(** Disclaimer: This is meant to be an empowering and encouraging post. I want people to know they aren’t alone. I am not putting any negative vibes on this page)
Today, I want to discuss something a little more personal than my last few posts. Since going vegan, I have met a lot of people who don’t agree with this lifestyle. I expected that, of course, and I am no one to preach to someone who doesn’t show interest. If asked, I will tell my opinions or speak to what works for me. But I’m not going to shun you from my life if you are a meat eater or anything like that.
What I have found interesting is just how upset and angry people get about me being vegan. I have had a few people make jokes or insert themselves into conversations that they weren’t engaged in, only to insist that people NEED animal protein, not wanting to hear what I had to say about the matter. It is as if my choices are affecting them personally.
Because of this, I have been feeling a bit like an outcast lately. My health conscience ways have actually deterred people from getting too know me better. I find this all very interesting. It’s as though people have such a strong connection to their food and, therefore, form their identity around it. They can’t grasp a world where meat is not the staple of every meal. That I am doing something bad by not including it in your diet. That people feel they have the right to tell me how I should be eating.
I get it, though.
I have had to drastically change my perspective on how I eat. Between portions, the amount of fruit on my plate, avoiding soy when possible, thinking outside the box for recipe ideas…the list goes on. I’m finding that some people I have encountered, don’t even want to envision, or even HEAR about a way of life without the foods they love. Even if that food is hurting them.
I want everyone to be healthy. I want this cycle of disease and medication to stop and the health and well-being of our world to get better. Once I learned of factory farms, and the hormones and the treatment of animals and cancer causing chemicals the population ingests on a daily basis, I can’t help but want to shout my finding from the mountain tops! I want to tell everyone. (Hence starting this blog).
I am not a stranger to being an outcast.
I was homeschooled on and off throughout grade school and high school. People my age thought I was incapable of having friends or that I was a naive, inexperienced, socially stunted girl. People older than me looked at my mother with judgment and questioned how her children were ever going to get a proper education.
In reality, I had a lovely group of friends, a job, a car and plenty of worldly experience that I was actually getting in the real world and not a concrete building I was forced to go to every day. I graduated college with honors and have since moved across the country in pursuit of a healthy life. So everyone who questioned my mother should probably be taking some notes 🙂
I have had my beliefs questioned, my motives analyzed and my ideas criticized. But I’m here to tell you that this shouldn’t stop you!
Now that I think about it, I’m glad I don’t fit in. I don’t want to anymore. I’m happy my mom encouraged me to take control of my education. It made me an organized, well read, independent woman with a love for learning. I’m happy I lived a life differently than most as a young girl, that I played in the woods with my sister until I was well into my teens and that I didn’t party until I was in my 20s.I learned how to explore, be in nature and think for myself.
I’m grateful I have found veganism! That I’m filling my body with wholesome, live food and that my skin has healed. I’m grateful this lifestyle has opened my mind to the world around me, to nature, to the earth, to animals, to the benefits and pleasures of fruit and vegetables and plant-based foods. I’m happy I don’t feel sick or lethargic after my meals. That I don’t worry about gaining weight, that I won’t have enough energy for the day. This lifestyle has worked for ME. That is the only person I can speak to. As much as I want to get along with everyone and be liked and understood, I’m not going to be able to please everyone. I need to be my own person, even if the risk is being a little bit lonely at times.
While thinking about this post, I compiled a list that has helped me when I start to feel like the odd girl out.
1. Love Yourself
You are worth thinking for yourself. You are worthy of a life that best suits YOU. You are unique. You are amazing 🙂
2. Learn to Love Your Own Company
Once you get to be best friends with you, and truly enjoy spending time alone, it’s as if others opinions roll off your shoulders a little faster. Hey, you love yourself, you love being you, what does anyone else know about that?
3. Have Conviction in Your Beliefs
I truly believe in the power and health of veganism. I will gladly share my knowledge with you, but nothing anyone says, does or implies is going to change my opinions. I’m convinced. I’m proud of my beliefs! I live humbly, but I know who I am and what I stand for.
4. Find Happiness in “Going Against the System”
Let’s face it. Our society is one big set of rules. You need to do this to be happy, this to be pretty, this to get into a good school, that to get a good job, this to make money. There are certain ages all these things are to be achieved by and if you don’t meet the mark, well then you are just fucking up. I say, all this is a joke. I’m not doing anything the “right way” now and I’m the happiest I’ve even been. Be your own person. You are a good place to be.
5. Love Others
I am not advocating that you are better than anyone else because of the opinions you hold. I try my hardest not to look down or judge the people that criticize me. If the goal is to live in a peaceful society than I can’t afford to bring any more negativity towards another person in this world. Love is, and always will be, the answer. Don’t shy away from expressing yourself, but always do it with love 🙂
Thank you so much for reading! If you like this post and want to hear more personal stories, please comment below!