July 15, 2007

Is It All About Fear?

Posted in animal advocacy, veganism at 6:48 pm by nevavegan

I think for some reason I end up hearing the words “I could never do that” a lot. People say it to me about some of the more outlandish protests I used to participate in (though I don’t really do that any more as I came to feel it was counter productive). I’ve heard it about my complete disregard for fashion. I’ve heard it about a million times about where I live. I’ve heard it about my gym dedication. And of course I’ve heard it over and over about veganism.

I bristle against this in so many ways. I’m not some kind of super hero. I’m not even brave. I’d love to say that after everything I’ve gotten to some kind of Zen place where I actually know something about worst case scenarios and now I understand what I’m really afraid of. That might apply to me about ten percent of the time, on those good days. But as I’m prone to minor freak outs, the same as anyone else, I do get that many of my fears simply aren’t rational.

But why would people be so afraid to give veganism a try? Is it the fear that if they start they might not be able to stop? Is it the fear that they’re going to turn into me and cook elaborate vegan creations, blog on veganism, rescue cats, and have bad hair? Naturally there are no requirements like those. There are lazy vegans (I might be one of them), but anyway, no obligation to blog, no obligation to do anything except adjust one’s eating and buying habits to match one’s ethics.

I think one fear I had, which proved unfounded, was the fear that I was a great cook as an omni, but I thought I’d lose all that praise and gratitude as a vegan. Actually veganism forced me to be a little creative, which is kind of good actually, I like creative. But I get praise from other vegans and omnis alike for my cooking.

I suppose there’s always the fear that if we open our eyes we can’t ever shut them again. It’s true that once you start thinking about the horrors animals face, it’s very hard to put on the blinders again. And that can be very upsetting. But at the same time many vegans find ways to take care of themselves emotionally. Yes, they know there’s a lot of suffering and injustice out there, but they also celebrate rescues, visit sanctuaries, eat good vegan food, and just like everyone else they watch movies, listen to music, hang out with their friends, and participate in a million other satisfying and joyful activities.

What is the fear? Except maybe fear of change. Of course we all have to face change, one way or another. We change and adjust all the time, or else we get stagnant. So all I’m saying is there’s nothing to be scared of. C’mon in, the waters fine.

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2 Comments »

  1. bazu said,

    I’ve spent a lot of time figuring that out too. Can’t say I have all the answers so far, but I think you hit the nail with the “fear of opening one’s eyes.” I heard a woman give a speech where she said “knowledge is a bitch. Once you have it, you can’t go back to the garden of eden.” And that’s always stuck with me- it’s true in so many ways. Living and eating as if your choices didn’t matter, that’s definitely an Eden of some sort, and most people wouldn’t-couldn’t- want to leave it. I know to the extent that I am not living a perfectly virtuous life (re: environment, politics, food, etc.) that I’m functioning under that context too.

  2. Drasch23 said,

    This quote “I suppose there’s always the fear that if we open our eyes we can’t ever shut them again”. I think this has so much to do with why people fear veganism. How many times have we all heard an omni say “Nope, don’t tell me, I don’t want to know”. Because once they do, there is no turning back.

    PS: I have bad hair and a disregard for fashion as well. 😉


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