Taking Time to Digest

Ladies I look up to. Vegetarian Summerfest 2012.

… A different kind of digestion. (Even though, after last week, I could tell you an awful lot about the internal, biological kind.)

I’m still trying to wrap my head around all the lessons that I took home with me from this wonderful festival, in the truest sense of the word. A celebration, a family, hugging strangers first and learning their names second.

This photo was so meaningful to me. A bunch of incredible women who have been long involved in the Vegan Community, doing wonderfully inspiring work, were posing for a photo on the last night there. While I was grabbing my bag to step out of the way, Allison said, “Jaime, get over here!”, and everyone shuffled around so I could step in.

And this sounds really sappy and sentimental (hey, it’s what I do best sometimes, corny as it may be) but it was a great symbolization of the best lesson I took away this week: That I am finding my place in this community, there is room for me here and I need to fill it and own it, and it can be shoulder to shoulder with those I most look up to.

We cannot be afraid of putting our hearts, efforts, and creativity into the world.

Because there are those with more experience, notoriety, money, books or videos/shows does not mean we should stand in the shadows because we don’t have “as much”. We would never tell a musician they should not play because there are other musicians; we would never tell a writer not to write because there are other writers.

Do not be afraid to make your mark. Find and value your voice and your place. You can stand on the shoulders of giants.

EDIT: Soon after making this post, Lisa replied with the comment:

“The best leaders don’t inspire because they’re somehow extraordinary – they inspire because they have the same gifts as everyone else but find extraordinary ways to share them.”

Thank you.

Pictured: Allison Samson of Allison’s Gourmet and “Veganize It!” VegNews columnist, Lisa Pittman of Vegan Culinary Crusade, Fran Constigan vegan pastry chef, Jill Nussinow the Veggie Queen, and me!