Being an effective voice for animals
How should I do this? This is a question I have been mulling over for a few years. Lately, though, I’ve been thinking about it a lot more.
I have also been thinking a lot about why I blog. I’ve asked myself why I blog. At first, I wasn’t really sure.
A few years ago, when I first started asking myself what I could do for animals, I decided that the best way to talk about being vegan was to talk about good food. I’ve often found the best way to get a non-threatening dialogue going with someone is to talk about a shared love of good food. I thought I could create and share delicious food with others in the hope they could see that being vegan isn’t an unhappy a choice as some would imagine it to be.
Whenever I’ve begun a blog, I’ve felt that my personal thoughts and ideas about veganism should be kept out of my blogging. Often my thoughts and ideas are strong and passionate. I’ve learned that it’s an art to express an opinion in a way that doesn’t make others want to build defensive walls. I’m still not sure how to engage others in discussions about veganism with the result of creating curiosity instead of impressions of militantness.
Invariably, at some point in each of my blogs (I’ve had several incarnations) I end up talking about my thoughts, like I have here for the last few posts. And I’ve shied away from this because I’ve gotten the impression that most people don’t like strong opinions. Or maybe it’s just my strong opinions.
With Epicurvegan, I had a specific image in mind, one that I thought I had to be careful to cultivate in a way that interested people but didn’t leave them with any feeling of being judged. Along the way this has led to a self-censorship where I decided it would be best that I not talk about my personal thoughts involving animals and animal rights. I felt should blog only about things that are useful and make others happy. Like food. And crafty stuff.
But I am not being truthful to myself. And I don’t think I’m being as effective a voice for animals as I could be.
Recently, someone I have a lot of respect for said that if we could all just contribute to our own little piece of the pie, we’d all get more done and have a greater impact. This same person also introduced me in blog post about vegan bloggers in Vancouver, saying that in addition to food and crafts, I also write the “occasional bit about animals.”
A dear friend of mine commented on a post here saying, “You always give me something to think about and consider about the world I live in. I don’t always like the reality that you show me – but I like that you show it to me.”
These three instances really resonated with me. They also did not sit well with me. Why? Because I can easily do more. I can have a powerful voice. I just need to learn to use it in the right way and talk about ideas, not opinions. Opinions, I think, just might have the unintended effect of making others feel talked at instead of being engaged with their own ideas being heard.
While I still have a lot to learn about being an effective voice not just for animals but for veganism as a whole, I think I also need to be honest with myself. And while I do that I would like to express my ideas in an honest way and temper that honesty with the same empathy and compassion for people’s feelings that I have for animals.