Finding a community and balance

This is a personal post about my perspective. I’ll be back to my normally-scheduled news, recipes and illustrations shortly…

The more I have been involved in vegan advocacy and activism, the less connected I have felt with my “community” of friends. It could be several things… I tend to be introverted so I really need to make more of an effort just to invite people over. I am sometimes concerned that I am putting myself in a place where friends or family might feel my veganism is an issue. I really worry about making things difficult in social situations by asking for food without animal products, while at the same time realizing that making a big social change is pretty much impossible to do easily.

Recently there was a situation where a very nice invitation came into my inbox about a special dinner for my son’s school extended beyond an initial paid group to include auction volunteers and sponsors. I played a very small role in even my volunteer efforts, just helping for one day. It was not a dinner that I would have signed up for as I knew it would probably not be vegetarian, definitely not vegan. There were at least a couple of options- don’t say anything and don’t go, or ask if there will be a vegan option available and go. Since I knew that there was at least one other vegan volunteer, I thought I would just ask. Just not showing up to things does not help make veganism more mainstream.

The person in charge of food kindly offered to look into it, but since egg is a major ingredient, wasn’t sure what to do. Being a pain in the ass is just not something I enjoy. I used to be the person that when asked by hosts if there were any food requirements, would say, “I eat anything” and felt good about being so easy.

There is a line between concern for others’ comfort, or the greater concern of the planet, the animals, and the future population. I can’t/won’t apologize for wanting a more peaceful, compassionate and healthy world especially as the stakes are raised. I think most people would want that, it is just hidden from easy view behind those who profit, traditions, habits and status quo.

I have tended to stay involved but on the outskirts of our wonderful vegan community in town,  just because I felt that it was more important for me to socialize and be part of my non-vegan circle. While it is comforting to go to parties and groups where the food is all vegan and everyone is more or less on the same page about the same animal issues, I don’t need to preach to the choir. I’m also a little concerned about being even more immersed in vegan culture than I already am. I am at a point, 4 years into this journey, that I remember clearly what it was like not to notice or care about the things I am aware and care about now. I understand and have compassion about how it is not an easy transition to make. I don’t want to forget these things by surrounding myself only with like-minded people. I honestly want to have open conversations with people, meet where we can, not to make judgments.

Lately, I have felt like I really need the Vegan communities support. That I don’t want to feel alone all the time. I’ll make an effort to balance the two groups moving forward. And also, to try to not be overly sensitive (something which I have struggled with all my life). I want to have deep friendships with a variety of people, but I can’t ignore what has been uncovered, which is at the core of my being.

I’m excited to seeing changes happening in the world which will draw everyone closer together. Research and studies proving that eating less meat is beneficial for everyone. In the next 5-10 years I hope that having a vegan option for the many people who would pick that, will be something that is just accepted and part of life. It will no longer be the difficult guest situation, or even radical. Our future is moving towards that in any case. You know we’re mainstream when even Fox news is saying it!