An Overwhelming Notion

On Wednesday, I was in the middle of my day, when a sense of sadness came upon me.

I couldn't remember how it began, but it permeated my day, so much so that I was having trouble relating to my work or anything else for that matter. I know that at some point in the morning, I was in deep thought about veganism and the world, and that over time, I began to obsess over the notion that while some people are changing, there are so many more who either don't know or don't care to change their habits in support of a better world for animals and the environment. What started out as a seed of thought ("I wish more people considered vegetarianism and veganism") spiraled into something much more time-consuming: the idea that I could not be the one to make all the people in the world change. So much suffering is going on at this very moment, and I am sometimes powerless to stop it. I cannot control the fact that animals are severely abused every minute of every day and killed for purposes I no longer understand. I began to feel so helpless and even hopeless about the whole situation.

I talked to my brother about this later in the evening, and he totally understood my predicament. He said that it's very normal to occassionally have overwhelming thoughts like I was having, and that a sense of not being able to control the situation can be very scary.

My brother's words comforted me immensely, and I was able to at least get through the rest of my day. But these thoughts have not completely left me. They may never leave me- as with anything one is truly passionate about, a worldly injustice is a never-ending thing. You can try to do what you can with what you have, but at some point, you have to let go and realize you cannot control it all. You can try to sign petitions, talk to friends, and put videos up on your website, but some people will still turn a blind eye to the horrors of this world. I did for a long time before I was forced to realize that if I love animals (and I do), I could no longer continue to pretend they weren't suffering just so I could have a full belly.

I feel like two years ago I woke up to a new world when I decided to become vegetarian. And in the past nearly 5 months since going vegan, my world has opened up even more. The toughest part about opening yourself up is that you let in both the good and the bad in this world. You have to, or otherwise nothing will change. That doesn't mean you can't continue to fight for good with a sense of positivity and hope- believe me, I'm usually a poster-child for positivity. It simply means that it's okay to have moments where you just feel overwhelmed, and even wiped out by it all.

In the recent VegNews March/April issue, a person sends in a concern to columnist Rory Freedman (co-writer of Skinny Bitch). After listing every single effort they've made to make this world a better place, they add: "This is going to sound terrible, but I am tired of being such a good person all the time. When I first went vegetarian, I did not know it was going to lead to all this. I feel like walking away from it all."

I love how Rory answers this person's concern- here's what she writes in response:

Can I get an amen? I imagine that everyone reading your gripe will be nodding his or her head in agreement. I remember when life was simple: I ate fast food (meat and all), threw the garbage out of the window of my car (literally), and thought nothing of driving three blocks when I could have (and should have) walked. I had no clue, no conscience, no aspirations- I was perfectly happy taking without thinking and stomping all over the planet. So, I know that I get it when I say that living consciously on this planet can be exhausting- both physically and mentally. And I know that I understand that the last thing you want to hear is how "it's the right thing to do," or that "it's people like you who have do to it or no one will," or "it's not so bad doing all of those things." Eff that- being a good person can suck! But at the very least, you can take solace in knowing that you're not alone in your occasional resentment.
Rory goes on to talk about a friend of hers who used to be like Rory- wasteful and self-centered about her actions toward this planet. She goes on to say that after holding in the desire to speak to her friend about her behavior, she finally tells her how wasteful she's really being. And once she talks to her friend, her friend begins to understand and wants to make changes. Rory ends her column with this:

Yeah, being a good person can be a pain in the ass at times. But fortunately- for yourself, for the animals, and for the environment- it's not something you will likely be able to turn off any time soon.
I like to think that my desire to help the animals of this world will never turn off, but I also hope against all else that I will eventually live in a world that cares more about this issue. I really and truly do have hope that people will begin to open their eyes and realize that they have so much power just by picking up their fork to eat. It's that simple- and yet, it is quite an overhwelming notion.


Myra Wolf said…
When you were in grade school, after I prepared dinner you stared at your plate and watched your father pick up his fork. He was aiming it at the beef. As he sunk his fork into the beef, you said, "That use to be a cow, now it's dead".
Your revelations have not just automatically surfaced. They have been there most of your life. But, it took you until five months ago to become vegan...but you did.
When Whitney's hermit crab died, she saw it as having had a life. She refused to eat any Alaskan King Crab Legs from that time on because they had been attached to a living crab once and had been killed for them. She was in grade school then too.
It has taken her years now to become vegatarian.
My point in these tales is simple. There are many more children out there saying the same things as you and Whitney did. But, it might take some time for them to make a choice and a conviction to being a vegatarian or vegan.
I never professed to eat anything. I was highly sensitive to all animals and was automatically taught to block out what I was eating. I do that with cake. I block out that I ate half of it..:)
So, tofu eating baby...keep spreading the word and less people can block out the words.
On the Ellen show, she had a chef on yesterday that made a tofu dish. The recipe is on her website. He used a liquor and flamed the nuts and topped it with arugala. Ellen loved it and said it was a good recipe because she was vegan.
I love your blog honey and I...
Love you, xoxo
Myra Wolf said…
This morning while half listening to news shows a commercial came on from a heart association of some kind. I didn't get the name but they had a website.
What I heard was that everyone should eat, (to keep a healthy heart), a vegetarian or vegan meal every week. Yeh! It actually is also telling people about being a vegan or vegetarian and the benefits.
You are not alone in your message to people. Now people can roll their eyes at the TV instead of you..heh :) xoxo love you...