When I go home for the holidays, it's always an adventure. In the past, I
have prepared as if going into battle. "What will I say if *they* say....?"
If they fire first, then I've got the right to say anything, or so I used to
believe. Now I take a much more relaxed view and answer inquiries as
honestly as possible, without being defensive or confrontational. Keeping
quiet and sticking to my guns (so to speak), I can see the wheels
turning--"What if she is right?"
I want my relatives to question the information I have shared with them in
the past. I want them to wonder about the animals they are eating and the
cow's milk they are consuming in nearly every dish. Yet I don't take the
opportunity to point this out to them directly and constantly, as I would
when I was new to veganism and my fervor was high. Now I delight in giving
simple, to-the-point answers. For instance, when my Aunt Caroline demands,
"Don't you ever miss any of the normal stuff you used to eat?", I tell her
politely, "Yes, sometimes I do." After hearing that, she fumes and wants to
know why I will not eat these foods. Then we have to discuss the real "whys
and hows" of this "crazy vegetarian thing."
I have achieved my goal. When it comes down to it, my only objective is to
spend quality time with my family. I have become less concerned about when
I'll get a point in for veganism and more anxious about when I'll get to see
and connect with the people I am close with again. Being vegan ultimately
has let me see what the holidays really are about. I started out on one
mission and discovered a different mission.
I want to educate people only if they want to hear what I have to say. I
want to create healthy and delicious food for the people I love without
demeaning them or suggesting that they somehow are wrong in their views. I
am glad that my compassion for animals has brought me to this place of
compassion for the spirit of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Now I can search
for more ways to make peace with human beings, thanks to my dedication to
e x t e s s a y -
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by Jo Stepaniak All rights reserved.
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