Wednesday, April 1, 2015

I'm Not Here for the Skinny!

A long time ago, I was working at this total dive bar, the kind of place crime scenes were made for, and at some point I mentioned to one of the regulars that I was a vegan. He looked at me with total shock, and said "I'm surprised you're not thinner if you're a vegan". I felt like he punched me in the face. Especially because at the time this happened, I had been starting to kick up my workouts, and thought I was looking pretty good! I kindly reminded him that just like non vegans come in all shapes and sizes, so do vegans. I cried when I got home, and went through the full range of emotions. I also thought of a million and a half zingy putdowns I could have thrown his way. I don't even think he was trying to hurt my feelings, I think he was genuinely shocked, and just didn't take the time to think about what he was saying. People are sometimes careless  with their words. If he would have said that to me back in the days of my eating disorder, or even my drinking days, it would have been a self destructive explosion!
I've definitely dropped a few pounds since then, and I have cleaned up my diet even more, while also doing some pretty killer workouts. I've even become a pro at doing burpees! But I'm still not the stereotypical super lean vegan. And I not only don't know if I ever will be one, I don't even know if that is what I want. I feel really great right now. I feel healthy, and I feel like I'm getting stronger. I feel like most days I'm eating foods that are satisfying, and giving my body the nutrients it needs.
In addition to how I feel about myself, I didn't become vegan to lose weight, look young forever, or to reverse diabetes. I became vegan because I feel very strongly that causing harm to animals is not something that I ever want to have any part of. That is the one and only reason. I don't look at other vegans with any expectations on how they should look. I look at other vegans as like minded people, and people who also care deeply for animals. I do want to be healthy of course, but I feel I can help animals whether I look like Cinderella, or Shrek. (I don't actually look like Shrek. I'm not green!)
I feel like there is a lot of food shaming, and body shaming going on within the vegan community. We are supposed to support each other, accept each other, and lift each other up, not tearing each other down. There are so many wonderful whole vegan foods, and processed vegan foods, that there is more than enough room for everyone! And the more the merrier. We need vegans of all shapes and sizes to represent this amazing, compassionate lifestyle. You know how they say never trust a skinny chef? Well, we need vegans who look like they really enjoy the food. I've heard many a non-vegan make dumb jokes about vegans being skinny because the food is so bad.
This is how I feel. They're gonna get me!
If I ever see that guy, I would like to tell him, thanks for being so insensitive. It gave me something to really process, and I see how far I've come. I didn't self destruct, and I didn't do anything to punish myself over something insensitive that a total stranger said. I don't know if I will ever be super lean. I don't know if I will ever have a six-pack, or is it a twelve-pack? Anyway, I don't know. I know that I will always work out to stay strong and fit. And I know that I will always be a vegan, always for the animals. And I know that I will always stand for kindness and acceptance. People drool, animals rule!

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