Raw Talk: When Parents Just Don’t Understand

A couple of points before I launch into today’s story:

1. Thanks to EVERYONE who commented here, on FB and on Twitter on the A Bad Day at Bikram post. I cannot tell you how appreciative  I am for the feedback and the support! You know, sometimes those of us who are so used to doling out the support get a touch shocked when we get it back. Y’all are the best buddies EVER.

2. My Day 4 and 5 at Bikram went a lot better! Turns out that it was a mix of the Day Three Blues and that pesky PMS. My mind was much quieter the next day and I could see progress in my poses. Lesson learned: vent, scream, cry, get pissy… and then get right back in the game.

Okay! Now that everything’s up to date, I have to tell you about a convo I had with my mother on Friday. Warning, this is a long one.

Some quick background for y’all who don’t know me: my mother, Sylvia, is the closest person in the world to me. In addition, my aunt Bevo is ALSO my mother. It is as if she and Sylvia split the egg and had this daughter that is a meld of the both of them. I love them both so dearly and depend on their love, advice and guidance on the daily. So, when the both of them pop up and don’t understand my chosen trajectory… hmm.

Here’s the transcript of a text convo I had with Syl on Friday:

ME: Yo! Just an FYI: I’m giving you some purses. The black Gucci one Leon gave me, the pink Coach and the zebra Dooney & Burke.

SYL: WHY?!?!?

ME: Why what?

SYL: Why are you giving away your purses? (My mother knows I’m a purse fanatic, hence her concern.)

ME: Oh! I watched the movie “Earthlings”. I can’t be a part of that. No more meat or leather. I know you think it’s extreme, but it’s what I need to do. Giving away shoes, too. Gradually, in phases.

SYL: So you are going to wear PLASTIC shoes?!?!

ME: I know it’s an adjustment, but most of the hot-ass shoes on Victoria’s Secret aren’t leather. And think of those cute lace-up Calvin Klein’s we bought last year. Those aren’t leather, either.

SYL: “I am becoming concerned now… are you headed toward a complete vegan manifesto? Where is this going? I am serious.”

At this point, I decided to call her to have a meaningful conversation about her concern (and give my thumbs a rest). I came in mid-conversation between her and Bevo, and I heard Bevo throw around the word “fanatic” in the background.

Syl says, “We started with eating clean, then vegetarian, then vegan, then RAW, and now you’re giving up leather. You’ve been on several juice fasts over the last year. Where are we going with this? I’m afraid you’re going to begin wearing Birkenstocks and join some cult in the woods.”

(Do you notice how she kept using the word “WE”? Like I was somehow making this decision for the both of us?)

Does any of this sound familiar? You get excited about something you watch or feel or want to experience, you jump the “sharing” gun and encounter resistance from the folks you love the most. I have talked about what to do when you encounter people who don’t get what you’re doing (to be honest, I should have taken my own “Shhhhhhh” advice and not talked about it, especially not so soon after watching the movie), but what about when those people you thought were going to be the most supportive begin to question you?

Here’s a suggested blueprint: when the people you love wanna know what’s up, you have to FIRST depend on the the strength of your own convictions and understand your “why”. In addition, it’s up to YOU to understand the concern of the questioner, not depend on them to understand where you’re coming from. There’s no need to get confrontational; listen to what they have to say and calmly respond with how you feel. For example: after listening to what Syl had to say, I know she was concerned that she’d somehow birthed this hippie who’s going completely off the beaten track, gonna throw away every ounce of Diva she had cultivated and was going to start admonishing all the people around her when they reach for a slice of pepperoni… and that’s just not gonna happen. Here’s how I dealt with it:

First, I questioned lovingly: “Listen… I’m not trying to flip here; I really want to ask a question. What’s wrong with not eating meat? What’s the big deal if I don’t? I’m not telling YOU not to. In fact, I’m not telling ANYONE that they shouldn’t. This is a personal decision… and what’s wrong with that?”

Second, I then stated: “Look. I’m not giving up fashion. I’m not giving up MAC makeup. I’m not going to stop shaving my underarms. I’m not going to stop being myself… I’m just not eating meat or wearing leather. It’s not the end of the world, I promise.”

