Vegan Deli

Vegan Deli  by Jo Stepaniak

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Raising Vegetarian Children
by Jo Stepaniak, M.S.Ed., & Vesanto Melina M.S., R.D.

Raising Vegetarian Children

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Pretending

Pretending is something I'm afraid I know too well. I find myself pretending all the time, especially with those whose lifestyle is not the same as mine. I have masks, different faces I wear every time I am around someone who doesn't understand who I am. I find that now, as a vegan, it has become even more difficult to stop pretending -- now, when the only one like me is ME.

When I'm with my family I find myself pretending in order to keep the peace. I am always surrounded by conversation that makes me uncomfortable, and I have to wear my "this doesn't bother me at all" mask. There are holidays when I am expected to participate in a feast loaded with animal foods spread across the table, and I have to wear my "mmmm, that smells good but I'm already full" mask. I long for the day when my masks will come off and my true face will be revealed to them.

With my friends I find myself pretending in order to keep our friendship strong. But that doesn't make any sense, because if I feel I must wear a mask around them, we do not really have a friendship at all. It is so difficult to maintain close relationships with those who do not share my views, particularly my views about compassion. Even though I love my friends, I long for a day when my mask will come off and I can be myself, comfortably.

Pretending has been a way for me to please everyone in my life, but it has made me feel empty. I am a lonely woman, full of family and friends who do not know the real me. By writing this I was forced to look within myself and find the person behind the mask. My family and friends are the ones to whom I should be writing -- all of the people in my life who want to love me for who I am. They are the ones who have been robbed of the wonderful person I am inside. So I will stop longing for that day to come, for that day shall be today and every day from now on.

Jaime A.
New Jersey

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Vegan Vittles:
Second Helpings

Vegan Vittles: Second Helpings by Jo Stepaniak

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The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook

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Review by Dan Balogh

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The Food Allergy
Survival Guide

The Food Allergy Survival Guide

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