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|Veg with the Fam?
Posted By Tricia Gilchrist
Hi Marisa! I got married 6 months ago and my husband and I moved to California. Since then I have become vegan! Thanks in large part to you and your "missions"! We're going home to our families in Texas for the first time next month and I'm very nervous to tell them about my new lifestyle. I'm scared they won't understand or accept the new me. How do I make them feel comfortable and answer all their questions (and possible criticism)? Do you have any advice on how to break it to them? Or explain it in a nice way? Thanks again for all you've done for my husband and I!
Congratu-vegan-lations! What wonderful news! Thanks so much for sharing it with me; I feel honored that Vegan at Heart played a part in your journey. Wow--marriage, a movie, a new lifestyle--so many exciting changes. I have a feeling that 2010 is *the year* for you and your man.
I understand your trepidation in sharing this shift with your family. But I think that as long as you're conscious of what's going on with them (and you obviously are), then you can not only avoid major conflict but create an opportunity for greater intimacy. It never feels good to hide part of yourself, especially one that you should feel proud of.
I think you probably know intuitively how to go about it. Trust your instincts; you know your family best. Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind (though I'm sure you already know them!)
1.) Don't be surprised if they make it about them. When you change something about yourself, others around you will question their choices, and they might feel the need to defend them, even though you never even suggest that they change. Speak from the "I" perspective, and make it clear that this is about what's right for your body and your relationship to animals and the planet.
2.) If you don't know the answer, say "I don't know." Sometimes people aren't defensive; they're merely curious and feel the need to ask you 47 questions. Be patient with them. If you don't know the answer to a particular question about a particular amino acid or the mechanics of cow lactation, say "I don't know" and "let me get back to you on that." Then get back to them on that.
3.) Expect some jokes. Humor is one way that people deal with discomfort. Try not to take it personally, and feel free to sling some jokes back at them...all in good fun, of course.
4.) Help with the food. Cooking is an important way for people to show love for each other. Let your mom/dad/sibling know that just because you don't want their pot roast, it doesn't mean you're rejecting them. Share your love and caring by sharing some of your new favorites. They may love it, they may hate it. But the fact that you're making the food (or the restaurant reservations) shows that you care.
5.) Say "thank you" if they go out of their way for you, and compliment them on their cooking if they make something vegan. No brainer but important to remember.
6.) Know that time is the universal healer. They haven't had as much time to adjust to this lifestyle as you have, so it might take some time. But I promise--things will get easier every time you come home.
Finally, own your veganism and feel proud. Your positive change might just free them up to make positive changes in their own lives.
Enjoy the adventure, and let me know how the visit goes!
Posted By Admin