By far, the hardest part of veganism for me is still the social stigma. It’s seeing and feeling the judgements. The same judgements that, in the past, I put on vegans. It’s being taken less seriously or being looked at like an alien when the topic comes up. Being “outed” at functions before having the opportunity for people to see and hear you outside of your dietary choices. There is a certain isolation at having a deep knowledge of a completely fucked up industry that everyone is complicit in participating in because so many refuse to go deep.Because I, myself, refused to go deep for so long. It is the hardest part; but, it also becomes a hundred times easier when you actively intend to stop giving a fuck about what other people think.
Those judgments are a defense mechanism. Your presence as a vegan forces others to think about their own habits. Rather than be introspective about their own choices, which can get quite uncomfortable, they lash out at you instead. It’s easier. It requires less effort, but that they even felt the need to say or do anything at all tells you that the seed has already been planted.
When you realize that, the judgments, jokes, and stigma almost become a welcome ritual, because you know your very existence and “annoying” presence as the person at the barbecue who brought the veggie burgers is wearing away at a deeply entrenched fabric of exploitation and cruelty. You don’t have to judge them back; they’re already doing that to themselves, trying desperately to deflect it onto you. What’s more, you don’t have to actively proselytize anyone; veganism is viral, and what they have seen, they cannot unsee.