Wednesday, 27 June 2012

My feet need some loving. 
They are rather sore.
Today I walked a good 7 miles - partly up a hill! - in preparation for a sponsored walk I am to do in just over a week now.  It is for one of my favourite animal rights organisations - Animal Aid.  I really adore this group and everything they stand for.  They peacefully campaign and put pressure on horrible groups and promote veganism and even have an ethical shop full of vegan chocolatey treats and cosmetics!  Ahhhh *swoon*.

I have been trying to get myself out there with volunteering and stumbled across the opportunity to do this and thought, why the hell not?  I am really looking forward to it.  Should fill my inner peace tank up a fair bit!  Just got to find some sponsors now!

It sadly falls on a day where there is a trip to one of my favourite places - F.R.I.E.N.D Sanctuary - a vegan run home for lots of rescued animals; piggies, cowsies, turkey, chickens, doggies, kitties and a deer to name but a few!  But I am committed to my walk now and either way, that day is a day for me to help the voiceless.  And that is all that matters.  When I went there last time, I went with my lovely vegan friend, and just had the best time.  It made my heart soar so high to see the animals free to roam around and interact with each other and see the different interspecies friendships that had developed.  The beauty in a pig's eyes is something that I have taken from that day.  You don't quite realise just how big they are!  But there is something about being around them. 

I really wish all society viewed animals not only as equals and gave them the respect they deserve, but also all species on the same level.  I hate the prejudice bestowed onto pigs because they aren't widely considered 'cute' or 'fluffy', and therefore are subject to a life as commodity and one whose death sentence has already been decided once born.  And not just pigs, all animals who are farmed for the use of humans.  What makes them different from the animals we call pets?  Nothing.  At.  All.  They are the same.  A pig is a dog is a boy.  I found this the other day, and I really really stand by it.

People need to realise what they are doing.  And make the change.  Make the connection.  All animals deserve the right to live their lives.  Not to be greeted by slaughter when a human sees fit.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Lonely vegan

I type this with difficulty as I have my little Rosie constantly headbutting my hand whilst overseeing what I am typing.  It is times like this I appreciate her company more than ever, because quite frankly, I feel so lonely.
I don't think I was prepared for the social aspects of becoming vegan.  Not only inflicted on me by society but the inner turmoil I would have to contend with in regards to those in my life.

Whilst I would never ever go back to a non-vegan life as the benefits to the world and to myself of becoming vegan outweigh any negative issues I might experience, it still does get to me every now and again.  I imagine it will be something I contend with quite regularly.

In my previous post I talked of the conflict that can arise in an omni-vegan relationship - a partnership where the two people share completely different ethics.  These problems can spill over into friendships, and whilst not as intense, for me I have found I do have to wrestle with how to conduct myself as a vegan around those whose ideals differ from mine.  I feel like I am living the truth and the rest of the meat eating world partake in a cruel, sinister, unnecessary animal holocaust that should not exist.  Anybody who buys into this world are as guilty as those with the blood on their hands.  I do not find any justification in it at all, and it is difficult to then not project these views onto those around you, your friends.  These are people who obviously have redeeming qualities to have become a friend in the first place, but it can sometimes be an elephant in the room when around them.  But I do not want to be a preachy vegan.  If it's a view on something like not liking garlic for example, someone would be able to express themselves quite freely.  But if a vegan does the same it's preaching and imposing.  And society views vegans as a group to be quite militant and judgemental and difficult to deal with, and I do not want to conform to this image.  Whilst it can be true and indeed there are many vegans who are quite negative in their approach to dealing with meat eaters, for example saying they're eating rotting corpses as their friend tucks into a beefburger.  In my eyes this doesn't achieve anything apart from hostility and forcing the friend to dig their heels in further.  People don't like being told they are wrong.  But in my own time, on my own facebook wall I will from time to time express myself.  People don't like that either.  I was told by one individual not to impose my beliefs on them..... They can sit and swivel.  All I can impose upon is somebody's conscious.  I find the defensiveness stems from a deep seated guilt that they are wrong.  But I shall delve into that another time.  The point is, from being in situations with those who lifestyles directly opposes yours makes friendships quite different.  It is hard when a strong ethical view that you are aware of everyday conflicts with the actions of those around you who you care about, and to try and disconnect that choice with the person who is your friend.  It's so hard.  I haven't yet mastered it.  But do I??  I live in a non-vegan world.  Vegans are a minority.  In real life I know 2, one fantastic girl who I've grown very close to recently, and one awesome guy who is a very supportive friend.  They are both awesome in their own right, and it is nice to have people who just 'get it'.  I notice the ease when being with my vegangirlfriend.  I liken it to a pie chart and it just feels like a huge portion of it is shaded in and understood.  A huge portion of what is important to me is shaded in and understood.  Of course after that you have to consider what else you have in common and can you form a friendship full of trust, humour, compatibility etc.  Of course being vegan doesn't guarantee this at all, another issue I have come to find. 

