This is what I told myself this morning — I speak to myself in such endearing terms from time to time you know –because I want to shake myself up a little (or A LOT), and I’d be happy to do that for you too, if you let me.
I want to talk about an important piece of research that I came across recently that is a reminder of why it’s important to SPEAK UP and do that with CONVICTION and STRONG VOICE, even if you feel outnumbered, and like nobody cares, so what’s even the point –which if you’re vegan, is pretty much all the time — so if you’d like to read it go here or to the end of this article where I talk more about it – but first I need to get something off my chest.
WARNING – Confession Time / Pathetic Long Rant Follows
#ConfessionTime #Veganconfession #SpeakYourTruth
<<– So if you want to go straight to the conclusion, just skip ahead —>>
This fall I went to Mazuria for a couple of days, which is a beautiful region in Poland, with lakes, forests, more lakes and more forests (and when I say it’s beautiful – it’s not just my personal opinion, but it even found itself on the list of the 7 New Wonders of the World – usually we go there to sail, but this time, in addition to sailing, we spent a lot of time taking long walks in the forests, picking mushrooms, and socializing – including participating in a late night party around a campfire.
As always in such circumstances, kielbasa on a stick was on the menu (everybody gets a stick and a piece of kielbasa to cook in the campfire), as well as potatoes that were slowly roasted in the burning ashes.
And as always in such circumstances, the conversation turned to the topic of eating (or not eating) meat. It started when my husband and I declined kielbasa and said we were vegan (in reality, I’m vegan, he’s not even vegetarian, but he stopped eating meat a while ago, and considers himself half-way there).
To that, the host said that his daughter also was a vegetarian for a while, but then she tried his legendary lamb dish and she started eating meat again – and the recipe followed with instructions on how to prepare this feast – with all the little details, even revealing his secret ingredient that the made the recipe so special.
The worst part?
The worst part was not that I had to witness the burning of kielbasas on the sticks – knowing that it’s somebody’s flesh. It wasn’t even picturing the young animal that had to die so that the host could make his favorite dish.
The worst part was that I SAID NOTHING.
I continued to sit there as he was talking, bragging about his culinary skills, praising the taste, the texture, the delicacy, and TRIUMPHING over the fact that he convinced his teenage daughter to come back to her senses and start LIVING and APPRECIATING THE GOOD THINGS IN LIFE —
Isn’t it what life is all about?
And he was talking LOUDLY (he is a big man, with a LOUD voice and a lot of self-confidence – you know the type, who’s been around, has seen and experienced many things in life, HAS DEFINITE OPINIONS on things, and simply KNOWS THINGS – certainly more than others, especially his teenage daughter; and if you think that he was an annoying, conceited prick – he was NOT, I really thought he was a nice guy, just too self-confident for my taste – which is completely opposite of me, BTW, but more about me later).
So, as he continued talking I was sitting there, SPEECHLESS, upset, trying to catch my breath and compose myself and then he changed the topic and the conversation in a different direction.
But the topic was still going on IN MY HEAD, with all kinds of INTENSE EMOTIONS bubbling in my body (and getting a grip of my throat so I couldn’t make a sound, not to mention interject a cohesive sentence), and I just knew if I start talking my nervousness will show, my voice will tremble, maybe I’ll even cry (not like sobbing-cry, but just become teary-eyed – definitely embarrassing for the adult person that I am, with my teenage years decades behind me).
I wanted to tell him (and everybody else who was present) about why I’m vegan; that it’s not because for some reason I don’t like meat, or I’m allergic to meat, and NOT because I’m some kind of MASOCHIST who likes to deprive herself of pleasure, culinary, sensual and other good things; that for me it’s about ethics, justice, compassion and not wanting to contribute to suffering; and that I’m not a teenage girl who likes being a rebel, but that rebellion is over as soon as her dad makes her a tasty meal. I’m someone who has been around for a while, can appreciate the good things in life – but if that good thing requires an innocent creature to be killed – then I don’t fucking care how tender it is and what’s the secret ingredient for the marinade – I JUST DON’T WANT IT.
(And to be precise and clear here – I DON’T WANT IT. It’s not that I CANNOT have it; not that I don’t like it, NOT that I’m NOT ALLOWED, it’s not THAT It’s NOT GOOD FOR ME, not that my doctor told me so, or WHATEVER. I just made a CONSCIOUS DECISION, an ETHICAL CHOICE – I DON’T WANT IT. There is a difference here, and it really pisses me off when somebody tells me what I can and cannot do.)
So, he kept going and going, and was speechless, and feeling like a TRAITOR.
PATHETIC, WEAK, not deserving to be alive.
The opportunity to be the voice for the animals was wasted and lost forever due to me being getting so fucking emotional about the issues I care about deeply, so deeply that the emotions consume me and I’m lost for words.
And it’s not this single incident that makes me angry at myself. Truth is, this has happened before as I’m not a master of persuasion and winning arguments.
