally don’t but I know that there are some that do!

Do Vegans Eat Eggs?

No, Vegans do not eat any animal products in any way.

Do Vegans Eat Fish?

No, Vegans do not eat any animal products in any way.

Do Vegans Eat Cheese?

No, Vegans do not eat any animal products in any way.

Do Vegans Live Longer?

If I’m not mistaken, there was a study that said vegans had lower chances of heart disease and a few other conditions but there was no proof to believe or indicate that we actually live longer than the normal human being. Just less likely for us to die from certain ailments.

Do Vegans Eat Bread?

Yes! However they do have to check the ingredients because some bread does use milk, eggs, or even sugar that is not vegan. We become very familiar with what ingredients to look out for but I have come to the realization that most French and Italian breads from grocery stores are vegan!

Do Vegans Drink Milk?

No, but we do drink soy/ almond/ cashew/ coconut/ hemp and various other types of plant based milks which is also used in making vegan cheeses.

Do Vegans Eat Yeast?

Yes?

Do Vegans Eat Pasta?

Yes! But just like bread, you have to keep an eye on the ingredients.

Are Vegans Healthier?

In terms of diets, it really depends on the vegan. Some do eat insanely healthy and then some go a little crazy on oreos and other sweets. However studies do prove that we are less likely to have high cholesterol and various other diseases. THEY JUST HAVE TO BE SMART ABOUT WHAT THEY’RE DOING!

Are Vegans Healthy?

Depends on the vegan.

Are Vegans Allowed to Eat Eggs?

No.

Are Vegans Gluten Free?

Some are, some aren’t. Personally, I’m not. It’s a personal decision of the vegan to make that decision but being vegan and gluten free does not come hand in hand.

Are Vegans Herbivores?

YES! We are constantly joking about that very fact and we even call you guys omnivores. It’s an easy way to explain it, honestly.

Are vegans dairy free?

Yes!

Are Vegans Allowed to Eat Honey?

First of all, I don’t like the use of “allowed.” Ultimately, it is the person’s choice about what they do or don’t eat and isn’t a matter of being allowed or not. As for Honey, it’s actually a hot topic among the vegan community and absolutely everybody has a different answer. I personally don’t think vegans should but other people disagree.

Are Vegans Weak?

This is a common misconception! Just because we are vegan, doesn’t mean we are weak. There are many wrestlers and football players that are vegan and I assure you they are not weak in any way. Many of us do get enough protein and while some vegans are stronger than others, that’s a matter of what they do and their choices. Some vegans pack on the protein and work out excessively and some eat enough protein to keep sustained.

Are Vegans Vegetarians?

Yes and no. Vegans and vegetarians have one thing in common, they do not eat meat. However, vegans can not eat many vegetarian meals. Think of it this way: Vegetarians can eat vegan meals but vegans can not eat vegetarian meals. Vegans have a lot more “restrictions” which separates the two.

Are vegans unhealthy?

Some vegans are, honestly. Especially the vegans that do not do their research beforehand and walk in blindly. Many of them make common mistakes that are easily avoidable or forget to take note of what problems that could possibly come up. However, not all vegans are. Some of them are incredibly healthy. However, if you mean on the weight side of things then it does depend on the diet and their food choices.

What Vegans Eat

The same things you do, except they don’t eat animal products and replace them with other things. Another big misconception is that the only thing we eat are salads and if a vegan is doing that then they are doing it WRONG.

What Vegans Can Eat

Vegetables, Fruit, Oreos, Skittles, Oatmeal, Plant Based Milk, etc, etc.

What Vegans Can’t Eat

Animal products: Meat, Milk, Eggs, Cheese, Gelatin, and other animal products.

What Vegans Eat for Breakfast

So specific but we can eat tempeh or other kinds of vegan bacon, oatmeal, overnight oats, chia pudding, most cereals with plant based milk. The list goes on endlessly.

What Vegans Eat for Protein

Tempeh, Lentils, Chickpeas, Peanuts, Almonds, Chia Seeds, Quonia, Beans, Potatoes, Broccoli, Mock Meats, Kale, Mushrooms, Seitan, etc.

