you’re so vain, you probably think this [party] is about you

I felt really good yesterday after “coming out” as vegan to my mom. I was ready for whatever the baby shower might bring. I should have known better, though–my mom has really loose lips, especially when alcohol is involved, and the shower was quite boozy. I had a few opportunities to tell my sister-in-law that I was vegan (like, when we were hovering over the veggie plate and she kept imploring me to explain why I wasn’t eating the delicious ranch dip) but I just didn’t want to talk about it at the shower, for fear that the hostesses might overhear. I was probably making a really big deal about nothing, but I just wasn’t ready to talk about it, and I didn’t want anyone to feel bad because of the minimal options I had to choose from.

I walked away for 3 minutes, three minutes, to socialize with a few of my mom’s cousins (which makes them my second cousins, I think? I’m not good at this family tree stuff), and when I turned back around to my sister-in-law, I overheard my mom saying, “I told her if anyone asks to just tell them she’s on a really strict diet.” I knew what she had done. She had taken it upon herself to tell my sister-in-law, as if it’s her news to share, as if it was even her place to butt in. Oh god, I was livid. Luckily, she was only talking to my sister-in-law so it wasn’t a huge deal, and it actually turned out nice–my sister-in-law and I talked for half an hour about eating, working out, getting healthy, losing weight, all kinds of stuff that has been always on my mind lately. It wasn’t that bad, it could have been worse, so I got over it.

I was feeling really good when I got home after my 3 glasses of wine. I decided to start following through with some things. My second cousin had been urging me to join a writer’s group with her so I found her on Facebook so I can make that a reality. I texted my former coworker about that screenplay we never got around to working on and found that he just got a new job right by my work, so we made plans to meet up at a bar after work on Tuesday and hash things out. Things were really falling into place. I always get these bursts of motivation after 2-4 glasses of wine and then I never follow through with any of them when sober, so I promised myself I’d stop being so flakey and I’d actually do all the things I said I’d set out to do. One last stop before heading out to get dinner with the boyfriend was to write on one of the hostess’s Facebook walls to tell her that the shower was beautiful, and to thank her for introducing me to star fruit which had been featured on the fruit plate. I’d never had star fruit and it was delicious! (Other fruits present included pineapple, kiwi, grapes, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blood oranges…it was just delicious).

Boyfriend and I headed out to grab dinner and everything was packed (duh, Saturday night, no reservations), so we wound up at a bar and I ate disgusting bar food that I have my doubts about being 100% vegan, and on our way back to the car noticed I had a Facebook notification on my phone. Clicked it. It was the hostess responding to my comment. “Thanks for coming, I’m sorry there weren’t more vegan options for you.”




Now I was 3.5 glasses + 1 beer in and I was furious with my mother. How could she do this to me? I specifically told her that I didn’t want the hostesses to know because I did not want to make them feel guilty for not accommodating me because this party was not about me. And she went behind my back and opened up her big mouth and told them anyway. I could literally scream! I quickly dialed and started to yell at her. It wasn’t really yelling…but I was being very incendiary with my remarks and then she hung up on me. Then I started to cry. Then 1 minute later she called me back and said, “For your information, when everybody left they apologized for not having many vegetarian options and I responded with the fact that it’s okay, and that you’re vegan now anyway. I didn’t just go spouting off apropos of nothing and I don’t appreciate you calling to bust my chops.” At this point I felt bad because she was starting to cry–she has enough stress in her life with taking care of my ailing grandma–so I apologized and tried to eat my words and told her that I just didn’t want to inconvenience anyone and that was the only reason I didn’t want anybody to know. She dismissed my apology and hung up on me again.


I sent her a text afterwards apologizing again. I don’t come from a family of apologizers. We are a very defensive bunch and since we never apologize, I don’t think we know how to take it when someone apologizes to us. I haven’t heard from her since.

I feel like an asshole.

I made a really big deal out of nothing. I don’t know why I’m being so sensitive about this. I just wanted to tell people on my own terms–to me, this is kind of like coming out of the closet. You want to tell people when the time is right. You don’t want people hearing from someone else first. But I realize now that that’s an ignorant sentiment because being vegan is not at all like being gay and I’m really making way much too much ado about nothing. I wish I could take it all back and just shut the fuck up.

