|My first homemade vegan blueberry pie!|
A little less than six months ago I became a vegan. It's just occurred to me how being a vegan is sort of on par with being an artist... People tend to react in very similar ways.
When you tell people you're an artist, right away they put you into a stereotypical category that may or may not have anything to do with you. Some people don't understand what being an artist really means so they come up with very stupid things to say about it. It's a strange phenomenon! Temporarily they may start using words like artsy, crafty, eccentric and even weird, all the while recounting every family member or friend's relative or neighbor they know of who is also an artist. They will insist on giving you advice you didn't ask for and don't want, about making more money and getting more exposure, and will often exclaim how little they personally know about it and how they "can't even draw a stick figure", indicating in some degrading passive/aggressive way that being an artist is way too special* for them and thank goodness they don't have to have anything to do with it.
I think it would shock and bewilder people even more if they knew anything about what being an artist is really like. Let me get all defensive for a minute and say that artists just happen to have the hardest working, most conscientious, community minded, concerned, empathetic, risk taking will power and nerves of steel you'll ever encounter in your life! One day I would like to respond to the question what do you do with the answer; I stand in a quiet empty room by myself for 5 hours a day contemplating my existence. I build frames and staple fabric to them so I can paint pictures and argue with myself over how to properly express my ideas visually. I spend hours, days and months working on things that I end up destroying. I obsessively examine my purpose, my inner voice, and how to make even a tiny ripple in the overall world around me. I attempt to define and redefine an imaginary dialogue with artists who've lived two hundred years ago, artists who are here now, and artists who aren't even alive yet. And then I hang it all up for strangers to ogle and critique. What do you do?
Hmmmm... Maybe this is proving that artists really are weird, but I think it's the other way around. Maybe everyone else is the weirdo in this scenario.
Anyway, when you tell certain people you are a vegan, and it definitely depends on who it is, as "the times they are a changin'"... some people are immediately suspicious and put off, even annoyed, like oh, you're one of those* people. There are a lot of questions asked that require proper justification. And then there is, again, lots of advice that you didn't ask for and don't want. Humans crave the familiar, and fear the unknown, and there's just no way around it.
I became a vegan for one simple reason, health. It just made sense to me. Once you become aware of something it's hard to ignore it. When I discovered that humans who eat a plant based diet are much healthier than those who don't, it wasn't really that hard to make the decision. And when I say healthier I mean they live longer, are not nearly as sick, in pain, or highly medicated, and can actually live a happier more meaningful life. Of course there are a lot of social connotations that veganism brings up, and the fact that there is a word veganism to begin with says a lot! For me, it's really about the food I put in my mouth and prepare for my family. And the interesting thing is that it's not that limiting at all, and it's not that difficult to do. Anyone who's watching what they eat is paying just as much attention to the details of the food they're buying and preparing as I am.
I may not decide to be a vegan my whole life, but in the end, it's not all that complicated, and really, neither is being an artist.
P.S Get the recipe for vegan blueberry pie here at 40aprons.com