What Vegans Eat in a Day

This is such a broad possibility. There are plenty of YouTube videos on this fact alone. However, never expect me to make a post like this as this is not something that I think is a good idea.

 

Vegan Cuts January 2019 Unboxing

 

So fun fact: I meant to post December 2018’s VeganCuts unboxing but then I accidentally deleted the photos because I thought I had already finished up with this sooo I hope you enjoy the first box of 2019 for Vegan Cuts. Admittedly, this is not my favorite box that I have ever received and was actually mildly disappointed though this may solely be because I received a different package on the same day which I will also be covering.

 

What did I receive?

 

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So this is Dave’s Creamy Ginger Citrus Gourmet Hot Sauce. It’s definitely a weird item to receive in a snack box, especially since it arrived in a full sized bottle. I have no idea what this would be good for.

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The coolest and weirdest item in this box by far. I had no idea this existed but basically it is vegan chicken soup and vegan garden vegetable soup in a k- cup so you’re supposed to use your keurig machine in order to make this and it also gives you directions on how to make it if you don’t have the machine. This is such a nifty and weird product, it’s actually really cool.

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These are basically vegan cheetos and I am absolutely in love.

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I received these in a previous box (though I’m not sure which one) and I was a really big fan so I’m excited for the opportunity to have these again because I was absolutely in love.

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As you know, most gummies are not vegan due to the gelatin which is absolutely disgusting and most definitely not vegan, or even vegetarian. Which is why the existence of these things is so cool even though I am definitely not sure how I feel about the flavor.

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Alright, so I had actually never heard of this brand so I’m really excited about trying this and lowkey, I have been having some sort of weird caramel craving recently so I am really happy to be getting this box.

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Crackers to put in my soup. Not really sure what else I’m supposed to think about this.

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So honestly, I have absolutely no idea what this is but it’s banana with peanut butter. Interested in trying it because it does seem like a pretty decent flavor match up.

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Fun fact: I just realized now that this box kind of had a yellow theme to it. But anyways, I actually really like pineapple and while I’m not entirely sure what this is, I am excited to try it.

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I am curious to see how this works but at the same time, I somehow doubt that I will notice a clear difference but maybe I’ll try this when I’m trying to do homework and study or something like that.

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Final item. I am allergic to strawberries so I did give this to my roommate. Let’s not die this year.

Vegan Cuts vs. Urthbox!

 

So when I first got the two subscriptions, I had always kind of thought to do this competition. I had seen videos about both companies on YouTube and actually binged both videos on a constant, seeing what comes out of these boxes and I desperately wanted to try it so when I came across the money to be able to do this, I actually jumped at the chance because as we all know, this girl loves her snacks and sweets. So for things that are going to be considered, I am going to discuss items/ shipping/ annoyances/ misc.

 

So while I did end up buying two months of the Vegan Cuts subscription, we will only be considered the December 2018 boxes for both. Specifically, I got the Vegan Urthbox large box that came with 25 + snacks and then I just bought the normal vegan cuts subscription box as you don’t get too many options.

 

Initially I thought I would like Urthbox better as I was really excited about having 25+ snacks because it was bigger so I thought it would have a very large variety and I also enjoyed the fact that it gave me a lot of options on topic of size. Unfortunately, this was one of their biggest downfalls as they had so many repeats, I had multiples of quite a few items and even had 3 bags of the exact same chips.

 

Because of this, I felt ripped off because I bought a large box expecting to have so many different snacks and options and was downright disappointed by the fact that I got many repeats to items that I ultimately didn’t even like or turned out to be allergic to (which I will be talking about soon so look out for that once that gets cleared up!) Some of the items were actually pretty good, I have always loved Enjoy Life so it didn’t bother me too much that I got 3 products from their company (mind you, I did get two of their berry medley item).

 

Another observation is that many of them were very savory or accidentally vegan items. Many of them didn’t seem like they were actively trying to promise to be vegan which made me wary about the products entirely (such as the raisins). None of them were sweet and many of them seemed very odd and not even hard to fine. When I get a snack subscription, I fully expect to get items that I could never have otherwise and that just wasn’t the case. In fact, all of the items that I likely wouldn’t have bought in normal time, I didn’t even like.

