Some people can be real dicks. If you don’t do what everyone else is doing, what you’re supposed to do, they feel compelled to bring you back into line with society’s expectations by using high-school bullying tactics. I’ve worked with people like that in the past. Now I’m fortunate to work in an environment that is fairly open-minded.
Being mostly vegan, I keep vegan snacks like fresh and dried fruit, snack bars and seaweed at my desk, and I nibble on them whenever I get peckish. My co-workers are used to it. Most of my peers are simply curious about what I eat, some have similar diets and many have at one time or another been vegan or vegetarian. Nearly all have an appreciation for organics and many grow some of their own food which means they can relate, on some level, to my dietary choices.
So I was sitting at my desk nibbling away on a pack of wasabi seaweed, and a piece flung across the room. I couldn’t find it because the carpet is almost the same color and I honestly didn’t try very hard, so I quickly capitulated and went on working. About an hour later, when a co-worker, bent over and picked up a third of a sheet of seaweed off of the carpet near my desk and asked, “Is this your seaweed?” We laughed as I countered her question with, “What makes you think it’s mine?”
I know what it’s like to have people say things like, “Oh! you’re one of those people,” or worse, having bosses make me work through my lunch so that everyone else could go out to eat together sharing parting words along the lines of, “You can just stay here and nibble on your nuts and seeds. See ya later!” as the laughter of my co-workers grew to a crescendo and then faded into the distance as they grabbed their coats and debated who would ride with whom.
Through all of that, I maintained the conviction that I was making the right dietary choices for me. What I soon came to realize, was that I was surrounding myself with the wrong people, because that environment caused me stress and lack of sleep.
Peace of mind is just as important as a good diet. Once I realized that, my world changed. I made different and better choices. This led me to change my work environment and to find the place where I can be myself without being made to feel like the odd one out.
These situations bring to mind the humorous “In the end, we all fruit” speech from the movie My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding.
I’d love to know how you choose to deal with closed-mindedness and bullying be it from co-workers, friends, strangers, or even family. Have you experienced bullying because of your lifestyle or dietary choices? What is your response? Have you made any drastic changes like finding new friends, moving, changing jobs, etc.in order to surround yourself with more like-minded people? Let me know in the comments.