We’re all afraid of something. Those who know me realize that clowns are pretty much at the top of my list, followed by forced participation events at work and Carrot Top. Honestly, I get scared that we are digging our own graves on this planet and that there’s very little hope for humanity to change. I get discouraged by animal producers in Nebraska forming a political action group, people who buy into those celebrity milk ads, and that meatopia events even exist. Ignorant people scare me. This was true long before I became vegan and started to become more aware of how much some groups generate misinformation. Maybe it’s because Banned Books Week is coming up (http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/) that I started to ruminate on this topic.
Food can scare people, too. I mean, I got scared watching the lady pull meat off a chicken leg in front of me at a food festival this weekend. I really don’t want to watch that, thank you. There’s a lack of thought behind what she was doing that really strikes fear in my heart. I’m still not sure what scares people about vegans. It can’t be our scent, because we don’t smell like rotten meat. Personally, I think a lot of vegans lean towards the attractive side of the looks scale so I don’t think that’s it, either. Maybe it’s the lack of fear that we have in making our own decisions about what we eat.
I’ve never been a fan of being told what to do, and most of my friends are the same way. It really shouldn’t surprise anyone that I’ve decided to live my life this way, yet it still comes up all the time. It doesn’t bother me so much that some random person who’s never talked to me will try to argue the reasons for becoming vegan—but it hurts that some friends do. Others just keep it to themselves, which I appreciate. But the ones who have criticized me—well, that really surprises me. I’m sort of a “take me or leave me” type of person—either you get me or you don’t; so it’s hard for me to think those people have ever really understood what I stand up for and stand up to, quite honestly.
I’m not afraid to stand up to bullies who think that because they love the taste of bacon, they should be able to eat all they want. Do they realize that providing food for these animals takes away from growing valuable veggies for everyone? Do they know that it takes over 48 gallons of water to produce just one 8 ounce glass of cow’s milk? Do they know the sludge from animal waste is polluting our waterways, to the detriment of both animals and humans? Does anyone think anymore?! I truly believe some people just don’t think, but most people just don’t want to because it’s overwhelming to them. Yes, changing our agricultural system will take time and money; but I, for one, am really tired of living in the 20th century. Can’t we start thinking and living outside of the meat box and come up with some ideas for how to live as a community in the future? Anyone who thinks that our current system is working—and goes to great lengths to defend it—is completely fooling themselves. Yet, these businesses are so afraid of change and transparency that they complain about legislating the way they do business (like the National Animal Identification System) because it “hurts” them. The food business is an economic slot machine and these people are gambling with our health. In the name of progress, someone decided that we had to do it bigger and faster; and that’s brought us to the place where we are now—bloated and crampy and addicted to products that are sucking the life out of us.
My fear seems to be outweighed by the fear of the establishment to actually DO SOMETHING. Those of us outside the mainstream are already doing it—living our lives compassionately and trying to make a difference for ourselves and animals every day. We’re counting on the masses and those in political control to use their heads and hearts to start getting us out of this mess and into the sustainable future. It’s up to every single individual to make the effort and start making changes in their food consumption. Start with Meatless Monday and buying non-leather shoes. Reuse what you have until it wears out. Sift through the rhetoric and find out about products before you purchase them. Read. Be conscious of your choices and open up your eyes–your choices have profound, wide-ranging effects. Don’t forget that you’re voting every day with your purchases–and then remember to vote during elections, too. Don’t be afraid to choose vegan—it’s a great way to curb your scared inner child and start living a value-centered life. Honestly, the clowns aren’t bothering me so much these days.
So what are you afraid of?