I have a confession to make.
I used to be vegan. And now I'm mean.
Well, I'm not mean all the time. In fact, 98.5% of the time, I'm sweet as pie (or sweeter). Really, even when someone's being mean to me, I'll cry instead of be mean back.
But now I'm mean to vegans. Okay, just one time, I was mean to a vegan. It was actually this past week. I was feeling bitter about having to write an article for my job on becoming a vegetarian. I'm upset about this not only because I don't want to encourage vegetarianism, but also because I'm nervous that I'll fail at writing it. It's not that my writing itself is bad, but I'm trying as well as I can to present objective facts about vegetarianism without putting it into a positive or negative light - and deep down, I'm afraid the fact is that my company wants to jump on board the Whole Foods Train and encourage vegetarianism to all of its consumers - and if I don't pretty-up the facts (and positive-sounding myths) of vegetarianism, my article will fail and I'll have to re-write it or it will be edited and I'll be asked to resign or something. And all of this in light of the corporate push for vegetarianism aimed at the "health-conscious set" just made me plain angry. The vast, vast majority of our company's consumers are mothers whose choices in feeding their families are inspired by what we write and promote. And we know it.
Anyway, back to what happened. While I was researching for the article, I found a vegan blog and a post for a disgusting looking vegan "sausage", with a recipe which included a heavy dose of "wheat gluten", a long list of spices, and a bit of agave nectar (which, even when I was a vegan, was understood to be mostly corn syrup because of manufacturer's malpractice. I've heard from other sources that it's corn syrup since leaving veganism, but never looked into it enough to know for myself. I've just always avoided it.) I was so disgusted by this recipe that I left a sarcastic comment. I don't even remember it verbatim, and I apologized and asked the blogger to forgive me and remove the comment - but I know it was mean and nasty. I more or less asked where in nature or human history or even in the rest of the world I could find such a concoction, because it definitely didn't look like anything that had ever been produced by nature. I wish I could remember what else I said, but no matter. It was rude and inappropriate, but it was also downright stupid.
I totally took all of my bitter frustration out on this blogger and even patted myself on the back for it afterward. But a few minutes later (with the help of my husband), I realized that I was just being a "mean girl" (you know the word, it rhymes with hitch!) and that I never, ever would have been so ridiculously nasty and confrontational in the non-virtual world. So I left another comment, asking her to forgive me and delete my previous outburst of ugly. I felt so humiliated. And it took me until just now to really understand why I did it in the first place.
The reason that I wanted to post about it here is because maybe someone out there has a similar experience. Maybe you've blown up at some innocent person (maybe online, because it's so much easier) out of a misguided attempt to vent your frustration about something. And maybe you apologized, or maybe you didn't. Not everyone is so kind and forgiving as this blogger. She immediately took down my comment and accepted my apology. It made me realize even more how horrible I'd just been. And it made me quiet.
I think that's the best way to be about the things that upset us. At least at first. It's better to be quiet about it until it's the right time to say something. And know what you're going to say, and think about how it's going to ripple out over time. If you know you'll regret it, you won't say it. For this point in my life, I'm learning that it's the best way to handle things, especially the truth.
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