My heart goes out to all my friends struggling to find gratitude today for any reason.
To those of you especially who are being bullied and rejected by your own families because you don’t participate in the traditional slaughter, remember your worldwide vegan family is standing with you in spirit. You’re not alone today or any other day.
Holidays can bring out both the best and worst in people. Make a choice to stand with love, compassion, and gratitude.
I was once bullied and embarrassed at my own surprise birthday party by my mother, grandmother, and her side of the family because I wouldn’t eat the cake or meat and cheese sandwiches made just for me even though I had been vegan for years and this was nothing new. According to them, it was a phase.
I was chastised for not eating even a single bite of cake. How dare I be ungrateful and insulting to my family who worked so hard to surprise me with a birthday cake and food that I was unable to eat. I was also told I had behaved so poorly and rudely because I ate a veggie sandwich right before the surprise happened even though, as the “surprise birthday party” would suggest, I did not know this was going to happen when I ate my veggie sandwich.
This is merely one of many examples of bullying I’ve experienced for my vegan choices from family and others. The method of using guilt and public shaming as a tool to bend me into submission and get me to comply with what they wanted me to do, of course, did not work on me. I did not bend. I did, however, develop even more of a bitter taste in my mouth for family and food bullies and birthdays and special occasions.
This event was not significantly worse or better than any of the others, but it was the event that made me start declining family functions from then on. It wasn’t worth the shaming and tears. I now avoid situations like holidays that would put me in a position to be targeted by bullying. Maybe they’ve changed. Maybe they haven’t. It’s just not worth the depression and anxiety for me. What’s done is done and now we live with the consequences of our choices.
Letting go is not the same as forgiveness. I don’t have to forgive my family. What they did was not okay and I never have to accept it as okay, but holding on to bitterness and pain only hurts me in the long run. What’s that saying about holding a grudge lets people live rent free inside your head? Each day, I feel like I get closer to my happy place. I let go of the bitterness and the pain for me. Not for them.