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"Just be who you are, calm and clear and bright." - Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

On Being a “Joyful Vegan”


I get a lot of comments on my “Joyful Vegan” tank top and sweatshirt, which you can find on the lovely Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s website. My favorite reaction is “Are you really vegan?”, to which my response is equal parts “LOL” and “?!??” (Which translates to “Um, why else would I be wearing this shirt?”)

I’ve also received feedback that is less curious and more, shall we say, mildly antagonistic. A girl who works at a yoga studio I used to frequent announced in front of a bunch of people in the lobby, “If I were vegan I wouldn’t be joyful,” which is downright unfortunate—not because her remark came off as hostile and so made me uncomfortable, but because she clearly wasn’t as open minded as she might like to think she was.

But I don’t wear my “joyful vegan” duds to try to convince anyone to go vegan. Funny as it may sound at first, I wear them for myself.

I wear them as a reminder that I am a diplomat of sorts, a living breathing example of the change I wish to see in the world. If I’m wearing this shirt, I don’t leave myself room for pissiness if the soy milk curdles or the cafe doesn’t offer any vegan baked goods. If I’m advertising my lifestyle in this way, I can’t indulge those baser impulses (my impatience, my tendency toward crankiness) without coming off like a hypocrite. I have to step up and be who I want to be, the very best version of myself.

And if, while wearing this shirt, I inspire anyone else to strive for the same, well—what a bonus!




2 Comments to On Being a “Joyful Vegan”

  1. July 15, 2015 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    “I have to step up and be who I want to be, the very best version of myself.”

    You go, sister! I need to make this into a Note to Self quote.

    By the way… I miss you.

  2. Kate's Gravatar Kate
    August 10, 2015 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    No matter how you feel about veganism, that is just atrocious social etiquette.

    I like that–holding yourself accountable so you keep a happy outlook 🙂

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Hi! I'm Camille. I only write stories that could never ever happen in real life, though I do believe in real-life magic. If we were in the same room I'd fix you a cup of tea, but for now we'll have to settle for a virtual connection. I'm really glad you're here.