I wish there were more of us. When I became a vegan at 19, my meat-eating parents worried my already fraught relationship with food was deteriorating. Family meals became stressful, eating out was a problem; I felt like a burden. But the more articles I read, and the more recipes I tried, the more my relationship with food began to heal.
In recent years, I’ve found being vegan makes romantic relationships difficult. Sitting across from a partner while he chowed down on an animal carcass didn’t get me going. Eating meat is not a deal-breaker for me – considering I know only one vegan man (a former teacher), this would be ridiculous – but in past relationships it has gnawed at me. It’s a constant reminder that we see the world in different ways.
There’s a loneliness to being vegan, to facing the fact that most people do not share your perspective, and will probably feel affronted if a discussion arises. Do you think I’m self-righteous? Preachy? Oversensitive? Overprivileged? The common stereotype is that everyone knows if you’re a vegan because you don’t shut up about it, and this still makes me anxious. Am I talking about it too much? Am I that girl? I’m not silently judging you for the choices you make, so please don’t do the same about me. I’m always happy to discuss the topic, and hope to encourage some change or understanding.
Ultimately, veganism is a philosophy that permeates every strand of my being. It is a part of my identity, so yes, it probably will come up in conversation. Just don’t ask me where I get my protein.