 

It should also be noted that I bought this box on Black Friday (November 23rd, 2018) and did not receive this box until December 30th, 2018. So basically the month of December was over and perhaps if they are always behind in snack boxes that isn’t a big deal but I was really looking forward to having a snack box in December and that just didn’t happen.

 

In terms of pricing, I did only spend about $25 on the large box due to it being Black Friday and having a coupon on top of that but I did look at the 12+ price and it was $29.99 for one month at a time which is more expensive than VeganCuts. I have a hard time saying that I would choose Urthbox over VeganCuts but if you preferred savory snacks like chips or even weird items like 3 different types of salt water then maybe Urthbox is for you!

 

As for VeganCuts, I admittedly bought the actual subscription box much, much later than I bought Urthbox. My original plan hadn’t been to compare the same month as I actually bought the Vegan Cuts on December 30th, expecting it to pay for the January month and then realized after they took out the January box before I even received the December box that it wasn’t the case. However, it’s probably a good thing that this box came as it gives you a better idea of what you would receive from the different companies in the same month.

 

I didn’t have any problems with the items at all actually, all of them were new and while some of them I had tried (some of them were even featured in the Chocolate Treasure Chest!) and some were new, I was excited about all of the new items. It’s very possible that this box drew me in faster because of my sweet tooth. But I got excited about items that I knew that I would never be able to impulse buy on the regular such as chocolate bars and chocolate stuff in general and even the rice krispy thing which is something that I have missed so much since going vegan that I ate it immediately, I couldn’t even hold off.

 

I likely would have had the same reaction to the marshmallows if it weren’t for the fact that I watched the December 2018 unboxing from multiple people and went to my local Earth Fare and bought a bag right then and there. The items were unique and something that was hard to find like Four Sygmatic hot cacao mix an the rice krispy treat. I also got the Churro flavored cotton candy which was honestly one of my favorite things in the entire box.

 

But not only were there sweet things but also savory, which I really appreciated because I liked the fact that I could get a box and get both depending on my mood like the Coconut Rice and Jackfruit Puffs. I liked the fact that I literally got a meal with my box as being a college student, I get so sick of the caf that this gave me an exciting break from the cafeteria for a day and as somebody (and probably the only vegan ever) that hadn’t had Jackfruit yet, I was so excited to try it.

 

So besides the shipping misunderstanding, which was honestly my mistake, it was so exciting and only $22.95. I’m really excited to see January’s box! Ultimately, I do think Vegan Cuts WON the competition. They were cheaper and seemed to be more worth it, offering items that you might never have gotten before and was a lot more exciting to try!

 

Now the real question: Did I keep either subscription? Unfortunately, no I didn’t. I did end up buying two months of Vegan Cuts due to my confusion but my college student budget honestly can’t afford this kind of commitment and I honestly get overwhelmed with all of the snacks that I feel like I have to hurry through them to try it all before the next box or I feel guilty for failing. But if I ever did come back to get another subscription, it would definitely be Vegan Cuts or maybe we’ll try a different one next time…

 

Do you guys know any other Vegan Subscription boxes? Also, do you disagree with who won my competition? Let me know down in the comments! I would love to be able to interact with you guys more!

Unlikely Friendship (Short Story)

 

Relationships have always been terrifying for me, and honestly I could never tell you why. Maybe it was from watching my parent’s relationship which only existed because of me. Maybe it was because of those middle school relationships where they threw around the “I love you”’s only to be met with dramatic heartbreak. For me, every time I turned around, there was a friend coming to me in tears over some guy who had broken her heart.

 

That all changed though, I was a teenager who had hormones and eventually, there was a guy where I forgot about those fears. I had somehow tricked myself into believing he could never hurt me, that he didn’t have it in his power to do so. Because in my head, I wasn’t like all of those other girls. I didn’t throw around the “I love you.” I didn’t rush into relationships, I didn’t do this or that. I think I just wanted to trick myself into believing that. I couldn’t possibly be weak enough to get hurt, and I thought I would notice the signs fast enough to stop the pain.

