When my husband and I first went vegan, support was scarce, and for some reason people felt the need to make fun of us and say "but bacon?" We were all of a sudden going against the grain, against societal norms and society was letting us know!
I remember being on an elevator with the book "Eating Animals" in my hand, the one other person in the elevator who I did not know spoke up to say how I would never catch him reading that book, we are at the top of the food chain, we are meant to eat other animals. Well guess what? I didn't ask you! This was the norm, it still is. Reacting to those situations are tough, most of the time I would politely smile while rage was consuming me on the inside.
Then there comes hanging out with friends and family who eat meat and support animal exploitation. How were we suppose to feel about this? Are we supposed to speak up? Stay quiet? Keep the Peace? Do we maintain these relationships with people who have such differing ethics and morals from our own? How do other vegans feel about this? Did this bother Van as much as it did me?
How about the people who ask us about it, then it turns into a debate and then sheer awkwardness cause I lost my composure. Going against the grain is not easy; I have cried at all of the "harmless" jokes, after dinners with people that are eating the flesh of animals. My heart breaks when I am with someone eating animals. I try my best to ignore it, to pretend it isn't so. But the truth is, it hurts.
I cannot stress enough how isolated we felt. We longed for friends with the same morals and values, as we really needed support to know if other vegans felt the same way. It took a couple of years but we have finally started to develop friendships with other vegans to unload some of the frustrations and feelings that we have held onto for so long, and we discovered they feel the same way.
Having these people in our lives to be our soundboard, let us vent, and vice versa has been better than I could have imagined. I feel like I can 100% be me, I don't know if that makes sense, but I don't know how to say it any other way. I could not be more grateful for these relationships we have established. I know Van feels the same way.
All of our friendships and relationships are important to us, and thank you to our friends who support us, we need you in our lives. We understand not everyone has made the connection yet, but we hope that one day soon that day will come.
Thanks for reading, I know it was long and hopefully you stuck with me.