Sunday, 11 December 2011

Take Me As I Am

You know what I think the hardest part of being a vegan is? It's not resisting the occasional cravings for milk or cheese or fish or bacon or whatever. It's not the limited options of edible things in many restaurants and supermarkets. It's not even having to turn down free food just because it happens to have animal products in it. No, the most tiring thing is to always have to be on guard, ready to defend my choice of diet and my whole moral philosophy, and/or suffer the taunting and snide comments from people who apparently cannot stand the thought of someone having spotted a problem and done a modest attempt at making the world a little less of a horrible place while they haven't.

Before you label me a sanctimonious bastard, let me elaborate a bit. Most of the time it's entirely unintentional, I'm sure. "So why are you a vegan?" is a perfectly innocent question, and discussing is a good thing. I always try to give an honest answer if the question is sincere, it's just that sometimes it gets a bit too much, so I blurt out some snappy retort before I can stop myself, and go back to focusing on my food. And there you go; I've given every vegan on the planet a bad name. Imagine yourself, if you're an omnivore, that every time you sit down to enjoy your lunch someone asks you "so why do you eat meat?", and refuses to drop the subject before you have elaborated on your moral beliefs.* You kind of get tired of it after a while, just wanting to eat your bloody (ha ha) food in peace.

What I'm saying is that I don't mind explaining my reasons for being a vegan, just that having to do it constantly can be rather mentally straining. Lots of vegans don't mind this, I'm sure, but although I do my best to keep my spirits up and fight the good fight and all that the fact remains that I'm not a very strong person. And occasionally, after one curious question or a mocking (even in good fun with the friendliests of intents!) becomes one too many, my quasi-brave facade crumbles and I break down and go home with a desire to dig a hole in the ground for myself and not showing my face to the world ever again. Mostly I'm too polite for my own good and just smile and nod whenever some well-meaning idiot tells me I should come to my senses and learn to eat meat again, but it hurts. While I'm not quite as unstable as I was when I was a kid, I still haven't learned to shrug such things off.

Some day I hope I will, but until then I'll just whine a bit about it all here where nobody will read it and naively wish that the world would deign to be a kinder place till I master my insecurities and become as brave and outspoken as I want to be. I know I could have chosen an easier life for myself; for goodness sake, I could just give in and be a normal person without acting on my stupid convictions at all, but I just can't live that way. Our actions and choices define who we are, not our theories and suppressed beliefs. Thoughts is where it all begins, sure, but if they are never put into action in one way or another they will make no difference in the end. You can say that you believe in peace all you want, but if you still go out beating people up every evening the words will have no meaning. I know I've chosen a difficult life for myself, provoking people by just doing things my own way, yet I feel no desire to back down and forget who I am just because of the silly little fact that I'm not strong enough to stand my ground again and again.

Some day I hope I will be. In the meantime I'll keep living this uphill struggle of a life and conquer my courage one scary and painful bit at a time.


To those who understand
I extend my hand
To the doubtful I demand
Take me as I am

*I am aware that some vegetarians use this method of pestering people by guilt-tripping them while eating as a means to convert them into herbivores. I try my best to never do that, because firstly, it's terribly rude and secondly, it doesn't work. I try not to shove my opinions in anyone's face unless they specifically ask for it or initiate a discussion by loudly proclaiming theirs.

5 comments:

  1. Så är världen och dess invånare, hjärtat! Jag tror det är det egna dåliga samvetet många gånger som gör att folk nästan anklagar istället för accepterar. Jag har som du kanske vet upplevt samma saker många gånger när jag blev vegetarian 1977. Då var det bara militanta huliganer och djurrättsaktivister som var vegetarianer, officielt, och folk kunde inte låta mig äta det jag ville. Nu är vegetarisk föda accepterat och lite inne, medan veganmaten säkert känns provocerande för många.
    Skit i dem, det viktigaste är att leva så som man själv mår bra. Lär dig att själv ta kommandot över när du vill diskutera detta. Själv bestämde jag mig för att aldrig diskutera dessa frågor under en måltid, det känns provocerande. Faktum är att ALLA har accepterat denna önskan, några har tagit upp frågan senare, och då har det varit en schysst diskussion.
    Kom ihåg att alla har ett liv, och självbestämmande över enbart sig själv.
    Tänk på det om det blir problem igen.
    Kram hjärtat!!!

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  2. "Själv bestämde jag mig för att aldrig diskutera dessa frågor under en måltid, det känns provocerande."

    Det låter väldigt vettigt, för alla parter. Det är på samma vis som det är olämpligt att diskutera sex i sängen, men på samma sätt är det framförallt då man kommer att tänka på det. Jag skall definitivt anstränga mig för att ha det i åtanke vid nästa måltid.

    Jag kom att tänka på en oartighet som jag stört mig på. När jag lagar mat till vissa vänner, får jag nästan alltid kommentaren: "Gott, för att vara vegetariskt." Jag skulle aldrig få för mig att säga "Gott, för att vara kyckling. Korv är ju egentligen godare och mest av allt gillar jag rotsakspytt, men men..."

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  3. I'm proud of you! Just really felt like saying that after reading this. ^^

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  4. Av en slump länkades detta från Dresden Codak idag: http://vegansaurus.com/post/254784826/defensive-omnivore-bingo

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  5. I second this. This gave me feelings and an urge to think *logs in on my own blog*.

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