Friday, February 10, 2012

Vegans are annoying

I hate labeling myself.  I don't want to fit into a category.  I cringe when someone says that I am this one thing or that.  As if simply the word associated to my person will now give you a context in which to communicate with me.  I'd really rather you just spoke to me the way you intended to, before I acquired all sorts of labels.

Some of my (least) favorites: stay-at-home-mom (SAHM).  This is one I wear with pride.  I adore staying at home with my truest love.  There is a stigma, however.  When someone I barely know finds this out about me, they look at me through SAHM glasses.  This goes one of two ways.

1-"oh, you are so lucky!"  Let's be clear here.  I am NOT lucky.  I did my homework.  I married a guy who thought the same thing I did: having a Momma at home with the babies is super important.  We make sacrifices to have it this way.  Scratch that.  We make choices to have it this way.  I don't feel like my life is lacking.  We bought a house when both of us had income.  Continuing to pay a mortgage, property taxes, credit card debt, utilities, gasoline, blah, blah, blah, wasn't an option on one income.  We filed for bankruptcy.  Our pride was kind of a whiny little b*tch during this time, but we got over it.  It's just "stuff".  Now we live in a place that is one third the size, we all sleep in one bedroom and our back yard is shared.  We got rid of so much "stuff" that I cannot really describe to you the volume.  We are goldfish.  We chose it this way.

2- "I could never do that". could.  You'd have to make the choice to.  Please let's not act like I have a super power here.  I think my job is super important and rewarding.  So much that I choose to do it instead of doing something I'd get paid for.  It sucks for me when Moms say they couldn't stay at home.  It usually boils down to either they think their family couldn't survive without her income or that they believe they couldn't be with their kids for so many hours.  They think they'd go crazy.  Or some such nonsense.  Then they have short lived, snippets of time on the cusps of waking and going back to sleep to spend time with their babies.  This is their complaint, not one I made up for them.

Are your toes stepped on?  Are you feeling defensive?  I love you anyways.

Another one: vegan.  EEK!  Maybe it's because I am so new at it that I feel like my ammo is lacking.  Notice I went with the word, "ammo".  That's right, I feel attacked pretty often.  I see that it's my interpretation, when people give me a "look" and I see, "you're kinda weird".  A month and a half ago I was no such weirdo.  Today the bartender at our lunch venue did the full eye roll, said: "oh god, I can't even talk to you" and walked away.  In an attempt to be.....funny?  Ugh.  I don't even wanna talk about it with anyone, because it becomes a thing.  I wanna eat my food and you can eat yours.  Why is the conversation always about how you (you are the other person in this imaginary conversation) could never give up **insert favorite animal-derived food here** and therefore could never be vegan?  GOOD FOR YOU.  Somehow, just by being a person who has made a food choice, I am now an outsider who is strange.  If you wanna give up junk food or wheat- you're noble.  But I'm a crazy person.
My conclusion here is that vegan people get really passionately into veganism.  I get it.  What's not to be passionate about?  It's so awesome that I want the world to choose it too.  But it seems that this passion comes off as annoying or pushy, so there is a preconceived annoyingness that the receiver of such conversation is armed for.  And thus, I am now annoying.

I want to have preferences and passions without carrying their labels.  I'm not a stay-at-home-mom.  I am a mother whose full time job it is to raise my child.  I am not a vegan.  I am a woman who eats only plant-based foods.  How does that land?  They are less weighty, right?  Less connotations associated with them? The media and who-ever hasn't spoiled their inherent loveliness.

It's my goal to be this non-judgmental person who enters into communication with another person and speaks to that person...not that person's labels.  Won't you join me?


  1. I think people turn to labels because they're a way to make sense of a chaotic and ever-changing world. They have their place at times, but there are - as you've pointed out - so many negative aspects to them. Too often people rely on labels because they're easier than the alternative, which is to question stereotypes and your own preconceived beliefs and ideas, and to recognize that whatever label you're putting on someone is just one small part of who they are - and it may not even be accurate. I think one of the best ways of handling labels is to just be you. That may be all it takes to make people question their labels.
    It troubles me that you're facing so much resistance and opposition to your choice to be vegan. I'm sorry to hear that. I don't know if this makes you feel any better, but I totally support your decision!

    I've also never questioned your choice to be a stay-at-home mom. It's been clear to me since we got back in touch that you embrace that wholeheartedly and that it's exactly what you want. I would only worry about your choice if I thought you were unhappy.

    One more little thing (and then I'll end this novel, I swear!). I know you're speaking from a place of frustration and annoyance, but careful of your own labels. I myself am guilty of thinking, "I don't think I could be a stay-at-home mom," but that doesn't stem from a concern about income or because I believe I couldn't be with my kids for so many hours. It's also not because I am secretly judgmental of moms who do stay at home, or because I believe there is only one "right" way to raise a child (or live your life). I may one day choose to have children, or I may continue to choose not to. Either way, I'd like to be label-free, too.

    Love reading your blog. Thanks for sharing :)

  2. "It's my goal to be this non-judgmental person who enters into communication with another person and speaks to that person...not that person's labels."

    LOVE this ...

    I don't like my labels either - recovered bulimic, suicide survivor, mature aged student -- YUK. I'm a woman who has lost, loved and is learning about life. Sounds way better -- thanks ♥