Chocolate-Covered Activism with a Cherry on Top

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Being vegan isn't that hard, but sometimes being vegan around non-vegans is. This past weekend, for example, I was at a friend's barbecue. She had gone out of her way to buy veggie sausages for me to grill, so I felt terrible upon inspecting the ingredients and realizing there was egg in there. I had to then be the jerk who says, "Um, I can't eat this."

I often feel my desire to not impose upon others coming into conflict with my desire to not compromise my morals. I'm already getting nervous thinking about a bachelorette party this weekend. There will be a dinner with a group of mostly strangers in a town I'm unfamiliar with. Gulp. And once your vegan presence becomes known then the floodgates open... "What made you go vegan?" "What do you eat?"

The activist in me knows that I should embrace the opportunity to share my views. But then the socially awkward part of me takes over, worrying "Ugh, do I sound condescending? Am I making people uncomfortable?" And then the activist-devil (or is it angel?) appears over my shoulder again and says, "Good - people should feel uncomfortable about consuming animal carcasses!" And then there's so much back and forth fighting in my head that I try to change the subject and start babbling about how dumb my cat is.

It's a tricky line to walk, and where I personally stand on the issue is, rather than trying to make converts of people by telling them what they do is wrong, I try to make my side seem appealing. So I bake muffins, and take people to gourmet vegan restaurants, and do my best to make veganism seem awesome and easy.  

Maybe this doesn't make me "hardcore" enough for some vegans. Fair enough. I give major props to the people out there rescuing animals and protesting fast food restuarants. But I also firmly believe that vegan ice cream shops are doing equally important work in furthering our cause.


Tim Moore said...

The worst part is that other people seem to have no such personal dilemma about trivializing our choices.

Well, maybe the old cliché about catching more flies with honey than vinegar isn't a particularly vegan-friendly one, but I think there's something to it...

Sharon Troy said...

"The worst part is that other people seem to have no such personal dilemma about trivializing our choices."

Right, and then we get called smug for thinking we're superior. And, well, kinda. I mean, why would I choose this lifestyle if I didn't think it was better than not choosing it. But it's hard to convey this without coming off condescending. So I let my cooking do the talking ;-)