As orginally posted on HappyCow.net on January 19, 2012
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I’m a Libra so it’s in my my nature to attempt to keep things around me calm and zen-like. I don’t like confrontations or heated discussions. I prefer to not make waves or upset people. For most of my life I have avoided saying things (out loud) to people that may alter their opinion of me in a negative way. When I first became vegan these character traits played heavily into how I communicated my new way of eating.
At first, I didn’t want my decision to define who I was as person. I didn’t want to be known as “Kylie the Vegan”. It was just a diet choice so why should it be such a big deal? When I went to restaurants I avoided using the term “vegan” when asking questions about certain menu items. I was afraid of being annoying to the wait staff and whatever company I was with at the time. My husband would make a point of telling them “she’s vegan” in a half mocking/half supportive way. It’s not that I was ashamed, I was just too concerned with others thinking “crap, not another annoying vegan” – because I’m very aware of the stereotype that surrounds us.
I tried not to lecture my friends and family about the atrocities of the meat and dairy industries. I didn’t attempt to make them feel guilty about what they were putting into their mouths. I answered their questions if asked, but tried to remain nonchalant about it all. For some reason I just felt like I had to stay as neutral a possible on the subject, that I would somehow isolate myself from my loved ones by having strong convictions. Believe me, it’s not a healthy way to live. Keeping your thoughts bottled inside can be toxic to your soul.
A few months ago though, this all started to change. The more articles and books I read and the more like-minded people I started to meet helped morph my simple “diet choice” into a lifestyle choice. It was no longer about merely what I chose not to eat, but more about making kinder choices in all aspects of my daily life. I no longer buy leather or support companies that test on animals. I try to be conscious of all my actions and how they may affect other living creatures.
Something this significant should not be hidden away like a dirty secret. I began to feel proud of who I was becoming and the compassionate way I decided to live my life. I no longer shy away from defining myself as a vegan because it’s who I am. I fully embrace all that being a vegan means and it has already changed my life in tremendous ways. I’m happier, I’m healthier and I’m more open minded to what the Earth has to offer.
I don’t plan on becoming a self-righteous prosthelytizer, but I do have a voice and it should be heard. All I can hope is that seeing me inspires others to do their own research and make positive changes for themselves, because it truly is worth it.