Lisa Simpson changed my life. No, seriously she did. I’m sure there aren’t many people out there saying that an eight-year-old had a profound influence on their personal development but Lisa surely did.
The Simpsons dominated most of my childhood viewing time, as would be the case for many other children of that era and even though the adult themes completely blew over my head, and that of my equally oblivious brother, we still cherished every episode.
As time passed and my naivety diminished I started to see undeniable similarities between my real family and my yellow family. The long suffering mother who expresses her frustrations with simply a groan sans towering blue perm, the absent father fascinated by the wonders of television and a nice, cold beer and then of course the older brother, who didn’t know the difference between bread and bed.
The years went on, houses changed and friends were lost but what stayed a consistent in my comfort bubble was Miss Lisa Simpson. It was somewhere in between my Barbie Doll addiction and my transition into High school when I first watched ‘Lisa becomes a vegetarian’, an episode I had seen many times before but had only just started to develop a personal connection to “Baaaaaah Lisa why don’t you love meeee?” the little lamb in her imagination cries as she sits with her family eating dinner after spending the day at a petting zoo.
“Mum why do I have to eat meat?” I would ask incessantly. I was always told that I had to eat it “just because” or that I was too young to know any better, but I really knew that eating meat was something that I just didn’t want to do anymore.
My eyes were swollen and damp, hyperventilating from an extreme over reaction. This typical teenage tantrum would be unleashed onto the whole family every time I was forced to endure another meat filled meal. My mind found it impossible to see the difference between the veal steak on my plate and the Dalmatian slobbering at my feet.
The ridicule and subtle bullying that Lisa suffered was not unlike my own, anyone remember ‘You don’t make friends with salad?’. Although my family never formed a conga line of mockery they had their own way of showing their disapproval of my new vegetarian lifestyle and it came with a side of hushed giggled, a sprinkle of sarcasm and a big dollop of ignorance.
“So, what do you eat? Lettuce? Rabbit food?”
Along with my family, I would face judgment from teachers, waitresses and people who had known me for about 5-seconds who took it upon themselves to comment on the things that I choose to put into my body. You wouldn’t openly criticize someone for other choices that they make in their life. Why are you a homosexual? Why do you have tattoos? Why are you religious? No, because that would be an invasion to their privacy, right? So please, just stop asking me why. Just stop.
So now when I’m flicking through the channels and and old episode of The Simpson’s is on I’ll take some time to spend with my yellow family and reminisce back on the days when Homer went to space, when Marge was a body builder and when Lisa was my soul sister.
Alessandra is a twenty-something contributor at TSH and blogs at thedailymouthful.com