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.