(Interview starts about 22-minutes in, and can be streamed above or downloaded via iTunes by searching: Red Radio Episode 36)
After years of resisting Twitter, finally using it lead me to discover an absolutely wonderful podcast with an energetic, passionate host and a focus on almost any vegan topic you can imagine as she interviews folks that run of the gamut of movers-and-shakers in the veg community.
Erin Red hosts the podcast “Red Radio”. She’s a trained improv actor and animal activist, and her distinctive voice and personality are so evident in her interviews, making them really unique and special. She has interviewed many of my favorite people (including Mellisser Elliott, Dreena Burton, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau) and discussed topics like gay rights + animal rights, “black culture” among vegans, pop culture, events and getting down and dirty about sex. Hey now!
The morning before I was interviewed I was so nervous, I nearly changed my mind.
I knew it was important to be honest about my journey, my past, and the path to where I am now. I was nervous because… there are some messy parts (as most of ours have been at some time). I’ve seen the way people latch on to sentences or sound bites and use them out of context as fuel to condemn someone, and I was worried about this.
There are parts of my vegan journey I am embarrassed and ashamed of, and opening up about them (despite not even really delving into them, but discussing them “publicly” in any capacity) made me very, very scared. I don’t want the integrity of what I do to be questioned because of where I was back then.
Here’s the thing about mistakes and regrets: Since no one has invented a time machine, our only other choice is to learn from them and act on those lessons.
People can debate you and judge you or make assumptions, but they won’t change what happened. But I think within our weaknesses (or perceived weaknesses) lie opportunities for real connection. And that’s what made this podcast interview so special.
One thing I said in the interview that sums it all up:
“We talk a lot about veganism saving animals, but I really think it can help us save ourselves.”
At the end of our interview, Erin included a TED talk on the subject of: vulnerability. It’s absolutely beautiful, and if we could remember the points made I think we could all go through a world a little more understanding, a little kinder.
Keep up with Erin and her work — she’s sure to spark the fire in your belly.
This is the letter I sent to Erin the next day (after the cut):
Erin Red, Sassy Vegan Wonderwoman,
I truly cannot thank you enough for taking time and interest in Save the Kales! I was humbled and so happy when you reached out about wanting to do an interview, and even more happy it could come to fruition.
I wasn’t sure if I could go through with the idea, mainly because I knew the topic of my past would come up. All I could think about was how many people would completely disregard my work now, my credibility, the horrible comments online and maybe on other blogs, the potential for loss of support among people in our vegan community… It was almost too much. I worried that putting that story out there would only invite nasty emails and back turning.
However, it was liberating.
The thing about our pasts is that we can’t ever change them. I won’t be able to go back and “fix” those years of my life today, next year, or 50 years from now. We accept the part, we (hopefully) learn from it, and we move on.
One thing my boyfriend (he’s a standup comic) has always told me along this journey is that you have a choice. You can: 1) put yourself out there, be true to you, and face criticism or just plain meanness, or 2) you can not do anything, ever.
I know you’re a lady who will agree that #2 just ain’t an option.
I may get those nasty emails, I may have people who want nothing to do with Save the Kales! now, but I have to hope I will also help people who have gone through their own “worst time” (and haven’t we all?). We can come out of it better people.
I wanted to thank you for the wonderful conversation – you have such a passionate heart and that is so, so evident from second one of talking with you. I am thrilled to see how RedRadio progresses and continues to become something deeply important to people. I think one of the most valuable things we can offer each other as human beings are our stories. You help bring them to light.
I am so touched by the kindness with which you talked about me. I will think of that on days when I get overwhelmed. Thank you.
And I am thankful for your inclusion of the TED talk. You really tied in so much of our discussion with this bigger picture: we are humans, we are imperfect, and we can use that to our advantage to suspend judgements and make connections.
I cannot thank you enough, and it would be an honor to work with you on something in the future. I hope I can meet you in November when I am in NY for *very exciting thing I’ll be announcing on the blog soon. You are a fiery ball of love and light, and I’m so grateful for our meeting one another.
I’ll mention that all feedback I received on this interview has been from people who have struggled/are currently struggling with their own anxiety or depression, guilt, or finding their way. To those who reached out, I’m so glad you did, and remember that your journey is yours and just keep doing the best you can. That’ll be enough. xo
Author’s Note: In moments when we discuss “no vegan cooking shows”, that is not to disregard the ones that have existed in the past, are currently being worked on, or the ones that do exist on Youtube or the two on PBS (Christina Cooks and The Jazzy Vegetarian). The griping was mainly about the lack of a show on a major food network. I know how much time goes into producing a show, and appreciate the ones that are already out there. :)