A quiet heartbreak…

Yesterday I tweeted “A woman walked into the store in a leather jacket, feather earrings and a bag covered in cow fur. She said “I’m a recovering vegan…” #gag

She was wearing leather boots with fur trim. A leather jacket. Feather earrings and had a purse that was covered in cow-hide. “Oh yeah. What happened…?” But instead of answering me she walked around my store and laughed at everything. Made fun of products. Picked stuff up. Put it down and then shook her head. She then asked me what the “BACON HAD A MOM” shirt meant.

I said “The shirt is to gently remind you that the bacon you had for breakfast came from an animal that had a mother…” Awkward pause … “Oh.”

I thought about asking her to leave … but instead I put on my best game-face and decided to re-plant some seeds of veganism. I mean – that’s my goal with the store is to showcase amazing vegan lifestyle products while encouraging my non-customers to go vegan. Perhaps positive reinforcement would encourage her to remember why she went vegan in the first place. Maybe when she sits down to her dead-animal bacon breakfast tomorrow she’ll stop what she’s doing and realize what she’s about to do and hopefully have a change of heart.

But this woman is not what broke my heart yesterday…

After tweeting/facebook my experience a non-vegan friend of mine on facebook responded with “hahaha” and our conversation devolved into a typical Facebook back and forth about misuse of language. She didn’t like that on my private profile page I had described the woman as disgusting. She would have preferred that I called her actions disgusting not her herself. It then disintegrated even more into blah blah blah about this and blah blah blah about that. I shut it down and told her to call me if she wanted to work things out.

But that’s not where my heartbreak comes in either …

What broke my heart is that this friend thought what this X-Vegan woman said was funny. This X-Vegan woman who came into my vegan-centric store wearing the skins/furs of dead animals and walked around making fun of all the beautiful cruelty free products that I sell. My store is an extension of my heart, my beliefs, what I’ve dedicated my life to and my friend can’t get past the choice of words I used when venting about having a hard day? I want friends who lift me up when I am down. Who support me. I understand she was challenging my flippant choice of words but perhaps she should have picked a better venue for it. Or better yet – not kick me when I am down …

I have a lot of non-vegan friends. I try to respect their choices in the hopes that they do mine. I don’t make comments when I see my non-vegan friends wearing feather earrings or when they order meaty-type foods. It’s not easy for me because all I see is death and torture when I see those things but other peoples life choices are none of my business and unless they ask me about veganism directly – I try my best not to be the vegan police. But what I ask for in exchange is that you have my back.

A few hours later I got a message from my friend Jen who went to a work function at The Keg. She knew she wouldn’t find much food there but didn’t want to cause a kerfuffle because the work dinner was a celebration for one of her other co-workers so she happily ate her baked potato and salad but for some reason everyone around her at the table had to say something rude about her lifestyle choices. WTF? I guess yesterday was one of those kinds of days where meat-eaters were feeling particularly guilty about all the death and destruction they leave in their wake and so they decided to throw all that energy over to the vegans who are trying their best to make the world a less bloody torturous mess…

I wish I had a nice little bow to wrap this story up with but instead I’ll quote RuPaul.

“My goal is to always come from a place of love …but sometimes you just have to break it down for a motherfucker!”


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13 Responses to A quiet heartbreak…

  1. Rhea Parsons says:

    Sarah, I’m sorry you had these hurtful experiences yesterday. It does seem that vegans are supposed to watch what they say and how they say it lest they be seen as imposing or judgmental while they are subjected to comments and criticism constantly.

    We all have your back! Love and compassion to you, you make the world a better place.

  2. Elise says:

    Since becoming Vegan I haven’t had to deal with too much ridicule or sarcasm but I’m relatively new to this vegan world compared to you Sarah! You’re an inspiration to many people and I applaud your courage. Thank you for being who you are and spreading the good vegan word.
    I recently went to a family birthday dinner for my boyfriends cousin. When she found out we were both vegan she literally called us her “worst nightmare” in front of a party of about 20 people. She’s a chef so she apparently hates it when vegans come in. I replied “Well I’m a vegan chef, and it’s not hard to cook vegetables.” So in your face all you haters, we are saving thousands of innocent lives, keeping the planet cleaner and we are going to live a lot longer!!
    Go Vegan!

