Friday, December 5, 2014

A Change of Tone

I have been working on a holiday gift guide for you.  I thought, "Oh, that will be informative.  People will enjoy that."  The more I work on it, though, the more I become pretty grossed out by the whole idea.  Not that everyone's holiday guides are gross, or their perfect Christmas recipes, or their 25 fun ways to decorate your house with Starbucks cups, but come on.  Blogs are becoming all the same.  It makes me not want to read or write anything, because I see the same thing on ever blog.  I can't even tell, half the time, who is writing these blogs.  Am I getting posts from you or your ad revenue?  There are tons of people that do this to pay the bills, and I don't fault them for it, but it's not what I want to read and it's not what I want to write.

Awhile back, I decided to stop writing about my struggle with body image.  I thought that my younger female readers might not be empowered by an overweight girl bitching about her weight.  I didn't want to contribute to the idea that being heavier means I am less than.  But I do struggle with my weight.  I struggle with my self image and self worth.  The truth is, I have had a very trying past few months, and if I can't talk about that, then why should I talk about anything.

I have been putting more recipes out into the world, but they're not recipes that I slave over, recreating them three or four times until they're perfect. They are just stuff I thought up to cook and photograph.  I don't have the luxury of being at home all day, waiting to catch the light in my house at the perfect time and staging my shots.  I go to work, I come home, I make food, I take a couple pictures, and I eat it.  I have to learn that that's ok, and my blog is never going to be one of the beautiful ones I used to drool over.  There are so many pretty, glowing, green goddesses clogging my bloglovin feed, and I'm just bored.  I don't want to see pretty things every day.  I want to see the messy.  I want to hear about the struggle.  The blogs I love to read are the messy recaps of people's daily lives, with occasional easy recipes thrown in.

My weekends are full of writing blog posts to put out during the week, and somehow during this process, I lost my connection to writing.  When I was posting at the end of the day, I was dumping out my feelings and emotions, and that felt good.  Putting up 5 mediocre recipes with bland descriptions a week is not fulfilling me in the slightest.  Maybe I don't post every day, maybe I post twice a day, but I want to get back to honest writing.

Recognizing that I'm not perfect is also something that I struggle with.  I am an over achiever, and I like to do everything right, or in fact, want to be praised for doing a good job at something.  I will be the first one to tell you, I do not always do veganism right.  I try my best to promote great food and be a voice for the community, but if some things in my house have leather and I don't ask the waiter if a veggie burger has an egg in it, does that mean that I shouldn't be a voice?  I think that people don't talk enough about how truly difficult it can be to obtain a lack of animal products in ones life that is worthy of some people's definition of "vegan."  Of course, I wouldn't want to promote that this lifestyle is hard, but I am here to say that after over 6 years of it, there is a certain level that you have to become comfortable with.  When I first went vegan, it was maddening learning all the things that had animal products in it.  Would I not get a flu shot because they may contain eggs?  Would I drive a car if the tires contained animal by products?  Can I even talk about this without getting yelled at by the online vegan police?  We should talk about these things.  This is why we are a community.  Veganism is amazing!  It is a do-able lifestyle that benefits animals, the planet and yourself, but I don't think that you have to think you are a failure if you slip up or make slight concessions at a restaurant or decide to get a flu shot.  I have made my peace with the level of my veganism.  It is still helping save millions of lives and get the word out that more people are in this community, and what an amazing community it is.  So many of us delve online to find people that think like we do, and the vegan community has built an amazing array of voices and activists.  Don't worry, I am not going back to meat and cheese because it's it's difficult to maintain a perfect vegan lifestyle.  I love this way of life, and I believe in it, and I guess I'm just wondering if anyone else out there makes small concessions to continue living life and then feels guilty about it.

I still want to share recipes and products I like and restaurants where I ate, but I want to share them because that's what's going on in my life, not that a holiday is coming up so I need to come up with 10 cookie recipes that will give me more pinterest clicks.  I want to ignore all that noise and just talk to you.  Social media is amazing and wonderful for getting your stuff out there, but when all you care about when you're writing is how much traffic you can generate for your bland recipe that looks like every other recipe this week, you have lost your way.  I feel like I have lost my way, and I intend to get back on my own path.

I hope that you will stay with me and come here to read, for good or for bad.  If you are struggling with your weight or your veganism or your direction in life or your happiness, I am right there with you.  If you would rather look at pretty pictures of me drinking daily green smoothies and talking about how much better life is off booze and gluten, I can recommend a wealth of blogs that already do that.

22 comments:

  1. I loved this post. What a refreshing change of pace from the usual chirpy blathering that has turned me off to most of the vegan blogs I used to read. C'mon, people - have a bad day.
    I love being plant-based - but I still get moody and anxious. I still have skin issues. I still doubt myself sometimes. I'm human.
    Thanks for being brave enough to step outside this unspoken "Life couldn't be better every single ecstatic day since I went vegan!" nonsense.