I cried a little when I got home and then didn’t feel so good and went to bed before 9:00. Today, I’m just out of sorts. I feel guilty, sad, mad, disappointed in myself, ashamed, embarrassed. I wish I could rewind and do the whole thing all over again. So what if people know I’m vegan? I guess it really doesn’t and shouldn’t matter. I don’t know what my problem is. I acted out like a child having a temper tantrum and I should really feel terribly–and I do. Bah.

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11 thoughts on “you’re so vain, you probably think this [party] is about you

  1. Your family sounds like my family. I’m sorry things took such a turn. I think it’s natural to feel sensitive about this b/c it IS a big and important change in your life. Don’t beat yourself up about it too much…spats are part of being a family and I’m sure things will smooth over once everyone has had some time away from the situation.

  2. Kinenchen says:

    These are the growing pains of coming out as a vegan. It sounds like your mom overstepped her bounds a little, probably not realizing how difficult and personal it is to publicly own a decision that society often interprets as a tacit criticism. I’m so sorry you had to go through that. I can tell you plenty of horror stories of my own. Personally, I bring a snack and warn my host. I find they will do what they want. Seeing me with my sandwich baggie of dried fruit and nuts and bottle of tea has guilted/embarrassed more than one hostess into sending out for something I could eat in the middle of a party. That approach isn’t for everyone since I’m not particularly self conscious about my behavior. Anyways what I’m getting at is that when the dust settles, you’ll have a better plan for next time and THAT is nothing to sneeze at.

    • Thanks 🙂 While it sucks for everyone to go through this and I don’t wish this feeling on anyone, it does help to know I’m not alone. I just harbor this feeling of extreme guilt for being difficult or hassling anyone and I like to avoid that feeling all together when I can. I think I may need to re-evaluate, though, because repeating this experience many times in the future is simply unacceptable. Too much emotional distress!

      • Kinenchen says:

        I’ll try to work up the courage to share my worst “being vegan in public” experience in the next few days. You’re not alone. You didn’t do anything wrong. People just aren’t ready for this jelly.

  3. Katie Rose says:

    Hello lovely! I’m too stuck in the Hunger Games books to leave as long of a message as I’d like, but I just wanted to say hi and that I’ve been reading your posts. I think you are a truly kind, thoughtful, incredible person, and I’m sorry you went through this experience. My parents and family are awesome and supportive- when my mom calls me, she tells me about everything she finds at Costco that says “vegan” on it ;)- but it was a looooooong journey since I stopped eating meat six years ago.
    Also, your green eggs and ham post from a few days ago was phenomenal. I was reading it on my break at work and admiring your genius.

    • Aww, thank you 🙂 She actually was supportive when I initially told her, I think she just didn’t realize how sensitive a subject it was…and I acted like kind of a jerk. You live, you learn. Anyway, I’ve been meaning to read the Hunger Games books, I keep hearing they’re great!

  4. It’s definitely hard at first. People have really strong reactions when they find out that me and my husband are vegan. Many lecture us on our lack of protein, or claim that soy is really bad for you. Even though we don’t lecture them on the harm that they are causing with the Standard American Diet.

    We “came out” over the holidays. A time where there were lots of family gatherings and work functions. We did a lot of cooking and took food with us that we could eat so we didn’t cause any extra burden on the hosts.

    I think it’s always best to inform the host, but offer to bring something. It’s definitely hard at first. I was a little embarrassed at first, or at least dreading having to explain or defend my choices further. But it gets easier.

    • Definitely–I was afraid of the lectures and I was afraid that I’d have to defend myself and my lifestyle, which was one of the things I’ve been really trying to avoid. I will definitely in the future a) inform the host and b) bring a dish to pass. Too much strife that could’ve been avoided…now I know!

  5. […] suspect most vegans will have a story like mine or this one. I hope that you can use your experience to strengthen your resolve and stick by your decision. If […]

  6. […] how to navigate. I obviously had a dry run at the baby shower a couple weeks ago and that ended pretty badly so I started to worry even more about the party. Luckily, there were plenty of people there and […]

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