I've been vegan for nearly 15 years, so not only do I have family support, but all of my friends and acquaintances are on board and used to accommodating me. But it wasn't always so easy. I was one of the early vegans around here, and certainly the first in my family. It takes time for friends, co-workers and anyone close to you to wrap their minds about this new thing you're doing. But they will - eventually! Lol.
But yeah, the first year I went vegan, I organized a Farm Sanctuary Walk (Does anyone remember those?), which introcduced me to the group that had been protesting Ringling Bros every spring, and then we all decided to protest the local furrier, so it grew to be a very active local animal rights group. Once those connections were made, it really felt like I had a group of people who supported me.
I think I've answered one of your other threads on this, but there are different kinds of "loneliness." I've got quite a bit of support with acquaintances or friends. I know a good ten people in town I can talk to about animal rights, and more like 50 I can talk to who live down in Berkeley or San Francisco, if I was so moved to ….well, move there.
I've never dated a vegan for longer than a couple of dates. I've actually known vegan men very hostile to the fact that I'm an activist. My roommate for example, is younger than me, but that's not a problem for me (he's an adult), what the problem is that he thinks I'm sooooo different because of being an activist type. He says he cares "somewhat" about animal rights. Well, you know, I care "somewhat" about 19th Century Gothic Romanticism, but that's hardly a hill for us to stand on together.
I did date a lifelong vegetarian for a while. He was like 39 and had never eaten meat and raised his two children veggie. He seemed very sweet at first but later I wanted no involvement in his weird divorce and child-rearing situation, because he seemed to be not really over his ex, played victim to every woman he had dated since, and had sole custody of his kids which was weird for me since I'm not a mom.
My lonely lies more in not being able to meet a compatible partner, even if I've dated people here and there. I know you shouldn't expect everything from your partner, and I would be okay with my partner not being an activist. He could even be a vegetarian. But I don't want to be with some vegan who resents me for being an activist, I think I might be less compatible with activist-hating vegans than I am with people who still eat animal products. Really. I've experienced very, very weird hostilities or discomfort because of this with other vegans in my town not just with guys, but even with a woman who was part of my cohort as an undergrad. People who find me embarrassing are of no interest to me. I stopped being that self-absorbed when I was like 26.
Well my absolutely favorite moments as an activist were definitely with DXE. When we marched in Berkeley and protested inside the Berkeley Bowl, then on a different day went to a rich neighborhood in San Francisco and peacefully hijacked a Whole Foods. I've considered moving to the Bay Area just because I know I'd be able to do these things (and more) on a regular basis if I moved there. To the expensive, crowded, noisy, materialistic... there.
But I've also done DXE locally, I'm the town organizer right now, and I had some warm fuzzy moments meeting local people who wanted to get involved. We haven't done a lot yet though, we're supposed to do our first action in February.
I did the National Animal Rights Day in Venice Beach a few years ago on my birthday, which was cool enough, but Moby was also there, which was even cooler.
I think mostly what annoys these local guys I've met is we live in a small hippie town, and I'm a major mouthpiece for the Vegan Club, trying to get people to come to events and stuff. I also just ...do things. Like tell people not to bring animal body parts in our house. Being a vegetarian is one thing but get your dead chicken out of my living space. I also wear a lot of activist shirts out and about, and pipe up when I find something seriously concerning. I debated quite a bit with the people in the rural part of the county about their animal husbandry when we went there last August as a grad school class. Isn't that the whole purpose of college? To debate and learn? I wasn't mean or disrespectful. I mean - I'm in my 30s, I'm not going to hide in my teacher's skirts. "Experiential learning" has a price, and I chose this college for reason. I'll squeeze every dollar out of what I've paid for, to be sure.
Oh, and I along with officers from Vegan Club had meetings with the director of campus Dining. That was meaningful. I also created my pamphlet in a graphic design class, which the club passed out for at least a year.
Being an activist is such a part of who I am that I barely think about it. I think that's what's bothering these guys, they're imagining the next 25-50 years with someone who sees an opportunity to evangelize weekly, if not daily.
I really should move to Berkeley. I just don't want to.
A really fun thing I do is host Vegan Outreach activists once or twice a year. Typically young activists (although our last one was in his 30s) who stay for 4-5 days and leaflet colleges in the area. I've even joined them a few times when I could get out mid-day to leaflet with them. It's a great way to stay plugged into what young activists are doing and how veganism is being perceived. Young people are far more open to being vegan than old fogies (my contemporaries, lol).
I know a number of fellow animal rights vegans (which i met, of course, through electronic channels), but have been encountering people in real life who follow a plant based diet.
My personal hope is that once a person stops to consume animal products, they will at some point also be able to see the grave injustice done to animals (people who eat animal products tend to overlook this) and become more interested in and more active for animal rights. It certainly was that way with me.
All the main animal rights activist groups are 35 + south of me. It's too far to travel on the jam packed motorway plus parking is an issue. Such a shame as they do quite a lot in the town and even protest in front of butcher shops.