6th of September Vegan MeetUp took place in Limassol. By coincidence, I was the one who organized it.
When I moved to Cyprus, I started to follow all local vegan Facebook groups that I could find and participated in meet-ups when it was possible. Actually I took part only in a few of them, because they usually took place in other cities and I had no car. Unfortunately, I didn’t participate in any vegan event in Limassol. Probably I missed all announcements. But I’ve got a feeling that the vegan community in Limassol is generally more passive than in Nicosia, Larnaca or Paphos. So was I – passively waiting until something interesting will happen.
Idea to organize a Meet-Up
However, things have changed to me. And I think one of the turning points was my expansion to social network services (expansion of Vizzini Journal). Now I have Instagram, Facebook page, Youtube channel… Suddenly I started to receive feedback on what I do. Developing my social pages made me be more attentive to what people in vegan groups are discussing. And one of those things was a meet-up in Limassol. So I saw once someone asked about a meet-up. I supported the idea, but no one else did.
Later another person asked in the same group about meet-up. And I thought to myself, why does nobody organizes one? I see there is demand – it’s only that offer is missing. Old me was too shy to organize people in a foreign country, feeling as an unwanted guest here. But now I feel the urge to be more proactive. So, I created an event – a Meet Up at Seashells Happy Living Restaurant – limited by 10 people (due to COVID), and… 10 out of 10 came!
Goal is to be authentic
Everything is easy, when you know exactly what you want. And I want to experience being my true self, to be authentic. There is no point denying that I am an introvert, generally I avoid social events, expecting them to be overwhelming and stressful. A year ago I could not imagine myself being involved in this kind of situation (me, organizing people to come and meet). I am sure that this is a result of a therapy – self-help practice that I do this year, aiming to find my own authenticity. This changes would not happen otherwise:
- creating my website
- creating my FB and IG public pages
- accepting a “vegan” within me. Realizing that I feel shame about being vegan and letting it go.
- letting myself to speak out⠀
These changes allowed me to get here and now and to realize that this is me (here and now). I enjoy organizing meetups and investing my energy this way.. It is a pleasure to see people connecting, to share experience and learn from others. I enjoy being seen, noticed and valued.
So I came home very tired that day. No lies: meetings still soak all my energy out. But mentally I was enriched – I wasn’t stressed out and this was a new experience for me. I never thought that tiredness, exhaustion and stress are not necessary go hand in hand. Seems like I experienced being around a group of people with the same frequency for the first time in the past several years.
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