image from here.
I briefly touched on this last time I posted about veg*n life, about the online communities and how people can be so damned judgemental. Since I posted that, I’ve actually left a group and blocked my ability to return to it, because of an increasing number of what I like to refer to as the Veg*n Olympians. There are these kind of people in anything that you tend to in life. There are the moms who seem like they’re entire existence is to out-mom everyone else. The car people who don’t think you’re “real” enough if you haven’t rebuilt an entire engine from scratch. There’s possibly even that person at work who perhaps comes off as a bit of a keener and it seems like that is their soul reason for living.
Generally I try to cut these people some slack (and, as a human, there are many times I fail terribly, miserably at giving them grace) and give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe that mom had a bad childhood and is trying to ensure her children don’t experience, maybe that car person just went through a hard time and rebuilding that engine pulled them through. Maybe that work person is incredibly lonely and work’s the only place they find value in their lives. We don’t know, we don’t have to know, and we also don’t need to perpetuate an irritated day because of it.
That being said, I do believe there are times that, when you can, you just need to put some distance between yourself and that other person/people and live parallel and perhaps not intersect too often.
This brings me back to the Veg*n Olympians. Like every where else, there are some people who are up so high on their horses that the air is perhaps a bit thin and they’re having trouble with the compassion side of life. I don’t believe that we necessarily need to have other people hold us accountable for every little thing in our lives, but it does help when you’re attempting a big transition in your life. However, the balance between having a helping hand and having someone who’s ready to condemn can be extremely thin and a bit too flexible. Which is where the internet can be really, really discouraging. If you’re a parent and ready any of the trillion and a half mommy blogs out there, you probably know what I’m talking about to some degree (which is why I tend to avoid them like the plague).
It is not wrong to have people to look up to. I feel like you need to be incredibly selective, however, when it comes to this. What works in one person’s life is not going to always work for your life: you shouldn’t be altering your life so drastically to fit into someone else’s mould. And to remember that they, too, are fallible humans!
All that being said, after being driven up the wall with people competing with one another in their own, self-proclaimed Veg*n Olympics, I threw up my hand, unsubscribed, blocked and disallowed re-entry into a group that I had enjoyed. Yes, I suppose I could have stayed to perhaps be a slightly more positive voice in the crowd, but I feel 100% unprepared for that.
It was not many days later that in my Instagram feed, this quote came up.
There is no such thing as a certified vegan. If you’re looking for perfection and purity in yourself and others, then you’ll be gravely disappointed. Being vegan is a means to an end — not the end itself.
It was a breath of fresh air, honestly. I felt like I had been struggling for days, and feeling like I wasn’t ever going to get the hang of this. All it did was sort of reaffirmed something I tend to do in real life: I love people, I try to be compassionate to them, and I depend on them occasionally, but I don’t hold people up on pedestal. I am very aware that people are people and they are not perfect and that’s okay.
Reminder to self: no one’s perfect. I’m not perfect, I’m not ever going to be. I just have to make an attempt and remember to be compassionate!