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From: Jo Stepaniak (
Subject: Re: Feeling Alone
Date: February 4, 2013 at 8:35 am PST

In Reply to: Feeling Alone posted by Lucy on January 26, 2013 at 6:45 pm:

Hi, Lucy. I'm sorry to hear that as you become more passionate about your choices that you're also feeling more isolated and lonely. Your dad's comments aren't unusual. My husband heard the same kinds of comments from his mother even when he was in his forties (and beyond)! That's just how parents are. Let it roll off your back, and one day, probably years from now, he'll realize this isn't simply a phase. :-)

There are no doubt other vegans at your college who are probably feeling as isolated and closeted as you are. Even if there's only one, it's worth trying to find her or him. If you are feeling as passionate as you say, perhaps you could try starting a vegan group or animal rights group and see who turns up for the first meeting. You might be surprised (pleasantly)!

Food and being vegan is only one part of who you are. There are surely other things you have in common with the gals you're friends with, and if you don't have anything in common with them beyond attending the same college or classes, it might be time to seek out some new friends. Sometimes, it's better to be alone for a while than to be with people you don't care for. That said, there are likely some very worthy qualities about these gals, and despite your differences in this one area, it's probably worth it to look for (and focus on) the things you like and admire about them. Just because someone is vegan doesn't mean she's a fabulous person, and just because someone eats meat doesn't mean she's horrible or immoral. I've known some pretty amazing meat eaters who are more sincerely compassionate and giving than some vegans. One aspect of who we are doesn't necessarily dictate who we are in every other way.

Be the best YOU that you can be. Accept others for the best THEM that they can be. They don't have to be just like you to be wonderful just the way they are. And if you're a beautiful and compelling example of veganism--compassionate, loving, generous, forgiving, and accepting--then one day, they might aspire to be more like you. You never know -- and you never know who's watching you and looking up to you as a role model. :-)

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