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    1. Yes! Sometimes, I just want to see someone have a bad day. I think there is a perception that being vegan makes you some skinny, happy goddess. There are vegans of all shapes and sizes and levels of happiness, for sure.

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  2. Dear Dana, that is exactly why I read your blog ! a lot of blogs are perfect, but yours feels like it is written by a real girl. I tried eat vegan for about a year, and got my diabetes under control, but now I struggle again. Your blog encourages me to always try again, and that is great.
    Feel great about yourself, because you are a big help to a lot of people.
    All the best. Martine from Belgium.

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    1. Thanks so much, Martine. It is good to hear.

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  3. I love this. Professional blogs can be beautiful but I often feel discouraged because I will never be as perfect as them. Whereas reading about someone who struggles with the same things I do (weight, self-esteem, etc.) and seeing you make progress toward a healthy life is very inspiring to me. Thanks for sharing your life with us!

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    1. My favorite blogs are definitely the ones written by real people that just chronicle their day to day life/struggles/triumphs, etc. It's good to know others struggle out there, too. Thanks for commenting! :)

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  4. I read because you are relatable and real! Some of your recipes are in steady rotation at my house, thank you for helping us get closer to plant based eating

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    1. Glad to hear that the recipes make your rotation. That is an honor :) all any of us can do is hope to be as plant based as we can

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  5. Dana,
    Thank you for this! Being honest about feelings is not always the easiest thing. We are taught to hide our feelings when they are not the happiest... I feel like in order to connect with people you have to be truly transparent even when it might be hard. But that is the stuff the relationships are built on! I think we could all benefit from a little transparency and learn to connect better!
    You are a true role model for people vegan and non.. Not sure that there is a single person out there that can claim their inertercations with you did not enrich their day!

    Keep on keeping on!

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    1. What beautiful words. I am lucky to have such amazing readers. <3

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  6. Dana,
    I have been reading your blog for a long time, and it's my favorite blog by far. Many times when I read about your struggles, it feels like I am reading about my own. I am so happy that you plan on going back to writing honest posts about your daily life.

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    1. Thanks so much. I really look forward to getting back to daily posts as well. :)

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  7. I read your blog because it is real and authentic not because you use natural light or your green smoothies are the perfect shade of green.

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  8. There's definitely a place for "real life" blogging!
    Don't be discouraged by what you see other people doing around you. Do what is right for you, and you will connect with the people who like your message.
    I struggle with my body and parenting, and lots of other things! I actually prefer blogs that deal with my personal struggles. I also enjoy looking at blogs that look like magazines, but for different reasons.

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    1. There is definitely a place for those magazine type blogs, which is a great way to put it. I'm glad there is a variety out there and that people want to see both.

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  9. Dana, you should write about whatever makes you happy because that comes across to the readers. I know you are an inspiration to those around you and far across the globe with complete strangers. You are a smart, beautiful person and your friends and loved ones are lucky to have you in their lives. Thanks for all you do for the animals, for the planet, and for the us readers who value your thoughts and pages. People like you, are who I look to for inspiration that I find lacking in my own age group. (old dogs need to learn new tricks!) My faith and hope are in the younger generations, and where I live in California, I see that change growing stronger, as we move towards more compassion. It may take some time, but for now, YOUR Voice is so important. Don't forget that for a moment. Love to you. Cody's Mom ;)

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    1. Thank you for such lovely words. You have always been there to encourage me, even before I started the blog. I love and appreciate that very much. If the youth of the world are half as talented, loving and creative as your sons, I think the world is going to be ok. I am blessed to know your family. :)

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  10. I love this post, and I feel the same way. When I first went vegan I was so excited by all the cool vegan blogs out there, but you're right, over the years they've all turned out the same. it's the same recipes every week, the same thoughts, the same process. I get tired of it, and discouraged, I hate seeing adds on blogs I hate product promotion or product placement that you know isn't legit. I review products on my blog often, but I buy them myself at the store and only talk about them if I actually liked them. I'm tired of all the glossy-in-your-face-blogging.

    I like blogs that are written by real people, writing about things they really like, because they really want to. That's why your blog is so good! It's genuine!

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    1. Thanks so much. I feel the same way about products. If I use something and love it, I want to tell everyone about it, but I want that enthusiasm to be genuine, not because there is compensation. Advertisements and such can have a place on the blog. I just don't want money to be the goal. I blog so I can connect to others like me. Glad you enjoyed the post.

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  11. I'm vegetarian, not vegan and I check your blog every day because I enjoy bloggers who give you a glimpse of their whole lives, including the not so pretty bits, because we can all relate to that. I feel that the best blogs evolve as their writers evolve, and if your life and interests move in a different direction go with it. Just like in real life, some people may fall away, but you will gain new friends too!

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    1. That's such a great way to think about it. Life is a fluctuation, and I too like blogs where people evolve. Thanks for reading!

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