If you’re a vegan, you will have heard someone say this to you, or words to the same effect. It seems that no matter how you try to go about being a vegan in a community of non-vegans (so, for most of us, the offline world), it is utterly inevitable that you will come across someone who just can’t deal with it. That’s pretty normal for any subculture-esque situation. A lot of people get super intimidated by things that they don’t understand, or that are new and weird to them. That’s not what this post is about. We all have to deal with the people who out and out try to argue the pros of meat-eating and the cons of a vegan diet, and that’s fine. I accept that. This post is about that person (hopefully just one, but you might be extra unlucky) who sets an agenda to try to catch you out, all to be able to call you a hypocrite.
I have one such person in my life. I’d probably have more if I hung out with more people but, I don’t. I hang out with dogs. I’m better that way.
Now, this person was initially OK with my move to veganism. Supportive even. But then I started putting up some posts on instagram (my outlet) and this person started to become that person.
Do you eat chocolate?
This was the question that elicited the response that I’m not a “full vegan”. I answered yes. Because I do. I eat chocolate. I eat vegan chocolate. I didn’t answer all of that. I just said ‘yes’. And this is what it’s like dealing with this person. Every question asked has an anticipated answer that then allows this person to jump in with a ‘you’re not a real vegan then’ assessment, hopefully right when most people are listening in.
Obviously this bothered me enough to feel compelled to write about it, but it ceased to get to me when I put two and two together and realised where it was coming from. My instagram feed is a right old guilt trip for anyone who isn’t vegan. I’m unashamed about that. It’s my feed, my agenda and my outlet. It’s where I get to scream, shout and point out the stuff I have to bite my tongue about in RL. This person followed me for a time and I realised that this is where the targeting of me, as a vegan, was coming from. Guilt. Pure and simple guilt. Here’s me, pointing out the realities of meat, eggs, fish and dairy, and removing ignorance as any kind of an excuse for anyone who follows me. And worse than that, here’s me, all healthy and shit, but not eating any animal products whatsoever. In other words, crapping on any ‘vegan diets aren’t healthy’ outbursts. I’m a horribly inconvenient truth to this person and the way they’ve chosen to deal with that is to be the smaller person and try to belittle my position, rather than do something, anything, to elevate themselves instead.
Thankfully, this person is not, and has never been what I would call a friend, so I don’t really have to tolerate it. Unfortunately though, they are someone I am currently unable to completely avoid so I’m learning a lot about how to deal with this kind of petty behaviour. At the moment, the tried and tested ‘ignore it and it will go away’ technique is working pretty well. Smile and wave, smile and wave.
I would love to hear about similar experiences so drop me a mail or comment below.