This is the third or maybe fourth time I’ve tried to write this post. I’m having difficulty finding the words, and this far in, my eyes are already tearing up. Maybe this will be clumsy, but I wouldn’t keep trying to express it if it didn’t need to be said. This is partly why I created this blog after all, the blog I’ve barely posted on because my emotions are messy, which muddles my thoughts.
Overall, being vegan makes me happy. I feel like I’m living the life I’m supposed to be living. I wake up every day with an intention to live peacefully in the world, and then I go out and do just that. I think part of the reason my emotions are so messy is because I’m happy living a vegan life, but I don’t have anyone with whom to share that joy, not anyone who gets it. Usually we associate bottled up emotions with sadness and anger, but suppressing excitement and joy for lack of an opportunity to openly celebrate it is a lonely experience.
I didn’t set out to write about how happy I am now that I’m vegan though. Loneliness isn’t only an outcome of not having anyone in my life with whom I can share joy. I’m lonely because I’m surrounded by family and friends, continuing their lives as carnists. I’m continuously pained to witness animals being harmed. It pains me to see people post pictures of meals made with a chicken, hamburgers, and milkshakes on Facebook. It pains me to read posts by people advocating paleo diets, talking about giving children dairy products, requesting egg recipes. I try to put these out of my head, but they linger, and I can’t help but imagine the animals suffering. It pains me to go to social events and watch people I care about, people who I’ve always known to be caring, eating the corpses and secretions of beings who deserved better. It pains me to sit politely and quietly as a group of friends makes jokes and laughs heartily about bacon, as if the pigs are nobodies, when I know they are somebodies. In my own home, I’ve offered several non-dairy yogurts to my husband, and after trying a few to appease me, he drew his line, and said he only wants the yogurt I used to buy, creamy cow suffering in 6-oz. plastic cups.
I’m the oddball, living according to my values of compassion and non-violence, but living amid acts of violence towards animals perpetuated by people I care about, acts of violence endorsed by society, wears me down at times. I guess I have to suck it up since divorcing Hubs, disowning family, and cutting ties with all my friends aren’t realistic solutions. I don’t know what to do about the pain I feel for the animals that are objectified and consumed around me at every turn though. I want people around me to feel inspired to make changes, but I don’t expect it. I don’t expect that at all. I’m making vegan connections online and in my area so I have some sense of community, and that’s helping, but in my day-to-day life, I’m alone, and I don’t know how to keep my grief for the animals from weighing on me as heavily as it does. I’m happy to no longer be contributing to death and suffering, but now that I’m aware, I see it all around me, and I’m sad.