Monday, November 29, 2010
Vegan MoFo Day 29: Me and my food issues
Being the only vegan at work, I find people tend to be curious about what I'm eating. I'm learning not to go into defensive mode when this happens--not to assume that as soon as I answer the "what are you having" question, my interlocutor will respond with an "Ew, gross." More often than not, people tell me that what I'm having looks really good.
So why do I get defensive and expect a negative reaction? Well, that can be traced back to my K-12 days. When my mother used to pack me a cheese sandwich on whole wheat, with alfalfa sprouts or mung beans (obviously this was long before my vegan days). Somehow, it would happen right after I had taken a big bite out of my sandwich, so my mouth was full and I couldn't answer. "What's THAT?!" ::sigh:: How I hated this. Chew, chew, chew, chew, chew. Swallow. Answer. Response, "EW!" Gah, I still get upset thinking back on this.
Adding on to the self-consciousness I got that way was a separate self-consciousness that came along with my getting extremely overweight. I hated to eat in public because I always felt as if people were watching the fat person eat.... Gawking. Judging. Sometimes they actually were (one of the things that sucked about being fat!), though a lot of the time, I was just being self-conscious.
So I have my "food" issues. Enough for a life-time subscription. And those negative feelings flood back into me when someone asks me what I'm eating. But I am learning to set aside the assumption that the person plans to criticize or judge. I am learning to relax, smile, and respond. And I am relieved at the positive responses I get. Which reminds me how important it is for vegans to be seen enjoying our delicious vegan foods. We're the ambassadors. :)