Friday, February 6, 2009

Fitting in

One of the things that being vegetarian or vegan for most of my life has taught me is that it's really okay to be different. I came to vegetarianism relatively early in life (18), which is just about when you're stopping your quest to "fit in" and beginning to find out who you really are.

This was really good, because when you're "different," people tease you and sometimes are outright hostile to you about what you believe. Or, they expect you to be hostile to them because they don't ascribe to *your* beliefs. It certainly gives you a backbone and gets you used to handling people who think they can embarrass you or otherwise take you back to those days in junior high when bullies really did embarrass you just for fun and think it was "cool."

That's true of a lot of things that happen, of course, but being vegetarian (or part of any group that's outside of the mainstream) puts you a little bit outside of everyone else and can make you do two things. Negatively, of course, it can make you feel as though you're superior to everyone else because you ascribe to this "healthier" and more "responsible" lifestyle. That's not really true, because vegetarians too have bad habits, no matter how hard they try.

Positively, though, it can give you a sense of independence that lets you think outside the "groupspeak" when you have to. Not all the time, of course, but you already know you're living a different life than a lot of people are, so you're used to being at odds with others sometimes and are comfortable with that feeling.

It's not perfect, of course, and even as an adult I'm still tempted to be embarrassed by people who try to make me so for whatever reason. For example, some of the comments I get on this blog are attempts to embarrass me out of my mindset that not everyone, necessarily, should be vegetarian, or that I should be ashamed because I think that way. And yes, sometimes, I can be as tempted as anyone to act that way, too. But I'm glad I've had the training (if you can call it that) to be able to stay outside of that type of behavior a lot of the time when it pops up. Just another advantage to being vegetarian. :-)

No comments:

Post a Comment