I’ve been vegan for nearly 15 years. It goes without saying that an individual learns a thing or two about a specific lifestyle choice that is relatively central to their being over a time period that long. You learn how your lifestyle choice affects your well-being. You develop a shifting perception regarding its value to your life. You come to see its impact on dominant culture. You learn all these things for sure, but I think more than anything else you learn how your choices affect the bubble of comfort that surrounds other individuals. In short, you learn how your choice becomes a threat to others choices, and with that comes an unwanted backlash.
For my 15 years I have embraced and expressed my veganism in many different ways, some honorable, some, well, quite embarrassing. I went vegan when I was neck deep in a culture that offered positive and constructive alternatives to the dominant culture’s norms, but did so in a way that was fueled by the angst and anger that is central to an 18 year olds existence. Sometimes my veganism wasn’t so much about the importance of it’s relation to the world, but rather my own insecurity in going against the grain. Couple that with the drunken high of self-righteousness of telling others how incredibly evil and wrong they are, and you have a recipe for self-implosion. Fortunately, I moved past that rather quickly. However, during that time, when others questioned my veganism and insulted my choices and mocked my lifestyle….I pretty much deserved it. I was antagonizing and didn’t know any better, so I pretty much got what I gave. Yeah….sorry ’bout that.
Like I said though, I moved past that. I expressed my opinions regarding the domination of animals and the environment where necessary, but did so with a calmer demeanor and in a more appropriate context, when the opportunity arose instead of creating the opportunity. Sure, I still received the necessary backlash that comes with an unpopular lifestyle choice, but I could handle it with much more confidence and less anger than in the past.
Then, after a number of interesting conversions to veganism by good friends of mine, of whom I had never spoke of my ethical choices, I came to realize the power of example, the power not of convincing others of the many rewards encompassed by the choice, but simply living the choice confidently. Not bragging. Not antagonizing. Just being myself. Regardless, if someone else found out I was vegan, the jokes, the attacks and everything that came with their defensiveness would come spilling out, no matter if I said anything or not. By this time though, I was well accustomed to such reactions and could turn away without any retort, leaving them unsatisfied without a verbal joust.
As the years went by, for many, many strategic reasons, I became more and more inward with my veganism. I owned no vegan shirts. I only hinted at it in profile descriptions. I stopped responding to others less than sincere questioning of my diet, and so on. I won’t lie…it was nice. The subject stayed unaddressed and I no longer had to put up with people’s stupid comments. Now, it wasn’t that I had gone apathetic to the issue…not at all. If, from time to time, someone would come to me with very honest, very sincerely inquisitive questions regarding veganism, I would answer them intently and thoroughly. And if they had more questions, I would answer them, and so on. Believe me, when you have been vegan long enough, you know who has honest questions and who is just trying to set you up for their preconceived answers to your lifestyle. Still, after awhile veganism was simply a part of me and I felt no need to respond to others insecurities. When the subject came up and someone would start rambling on about how using some animals is good for our health and how some vegans are just trying to pick up girls and blah blah, I wouldn’t give them the dignity of responding and could simply pretend nothing was ever said. It didn’t necessarily stop others from feeling threatened, but the way I saw it, that was their problem not mine. I didn’t feel like I needed to continue pressing their level of discomfort or make them feel justified in their perceptions by conceeding middle ground to them. I simply didn’t respond and let them deal with their own confusion and contemplation. Again, that still didn’t stop others from offering the usual retorts.
It was quite awhile that I stayed in this relative bubble of vegan security. Then I started this blog.
I don’t regret it, not for a second. But it’s almost nostalgic in the way I’ve been approached by a handful of individuals now, wherein my veganism is not only expressed in a relatively concrete manner on the internet, but it is done so as a central component to my person…and honestly, with a touch of antagonism. That’s ok, I’m certainly no stranger to this.
However, I didn’t think about the reaction I would get for putting my veganism out there again. It hasn’t been terrible or even frustrating really, just mildly annoying. I am again getting the same old recycled comments about veganism that I have gotten for 15 years now. Why don’t you eat honey? Do you eat *whatever*….you know that’s not vegan right? Can you eat peanut butter? Yeah, but you won’t get enough *whatever*, especially as a runner. What about fish, do you eat fish?
I don’t mean to sound so disparaging about it…it’s really nothing…just an interesting throwback to days of yore. On the other hand, it’s kind of fun putting this out there again, this time not so much in an ethically persuasive manner, but in a way that is both applicable and physical. I guess I’ve never really “tried” it this way. I’m not necessarily doing this to “convert” others to veganism. No matter how contextually beneficial I feel the diet is to humans, animals and the earth, I’m not in this to convince you that your choices are wrong and mine are right. However, if others feel persuaded to embrace the diet, or are inspired in anyway to keep keepin on, or take steps they might have been once reserved to do so…then AWESOME. I respect that fully and appreciate my role in doing so, but just know I am not doing this to threaten anyone. I’m not doing this to prove the inferiority of anyone else…I don’t believe in the concept.
Very simply, I am doing this as an expression of myself and to prove the possibility of veganism as an asset to ones active life, instead of the perceived burden. Take that for what you will and run with it…literally.
For the animals yes. For the earth yes. For other human animals yes. But not AGAINST anyone else.
10 miles – 6:00 minute pace…maybe a touch quicker. Very hot, but good daydreams had me going at a decent clip. No tendon problems at all…which is a big relief.
Breakfast – 2 pieces of toast with tofutti cream cheese and jelly, coffee / post run b-fast – Cream of Wheat w/ brown sugar
Lunch – not much lunch, due to late breakfast
Dinner – AMAZING thai food (father’s day present). Some coconut milk stir-fry w/ tofu and pad thai w/ tofu
Snacks – Bumble bar, water, coffee, Primal Strip, Banana, smore sandwiches!