Recently I have had some (let’s say) “interesting” things happen in my life. I used to think that family is family and that is all that matters. I have come to the realization that sometimes (many times) family are the most toxic people in our lives.
With the holidays coming up I want you to know that you are not obligated to see anyone you don’t want to. Seriously.
In my own family I have people that are bigots; some that are unappreciative of the hours of work and money that was put into the holidays while offering up nothing in return; others that don’t accept me as I am and have even said they don’t like my personality; some that need to be right and will never listen to anything else; others that want you to conform to who they want you to be because they’re uncomfortable with you; I could go on and on. I’m sure this sounds similar to many others and I’m telling you, you don’t have to put up with it.
I recently listened to an episode of Vegan Warrior Princesses Attack and they had some great advice.
“There is nothing wrong with re-evaluating the people in your life [to decide] if they still bring good into your life of if they’re only bringing hurt…do what you need to do to feel ok.”
This is something that we almost never do in our lives. We just assume that if someone is family or if we’ve been friends since middle school that that means you’re stuck for life.
You’re not. It’s definitely hard but you are allowed to end the relationship. It may bring up guilt in you and anger in them but recognize your own feelings and needs. You don’t need to feel badly about trying to create a healthier environment for yourself, mentally and/or physically.
Being the “Vegan-in-the-Room” is definitely something I’ve struggled with in the past. I don’t like cooking, let alone talking about cooking so when I get the “but what’s in it?”, “what do you eat?”, “what about fish?”, “I could never give up cheese”, “bet you wish you could eat this” B.S. I am usually looking for an exit strategy. You don’t have to put up with it and don’t need to be the “vegan in the room”. You are allowed to enjoy your holiday without being an activist, especially since it’s just going to go in one ear and out the other anyway.
Nichole from VWPA said: I feel, as a new vegan, what I was told to do was to try to make people feel comfortable with their ignorance so they wouldn’t get a bad impression of veganism.
Yes. That is exactly how I felt during my first few years as a vegan. I’d bring my own food everywhere and try really hard not to make people uncomfortable. After a few years I was tired of all the prep work and extra planning I had to do just to be able to eat somewhere that wasn’t my house. I was tired of the food/protein questions. I wanted to talk about something that was so deeply ingrained in my being with more substance than just “what do I eat”, which of course no one else wanted or cared.
Finally, I have reached a point in my life that I am comfortable with not going to events, with setting boundaries, and not caring what people think of me.
I heard something recently that if people don’t accept you when you are living based on your true self, then they never really loved you for who you are anyway.
Take some time this holiday season and evaluate your own needs, obligations aside.