Is this a secret society?
Hello and welcome to Taste This!, the official newsletter of StayingVegan.com!
Hi, welcome once again to Taste This, which is lovingly handcrafted each week from fine corinthian pleather!
This week we’ve got an announcement and an insight, and since one came from the other, it only makes sense that we do them in the right order…
It’s a boy!
As several of you have already heard, Angela gave birth on Thursday to a healthy baby boy! Dax Frederick Doucette arrived June 3 at 12:15 AM weighing in at 7 pounds, 1 ounce, and everyone’s doing great.
Hopefully this explains the lack of updates on the site last week – we’re getting into some routines and even starting to get a little bit of sleep, but personally, I’m still at the point where if I get an email that’s more than 2 lines long I often can’t figure out what it’s saying, so apologies if I don’t provide brilliant insights to your emails for the next little bit 🙂 Angela’s a whole other kind of tired, but all in all, I don’t think either of us would trade anything in the world for this!
We’re going to have updates on Staying Vegan this week, but they’ll be more of the “greatest hits” variety where we republish some old newsletters or articles that you might not have seen before or could possibly appreciate in a different light if your own circumstances have changes since they were first written.
And yes, I did in fact manage to turn some of this week’s experiences into thoughts on veganism, so here’s this week’s Big Idea:
Is this a secret society?
So here’s the interesting thing: we spent a lot of time getting ready for Dax, including talking to a lot of parents of young children, but our conversations with these same people since Dax was born have become a lot different.
They’re a lot more detailed, for one thing, and they go a lot deeper than “yeah, X happens a bit, and we’ve been doing Y.”
And I think there’s an interesting parallel with veganism here. The conversations we as vegans have with other vegans tend to be a lot different than the conversations we have about vegan “stuff” with carnists.
Some of you might not have any other vegans to talk with directly, but you’ll probably find similar patterns with online conversations, even one-way ones like reading this newsletter and the thoughts you form in your head afterwards.
So what’s up with that? Why do we speak a different level of truths, for lack of a better word, when we’re talking amongst ourselves? Is this a secret society with rituals and code words that the “outside world” can’t get access to?
Well, maybe, but I think it’s more symptomatic of a community, or what they’re starting to call a tribe in marketing circles. I’m going to stick with community for today.
Just like we’re finding with the New Parent community, membership in the vegan community definitely has its privileges, and I think there are two big drivers for that:
As vegans talking with vegans, we have a clear mutual interest in the topics at hand, and as such we’re much more likely to go into greater detail without worrying about boring the other person. Even if you’re talking with a carnist who’s some kind of “knowledge sponge” who wants to learn everything about everything, you’re much more likely to hold back, simply because your level of interest is different than theirs is.
Also, no matter how new we are at veganism, we have a shared set of experiences that makes every discussion that much richer. Going back to Dax, because it’s all about Dax, I’m sure I could have discussed (and probably did) the feeling of rocking him to sleep at 4 in the morning before he was born, but it was all academic until I actually did it (and believe it or not, it very much Does Not Suck!)
Just focusing on these two aspects of community; the mutual interest and the shared experiences, I think there’s potential to open our community a little more to others in your social circle, and that’s mostly through the power of translations and framing.
In your conversations, try to find genuine mutual interests and shared experiences that aren’t really about veganism but allow for that deeper kind of two-way conversation. You’ve just formed a community of two! Next, try to translate and re-frame those elements to shift things over to have a bit of a vegan edge to them. It’s subtle, and I’m not suggesting you throw in factory farming facts on top of a discussion about cycling, for example, but when you have a deep community-like conversation, you get a deeper level of trust and empathy with it, and I believe there’s something you can use there, if not to convert someone to veganism, at least to help them understand your positions a little better, which can make future interactions easier.
By the way, I hate it when I do what I just did, with a big lead up and then a “just do this” conclusion, because it makes it look simple, and it’s really not. This is an active form of communication that takes practice, and I’d be lying if I said I was great at it. The first step is just to try to identify when those micro-community moments happen, and once you get better at recognizing that moment of bonding, then you can try to translate and reframe things and see what happens.
Or you can stay in your secret society if you want, because let’s be honest, sometimes that’s kind of fun too 🙂
Thanks again for being a subscriber and for telling your friends about Staying Vegan. I really appreciate your feedback!
Again, I do read everything that comes back from these newsletters, but please understand if I don’t respond right away, at all, or coherently to your mails this week – my brain is completely rewiring itself right now, and I have a lot of fuzzy time to look forward to!
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This newsletter goes out (almost) every Monday afternoon, see you next week!