If anything, I’m a FUCKING MASTER at the game of HOW-TO-LOSE-AN-ARGUMENT-BEFORE-IT-EVEN-GETS-STARTED –
Often when in a heated discussion – I know that I have logical arguments, and if only I could find the right words that I could illustrate my point, so that even those who disagree with me would admit that I have a VALID POINT; but no, I cannot seem to formulate a cohesive sentence to counter their ABSURD arguments that they are making oh-so-eloquently that are based on some so-and-so-said it, or so-and-so-paper published it, like the fact that it’s being SAID AND PUBLISHED is an argument in itself — and I’m getting so frustrated in the process that all my emotions show right then and there – I simply cannot hide them – on my face (why, is she blushing?), eyes (are those tears in her eyes?), voice (trembling) – wow, she gets really emotional!, like a teenage girl! I can see a smirk on the opponent’s face– now that I think about it – my dad liked to tease me this way, and then he used to said that one shouldn’t get so emotional, that’s it’s a sign of being immature – and therefore doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously, is best ignored, and is most likely wrong.
So, my solution?
Avoid being uncomfortable, avoid embarrassment, and just IGNORE what’s being said, just pretend I don’t hear it and go about my business of KNOWING WHAT I KNOW, but keeping my opinions to MYSELF.
Well, you know what, this may work for a situation when abstaining expressing your opinion doesn’t matter – like the color of someone’s nail polish – but NOT when it comes to serious matters – and I’ll tell you why in a second.
Maybe you aren’t as extreme as I am, but I bet that as a vegan you sometimes (or often) bite your tongue and don’t speak up because – you don’t want to be perceived as an obnoxious vegan. Or an angry vegan. You don’t want to make people uncomfortable. You don’t want to get into another discussion about the incisor teeth. Or the need for protein. How some people must eat meat (their doctor told them so!) or they’ll suffer and probably die – eventually. Or whatever other reason you have for NOT MAKING YOUR VOICE HEARD.
Why does it even matter? It’s just this one situation, and nobody will even remember it next day, not to mention next week.
Why is that important to make your voice heard?
Even if you are outnumbered. Even if what someone is saying is COMPLETE UTTER NONSENSE. BULLSHIT. And you are thinking to yourself – wow that’s a bunch of BS, I’m not going to even bother to argue with that – everybody knows that it’s just not right! Right? Isn’t useless? Saying something that seems obvious? Repeating the same thing over and over? Sounding like a broken record?
I’ll tell you exactly why.
It’s because making your voice heard is the only way to let others know what you think. Otherwise they will think you agree with the loudest person.
–>>>Here is the article I promised you – check it out
Research reveals even if only one member of a group expresses their opinion, it is more likely to be seen by others as representative of the whole group. The simple act of one person expressing their opinion loudly and clearly in a group setting may convince others that everybody feels the same way.
Here are a few more interesting pieces of information. The study, carried out by Kimberlee Weaver and colleagues, found we can tell that three different people expressing the same opinion better represents the group than one person expressing the same opinion three times – but not by much (Weaver et al., 2007).
In fact, if one person in a group repeats the same opinion three times, it has 90% of the effect of three different people in that group expressing the same opinion.
Similarly, and more worryingly, when an opinion is repeatedly broadcast at us by the same organization – think of a particular media conglomerate or an advertiser – we’re likely to come to believe it represents the general opinion. That’s despite the fact it is analogous to the same person repeating themselves over and over again.
I’m often reluctant to speak up because I feel like it will be EASY TO IGNORE what I have to say – by just the virtue of not me being a CONFIDENT SPEAKER; easy to dismiss my arguments – before even giving them a serious thought – because I’m so emotional, convoluted, irrational, losing the train of thought, like a teenage girl – surely SHE CANNOT POSSIBLY BE RIGHT– obviously this other person who is so ARTICULATE, POISED, FLUENT, COHERENT, ELOQUENT, LOGICAL, WELL-RED (heck, he even knows about that piece of research by American Scientists at Harvard about the hunter-gatherer pooping-pile hypothesis) — or at least seems SO JUST BY THE VIRTUE OF BEING SELF-CONFIDENT AND LOUD – surely he MUST BE RIGHT. Mind you, even though he’s LOGICAL and RATIONAL (not emotional), but also he cares about DEEPER VALUES, like TRADITIONS, FAMILY, and also – knows about the GOOD THINGS IN LIFE.
And she’s against ALL THAT, she wants to TAKE AWAY all these things from us, all the GOOD THINGS, the FREEDOM to do whatever one pleases to do – she’s some kind of REBEL, HIPPIE, UNREALISTIC, IRRATIONAL, NAÏVE, IMMATURE, EMOTIONAL, ANGRY – let’s just IGNORE HER AND MOVE ON!
But guess what – making your voice heard is the only way to let others know what you think. Otherwise they will think you agree with the loudest person.
Since I know that this was not the last argument I lost – before it even started – because I know I’m unable to grasp and much less to follow the 7 principles of persuasion, although I am working on it I promise!
So here is my turn – to explain myself and give myself a voice.
Online and offline. In writing and speaking.
Make your voice heard. Make your opinion known. Speak up, even if you feel outnumbered, and your point of view is not shared by the majority.
Because you just don’t know who’s listening.
PS. This has been on my mind — so I wrote it down and published on my blog and my social media. I may even use it as a chapter if one of my upcoming books. What’s on your mind? And have you been sharing your thoughts lately? Or you just suck it up and keep your feelings inside of you — not to antagonize, not be different, not be labelled as an obnoxious, angry vegan, or a weirdo?
The world needs you. The animals need YOU to start speaking up and sharing your truth.
I invite you to join the #SpeakYourTruth CHALLENGE and unleash your inner warrior. It’s about sharing our truth with the world, telling it like it is — the way we see it, and taking ACTION. Join HERE.