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October 26, 2023

Letter from the editor: It’s been four fishy years

Aliza Abidi
The Sidekick executive editor-in-chief Sri Achanta eats a Krispy Krab Roll from Sprouts on Oct. 18. Achanta explains how her journey as a pescatarian for the past four years has helped shape her personal destiny.

I was 13 when I became a self-proclaimed pescatarian. 

But I swear I’m not a meat hater. I often think back to the good old days, when I would eat the classic McDonald’s spicy McChicken on my way back home from swim practice or devour the cold-cut turkey sandwich from Subway. 

The taste of the meat itself was delightful, but I just couldn’t escape the overwhelming feeling of the texture. 

It was a rather typical day in eighth grade when I decided to tread the path of vegetarianism. I claimed that this was my way of advocating for animal rights, but in all honesty, I was just sick of eating chicken biryani.  

But there was this one culinary delight that continued to tug at my heart: sushi. 

The delectable combination of a crunchy California roll adorned with fried shrimp and dipped in the perfect amount of soy sauce was simply too irresistible to let go. So I settled for a compromise, pescetarianism.

I was told by many, especially my parents, that I wouldn’t last. Determined to prove the world wrong, I set forth on this new trek.

I remember walking into my local Wendy’s later that year, but found nothing pescatarian that looked appetizing. The soggy fish sandwiches that I forced down were a mediocre attempt at recreating the flavor of chicken that I started to yearn for once more.

One of my closest friends asked me in 10th grade if I was now repulsed by meat, an experience that she faced as a since-birth vegetarian. 

My answer? No.

It’s been four years and I’m still a pescatarian, but I find myself inches away from reverting time and time again. I sometimes open the fridge and am met with the aroma of chicken curry, but I hold myself back from picking up a piece and refreshing my mind of its taste. It has definitely gotten easier over the years, but I do have my moments. 

Every time I close the door to this seemingly inviting food, I feel empowered. My ability to resist such temptations is only a testament to the resilience I’ve grown. 

But my persistence hasn’t stopped there. I’ve been able to better hold my ground, whether it be something as simple as defending my opinion or something I’ve grown confident in doing like speaking in front of the classroom. I’ve started to realize that my experiences are just my actions’ ramifications – and if I’m not comfortable with the situation I’m in, only I myself can take myself out of it.

I am leaving for college soon, and I do see myself possibly going back to my meat-eating lifestyle.

But these four years have meant the world to me. I found true liberation in shaping my own destiny, guided by my personal values, even though there were deterrents each step of the way.

Follow Sri (@sriachanta_) and @CHSCampusNews on X.

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About the Contributors
Sri Achanta
Sri Achanta, Executive Editor-in-Chief
Sri Achanta is a senior and the executive editor-and-chief of The Sidekick. She finds joy in finding narratives within conversations to create compelling stories. In her free time, you can find her reading fantasy and mystery novels, her personal favorite book being Legendborn by Tracy Deon. Sri also enjoys painting still life, prefering acrylic paint over oil paints anytime. One of her favorite artworks is a sculpture by Michelangelo called the “Pietà”.  Sri is always up for a good plate of sushi or a meal at her favorite restaurant, Siam Thai, where she gets her go-to favorite dish which is spicy drunken noodles. She loves to top off her dinner with her favorite drink, Matcha tea. She also never passes on an opportunity to hang out with her friends and family. Her favorite childhood show is “The Wizards of Waverly Place” and she’s currently on her fourth rewatch. To contact her, you can email her at [email protected] or on 'X' (@Sriachanta_ ).
Aliza Abidi
Aliza Abidi, Editorial Page Editor
Aliza Abidi is a senior and the Editorial Page Editor for The Sidekick. In her free time, she likes to read a variety of fiction novels, lift weights, and watch Studio Ghibli movies. To Aliza, journalism is about bringing all sorts of different opinions and perspectives to light. Opinions and perspectives about the world’s various curiosities and disputes that are created by people with interesting stories underneath; experiences which shape an individual's values. To her, these viewpoints are worth sharing, vibrant and fresh to hear and learn about. Seeing her older brother being able to make an impact by bringing stories and viewpoints to light at The Sidekick inspired her to join, where she is now, helping to make an impact in her community as she helps coordinate the process of publishing works that fulfill her passions and goals. You can contact her at [email protected].

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  • S

    SukirthaNov 29, 2023 at 10:20 am

    It’s o-FISH-ial! This story is fishtastic!

  • S

    Sahasra ChakilamNov 29, 2023 at 10:18 am

    You’re fintastic!