controlling or controlled?

I’ve been ruminating about an entry on this subject for a while.  Recently, though, I had some encounters with someone who is

  • a long-distance hiker,
  • a musician and composer,
  • runs her own very very successful business,
  • training to be an elite athlete trainer,
  • bakes artisanal breads using starters from Israel, no less,
  • a vegan.

And probably a lot of other things, but I’m summarizing.

Not that this is a bad thing, mind you.  Definitely your type A personality.  I, on the other hand, am a type Z; my bumper sticker that I would never bother getting or putting on my car would say “I’d rather be sleeping.”

Those of you who know me know I am a non-meat eater.  It’s not that I object to it or that I object to others eating it (yes, I do; the smells), but again, my bumper sticker would say “I’d rather be eating vegetables”.

I love them!  I love the variety and the gifts of the flavors and the textures and the tastes!  So I like calling myself a vegetarian because I love vegetables, even if I eat dairy and sometimes fish and sometimes fruit.  After all, chocolate comes from a bean:) .

So my concern here is when people use food as a weapon.

Of course, after we visited someone who had their first child and the new father said quite nonchalantly, “I’m going to teach him to hate Lubavitchers”, and he noticed us shuddering, he added “so the worst thing that he does is become Lubavitch”, we understood the power of building in something that your kids can rebel against.  You know they’re going to do it, and it probably won’t be what you set up for them (as far as I know, this couple’s 10 kids are not Lubavitch, although most likely one or two have fallen somewhere into a different camp than the parents), so I figured I’d do the no-meat thing in the house.

At least my kids all eat their veggies, right?

But it wasn’t a matter of being controlling.   I can joke about it all I want, but I cook the way I want to eat,  not because of health but because of tastes.  Again, I love me some veggies.

But can I be blunt here?  There are so many people who are vegetarians or (even more so) vegans who are just plain control-freaks.  And when you dare to eat in a non-pure state,  you can feel their disdain for you as thick as blackstrap molasses.  Especially the vegan group; if you put on a pair of leather boots, let’s say in the winter, they’re bound to look at you like you just killed their dog.

I hope I don’t come off that way.  I know that sometimes I should be more controlling, like when the photographer is ready to take family photos at the weddings and I can’t shoo the people away who shouldn’t be there and I don’t stand up for myself.  Yeah, I’m sorry about that, especially because I don’t have the photos that I wanted and some of those people aren’t in this world anymore.  So yeah, I’m sorry, but still, not enough to become one of those.

I think I’ve worked so hard on saying “no” to the outside world, not in a controlling way but in a self-preserving way that it’s just gotten to be a habit of no contest.  I’ll just sit here while you all go crazy.

It’s just not worth it.

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