 

Looking back, I probably did notice the signs but I didn’t listen to them. Because when you see a girl’s name pop up on their phone, you don’t expect anything. You tell yourself to calm down, that they’re likely just a friend and that there is no way they are cheating on you. I also saw the girl and the hug that they exchanged, I wanted to believe it was friendly. I wanted to ignore the look she gave me when the hug was over. I wanted to ignore the way he rubbed her back, the way he seemed to have inhaled her scent and I pretended to believe that the only reason why he smelled of her perfume was probably because of that hug.

 

We will chalk that naivety up to being a teenage girl, as anyone would have realized. But I continued to ignore it, to deny it. They were just friends and maybe, at the very least she had a crush on him but that was probably the extent of it. I kept noticing her name pop up on his phone, I kept hearing these whispers of something more. But they’re rumors and one shouldn’t believe in rumors.

 

But that all come to a head on Prom night, the night that every girl dreams of. The perfect dress, the perfect shoes, the perfect date. All of those glamorous things that you hear about in movies. He had picked me up in his dad’s red Camaro, and it had clearly been washed and his dad had cleaned out the car ahead of time. It was a nice gesture and he was incredibly giddy about his dad agreeing to let him drive it. Honestly, I personally thought it was rather cliche that he wasn’t driving his beat up old truck that had paint peeling but he was happy.

 

On the drive, it was complete silence beyond the music playing softly in the background. I found myself keeping my eyes trained on him, watching as he drove. I had been planning for this note for ages and it wasn’t just the dress that I had been planning but I was planning to let prom night be insanely special. We had talked about it before but I wasn’t ready and I desperately wanted to be. I kept telling myself that everything would be okay. He loved me and I loved him so why not? There was nothing stopping us but I wanted to keep it a surprise for later.

 

When we get there, we looked like a celebrity couple walking down the red carpet. Likely because the theme was supposed to be a “red carpet” night which is why I was wearing a golden dress, full of sparkles and his tie was a much calmer golden color. We matched and we were clearly a couple. As the first slow song played, he pulled me to the middle of the dance floor. The cheap disco ball that the school had rented was causing my dress to reflect which had caused a couple heads to turn as he pulled me through the crowd. For a minute, it seemed like all was well. I briefly noticed her, standing to the side of the gymnasium staring at the two of us. I didn’t even think twice about it, assuming she was just admiring my dress. I didn’t even notice that she was only staring at him.

 

While we were dancing, I could feel him drifting away. Not literally, of course. It was like he moved from being present, paying attention to me and holding me close. He was rubbing my back, whispering the lyrics of the song to me and then he just stopped. He moved just slightly away from me, even though he was still holding me in his arms and the whispering stopped. I felt the change but I had no idea why, we were spinning in circles and I noticed that she was still staring. When I caught sight of her again, I noticed her stand up and storm away and when he pulled away from me only moments later, I shouldn’t have been surprised.

 

I stood there awkwardly for a few moments, staring around me at all of the couples together. One of the couples caught my attention, a girl in a midnight blue ball gown, one of which that had sparkles all over her upper body and she was wrapped up in the arms of her boyfriend. I had no idea who they were but they just looked so peaceful and happy, she was smiling brightly at him as their eyes met each other. He was completely obsessed with her and with one look at them, you could tell they were happy together.

 

That they had no concerns about anything and he was completely invested, I yearned for that relationship. A relationship that felt present and beautiful and as I stood there, I realized that he probably didn’t leave me to go to the bathroom. I realized that her leaving right before he ditched me was likely no coincidence and as I weaved through the dance crowd, slowly walking away from the reflective disco ball as I fell out of the spotlight. I became wandering the halls, walking around aimlessly. I wanted to find them, I wanted to see the truth. I wanted my suspicions to finally come true.

 

As I came across a broom closet, one that I had been inside myself with him once or twice before while we were in between classes and I heard a bang coming from inside and I knew. I knew that whatever I was about to come across would effectively end my relationship with the boy inside. I was the girl who had been duped, foolish enough to think that I was special enough to not get hurt by a boy and I finally opened the door, bracing myself.

 

In front of me, I was faced with the flesh of the boy that I knew. His lower body was completely bare, wrapped around his ankles as the girls dress was hiked up with him right in between her legs. There was no question what they were doing and my gasp from actually seeing them in this position seemed to startle them as she opened her eyes, the moans that were coming out of her mouth stopping as she realized who she was looking at and pushed him away from her and he looked at me in surprise.

