I was asked what imprisons me…and here is my answer:
#myprison is the feeling of injustice and physical sickness I get when I see cruelty and selfishness in the world, especially with regard to animals and children, and anyone unable to defend themselves emotionally or physically.
I feel #myprison mostly when I see people doing things without thinking of the wider impact, like restaurants, cafes and kiosks selling only meat, no other choices, as though nobody and nothing suffered in the production of this food and we can all carry on oblivious, whilst living beings are tortured and taunted and milked until they are sore, and shoved around like objects, and whilst people in less wealthy parts of the world continue to starve because of this whole industry. Like bullfighting. Like puppy farms. Like a million other examples.
I feel #myprison when I hear people fighting, being violent with one another, doling out swear words and criticisms as though they had no impact on the other person at all.
I feel #myprison on Facebook when I see posts that shame others, or show cruelty, racism, xenophobia, and silly thoughtless comments and jokes about everything that’s wrong with the world – yet this platform could be so important and so essential to spreading a message of care, community spirit and love for all creatures.
I feel #myprison when somebody says ‘I had a great day watching greyhound racing’ without giving a thought to what those creatures go through and what happens to them when they’re ‘past it.’ It makes me so angry, seeing those sad, battered, bony faces abandoned in yards, unfed, beaten. I want to be violent to the idiots who support it. But what’s the point in playing them at their own game?
So the anger stays inside and festers somewhere around my heart and my head. I get moody and blunt and uncommunicative. Sometimes I just go numb and switch my feelings off. I get even more worked up trying to explain what feelings are to ‘scientific minds’ that don’t have the capability to understand. I hate being in this world and not being able to stop blatant cruelty. I hate that some people can’t feel empathy for others.
I feel #myprison when I see couples and individuals traumatised that IVF hasn’t worked after thousands of euros and years trying, so they’re giving up on having a family. Yet orphanages are spilling over with abandoned children who just need a home, love and family. I can’t understand adoption laws that protect children in civilised countries but abandon those whose governments don’t sign up to human rights Acts.
I feel #myprison when I’m told I’m over sensitive because I care. Or that I ‘care too much’ because that’s ‘bad’ and ‘childish.’ I feel resentful and angry, and then I turn that inwards and feel depressed and tired, like what’s the point, I can’t change anything anyway.
I generally tend to be glass half full, so most of the time I’m able to carry on regardless, because I was lucky enough to be brought up to be strong. I try to see the good in things. But sometimes I lose that control and sadness takes over….
What do I do when I feel this way?
I rationalise that I’m probably doing things every day that are just as cruel, without realising it. Sometimes I don’t feel empathy either – how can you when you’re numb? That helps me to feel less angry, but perhaps more paranoid and leads me to over think everything.
I work in a profession where I can help victims of cruelty and injustice, even if in a small way. I know that small things can have wide reaching effects. It feels authentic for me.
I try not to rise up to silly comments and actions that people take to provoke sensitive people like me – I close the door in their face and continue to have my beliefs, because even personal beliefs can have a ripple effect once they’re allowed to exist.
I ground myself in the knowledge that I’m not wrong, nor do I have to justify my thoughts or beliefs. I seek out like-minded people and give them my tru-est most authentic self, because they’re worth it and because I enjoy their company. I put small things into place, even just to try them out, to see if they’ll make a small difference. I’ve realised over time, that change is in the small things, not the grand statements and over-reaching promises.
I buy into and use effective dialogue to understand people better, and to know that intentions are not always as clear-cut as they at first seem. Everybody is trying to survive in this world. What I perceive as a lack of empathy to another, could be my own lack of empathy to the perpetrator.
I fight quietly, and in my own way. Few people know how I really feel inside. I often feel down because of how things affect me, but I know I’ll always make it through, because the secret to life in this world is in feeling both joy and pain at one and the same time, like human beings are vessels for both, but do not have to be controlled by either.
By Juliette #myprison