    • Sarah says:

      Ugh. What a horrible thing to say in front of all those people. What kind of chef can’t make vegan food? I guess they’re not very creative. ;(

  3. Megan says:

    Why would ANYONE DO THAT?? It’s like walking into a church and tearing apart someone’s religion. That’s the first example that came to mind because she used the phrase “recovering” which many ex-Catholics also use. It sounds like this woman has some big issues and it makes me wonder if she wasn’t vegan just for vanity purposes (and if we’re honest, we have to admit there are vegans like that).

  4. Krystle says:

    Beautifully put. I admire your strength to be an example and a bigger person instead of dispensing a bitch slap where one was clearly needed. What happened was disrespectful and you are role model to look up to.

  5. ami says:

    Last night my father in law (who’s a doctor and has had open heart surgery) made a mean comment about vegan food not being good. We were at a restaurant and I couldn’t take it. I got up grabbed my coat and said I’m done, we’re leaving. And we did.

  6. Ariane says:

    Hi Sarah –

    It’s really sad that some people feel the only way they can express themselves is through being hateful. It’s kind of like grown-up bullying, isn’t it?

    I don’t know if I’ve told you this before (?) but if not, I’ll out myself now… I’m not vegan. I wish it was an option for me, but I have severe food allergies and IBS, and I can’t eat any vegan protein sources (like legumes or tofu or tempeh), nor dairy or more than a smidge of egg, nor gluten… and can only tolerate a limited amount of nuts. I constantly struggle to keep my weight up, and my limited diet really restricts the choices I can make. So I just try my best to make the best choices I can within the constraints I have.

    You’re generous sharing of veganism with the world has helped me so much to cope with my dietary constraints and have a diet where I don’t feel so deprived. I learned all my dairy and egg-free cooking from your cookbooks, back when I was in university and was really, really sick.

    I have so much respect for the work you do. And I think anyone who doesn’t, and more-so insults you in that way in your shop, has to be a really sad person inside. Same with anyone who jumped on what you said online.

    I’d never even think of behaving that way, and I am not vegan – it’s not a vegan vs. not vegan thing. It’s a respect and empathy thing.

    If someone is behaving in that way, it’s gotta be because they’re not okay with who they are and what they stand for.

    Don’t let it get you down – some people just don’t love themselves and they show it by projecting their self-hate on others.


  7. Kat says:

    Hi Sarah!

    As much as I like to live by “don’t take anything personally” that woman was just damn rude. I mean it’s definitely OK to have your own opinions and live your own lifestyle, but to shoot down someone else’s choices! Not just choices, but beliefs!

    In my curious, non-judgement mind though, I wonder how she really feels about being a ‘recovering vegan’. I’m curious whether her inner voice is fighting it and she felt the need to put you down and veganism down to battle the truth within her.

    In any case! I love your store and what you stand for. Keep spreading the LOVE :-).


  8. susan says:

    you have a spacious, loving heart and you’ve put it to work for you (literally 😉 you have the respect and admiration of a whole community of compassionate, brainy people who show their brilliance every single day by living vibrantly vegan (as opposed to existing in a resigned stated of dimness). i give you huge props for being able to deal with that obnoxious girl (real women don’t wear feather earrings). we love ya ton’s and rupaul’s quote??? awesome! go team vegan!!!

  9. Jamin Brett says:

    Keep up the good work, you are an inspiration for me to keep going and be a happy vegan!

  10. Rebecca says:

    I am sorry you have had to deal with a person like that and maybe since it is almost the start of the holidays at least for me I have noticed that the closer it gets the more nuts people get . Like they are trying to fit it all in like the shopping, decorating, parties etc. That does not excuse this womans behavior but, at least you did your best with a difficult situation.

    As for your friend I am truly sorry because I value friends that are there for me no matter what the situation is if I am having a great day or a cr***y day.

    You are doing a great thing with your store and I wish there was one like it where I live.

    I too have friends and family that are meatatarians and wish they were at least vegetarians or Vegans but, I do not preach or anything like that I just quietly live by example and hope they might see things differently some day. They respect my choice and do their best to have things for me to eat especially during the holidays and usually I just bring my own or eat before I go and visit.

    Just remember VEGAN is Love and all vegans love animals especially but, just remember that humans are animals too and you did a great thing trying to show the nasty woman some love.

    Keep up the great work and remember you are loved.

  11. Steph says:

    She was in the wrong here. You don’t go into someone’s “home” and show disrespect. It’s just bad manners.

  12. Madison Cheek says:

    So well said!! I know how you feel!

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