I have joined a few veg*n online community sites to try and find more friends with a common interest.  And though logical, it still came as a surprise that I didn't have more in common with those I spoke to as I thought I would.  Friendships are so strange.  I went to a sanctuary help out day not too long ago, and met with a group of vegan strangers.  Whilst I went with my friend so interaction with the rest was not as prevalent, I still found them to be a little..... much.  I remember listening to their conversation on the train and it just made me a little uncomfortable.  It is such a fine line.  To be honest it depressed me a little bit!  I seem to feel in the middle of these two conflicting sides - one has a ridiculously larger pool of people within for friendships/relationships but their choice to eat meat and dairy conflicts with my view to abstain from that cruelty, and the other is far far smaller but seems to include a strain of personality that conflicts with my rather inward self.  I am being very very general and painting both sides with a large, very different paintbrush - but it has let me to feel very isolated.  From both parties.  It's just people. 

Saying all this, I have a few close friends who eat meat and dairy and with them I don't have an issue at all.  I don't see them as perpetrators of the animal holocaust - they are just my friends.  I suppose that is because I truly love them, and them me.. but everyone else, I have a lot of difficulities with.  Acquanitances or those I am forced to spend time with albeit in a workplace or social situation.  I don't know how to handle it.  Either way, it is very very isolating. 

Monday, 4 June 2012

Omni-vegan relationship?

My blog has been a tad quiet for a little while, mainly due to the fact I have had some 'stuff' going on outside the world of Google - a break up.  They're never easy, they hurt and it is sad to close the book on a chapter of your life, no matter how inevitable or 'right' the decision may be.  But it got me wondering.  I turned vegan during the relationship, and whilst it didn't solely break things apart, it did pose the question of an omni-vegan relationship and how they work, if they work and can they work? 

I do think that omni-vegetarian relationships work a lot easier than perhaps a relationship involving a vegan.  This is at least how I have found things to be.  For me, when vegetarian, even though I was aware of animal cruelty in the meat industry I didn't truly know the extent of what went on to produce to byproducts of milk cheese and eggs.  Maybe I wasn't ready to know, but regardless, the depth of my knowledge and thus my anger was much less as there was less to be angry about.  I find that vegetarianism, though it can be out of concern and protest of the treatment of animals, is closer to a diet, whereas veganism is a way of life.  It is a way of being, of thinking, of considering others.  Of viewing animals and why they are here.  And this is what caused conflict in me.

When vegetarian, seeing my other half using milk, cheese and eggs didn't make my moral fibres flinch at all.  But now these actions have become hard for me to watch.  I see my friends encouraging the production by buying into the market and exhibiting a demand which just causes the industry to continue as it is now.  And even though I feel the same flinch within, to see it from someone you are in an intimate relationship with becomes a tougher demon to wrestle with.  You don't want to preach for fear of alientation, however you don't want it to continue for fear of resentment.  You love this person and they have amazing qualities yet it doesn't extend to animals.  You fight everyday against the system, against the 'normal' ideals and it almost feels like it's put to waste when you see that special person buying into the very thing you oppose.  They care about you, perhaps even have animals of their own, but cannot show that compassion to other living beings.  They are guilty of speciesism. 

Some people are able to put these aspects aside and continue a loving and successful relationship, even marriage and are able to raise children together despite these differing ethics.  Others cannot.  I am not saying the those who buy into the industry in any way are bad people, perhaps even the opposite.  These people are friends, family and partners and have amazing qualities that make you love them, and maybe that is what makes it even harder.  The fact that they are lovely and wonderful that you cannot comprehend why they won't make the change.  Why they won't live according to their good nature and go vegan.  I know it's not good to be seen as a militant vegan, if anything it puts people off.  It's good to promote by example, so for me that's trying to be the best person I can.  But I am far from perfect, and I guess I lack the ability to push aside my ethics and accept a partner that eats meat.  Some say that is a negative, others view it as something to be commended - that I am strong within my convictions and want to share them with the person I share my life with.  My veganism has become a huge part of me - I believe it was always there, I just had to find it.  So now that I have, I don't want to lose it. 

I foresee my future with someone who shares a lot of the fundamentals with me, and my ethics are a huge part of that.  I want to be able to know the person I wake up with is someone that extends their compassion to animals, that sees a pig and sees a sentient being and not bacon.  That sees a cow and sees its beauty and not a beefburger.  I want to be able to teach these values to my children, if I have any, without conflict from their father.  I want them to have that connection from an early age, and to live with that extra spark of love within them.  With the strength to follow their convictions and not apologise for it, to be surrounded by animals of different breeds and see no difference of importance between any of them.  I want them to be vegan.

So whilst it is definitely possible to have a loving omni vegan relationship, as there exists many, I don't feel it is for me.  I respect those who are able to make it work and feel they are lucky to find someone who they love so much that their differences don't split them.  But they way I feel right now, and how I've always been is quite stubborn, and compromising my beliefs is not the way I am wired.  I just have to hope my vegan prince exists, or it is a life surrounded solely by kitties and chickens and piggies for me!