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From: katie (cpe00121744f778-cm0012c99f1ad6.cpe.net.cable.rogers.com -70.26.148.238)
Subject: hating the label, need to vent
Date: January 30, 2006 at 7:26 pm PST

i think i've been thinking about this label stuff more than usual
lately because my ex (we transitioned from lacto-ovo to vegan
together) told me he went 'freegan' lately, and decided to 'free
himself' of the vegan label by going out and ordering fish and eggs
and stuff at a restaurant...which pissed me off, since the whole idea
of freeganism is to eat vegan when you can but to eat whatever if it's
a free meal, so ordering fish at a restaurant and paying for it is
kinda missing the point and seems like a bunch of bullsh!t...but i
digress.

i have been vegan for more than 2.5 years. i find myself hating
the 'vegan' label more and more these days. personally, i don't
identify myself to others as vegan anymore (although i still eat and
live as a vegan), people tend to guess it when they see how i eat, or
when i say that i don't eat dairy or whatever, and go 'what, are you
vegan or something?' and i say 'yeah.' i just hate this 'vegan'
label, and when i read all this lacto-ovo-pesco-pollo-, beegan,
vegitan, flexitarian, freegan etc. etc. bullsh!t, it just makes me
hate all these labels even more. it drives me totally nuts. the
vegan label can be a convenient way to identify how i eat and live,
but half the time people don't know what it means anyway, or they
think it means something else, or they think it gives them a license
to dissect my lifestyle.

mostly i hate how the label draws these black & white distinctions,
when my gut tells me that things are never so simple. and i hate
being inflexible when i'm travelling with other people, or when i'm at
someone's house. i feel like i do more damage by being a pain in the
butt than i would eating something slightly non-vegan for a meal, when
half the stuff that i eat kills the earth anyway from being mono-
culture produced in some faraway land, shipped, processed, packaged,
and then shipped again. oh, sorry, i can't eat this thing that has a
speck of dairy in it, i'm vegan, i'll eat this earth-killing thing
instead that probably kills just as much stuff. i know that once i'm
in a position to control more of where my food comes from i probably
won't be so angsty about this. but for now, i feel frustrated. will
enjoying someone's birthday cake really do more damage than the damage
done socially by not taking part in these rituals?

and when i travel, i feel conflicted about cultural food. i don't
want to have to worry about food when i'm in another country. i don't
want it to be an issue. and sometimes, i want to be able to try a
food that a country is famous for, something that's part of their
culture. i don't think i could bring myself to eat meat ever, and
maybe not even overt eggs/dairy, especially since all this stuff
grosses me out now...but when it comes to prepared foods, esp. baked
goods, maybe i don't care, maybe while i'm in this other country,
immersed in their culture, maybe i will just freakin' relax. food
shouldn't be so damned complicated. i hate asking what's in
everything at people's houses, and at restaurants. i hate feeling
like a burden, like a whiny, picky pain in the butt. how much damage
does it really do if i don't quiz the waiter about what's in the local
beer? maybe i don't care about bits and pieces anymore.

but then i worry about the slippery slope, and about people trying to
feed me big gobs of animal whatevers just because i don't have the
label to wear as a pork-chop shield. that's what drives me nuts, is
how this has to be all or nothing, you either wrap yourself in the
vegan flag or you don't, you can't just eat how you want to eat. you
can't just be an 'i eat whole foods strict vegetarian when i'm by
myself and close as possible without stopping traffic when i'm
traveling or out' because it's too confusing for people, because
everyone wants to stick you in a freaking box and slap a label on
you.
okay so now i'm a ranting runaway train here, but i just needed to
rant somewhere, and what better place than vegan issues!!(i appreciate
it!) i haven't fallen off the wagon or anything, and usually i just
eat what i eat and it isn't a problem, but when i start thinking about
it (and future travel plans, and every time there's a family or work
event involving food) i just start getting really frustrated. if
anyone has actually read this thing and made it all the way to the end
(wow) please feel free to share your thoughts. do you encounter these
feelings? what's your take on this stuff?



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