On the second anniversary of my veganism – my veganniversary – I have been noticing how my understanding has changed since mid-September 2007, when I had a Skinny Bitch-inspired epiphany at my desk.
I have broadened, and somewhat deepened, my understanding of animal rights and welfarism; I have read and read about food equity and down-the-chain cruelties to humans and animals alike. I am better informed and more widely read – and so I suppose it is inevitable that I have noticed changes in how I feel.
I am, two years on, both more and less committed to mainstreaming. I began with the firm conviction that I would do best if I was open and calm, and I still believe wholeheartedly that if I am the only vegan many of my friends know, then the example I set is especially important. I can be most influential when I am most approachable. To this end, I try to be reasonable, rational and intelligent about my positions, and relaxed about social eatering situations. I try bring food to share, and not put my hosts out. I try to adopt an equitable discussion style and I believe very much that although I decry the happy meat-schmappy schmeat movement, that when someone is proud enough of the changes they have made in their lives to buy organic meat or free-range eggs, that I should tell them that I am proud of them too. I believe that to critique someone else’s choices in these situations is counter-productive and plain rude. When they are ready to talk more, I will be ready to talk with them.
I want veganism to become mainstream so that it is accessible and understandable, and a market force. I want veganism to be normalised and demystified and I want it to become as widespread as possible. I see this as the way in which what was originally such a tiny, fringe movement can spread its message and practices to people who may otherwise have no understanding or knowledge of what we do and why we do it.
But I have also noticed that I have developed a small resistance. I find it harder and harder to be silent and I find that my thoughts as I watch someone devour their meaty dinner are more and more filled with disbelief and frustration. I feel this more keenly and more often that I did two years ago. I am more aware, and I am more committed, and I think this has lowered my tolerance threshold.
I have also found friends. Through blogging, potlucking and writing I have found a whole community, spread beyond the Veganville of Brunswick to
Although my primary motivation is animals, I know and believe that I am also doing the right thing for the environment and for my health, and that sustains my belief in veganism as a lifestyle, not a diet like locavism or a practice like recycling. It is an everything. There is nothing that would make me want to go back, and there is nothing that would make me feel that I had to.
This is especially relevant as I look towards the next few years of my life which I hope will contain babies and little creatures running around a noisy house. I am certain that having a vegan pregnancy will only benefit both me and my baby, which stems from my deep conviction that a typical vegan diet is three quadzillion times better for you than a typical omnivorous one, and that a consciously healthy vegan diet (the one in which I give up BBQ shapes, beer, chips and spring rolls) will give me the healthiest pregnancy possible, and my babies the healthiest body and mind I can give.
I like to think that I spread a little understanding amongst those I know who don’t know any other vegans. If I can at least cause one omnivore to say to another “Oh, I know a vegan. She’s ok”, then I’ve done a little dance and made a little love, and next time, one omnivore might say to another “Oh, she’s not a pain in the arse”, and the time after that, one omnivore might say to another “I don’t agree with her, but maybe she’s got something sensible to say”, and the time after that, one omnivore might say to another “Let’s not order steak tonight”.
At least, I like to think that I debunk a stereotype. That is, there is a place for the peace-loving, mung-bean-eating, hemp-wearing, loopy-doopy hippie, and there is a place for the activist, militant ALF types. But their place is where they are, and my place is here.
I have never doubted nor wavered in my knowledge that this is it, forever.