Lately I've been feeling bombarded by more omnivore's pushing their dilemmas my way and try to either budge me from my vegan views as an attempt to shatter a lifestyle (my own), that makes them feel guilty for not being strong enough to also adhere to, or to make me explode with vegan vengeance. All vegans are different, and for me I've found the most productive way to help others learn about cruelty-free living is to do just that- be cruelty-free. Be kind, and sometimes that means suffering through pretending to feel comfortable around meat eaters, to assimilate into their "norms" rather than trying to push them to assimilate into mine. And I generalize, apologies, this is indeed a rant. Letting off steam, not everyone who is a carne is like this.
Growing up with all omni's as I trekked through life holding true to my believe system (I was lucky enough to have a liberal open-minded family who let me pursue my own way of life- re: veganism), and moral codes of respect for animals, and later to learn the benefits of a vegan lifestyle also for the planet, and for not just animal but human health... I've learned to keep my lips sealed. To stay quiet and be the "nice" vegan who can get along with everyone. So often I've felt like the black sheep surrounded by otherness, and whenever I speak up those others seem to jump on the chance to test the fact that I am different, I am vegan. An incredibly small number of people who I am friends with are vegan (though I hope to meet more!) and none of them are apart of my daily life. I'm lucky to hang out with another vegan once every 6 months or so (I need to change this), and so time and again I feel like its just "easier" to shut up and be thankful I at least have friends, meat-eating people, who graciously go along with eating the vegan meals I cook for diner parties. Its not like my meat-eating friends eat ribs and steaks around me, so I'm not offended by corpses and smelly death meat on their plates and breaths when we hang out... but I really hope to find more vegans to spend more time with. Its just not the same.
As I've grown older and more independent I have felt more confident in sharing my beliefs, knowledge in my cruelty-free lifestyle, and constantly search for better ways to improve my life by lessening my global footprint, and not inflicting harm on others. I have learned to say what's on my mind more, though its not always received well, and even those voiced opinions seem to be censored out of respects for offending omnis.
And why do omni's feel the need to defend their meat consumption to me? Or to guiltily confess that they just can't give up meat, or that they can't be healthy as vegetarians/vegans? Does it make them feel better to talk to a real, true vegan and explain why they are suffering through their moral dilemma of what they know is wrong, and yet what "tastes so good" to them? It all seems to come in waves, and pile up like a bad car accident on the freeway. One of my husband's work friends was laughing as I told the story of how we adopted our dog, (she's a rescue we found on craigslist, heart worm positive, and was found on the side of the road, almost dead weighing only 40lbs... now she's healthy at 90lbs, heartworm free and part of our forever family). As he laughed in my face, he told me, "I just don't like animals."
I am more than happy to help educate people willing to learn more about how I go about my daily life, by not consuming meat or animal products, why I chose and choose to live the way that I do, and how I feel about the planet and why its important to respect her and all her life forms. But if you feel bad about how you live your life, don't come making up excuses to me, or acting all shocked when I open my mouth and start up the conversations that you asked for.
Vegan friends... where are you? Can't anyone relate to me???