Vegan Popularity and Social Anxiety

When you find out about something new, you start seeing it everywhere. It’s hard for me to figure out sometimes if it’s because you’re looking for it now, or if you are seeing it more because it’s more popular, and hence, the reason why you found out about it in the first place. Veganism is definitely an example of this for me.

I had heard about vegans before this year of course, but it wasn’t until I went vegan that I began seeing it everywhere, and from what I’ve read and experienced, it seems that the amount of those interested and living it is increasing.

It is very difficult to find information on the amount of vegans in the United States and beyond. I’ve read that the Generation Y (Millennials), which is the generation I belong to, has more vegans than generations in the past, and I’m sure that’s true, but I can’t find any hard evidence.

Recently, I attended a documentary premier (PlantPure Nation) in Houston. Houston, fourth largest city in the U.S. with a population of over 2 million, and over 6 million if you count the surrounding areas, sounds like a rather populated city. Imagine my surprise to attend this movie premier, showing in only one theater, on only one screen, in the center of town, at a perfect time of 7:30pm, and to not have that movie theater packed. It sucks really, for lack of better words, and also as a way to really describe the suckiness of it.

So what is it? Does Houston really not have enough vegans to fill a theater of 300 seats? Or is it something else?

I have a confession. I’m afraid of other vegans and of new people. I’m afraid to be an activist. I’ve never been the type to make my presence known, as I don’t want to offend anyone, and try to live as peacefully and aware as possible. However, I wore my recently bought, and first, vegan t-shirt, in hopes that the t-shirt would make it easier for me to engage in conversations, but alas, it barely worked.

For one, there just wasn’t many people there early. The theater has a bar area, and there was only a couple people in and out before the movie, so I just sat and talked to the bartender (not about veganism, but just everyday conversation). For two, once a few people came around, I just didn’t know what to say. My t-shirt got me one conversation, but it was short-lived. In general, I have difficulty initiating and holding conversations with a new person or group of people, regardless of whether we have the same beliefs.

So, yes, the theater was half-full, and yes, no crowd showed up early to really have a stance or a true networking event, but was it because people were afraid like myself to let their presence be known? I hope so. I hope there are more vegans out there in my amazing city that are just as afraid as me to connect with others in real life. But how the hell do we connect if we’re so afraid?

My first t-shirt, by the way, says “Vegan Mofo” across the front in big letters. Not sure why, but that is the shirt that spoke to me above all the other choices on Etsy.