My vegan life. Right off the bat I can tell you that this post probably won’t be an easy one for me to write. In fact, I’ve already written (and rewritten) these first four sentences several times, and I’m still not sure what direction this is going to take. See, I’ve been here before, in discussions about veganism, and it usually doesn’t end pretty. Honestly, until very recently it almost never ends on a pretty note. There’s a scene in my book, a confrontation between a vegan and a non-vegan, that many readers will probably think I dumbed down to shed the omnivores among us in a very unflattering light. I know it all seems a little bit too stupid to actually be real, but I can assure you, it was uncomfortably (and shockingly) real.
So I think that when it comes to these types of conversations, there’s trepidation on both sides, and usually rightfully so. Which means that I’m over here just trying to find the most neutral words, to answer the most (un)common questions, in the most honest way. All the while sending up a silent prayer that God can somehow guide my words and allow me to spread understanding on a very sensitive subject. Let’s see how I do…
But before you run away screaming, I’m not here to convert anyone today. I won’t lie: If I could make three changes to the way that we currently live and survive here on Earth, mandatory veganism would be one of them. I wouldn’t even give another option, so strongly do I believe in the sanctity and value of all life, including that of our planet. But becoming a vegan is a very personal decision; a place that you either reach, or that you don’t reach. Often it plays out that one day your heart just says enough and the change happens, however insurmountable the obstacles may seem. I’m not even going to pretend that I think I’m persuasive enough to be that catalyst.
Why Now? Why Here?
So then, why now? Why here? Especially because when the girls and I started this blog we decided to leave veganism out of it, at least in terms of these discussions. They just get too ugly too fast, and we collectively decided this was going to be a bright and positive space. But we should have known better; veganism is a fundamental part of who we are and how we live on a day-to-day basis. It shapes virtually all of our decisions, from what we eat to what we buy and what we use. I realize now that this series of posts was probably inevitable, right from the start, as much as I wanted to pretend that it would never have to happen.
Be The Change
The girls and I make no secret of our vegan lifestyle on Instagram, but at the same time, we don’t make an effort to force it down your throat. We fully embrace the “be the change you wish to see in the world” stance and hope that should anyone have questions, we’ve made ourselves approachable. Instead of leaping in and trying to convert the world (which admittedly, some people do with great success), all we try to do is be the living example of a vegan life. And in the end, the vibrations we give out will attract those heading in the same direction, and we’ll be waiting. Always ready (and eager) to lend a helping hand.
And recently it happened in much this way. A friend of mine sent me a message laced with some…hesitation. Because let’s face it, stupid and angry arguments can come from both sides. I’ve been burned, she’d been burned, and it can make a person hesitant to reach out again. Once bitten, twice shy, as she so succinctly pointed out. But when she asked if I could keep my heart open enough to talk with her about the questions and barriers she faced, my immediate response was a yes. Of course I could do that.
Open Mind, Open Heart
But could I? Would I be able to keep a truly open mind and a truly open heart as she questioned something that shapes my entire life? There’s an almost immediate reaction that comes into play when I wonder if I’m about to come under attack, again. A subconscious tensing. And I’ll admit, there’s a resignation, too, as I prepare for the typical arguments for why not. But this situation was somewhat different because I already love this beautiful human and I knew her questions weren’t coming from a place of anger or defensiveness. She genuinely wanted to talk this out and I was interested to see how I reacted. If God was going to give me a test-run, it couldn’t have been with a better person.
I should have known that her questions would in no way be the traditional ones. She didn’t touch on taste, or protein, or nutrition. In fact, her concerns were thought-provoking enough to inspire a deep, long, after-dinner discussion while my family and I talked through some of her really probing thoughts. Sleep was slow to come that night. My overstimulated brain just kept working to organize all of these beliefs I’ve held for so many years but was never asked to present in such a clear and understandable way.
The whole episode ended up being such an unexpected blessing for me. It allowed me to more fully understand myself and my reasons why. Funny how that happens, right? How a talk meant to be for her ended up being a talk meant for me. And in the meditation following these conversations, the idea bubbled up that it was time to do this again. But differently, somehow, and better.
So, here’s what I decided to do: make a space here where you can ask my anything, big or small, in regards to veganism. But if no one really wants to jump in the ring with me, that’s perfectly fine. I have absolutely no problem with you reading silently and anonymously along. I’ll just tackle the questions and concerns that I’ve been hearing for the last decade, even the ones that I so often see dismissed by other vegans. If you ask, I will answer. And I’m just hoping that this time, if I can do this right, the outcome will be more positive.
Have a bright and beautiful Sunday, my friends.