A vegan and a hunter walk into a bar…

Hello and happy Sunday Funday. [Blogged while realizing grapes might be my favorite fruit. It’s like a chip, but one that explodes with juice.]

The world is a weird place where strangers have so many opinions about each other. What they should wear, think, say, do and eat. To be fair, I’m said stranger with opinions. And so are you, to some degree. This is a story about two people navigating life together with very different opinions. It’s a story I think we all need to hear right now.

When Charlie and I first started dating, I ate animals. We’d go on dates and split chicken strips, order a traditional pizza on Friday night, and share our favorite State Fair foods each summer. As my relationship with food shifted, so did the one I had with Charlie. We were forced to be more mindful about where we went out to eat and what meals we made together. And over time, it became our normal.

When I learned Charlie hunted, it was almost an instant deal breaker, to be honest. I’ve always hated it. I don’t understand it. And I believe only sociopaths find joy in killing animals. (Lookin’ at you, babe.) It’s ironic that now, as a vegan, I would rather he go hunt his own meat than support the mind-numbingly awful practices of factory farming. Because that’s the kind of vegan I am. Isn’t that neat?

Someone might think I’m not a “real” vegan because I married someone who hunts and eats animals. And someone may judge Charlie for marrying a tree-hugging female Ace Ventura. But the world (and certainly humans) are not black and white. How boring if it was! Contrast is colorful, and often complementary. When we approach conflict with an open mind, we’re able to have meaningful conversations with people who challenge the way we think. Right, wrong, and every hue in between.

I’m often asked if our situation presents challenges. Me being married to someone who kills animals when I actively encourage people to not. And my answer is no. Because we respect each other. It’s literally that simple. Do I love that a frozen bird carcass with the feathers still on is thawing in my fridge right now? Not really. But holy shit this life is so short. And we’re all so much more alike than we care to admit. If a vegan and a hunter can find common ground, I can confidently hope that every adult should have the capacity to have mature (yet maybe uncomfortable) conversations with anyone on the planet.

We should be having those conversations from a place of genuine curiosity instead of bitter bias before it even starts. Understanding someone else’s perspective (or God forbid changing your own) isn’t a sign of weakness. It shows strength of empathic character. And through that empathy, personal growth, and maybe a little compassion, we can truly make this world a better place.

Oh. The joke? You wanna know the end of the joke.

They got married.

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