So I'm now on my 1 month anniversary of being vegan. Physically, I'm doing fantastic. I've never felt better in my life, so I'm not concerned with adjusting to that one. However, psychologically is another story. I'm just wondering how much of this is normal, and what the journey was like for you guys as you adjusted. Here's a quick breakdown:
- I'm finding that I have to bite my tongue, a lot, when people talk about or eat meat in front of me. I haven't quite worked out a courteous way to tell people who keep talking about how yummy some meat dish is that that is the last thing I want to hear about.
- Working at a hotel, one common question I get from guests is "Where's a good place to get a steak around here?"
- For me, becoming vegan is a definite exercise in compassion, not only towards animals but towards humans as well.
- I have to eat on the run frequently because of my busy schedule, and I don't always remember to brown bag my lunch. As I live in a small town in Georgia (aka carnivorous, um, paradise), Subway is often my only option.
- Speaking of Georgia, for a short background I've for the most part lived in more liberal places whose mentalities I click with more. Here, the judgementalism really got to me, basically the average person here looks at me as an old maid because I'm single and childless at age 29, ridiculous I know, but I get given grief about that one, often. Also, I don't go to church, while I'm spiritual I find that I don't mesh well with organized religion, and this is something I get grief about a lot as well. Another thing I get judged for is the fact that as a woman, I'm studying to be an accountant, which requires full use of my brain and then some but will make me a very good paycheck, but here that's not considered "a woman's place". Unlike most people here, I will happily hang out with people from any racial background. And I vote Democrat. While judgementalism gets on my nerves, I've found myself getting judgmental towards the average person here, as I feel like people consider me a threat for the above mentioned reasons, often. Which gives me many moments when I can act like the very people I resent. Now add to that the fact that I'm vegan, and it's something else that's reinforcing this "judgementalism barrier".
- I'd say at least a good 1 in 10 people here either work at the local slaughterhouse or have a relative who does. One of my coworkers has a husband who does. So far, I'm playing it low key around these people.
- I've already had people feel like I'm rude for turning down food that has animal products in it.
- When I try and talk to people about things like the truth about the egg or dairy industries, many people roll their eyes.
- My only other friend who's veg lives in the Netherlands, although she's lacto-ovo-pesco, so really I don't have anyone who I'm close to who can empathize with my lifestyle. Although yesterday when I posted a video to my Facebook about the meat industry and global warming, it turns out one of my friends (living in Connecticut so still not near me) who I haven't seen since high school went vegan, which makes me very happy!
- In essence though, I'm finding that the way that people are gets to me more now that I can clearly see that consuming animal products is wrong. And it's resulting in a massive amount of bottled-up anger.
By the way, while I am in Georgia right now I am about to graduate, so I'll be free to move. I'm leaning towards going to New York for 2 or so years so I can qualify as a CPA(Certified Public Accountant), then abroad for grad school, and possibly emigrating. So while the mentality after I move might not be as intense after I move, I'm not expecting it to be all sunshine and rainbows when it comes to how people react to my veganism either.
In any case, right now, it's overwhelming. It's a major paradox to me that I'm feeling ostracized for having a conscience. But then again I did try to go veg*n when I was 9 which my parents were angry about, so I went back to meat-eating in order to try and please them, and that's the last time I ever let go of my convictions just to please others.