Because I know you guys care!!!
OK, First and Foremost I just wanted to say tomorrow is my birthday. I am officially feeling old, and for some reason feel the need to announce that as I have a perverse need to feel my youth slip away…..BUT the reason I am writing this thread is because since becoming a Vegan what started out as a split second decision has sort of become an obsession. I have ALWAYS been an animal lover, even as an ignorant of the cruelty omni. Once I made this choice overnight, to which I have NO regrets, I have become even more strict on myself as far as food consumption. When I first started I operated on the “ ignorance is bliss” frame of mind. Meaning I did not and would not openly or knowingly purchase or consume any product that embarked in cruelty. But if after the fact I found out animal products, byproducts had been use I did not freak out. Lately I have become increasingly anal about this. I read and re-read labels in the store, I have begun to research any and every word that I don’t recognize, which results in a lot of not buying food until I know for sure ( I am still new at being a Vegan). I know that we have to pick and choose our battles, but as days go by I feel guilty even buying organic veggies. Just because I know some use blood meal in the growing process, I have a limited choice as far as organics go so I’m kinda stuck with what I have. What scares me is the fact that I would rather not eat at all than know I contributed to any form of cruelty. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!?! I never press my views or beliefs on anyone, but at my job what is so sad is that I am treated like a celebrity, or cult member haha depending on your view. I actually get the OMG it’s a Vegan look. But I will say that my coworkers are awesome, support it, and congratulate me on my strength. To which they claim, ”you are a stronger person than I to make a choice and stand by it. I could never do what you do.” But I am compelled ( here lies the obsession part) because I am questioned daily about Veganism, I don’t mind the questions I feel it is an opportunity to educate, but I am confused on how to do so. I want to do it the smart way, no pressure, just facts. But I find as I talk about it, I can tell my facial expressions change as do my body language, I am actually repulsed and disgusted talking about meat/dairy consumption. I don’t want to portray that to other people because I don’t want to make them feel as though what they do is wrong. Being vegan is MY PERSONAL CHOICE, I do believe for me it is the right choice, and that if everyone went vegan it would be the greatest thing ever. I guess I have sort of rambled here, it’s only Thursday and I have put in around 70 hours this week I am a little tired. To wrap this up the bottom line is how do YOU face yourself in the mirror each day knowing something u may have consumed contained an animal product without feeling like a failure? Am I normal for being so anal about my food intake? AND how can I be a positive influence, and educate someone who really wants to know about Veganism without coming off as propaganda?
Thanks so much in advance, you guys have been such an inspiration, and positive influence on me during this transition. You are what have kept me on track and strong, when I wanted to be weak and cave.
I'm getting there too, being repulsed by it all. I was walking through the grocery last week and I think my face must have turned green as we walked past the meat. . my daughter started patting me and saying "it's okay, it's okay, we're almost at the produce, it's just around the corner".
But, as for your question, if I ever find after the fact, that I have eaten something containing animal products, I get kinda queasy-don't know why. I think maybe, my body is adjusting to help me along with the changes--like, it's easier to not want something if it grosses you out, so my body is helping me out. While ignorance isn't really bliss, it is forgivable. Especially if you are putting forth the effort and trying, and know that it was a genuine mistake.
I have some friends who just kinda go "huh?" whenever they see me, then I have some friends (omni to the core) that are actually trying to help me learn more, who research everything they eat so they will know if it's acceptable for me. :) My explanations go pretty much to the point, always including "since I've learned more and more about this, I just can't. . ." so they don't feel alienated. Some people respond with--"really? I didn't realize" and some sorta feel that I have a weakness in not being able to handle the info, but, either way, we can move on to another subject fairly easily and I know they respect me for who I am, and that veganism, though a strong part of who I am, is only a part.
Anyhow, it's late, I'm tired, my grammar and punctuation have gone goofy on me tonight, so please forgive.
My best friend recently said to me..."Dave, you really must have incredible will power to never divert and indulge in a burger, or turkey sandwich". I told him that it would actually be more appealing to take a bite out of his arm...raw....then to eat meat. That there is absolutely no will power involved in my staying away from meat, the very thought of dead rotting flesh (which is what it is) is so disgusting, that it's actually quite easy for me to be vegan. There is no challenge in the least.
AS far as being a positive influence and educating others, I think personal experience is key. Talk to people from your heart and don't just give them facts and data. Tell them why it is so important to you. If you tell them from your heart, it makes the reasons why you do what you do that much more personal.
