I am 22, female, vegan, and in a serious relationship
with a meatie (my slang for a meat-eater). I have two
dads, two moms, a wonderful grandmother, an awesome
brother, and a sister -- all meaties. I have a good
friend at my job who is a meatie. All my co-workers
are meaties. Well, one of them thinks that chicken and
fish are vegetables, but, that doesn't count.
Not one person in my life supports my veganism. They
love making fun of it, criticizing it, poking holes
in it, but not supporting it. The only two vegans I've
ever met were rude, empirical, and fanatical, and not
the least interested in helping me out or making friends.
The irony is that, even though their lifestyles sicken
and outrage me, I would never criticize or make fun
of my meatie friends and family. Yet they feel that
it is their divine right to put me down, since they
are "normal" and I am not. If I sound like I am feeling
sorry for myself, you are hearing me loud and clear.
Being vegan really stinks sometimes, doesn't it? I
mean, it's great because you feel a sense of accomplishment,
healthier, and kinder, but sometimes, don't we all feel
like we are missing out? Like we are segregating ourselves
from the rest of society needlessly? Whenever I go anywhere
or do anything with others I feel like I am a burden
to them. Not to mention the fact they treat me like
a freak of nature. Or that waiters learn your first
name so that they can send it to all restaurants within
a fifty-mile radius so that they ALL can give you that
"what planet are you from" look when you dare ask them
what is in their veggie burger, in an effort to intimidate
you to just go with the flow and not think about what
you put into your body, like everyone else.
I sometime feel as if I have all of these people in
my life, but not a single person to talk to. I watch
the people I love, who are otherwise kind and caring
individuals, commit acts of thoughtless cruelty every
day, knowingly ingest deadly pesticides, hormones, antibiotics,
and poisons, yet I can't utter a word. To do so would
be "a personal attack on their way of life." The hypocrisy
in that statement just makes you want to cringe, doesn't
it? Yet you can't say anything because it is an unspoken
rule that everything you do and say is no longer valid
or sensible due to your conversion to veganism.
I can't even be honest with my parents about it. They
think I'm just a vegetarian. The reason I can't tell
them is because I still live with them, and my father
is an abusive man who will not tolerate anything that
is contradictory to his lifestyle or opinions. He was
furious enough with me for becoming a vegetarian, so,
when he says to eat cheese, I simply reply "how much?"
I know eventually I will have to tell them because it
is getting harder and harder for me to eat animal products
without wanting to vomit. My grandmother's goal in life
is to keep him happy, and though she is my best friend
in the world she just echoes his words and refuses to
listen to my "animal rights nonsense."
Okay, I know. Enough with the self-pity. Veganism is
the greatest thing I have ever done, truly. It has given
me a sense of peace and fulfillment I never knew possible.
But it's also the hardest thing I've ever done, because
I am by nature a creature of dependency who needs people
to love me, and this enormously unpopular view of the
world has put a rift between me and all I know and love.
But I will never, ever, EVER go back, that I can promise.
I'm much too involved now, too intelligent and informed
to return to that life of willful blindness. But I wish
I could find someone who shares my point of view to
ease the loneliness that overshadows my world. I know
that many, many vegans must feel this way, as there
are so few of us. So I guess the solution would be to
open more people's eyes to the truth. So I guess I'll
just have to make me a vegan friend.
e x t e s s a y -
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