Hi Militia Ink and welcome! I too have social anxiety, and avoidant personality disorder. However, being vegan is something I have been passionate about from day one, and it is who I am and what I stand for. I remember I did wait about a month before coming out to others because I was afraid of judgment and arguments, but honestly most people have been great. Veganism has really helped me a lot with being more assertive and speaking up for myself and my needs. it has given me a voice I never thought I had. I actually leafleted and tabled local colleges, high schools and downtown for a time. I did it all on my own with phone tips and materials supplied by Vegan Outreach. I remember when I would head for a crowd with my leaflets, and how every instinctive part of myself wanted to run away, but that NEED to share what I learned and important information with young people totally overcame that instinct. I thought tabling at a local private catholic college would be a nightmare, but it was one of the best experiences I ever had, and felt like a huge accomplishment. People are usually more respectful in person. There are those few that will be jerks, and I learned to shut them out and focus on those interested in learning more.
I never felt ashamed of being vegan, but I have felt reluctant to share it to certain people because I KNOW they aren't going to understand, and trying to explain what it means to those people can be a challenge. I remember that I spent a LOT of time learning about what veganism means, and all the issues, and learning about vegan nutrition and so on, so that I could be more articulate in my answers. And just being myself is the best way to go about it. I don't necessarily shout to everyone around me that I am vegan. I share it with friends, family, coworkers here and there. I wear vegan T shirts from time to time to the fitness center or around the neighborhood. Otherwise, I am just me, living my life and doing my thing. If the topic comes up, great, if not, that's ok too.
It was tougher with close family as they had genuine concerns. It took some patience, and generally just being positive and enthusiastic about being vegan in the way I lived my life, how I prepared food, and delt with situations when traveling etc. I don't complain a lot. But I am very firm in my commitment and what I will do and not do. I think that convinced my family more than any particular information I gave them. When they saw me thriving, they became more ok with it. And I love to cook and prepare homemade food, and share it with others. I loved doing that long before going vegan, but being vegan opened up a whole new world of recipes and creative ways to make food.
You are in good company here!
In the end, only kindness matters. - Jewel
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