As a youngster growing up in the inner city, there are many things that you’re exposed to as a young age that you probably shouldn’t be. Violence, drugs, gangs – I’ve been there, done and experienced that. You see so much that it becomes sort of normal to you – even though most outsiders wouldn’t see it that way. One of the things I really got into as a kid was comic books. And let me tell you guys one thing, kids in the ‘hood’ weren’t into comic books. At least not admittedly they weren’t. But I was. It was my own little escape from the goings-on in the community I called home, but didn’t always feel truly connected to – for whatever reason. However, in saying that, I collected many different kinds of comic books; from Spiderman to Batman, to Superman – down to the Spawn’s and Savage Dragons of the world. But, none of them could ever hold a candle to the X-men. It was Xmen by a mile… and it wasn’t even close. I loved the story of them being outcasts, shunned by society, but still with positive intentions and fighting for their freedom (*Note: Since becoming an adult, I’ve learned that the Xmen were created during the civil rights movement, and Professor X and Magneto were likended after Martin Luther King, jr. and Malcolm X, respectively. Think about it. Interesting, isn’t it?).
To me, it was the ultimate, as far as standing for something great, and just being plain cool. Reading the comics (and later watching the movies), like any kid, I used to think how cool it would be to have their powers. To have the ability to defend yourself against anyone; fly, teleport, heal from anything, read minds – the list goes on and on. But, the characters in those comics always seemed to be at a crossroads with their powers. Many of them felt burdened by them. They were tired of fighting; fatigued from being seen as the enemy when all they wanted to do was live in peace; sunstroke from the constant struggle that doing the right thing can bring. Does that remind you of anything?
I have had very tiresome days responding to people’s silly questions and/or comments. Telling them why I was vegan and why it was so important to others and myself. Having to endure burger commercials and people apologizing to me for not having any vegan food for me. The all of a sudden nutrition experts who are now concerned about my protein intake. I know most people reading this know all of those, and more, all too well. We, in essence, are X-men. We fight for something we know to be right – while the rest of society puts their heads down and, many times, combat us on it because they’re uniformed, or it scares them. See, like the X-men, veganism will never be normal, because most people don’t practice it. Just like most people aren’t born mutants with super-human like abilities. Wolverine has always just wanted to be left alone. Same with Rogue. I, as a vegan, just want people to leave animals alone. Same as the planet. We’re not so different when you really think about it.
WANNA CONNECT TO THE PLANT-BASED COMMUNITY?
See, the thing is, we’ll most likely never be considered the norm. Only the norm in the circles we’re in. And, yes, that absolutely sucks. But unlike many of the Xmen, I don’t see vegan as a curse. I see it as literally the best gift I’ve ever gotten. Vegr wouldn’t exist had I not gone vegan. And I wouldn’t be a ‘woke’ man penning this blog today. And besides all that, who wants to be normal? It’s so boring. But, I digress. I really am sorry to break it to the vegans who aren’t yet comfortable expressing their veganism in public, or to the masses (I know you’re out there, and it’s ok), but you’ll never just be able to blend in an be like everyone else. And if someone tells you that you can, they’re lying to you.
However, the great news in all this is that you can wake up daily knowing you’re remarkable. You’re among a few select bunch doing something heroic. You’re an X-men.
So, please; do me a favor and (if you are) stop trying to be normal. You aren’t. Embrace being different and let it shine. It’s definitely not going to always be easy. But what in life is? We are all living our lives to the best of what we know – that much is true. With that said, in every category of every category rests the few that are excellent. LeBron James in basketball, Mark Zuckerberg in tech, Elon Musk in business… you with veganism. You’re different. All the great ones are. So, do me a favor and never forget that fact. Tell it to yourself every day, every day, every day – until you embrace it with open arms. After a while, you’ll walk around wearing it like the badge of honor that it is.
Good luck, fellow X-men!
Vegr Contributor, Artist, Comic Book Fan.
CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO OUR SUPER INTERESTING BI-WEEKLY BLOGS. TAKES 7 SECONDS AND YOU'LL LOVE IT!