I’ve been a vegetarian for about ten years now and I will admit that at points I have seriously questioned my commitment to continuing this lifestyle any further. I have battled with my fair share of people who have insulted my rationality, and a few more who have needlessly picked on me for what I have always considered to be a compassionate choice. I will admit, though, that some of the bullying I endured was well deserved (back when I first became vegetarian, I was a highly opinionated and radical animal rights activist* who would shove biased and juvenile ideology down peoples throats)… but for the most part, I took a lot of crap from people for making the decision to eliminate meat from my diet. In fact, a lot of veg*ns** that I have met in my lifetime would probably tell you the same thing. So what’s the dealio, guys? Why is there such a negative perspective on veg*nism in North America? Of course I do not speak for everyone as positive perspectives exist as well; I only speak from my own personal experience.
I guess I would say that the reason why I have continually been deterred from vegetarianism is because of that experience. The impassioned animal rights activist that I used to be has slowly, over the years, become this weak and submissive excuse for an activist that can’t even defend the decision to be vegetarian anymore – and all thanks to the mean guy with the eyebrow piercing in grade 11 that shoved a burger in my face when he learned about my affliction.
Okay, I will admit that not all of it came from people like that… you can’t always blame the bully for making the kid cry, because at some point the kid’s gotta stick up for herself and say “hey, fuck off!” and knee that bully in the teeth! – but they definitely perpetuated it. So here’s where I am now; at a point where I am realizing that it is just as important to me as it was ten years ago, but perhaps for more logically sound reasons than before. Call me weak, shove a burger in my face, and tell me that I am wrong! I dare you! I’m not budging.
I don’t believe that everyone in this world should be veg*n – that’s a silly expectation that could possibly lead to major disaster. I also don’t believe that humans are natural herbivores either… we’re animals. Some animals eat animals. To reject that is to deny our humanity and reject the idea that human beings are animals too (and in that case, as a veg*n, reject the idea that non-human animals are considered equal, which means they are equally as deserving of respect). I just don’t want to contribute to the suffering of any living creature… and maybe cutting meat out of my diet isn’t the best way to deter that suffering, but in my mind it is the best contribution I can make to all of the creatures that exist on this planet right now… so I will continue doing it. Even if now, preventing a few male chick’s from being ground up in an industrial blender means cutting out delicious Egg’s Florentine smothered in Hollandaise sauce from my diet, then I’ll learn to deal (I’ve decided to make the switch to vegan).
It’s a particularly sad thing to understand that suffering will always exist in this world… and with that being said, if there is anything I can do to prevent any miniscule amount of suffering I will do it. That’s just who I am – maybe not you, but definitely me. Think about that next time you try to shove a burger in my face!
*A person who sticks horrifyingly graphic stickers of animals being chopped into bits on their parents fridge to deter them from eating meat. Oh, and on the bathroom stalls at school. Hardcore.
**Veg*n is used to refer to vegetarians and vegans interchangeably.
**UPDATE** Bought Vega’s “Whole Food Health Optimizer” and it’s literally (and figuratively) hard to swallow.