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I’ve been on-and-off vegan since November 2020. It was the second COVID lockdown here in the UK that gave me the right environment to take the plunge… I wouldn’t be invited out to dine with any friends for a good while so I could control my own nutrition without external influence. (I know it’s not just about nutrition… these were early days). I was already suffering from the cognitive dissonance of ‘loving animals’ while continuing to allow them to suffer and die for my convenience, habits and pleasure (just writing that sounds so awful!)
Well, as various aspects of life ebbed and flowed, as abundance and scarcity reared their heads, as friends came and went, as moods rose and dropped I had trouble keeping my commitment – still really looking for external validation for my choice.
On July 1st this year I had a chat with some members of Anonymous for the Voiceless and I committed to them that I would spend the next 30 days fully vegan and then join them for their next event. I even had a piercing to mark the day. Unfortunately the events dried up… so I went around 45 days and joined in some AV activism in another city – somewhere I’m unlikely to get to regularly, being 90 minutes and two trains away.
But as I stopped hanging around with other vegans, the pressure of the carnists around me began to influence me once more. I became exhausted from being the ‘weirdo’ for such a long time.
And so the meat, dairy and egg consumption began again. As did the extreme cognitive dissonance that caused me to really take the plunge the first time.
Well, today it stops. I am actively revisiting who I hang around with and amongst my five closest friends, three are vegetarian. I know it’s not the same, but they at least have the beginnings of the consciousness it takes to be vegan and more importantly they don’t judge me for being vegan or try to convince me to be otherwise.
It is liberating.
I wish I had the strength to do it in spite of any external validation, but I don’t. I admire people who do.
The task, though, isn’t to abandon the animals… it’s to commit to the animals and then arrange my environment to support my commitment.
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