I think we all needed a push to become vegan. That last straw about how farming animals is destroying our planet, our bodies and our relationship with fellow sentient creatures probably made us angry, frustrated, sad or scared.
For a long time I made excuses for why I couldn’t quit animal products. They were the worst kind of transparent excuses. The ones that I look back on and I cringe because I wasn’t trying to convince anyone but myself that what I was doing wasn’t wrong. I started to feel guilty for having leather shoes and bags. I had thoughtlessly used living things for something as trivial as fashion. I knew I was a hypocrite for saying I cared about myself, my earth and my animal friends and it made me angry.
I’m a big fan of accountability. I like owning my behavior, even when it’s hard. I had to be accountable for my behavior. So I changed. I stopped using animals and their reproductive secretions.
I wish I could pinpoint what it was that made me change and bottle it. I suppose I’m a naturally thoughtful person. I suppose it had been building up for quite some time. I don’t think of myself as being sentimental, but I realize I am. I care about what happens to my body, I care about what happens to my planet and I care about animals. Most of all I care that my actions reflect my sentiments.
The most interesting thing about begin vegan is that it is not a diet as far as I’m concerned. Vegan is a philosophy. Veganism suggests that maybe the sentient creatures we share our planet with aren’t here just for us to use.
Not to say that the word “vegan” isn’t used as a marketing tool, but vegan as a philosophy isn’t trying to sell you anything. There’s no book you need to buy or consultant you have to hire. It doesn’t tell you there’s something wrong with you that only this seminar can fix. It tells you that there’s something strange about how people pet their dog with one hand and eat a lamb with the other. It tells you that leather isn’t a luxury for the cow. It tells you that wading through manure isn’t good for the animal or our planet.
I’m grateful for my friends who don’t give me a hard time about my choice and even the ones who do. I’m grateful for my online and real life community of vegans who I can commune with and talk about which vegan nail polish brands are resistant to chipping and peeling and which deodorants keep us fresh and weren’t tested on animals. I’m grateful for knowing what havoc dairy wrecks on my digestive tract. I’m grateful for the joy I get from our adopted companion animals. I’m grateful knowing I can do something to make the world a better place. Thanks to all of you who keep my vegan diet interesting, each with your own flare and specialties to inspire me to branch out and experiment. Thanks to all of you who preach to the coir; sometimes I need a little pep talk. This is what I’m grateful for this Thanksgiving. Thanks to you.