It’s Christmas Eve. Dinner’s at our place. A giant veggie lasagna, mainly, with some other bits and pieces on the side. Stuffed bread shaped like a wreath, a big green salad. Bananas foster for dessert, with that daring rum-fueled flame at the end. A couple of game hens as well, with roasted squash, because carbs are not for everyone. I did most of the work yesterday, so what I plan to do now is bedeck the rooms in twinkle lights and votive candles, set out bowls of crunchy things and chewy things, bright red tomatoes that pop in the mouth. A patient gave me some fresh chestnuts from her orchard, so I thought I’d roast them, peel them, and saute them in butter, and we can have them with our drinks.

When I say butter, what that means for me is plant-based butter. Okayfine, it’s vegan. Likewise the lasagna, the rolls, the ice cream. I’ve considered myself vegan for at least ten years, but I find the label a tedious weight sometimes. It implies a level of rigor I just can’t cope with. People are always trying to catch you out. What do you mean by sauteing in butter, Averil, I thought you were vegan? And though the butter’s not real, maybe I’m not either. Obviously a real vegan wouldn’t prepare game hens for a friend, she’d find another option, some low-carb vegan ninja shit like the Wicked Chef might do.

But I’m a bad vegan, if you’d call me that. I prefer to think of it as being relaxed. My standards slacken at restaurants and on special occasions. I make no apology for this, I don’t hide it. It’s not a perfect world and I don’t expect perfection from myself. All I’m trying to do, in any case, is incrementally lighten my burden on the planet. That’s it. I’m not here to preach or pontificate about the benefits of eating plants, or throw paint onto anyone’s fur coat. I am only trying to be gentle—on the planet, on my fellow creatures, on the global community. This sounds very woo-woo. I’m aware of that. This is why I don’t tell people I’m vegan until I’ve known them for some time—or until we share a meal together, whichever comes first. It’s a personal decision, one that inevitably draws a reaction. Often, a negative reaction. And I’ll admit it hurts my feelings when people sneer at us for trying to be kind, as if it’s some deeply ridiculous predilection like teddy-bear porn, or a hair-shirt penance by which we are trying to atone. We’re just eating plants, okay? The penance bit is optional, and no one’s asking you to hug a giant oak. You do you. I’ll be too busy stuffing my face with tofu ricotta to worry about your roast beast.

This entry has swung wide of the Christmas spirit I was going for at the start. All I mean to say is that it’s okay to fall in love with the world. It really is okay to care, to make some sacrifices for the greater good. It’s okay to evolve, to change, to be imperfect yet to hold an ideal in your mind that demands something of you. It’s okay to be gentle.

It’s okay to be an atheist and still say Merry Christmas.

To all. And to all a good night.


As a quick aside, I know that if you’re on the blog’s email list, you’re probably getting pummeled by these posts. Please do unsubscribe if that’s going to bug you, as I plan to journal here in the coming months and do not want to annoy anyone who signed up years ago and has since moved on. Go with love, my friend, and many kisses at the door.

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