This is what it’s like to be a vegan in a non-vegan world.
But don’t misunderstand me. I would not trade what I know now for anything. I am grateful for the half decade of veganism I have under my belt. This rundown of being run down is not intended to dissuade anyone from starting or continuing their own journey. Nor should it be taken as an absolute. Being vegan is not all frustration and loneliness, exhaustion and sadness. No, of course not. It’s much more than that. It’s the “more” that makes it worth it. It’s the knowledge that animals are here with us, not for us, that makes it worth it. And, if we are going to add to our growing community, it’s important that we discuss the bad with the good, the every day minutia with the once in a lifetime moments, and the petty with the important. It’s crucial that we don’t forget our humanity and all that it entails, because our humanity has gotten us into this predicament in the first place.
In order for us to advocate for non-human animals, we need to be honest about what it is we experience. We need to take a “warts and all” approach. Let’s not pretend that it’s all sunshine and rainbows, because in case you’ve forgotten, the omnivorous, non-vegan world is certainly filled with its clouds and rain, too.
Don’t let our best selves be the enemy of the truth. Let’s be honest. Let’s talk about what really matters. Let’s share and let’s solve. It isn’t fair to expect us to sweep the troubles and quandaries and ill-will under the rug – not to us and not to those we advocate for. Critical thinking about the ins and outs of veganism is something we should all be considering, and I find it insulting that the mainstream and some in our very own movement would argue otherwise. How is “stop being the vegan police” any different than “shut up and eat a salad” – be honest. Both statements suggest we tow the line. As a small percentage of the population, we’ve already stopped towing the line!
So, then, let’s drag that line over here, where it’s sometimes messy and hard and sad. And let’s talk through those experiences.