I am approaching the end of my first year as a vegan and whilst I want to shout from the rooftops how great I feel the truth is it hasn't been easy and it has changed me more than I could ever put into words.
The first thing that springs to mind is what the hardest part of this journey is, giving up cheese right? who wants to live a life without cheese? well, cheese is what had me clinging on to vegetarianism for so long but in fact dropping cheese was nothing compared to my biggest struggle.
When I decided enough was enough and made the commitment to veganism I, perhaps naively, expected nothing but praise. Surely someone choosing to live in a way that is compassionate to all, not just the animals is a good thing. It was a huge smack in the face when I realised that that was never going to happen. I became the butt of the joke and was constantly tagged in posts on social media. Don't get me wrong, I have a sense of humour and most friends were tagging me in things I genuinely found funny, but others chose a darker route and it hurt.
The first few months were a bit of a roller coaster. People would question my reasons for wanting to be vegan only to jump on me the minute I gave an honest answer. I'm quite fiery in nature so initially saw this as a personal battle I had to fight. I would argue my point and get frustrated at their lack of understanding. I soon learnt that when some people ask you why you are vegan they don't really want to hear an answer, they want you to say something they can mock or argue with. I've learnt to approach these questions with extreme caution because shouting and screaming about why only fuels the rep that vegans are constantly labelled with. I'm guilty of labelling them the same way in the past but now I see why they react the way they do. Imagine being constantly told that your lifestyle means you "are forcing your views onto others" when the other option is forced onto us every day, in the media every other advert is for fast food, meat, dairy, leather, products that use animal testing not to mention the one being everyone forgets. By not being a vegan you are guilty of forcing your views on the voiceless, those animals that are bred and killed in huge numbers. Your choice to eat meat is forced onto them every day... and that is why vegans get so angry because they are hitting their head against a brick wall every day. Living in a world that operates on hypocritical waves of "I'm such an animal lover" whilst tucking into a burger. It's beyond exhausting believe me.
I don't consider myself to be a pushy activist. I never share graphic posts on social media because I can't even bring myself to look at them. I haven't been able to watch EARTHLINGS or any of the other documentaries. I didn't need to, it didn't take seeing it for me to admit it was happening and to decide I no longer want to be a part of it. I won't list all the reasons I wish everyone would go vegan because in truth I think that we all know we can't carry on living as we are. The food chain comfort cushion we are all guilty of holding on to does not cover industrial farming. It is unnatural and unsustainable.