veganism by proxy and dangers of assumption
this is unrelated to anything else on my blog and mostly likely no one will ever read it and that’s okay I think I just need to get it out of my head and into the living world
Three of my best friends, two of whom I live with, are vegan. Their friends are vegan and their friend’s friends are vegan, and they work at vegan restaurants and we cook vegan, I bake them vegan treats and we generally have a fantastic time. I’m not vegan, but I’ve always eaten vegan food and tried out alternatives whenever I can. I’ve never been the type to make fun of vegan stereotypes, because I think it requires a lot of dedication, passion, and effort to be vegan. I’m not a huge meat eater and I try to be aware of what I’m eating and where it came from and the process it took to get to my mouth, while still indulging in the foods I love and the tastes that make live worth living. dramatic? absolutely but I really fucking love food y'all
None of my friends have ever tried to convert me or (that I know of) judge me or my eating habits, but every so often I meat someone (heh) who isn’t satisfied with my usual answer of “I’m not vegan, but I cook and eat vegan often” and feel the need to go “well why don’t you just go vegan then?”
Does asking someone about their personal choices becomes less personal when it’s something you care a lot about? I don’t think so, but that might not be a shared opinion.
The girl who asked this (this time, because there’s definitely been others) didn’t just drop it once I said “Ah, just personal reasons. I think it’s an incredible movement though and I’m glad it’s gaining popularity.” because that would’ve been too polite. She pressed on.
“But if you think it’s so incredible why wouldn’t you just do it? You say you love animals, but you’re contributing to their murder. You’re just a hypocrite.”
So I said what I initially didn’t want to, because I knew it would just make a semi-pleasant conversation into an awkward silence all because this girl doesn’t know how to respect other people’s choices without disparaging them.
“Well I had a severe eating disorder for seven years, so I stay away from restricting or cutting foods out of my diet. It puts me into a dangerous mindset, so I try to be conscious of that and take care of myself before anything.”
Even after saying this I felt I was still being judged. She had the decency to look a little embarrassed for prying, but I don’t necessarily believe she left thinking “maybe I should stop assuming I know the intricacies of strangers’ lives”. Which is what it all comes down to. Assumptions.
I love animals. Animals have been what showed me true love, what taught me understanding and helped me find happiness and purpose ever since I was young. My cat died years ago and I still break out in tears (regularly). What’s more is I have been vegan, and every time I do it I think I’ll be able to handle it, and every time I’ve ended up underweight, restricting, anemic, in the hospital, or with a severely disordered way of thinking. It happens eventually with any change in diet I try. I don’t like having to explain to someone why I think it’s important to put myself, my mental health, and my physical wellbeing first. We all have deeply personal decisions about our lives that we have to make. It’s up to us as individuals to decide how our (very short) experience on this world will be.
I try not to share my stances and opinions on tumblr and just stay for the fun things I love like anime, humor, video games, art. I feel as if I have a lot of grey area stances that aren’t emotion driven (and therefore come off as cold or unfeeling) and people online generally don’t like hearing morally ambiguous viewpoints, because there’s always going to be someone who disagrees, right? I hope this isn’t taken as an anti-vegan post, because it isn’t. Veganism is an amazing movement and lifestyle that’s saving lives, water, resources and more. This is an anti-judgement post, though. It’s anti-assumption. Assumption is a toxic part of our culture. It’s assuming you know how someone else thinks. It’s assuming you understand what they’ve been through to bring themselves to a certain stance or choice or belief.
If even one person read this, thanks man. If even one person remembers this and thinks of it while practicing patience with an opposing viewpoint (no matter how passionate you are on the subject) I’ll be stupid happy.