why am i writing this blog?
I have always been a thinker, and because of that, a writer. My earliest memories of writing fall around the time I was 8 years old, dragging my Keds lightly through the dirt as I half-swung on the rubber seat of the playhouse equipment in the backyard, pen in hand, clicking and clicking and thinking and writing, all the agonizing details of my charmed small-town life. As an only child, I was enamored with solitude and consumed by my overactive imagination.
And so, I wrote. I think I wrote because my thoughts were non-freaking-stop. I had to get them out and on to paper before they spilled out my eyeballs and shot out my ears. At least if I wrote them down, there they were for constant reference. I had thought them, and I had written them, and I no longer had to keep them inside my swelling brain. And then, voila! Room for more thoughts.
And so this cycle continued into my exhausting adolescence, at which time I began, like so many millienials, writing publicly online. And this journal became my therapy. I wrote about everything. If I read these entries now, I can literally see my teenage self grow up before my eyes. I discovered myself and sorted out my core values. I became vegetarian, and then vegan. I was angry and bitter and heavy with the weight of these new discoveries, and I wanted everyone to know! I wrote obsessively from a place of angsty compassion deep within my heart. My thinking fueled my veganism. My veganism fueled my writing. My writing fueled more thinking.
And I really thought the online journaling would last forever – this outlet for my pain and ponderings. Alas, I only sustained this habit until I became a fake adult.
By that I mean, I do adult things and live a seemingly adult life. I take care of myself and have an adult job. I am married! And have a dog-son! But at the end of the day, when I look in the mirror, all I see is a goofball kid-at-heart (plus, a pile of clean laundry in the background that I haven’t put away for weeks). Pseudo-adulthood crushed me. I began to drown in the never-ending funnel of responsibility. I still spent endless hours a day contemplating important things like, “Hair is weird and I wonder how much of my life the ends of my hair have experienced since they first emerged from my scalp” (the topic of a real journal entry that I constructed during college). But I no longer found the time to put these thoughts into writing.
And so, they sat in my head while I indulged in life experiences. I traveled. I talked. I listened. I watched. I taught. I learned. Each thought like a seed, I watered them. They grew. And now, they push on the inside of my skull with overwhelming pressure. They are constant. They are unforgiving. They are every moment, every hour, every day.
Which brings me to this blog, the result of a desperate battle with metacognition in which I surrendered to the idea that all of my arduous thoughts boil down to this: the vegan lens through which I see the world.
Because I now know that, to me, veganism is bigger than the act of avoiding animal products. It’s not about being elitist or unique or extreme. It’s not about restriction or perfection. And although it can be understandably infuriating to know and think and care so deeply about animal issues while you watch people – from strangers, to celebrities, to friends and family who you love and respect – participate in learned patterns of exploitation, I realize that veganism, at its core, is NOT about anger.
It IS about rooting daily choices in compassion. It’s about respecting life, both human and non, and believing that nonviolence toward animals nurtures nonviolence toward humans. It’s a broad worldview, promoting empathy and peace and moral responsibility. It’s about trying to do the least harm, and wishing others would, too. Veganism is a social justice movement. And like many that have come before, it is met with great opposition. Or violent apathy. Or perhaps just a simple fear of change.
But as with all historical injustices, and those we continue to fight today, every voice counts. Through knowledge and understanding, we have, can, and will change. I refuse to accept the notion that our culture’s dominant ideology is hopelessly rigid. Or that my dream for a more peaceful world is somehow unrealistic, unattainable, or unworthy of discussion.
And so, this journey is for everyone. From vegans, to vegetarians, to omnivores, to those people who say they could never be vegan but are slightly curious to know how vegans survive life each day – I invite you to join me. Please comment, question, connect, and respond. I promise to reply with only the utmost respect, for the vegan lens is a perspective that I am proud to claim and eager to share.