Happy birthday and enjoy your day! :)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY! :D
I think your 'analness' is just a sign of your devotion--however I would hope you don't get so carried away that you become Jainist (Jainism: a nontheistic religion founded in India in the 6th century bc by the Jina Vardhamana Mahavira as a reaction against the teachings of orthodox Brahmanism, and still practiced there. The Jain religion teaches salvation by perfection through successive lives, and noninjury to living creatures, and is noted for its ascetics. <--Text book definition. Basically, Jainists don't eat anything, because everything to be eaten is alive--is life. Instead of not eating at all, they just fast a lot to repent for their sins ). I'm not anti-Jainist or anything (trying to save my but here), I would just worry about you if you went that route--because it's not necessary. Again, my opinion.
I tirelessly oppose the "all or nothing" attitude/idea. I never feel guilty for accidentally eating an animal ingredient because I am always doing the best I can--which is far better than not doing anything at all. To quote from my profile: "Of course it is difficult to remove all of the above negative things from my life entirely, and I do not consider drawing outside these lines a termination of what I stand for. You cannot expect to save the world or yourself in one day, but you can help and contribute and be the change you want to see by doing as much as you can, when you can. There is no all or nothing. If you chose to bike to work today, or to eat tofu instead of chicken--you are making a difference. People need encouragement not restrictions. I praise even the thoughts of these things. We all start somewhere." So basically, you are making a tremendous difference, even if you eat a few non-vegan things from time to time. And this, by no means, terminates your 'veganism'--I can tell you have fervent beliefs and rooted convictions, and though eating something non-vegan may make you feel guilty, it would NEVER change how you feel about veganism and all that it encompasses (sorry if I am putting words in your mouth). Hopefully it will only make you stronger and futher dedicated to removing all animal products from your life entirely (which I don't believe you could ever do, unless you lived on virgin soils and grew all your own produce with virgin seeds and without the use of any equipment ). The best we can all do IS our best... and that is as close to animal-product free as we can get--the degree of 'closeness' being different for every person.
Now, about educating other people. Davedrum offered some top-notch advice--speaking from the heart, from personal experience, and not cold hard facts. The facts will have to come up at some point, but automatically citing the worst cases of animal cruelty just alienates the listener... often they will challenge your sources or even outright not believe you. When you speak of what it is to you, that's something they cannot contest. It is how you feel and quite obviously you know your own feelings best. If someone argues against your feelings, veganism is not their problem, trust, security and humanity are. Never take an attack personally, people often don't even know what they're lashing out at--it's usually something very personal for them.
Anyway.. I've already written another chapter in my 'virtual' novel, that's enough for today. (: Hope you had a fantastic birthday!! Take care, dear. Om Shantih.
Care to divulge your age? ;)
Here's the thing. Animal cruelty & exploitation is so pervasive you are not going to avoid it completely. Even after years of being veg/vegan I will occasionally forget to read a label & find it has non-vegan ingredients in it. Or a product that has been vegan suddenly adds something non-vegan & you wonder how long that has been. ::) And that doesn't even take into account things you have no control over -- like are there non-vegan items in things like tires. What are you going to do if there are? Stop driving? Stop taking the bus? Stop riding your bike? (BTW, I don't know if tires are non-vegan -- just using it as an example.)
Veganism is a journey, not a destination. You do the best you can each day & if you mess up, learn from it, don't kick yourself in the butt.
As for educating others, I've found most people who engage me in debate, don't really want to debate but want to shoot down any facts I present. Whereas that's not always the case, I've found it to be so most of the time. I don't have the time or inclination to get in fact wars with these people, so I simply say, "I feel it's healthier, spiritually, physically, & ecologically to eat as low on the food chain as possible." I have never had anyone argue with that.
I don't know which one you are in your photo, but you are both lovely!!
Ahhhhhhhhh, to be 27 again. Then again . . . maybe not. ;) Honestly, I have enjoyed every age. I have not had a birthday that I was depressed about. In fact, each new decade I look forward to.
Aging is not a curse, it's a privilege.
My husband & I connected on my 29th birthday & were married six months later! My mother says, "I've never beleived in soul mates until I saw you two." :)
It's worth waiting for the right person. My cousin, who once told me she is a goddess to men, cannot stand to be without a man. As soon as she breaks with one, she has another one. At the time I got married, she had just divorced husband #4 & was engaged again. Husband #1 & #3 were the same man. ::)
I have not kept in touch with her, so I have no idea what number husband she is on now. I only hope she discovered herself & maybe has a chance at finding someone she can be happy with.