Creating a Vegan Family
I want to start this blog with the disclaimer that I am not, and have never in any way, shape, or form been looking to replace my family. I have an amazing network of people involved in the web of individuals related to me, whether by marriage or blood. Ya, I'm that lucky. HOWEVER, since I am living in a foreign city and choose to live a vegan lifestyle- I have found that I have accidentally acquired for myself a new family: a vegan family. I know I'm not the only one.
Vegans often hear the same thing from the future-vegans of the world, they can not be vegan because their family traditions or their parents/spouse/family/social circles wouldn't understand. Most of the time they are incorrect (but that is another story) because families do love you no matter what (unconditionally) because that is part of being family. I think it is safe to say 85% or more vegans came from a non vegan family and are still connected to and loved by their family and friends unconditionally. I speak for this population, as a thriving member.
Potlucks and holidays and nights on the town, OH MY! Most communities will have this already in place, thanks to the miracle that is the World Wide Web. We are easily able to find each other and come together to a safe vegan space. Just like in a real family, everyone is different. We have different jobs, different styles of dress, different lives outside of our vegan safe space. But when we come together we are family. We share our food, share our beliefs, and also provide love and support to each other when it is needed. We all come from different lives, but one thing remains true. Vegans are the most compassionate and kind humans on planet Earth. This keeps me knowing that like my family I can ask anyone in my vegan family for help with anything and they would be there.
This realization has led me to believe the key to going and staying vegan is finding a vegan family to reinforce your values and traditions in a cruelty free space. This can be either in your physical life or over the internet but it is essential and very comforting. Think about some of the physical roles of family in ones life. There are traditional gatherings, sharing of beliefs or values, family meals, and loving compassion to help each other without expectation of anything in return. I personally have found the parallel to my local vegan community to be astounding. And just like in a real family no matter how different everyone is, or what we are doing with the rest of our lives, it is because of our shared values and beliefs that we gather for a cause, share food and drink, and support each other in our endeavors.
Sometimes I joke about the vegan religion or cult but it is all in love. We are a family though, and that is no joke. There is a crazy uncle, the sister you couldn't do without, and the one you could. There is the cousin you are slightly attracted too but nothing can become of it because it is your family. All the dynamics are there. So no matter how long you go without seeing your vegan family, even if you only come out once a year for a holiday, they are there for you. We are there for you. The community at large is there for each other.
I highly suggest that you find your local family and start a tradition. Learn to take a break from being the lone vegan at a Thanksgiving. Put on a Potluck, or find the one that probably already exists near you. Join a meet-up group. GO ONLINE!!! Not all vegan families need to serve the purpose of activism. You can just enjoy each others company and feel secure knowing you are in a safe vegan space this Christmas. If you live in a foreign city, don't travel "home" to your family for every holiday. Create a new vegan tradition in your new home. It may feel weird at first, but I promise that someday after having one thanksgiving when you aren't asked if you can eat turkey "just on thanksgiving" you will look forward to holidays with your vegan family SO MUCH.
We could all use more love in our lives. I'm so thankful I have my vegan family AND my future(non)-vegan family. You know who you are. <3 <3
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