Someone who sprang up on the side.
Well at least that’s how people, branded as offshoots, were seen.
Maybe not in your place, no.
Maybe just in my hometown.
And this particular friend.
She was branded an extremist.
An offshoot, even.
She, plus me, and a bunch of cool and vegan college students among our peers.
Notice I said cool. Haha.
But that’s just to me. To my eyes.
Not to theirs.
To the people who branded us extremists.
We couldn’t help it.
We had really strong convictions about the lifestyle.
The vegan lifestyle, I mean.
My friend—let’s call her Nelly for simplicity’s sake—had a choleric vibe.
So she had quite the strong aura.
Nelly often expressed her opinions fearlessly.
Not a few hated her for that.
But little did those haters know, she cries.
Inside our room.
We were roommates. In college.
And batchmates, too.
So it’s safe to say I know her well enough to tell people that Nelly’s actually a good person.
She doesn’t mean people harm when she voices her thoughts out…
Especially her convictions.
There we are again.
You remember Peter’s story, right?
Nelly had similar strong convictions, but she did not rant heavily on Facebook, unlike Peter.
(Facebook wasn’t a place for ranting, back then.)
Instead, Nelly shared her thoughts to individuals, face to face.
To fellas, young and old.
Nelly was heavy on this word.
She often asked me years back if I thought she had a good enough kind of reputation.
Enough to be respected.
I think she did. Honestly.
Already told you I know her well enough.
I believe Nelly was only being true.
Like Peter, she was also being genuine about her convictions.
So when she was questioned, she answered back.
Not in a ill manner, no.
She answered well.
But her tone, I would say, it’s braver than what you’d hear from a typical college student.
She was a defender of what we believed in.
And by the way, we—the cool kids I mentioned above—
We were believers of the whole-food plant-based vegan diet.
We loved it.
We prepped and cooked our own food.
We even planned of building a wellness center together.
We were an amazing group. Haha.
Now don’t you dare say I’m trying to lift our own chairs here. 😅
Just saying I think we weren’t wrong.
In fact we were so right about so many things, but again…
Just like Peter, we were so strongly protective of our own convictions…
That we might have come off as too harsh.
Couple that with a choleric temperament.
No wonder people around would see Nelly as a threat.
A threat to their ego, that is.
And how often, my dears, the ego is indeed the enemy.
Come to think of it…
What if Nelly sounded totally okay?
I mean, actually? Hmmm.
What if she wasn’t really being an angry vegan?
Was she even angry?
I don’t think so.
What if people only perceived her to be angry…
Thought her to be condemning them…
Imagined her to be wishing curses on them…
Just because of their ego?
What if someone actually neutral, someone who can be completely objective about it…
Listens to what Nelly really has to say?
Do you absolutely think she was worthy of being branded as an extremist?
Or, which one actually sounds more extreme?
I was born this way, and I will die this way.Nelly Hater 1
We’re all going to die anyway, so I will keep eating this way.Nelly Hater 2
Don’t these two super familiar lines sound more extreme than…
I will do what is right because it is right and will leave the consequences with God.Nelly
I mean, never mind the “God” part if you don’t share the belief.
But in terms of standing true for one’s convictions…
Don’t you think Nelly is more reasonable?
I feel very much so, too.