Being Vegan is Emotionally Confusing or Why Marshmallows Bum Me Out

Yesterday, October 28, 2021, a man tried to give me a bag of marshmallows. The employees of a local factory decided to walk around town in costume handing out goodies to strangers to celebrate Halloween. I was in my car so I lowered my window as he extended his arm, a big grin on his face, looking goofy and friendly and wonderful. I imagined this group of adults dressed in spider-man unitards, thing one and thing two wigs, etc. sitting around work, excitedly talking about what they were planning to do and I thought, “How sweet. I love people.” I smiled and politely declined because conventional marshmallows contain gelatin, a thickening agent made by boiling the bones, skin and connective tissue of animals.  My second thought was, “I wish animals didn’t have to suffer and die for that sweet gesture,” which introduced the often schizophrenic existence of being vegan, rooted in the idea that I do love people, but I often hate what people do, in particular where animals are concerned.  Do you think I WANT these thoughts? Do you think I welcome these feelings? Being vegan is a DRAG sometimes. Life would, no doubt, be easier if I didn’t know what I know. I want to just love people. I want to accept marshmallows. I want to fit in. But, I can’t. I mean, I can but I am actually making a conscious choice to politely decline the marshmallows and, to the best of my knowledge and ability, anything else that supports cruelty of any kind to anyone. I still love people though. I can love people and be vegan, maybe even love them more because I’m vegan since it’s really about expanding compassion. I can care about them, enjoy them, appreciate them for their pure and beautiful intentions. That too is a commitment – to see beyond unintended cruelty to someone’s humanity.

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