 

“Clare, this is not what it looks like!” He swore to me as I let out a humorless laugh.

“Not what it looks like? You are aware that you’re half naked, right?”

 

He quickly pulled his pants up, covering himself up as he looked between the two girls. She looked almost conflicted, staring between the two and I saw the heartbreak in her eyes. She seemed so disappointed to hear his words, like they were nothing. “But… Sweetie, don’t you understand? Now we don’t have to hide our love from her.” I realized in that moment that it wasn’t her fault at all, not in this situation. He had been playing her, telling her that he loved her and that everything would be perfect in the end. That it was just a matter of telling me what was happening.

 

I always thought that when a girl happily allowed a guy to cheat on his girlfriend, I assumed that she was heartless or maybe even hated the girlfriend, in question. But now I understand that is not always the case. Sometimes, the girl is so desperately in love with the guy that she decides to have him in any way that she could, even if it meant that she was the side chick.

 

He yanked his arm away from her, as he took a step towards me. “You have to believe me. I am so sorry, I just needed a release and Stephanie was willing to give it to me. She claimed she loved me and it was so easy, you never even noticed so I just continued on with it.” My eyes were wide in shock at this point, partially from shock that he was actually trying to defend himself.

 

“You think it’s okay because I never noticed? You think that excuses you from cheating on me?” I began, tears spilling from my eyes as the anger overpowered me. “You cheated on me! All of the times you told me that you loved me, all of the times that you told me that you saw a future in us, all of those times that we were kissing and all the touches we have had. You were cheating on me the entire time.” I shook my head in disbelief, “And you really expect me to forgive you?”

 

“I was never lying when I told you that I loved you, Clare. I do, more than you could possibly imagine,” He promised me as the girl scoffed in response, storming away from the closet in a huff.

 

“You love me? Tell me, do you hurt all of the people that you love?”

“Clare, I’m sorry. But I do love you. With every kiss and every touch, I loved you.”

 

“It doesn’t matter if you love me, it matters what you do to prove it. By cheating on me, you discredited everything about this relationship. Every kiss, every touch, every ‘I love you’ was a lie. You cheated on me, stop apologizing. Just stop!” I screamed in response, “I can’t believe that I was so stupid to love you.”

 

“You were not stupid to love me. I love you too.”

“You were cheating on me the entire time.”

 

No longer having any interest in this conversation, I turned away and started heading towards the exit. I no longer had any interest in being at Prom, a time that was supposed to be extravagant and beautiful and of course, I had found my boyfriend with another girl. This was some sort of ridiculous beginning to a high school movie and I was absolutely disgusted, how could I find myself in this situation? After being so careful? My heart was broken, and I was no longer in any mood to be at such an event. I thought the drama was over as I knew he wouldn’t be following me, he wouldn’t fight for our relationship which was a good thing as I had no plans to allow him to do so.

 

But while he seemed to be content in our conversation, I suppose Stephanie was not. Because as I was exiting the building, she grabbed my arm and pulled me back. “What do you want?” I asked in annoyance.

 

We made eye contact and I almost froze, her eyes were filled with tears and the only thing registering in my mind was that she was clearly so upset. “I really did love him,” she whispered in a broken voice. “I didn’t mean to hurt you. I loved him, and I believed he loved me. I thought that at some point, he would break up with you and come to me. I thought we would be able to be together,” She continued softly.

 

“I know,” I whispered softly, finding myself unable to be angry with her. She was in love with him, and obviously she could have stopped herself from letting him cheat on me but she loved him just as much as I thought I had. She wasn’t going to sacrifice her chance to be with him. It was his job to be a decent human being, his job to make the conscious decision to not cheat on me but he never did any of those things. “He’s the cheater, he’s the one that should have controlled himself more.”

 

“You don’t hate me?” She questioned, surprise etching throughout her voice.

“I kind of wish I did, honestly.” I began. “But no, I don’t.”