I can only give you advice based on my own experience and based on the relationship I have with my folks. I know that my parents (all of them) love and support me – the “from the moon to the dirt, fight anyone who messes with me, will always have my back, front, sides and middle” kinda support. I also know that if they don’t get my trajectory, it could be out of concern for my well-being and I just had to walk them through the process. In truth, they may not ever fully understand my decisions. What’s important is that I do. 

The next day, my mother and I circled back around to the conversation. She said, “You know that what I think really does not matter. You’re not hurting anyone or yourself. You’re not out shooting kids in the schoolyards. This is obviously working for you… so keep at it if it makes you happy. But, you WILL be only 85% raw, right?”

Gotta love the folks. 

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12 thoughts on “Raw Talk: When Parents Just Don’t Understand

  1. I hear ya! That’s about the convo I had with my mom when I went vegetarian and Buddhist! They love us and go deep left cause they thing we’re gonna turn into something other than their baby!

  2. oh yah, i understand! been there! and my mom’s vegetarian, well pescetarian. (sp?)

    i told my mom that i’ve been eating raw again, as much as possible and surprisingly she didn’t even react this time. eventually it’s just the way it is. i’ve been toying with the idea of starting to donate/gift some of my previously bought/gifted leather goods. but at the same time, the way i take care of things, they’ll last forever b/c they’re good quality and i already own them, and don’t want the expense of replacing them. but they do make me feel like a hypocrite, even though no one i know ever points it out. but still. my leather couch is looking pretty beat now too, and that’s something i won’t mind replacing with a cruelty free version.

    i’ve been vegan for 2.5 years now, and it’s definitely the direction i’ve shifted. i find myself actively choosing the vegan option for lifestyle purchases now when i can, but i’m not fanatical about it.

    do what feels right to you! <3

  3. Thanks for the advice. My family thinks I’m crazy also. I haven’t made the leap of going completely raw yet but it seems the Lord is directing me there. But just being vegetarian in Wyoming is weird cause everyone is meat lovin’ animal shootin’ kinda people.

  4. When I gave up pork in 1992……on my road to vegetarianism, my Mother was like “WHAT!!! You’ve been eating pork your whole life!!” But I knew I had to do what I needed to for me. Best decision I ever made. I’m 41 and people think I’m in my late 20s!

  5. When I told my mother I was going to do my 60-day challenge as a vegetarian she said, “When it’s over you will come back, right?” She meant come back to eating meat. It was a strange statement. Where was I going that I needed to come back from?

  6. Luckily my mom didn’t flip out too much when I became a vegetarian, but I’ve been really worried about telling her I’m doing a 60 day juice fast. I think that will be her last straw. On a completely different topic, I don’t want to become a vegan & I’m still on the fence about going raw, but do you have any tips on how I can permanently cut sugar and flour out of my diet. I want to use the juice fast to break that addiction for good, but even as a vegetarian I ate a lot of bread, rice & pasta and I cant imagine meals without them. How will I eat veggie burgers, what’s for dessert? Please help!

    • First, this is a common issue for people making the transition. A lot of folks think that being a vegetarian means feasting on all the carbs you can get your hands on, and this becomes an issue of “too much of a good thing”. The juice cleanse will definitely help you make the transition… but the key is going to be you filling your plate up with fruits and veggies. Eat those FIRST, and fill up on them as much as possible. This will help you cut down on the carbs, which we usually make the start and the majority of our meals. Try that and let me know what you think!

  7. Hey Carla! I hope you’re well! I began this health journey with juicing, based on your website. I too have watched Earthlings and I am a vegan now of one month. I am so happy that more humans are being touched, are hungry for knowledge, and are becoming aware of the truth! Stay strong, be blessed – you are a tremendous inspiration to me.

  8. I feel you completely on this. After watching Earthlings, I started changing up alot of things. Even my damn dogs are vegitarian now. I can’t even fathom the horrific practices in the dog food industries.

  9. Carla, I LOVE your “Shhhhh” advice. When I look back at my own biggest achievements, they’ve almost always been done with a huge “Shhhhh” factor. People “get it” only AFTER you prove it can (and should) be done.

    Earthlings, huh? This is the second time this film has been recommended to me, so I’ll have to check it out.

    -Ciao

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