 

She threw her arms around me into a hug, holding me tightly as she choked back a sob. While I felt like my heart had broken as well, I found myself wanting to comfort her. To convince her that everything was going to be okay. Maybe it was because I wanted those same promises, but I knew that she needed it in this moment. She was the secret, the one that was told time and time again that once we had broken up, she would finally get to have him. I was fed the lies, I never knew the truth. She knew but she was fed different lies, lies that they would come out of this together.

 

“I really wanted to hate you,” She whispered in my ear as we continued to hug.

“I would have hated myself too.”

 

As she finally let go of me, she smiled gratefully. “Do you think we could be friends?”

 

I laughed in response, “How about we take baby steps?” which she nodded in understanding. My heart had been broken on Prom night, I had caught my boyfriend making love to another girl and then we broke up before I ended up comforting the girl. That night, we actually did become friends and we would later become best friends even to this day. It’s crazy to me that love can be so heartbreaking and that situations can happen and people still find themselves wanting to comfort each other. We joke about the fact that we could have been lifelong enemies instead of becoming friends, but we are both grateful that never happened.

Being a Vegan @ Queens University of Charlotte

 

So honestly, I’m not going to lie and say being vegan during college is the easiest thing in the world but I will say that my University actually makes it a lot easier than other Universities.

 

I attend Queens University of Charlotte, located in North Carolina. They actually do label all of their vegan items in the cafeteria and you can look online to see if some of their staples are vegan. They have a soy milk bar, one with original soy milk and one for chocolate soy milk. When the cafeteria is lacking, I often resort to just getting their cereal because you can just look online to see which of their cereals are vegan.

 

The actual cooked meals section can be very weird. Some of the items are absolutely amazing and then sometimes it’s very questionable. They actually do have a vegan/ vegetarian section for core meals. This section often has some sort of tofu meal, sometimes curry and sometimes vegan chili. They make a lot of use of tofu, beans, and rice. I am not a huge spicy person so that has been my biggest issue in the cafeteria, often leading me to the salad bar or even just getting a bowl of cereal (usually, I’m getting a bowl of cereal, honestly.)

 

In the Gluten- Free section, they typically have some sort of red potatoes there which is actually my favorite thing at Queens. Randomly, it will be over seasoned or under cooked but that is a very random situation. They also randomly have vegan mashed potatoes which I get so excited about!

 

Breakfast is obviously a little different, but they always have some fruit that’s obviously vegan and oatmeal. My favorite thing that they have breakfast wise is their hashbrowns and randomly when there is an omelet section, I can beg the guy manning that machine to clean their machine and cook some mushrooms for me.

 

They have a salad bar with some really dressing (I love balsamic vinaigrette), they also have chickpeas, lettuce, and all of the other basics. They label everything in this section whether or not its vegan which is always fun! I would love for them to add mushrooms though.

 

They also have a decent deli where they have their breads labelled online and then all of their vegetables and things like that are obviously vegan. I would LOVE for them to add like grilled tofu or something, just to give me something like that and if they added it then my love would be amazing

 

I actually have an unlimited meal plan which allows me for 5 meal exchanges. So I can go to Lions Den or the Coffeehouse to get stuff there. The Coffeehouse is basically just an unofficial Starbucks so I can get their coffee, I just have to remember to add soy, coconut, or almond milk. As for the food section, they actually have hummus, peanut butter and jelly, and this quinoa sandwich thing.

 

The Lions Den is actually one of my favorite places to go because I am absolutely obsessed with their Garden Burger, which is this vegan burger that I can add grilled mushrooms, lettuce, tomatoes, ketchup, and mustard. It’s my favorite thing at Queens and makes me so happy.

 

I do randomly get into a protein problem which is why I am so happy that the coffeehouse actually does have vegan protein bars and there is a Harris Teeter .6 miles away from campus that you can easily go to.

 

Overall, it’s definitely not the easiest thing. You’re going to be constantly battling your temptations when the cafeteria has a really decent thing but being a vegan at University is not an impossible task. It’s gotten easier over the semester as I learned that some of the cereals actually are vegan and I was introduced to Lions Den about midway through the semester. But if it’s something you’re passionate about then it is not hard. Plus, if you’re in a common vegan area, you can always try out some of the restaurants randomly which is something I definitely do every once in awhile.