Trigger warning, for many, many reasons. I’m just issuing a global trigger warning…
I wasn’t going to write during the day (my to-do list is nagging at me), but late last night, I received the news that my aunt is dying of pancreatic cancer. I don’t yet know how long she has. I do know that this is her last Christmas.
And, as I began to go through the daily motions of everyday life this morning, my brain being what it is, I got to thinking…
I ate breakfast, and began to feel guilty. Guilty that here I am, alive and well, feeding my body, while the cells in my aunt’s body cannibalize hers.
And, my thoughts began to wander, as mine tend to do. I really shouldn’t let them do that. They venture into some very, very dark territory.
I realize that since I’ve become cognizant of the world, I’ve never been able to be truly happy.
(Again, Serious Global/General Trigger Warning for anything below the line.)
I realize that I’m extra-sensitive to so many phenomena…
Researching the definition of vivisection assaulted me with horrible images (both on the computer screen and conjured up by my own imagination). Nothing but pure hell and torture. I cried then. I sank into a deep emotional abyss that plagued me for a year and a half. Even though that was 10 years ago, I’m never truly out of the woods. Not at all.
When Hurricane Katrina hit, I cried then, too. I was thinking of the people and their “pets” (in quotes because I think of them as much more significant than that), stranded in toxic filmy water, struggling to survive. And many did not.
When I moved into a particular house, felt something foreboding. I immediately began to have nightmares, of being constrained by a nondescript male figure, and being raped. A few years later, when I went to sell that house, I reviewed the deed with a fine-tooth comb. The mystery solved itself; there had been a “rich” history of incest. I had indeed felt something the moment I moved in. Something dark and terrible. I had assumed that given the age of the house, that it was simply haunted. No; it turns out that it was much worse than that. And that’s what I had been feeling; I had felt it on an extra-sensory level.
I can’t bear the thought of suffering animals, either. I have to change the channel when one of those animal charity commercials comes on. I’ve all but given up on watching the news; animal cruelty makes for too prominent of headlines. For the record–if you’re a fellow animal empath, DO NOT read “Black Sunday” by Thomas Harris. He’s otherwise an excellent writer, but there is graphic animal cruelty on page…111? Something like that. It fucked me up. Really hard. Twenty-four years later, I can’t get the imagery out of my head.
Those are just the “big” things; there are “little” things, too…
I feel bad for every butterfly lying on the side of the road, having collided with a passing car.
I feel bad for every lonely piece of furniture or box of books left by a trash dumpster.
I feel sorry for every acorn that never got to grow into a tree.
I avoid stepping on ants. I avoid caterpillars, snails, and even worms. They might gross me out, but they deserve to live.
I feel horrible about watching new housing developments spring up like weeds, knowing that all of the animals living on that land are going to perish. I even feel bad watching farmers plow fields.
I feel violated for every guitar smashed at a rock concert. I know that it’s an inanimate object, but all objects have some sort of life. Their molecules may not vibrate at as high a frequency as a sentient being, but they vibrate all the same.
I cry whenever someone loses a “pet”, even if I didn’t know that person.
I’m almost afraid to ask people how they’re doing; I’m afraid of their potential answer and the effect it may have on me. I know that’s selfish, but it’s true–which adds to the guilt.
I feel guilty that other things must die, so that I can live. Plants have feelings, too. They feel pain, and they express fear and stress. They freak out when someone approaches a plant next to them with malicious intent. There’s even research to show it.
So I feel bad about not just the meat, but also the fruits and vegetables that get pulverized in the blender to make my smoothie. Or the broccoli that got sizzled in last night’s stir-fry. What kind of pain must they feel? Maybe they don’t, anymore? Maybe the lion’s share of their pain occurred when they were plucked from the vine/tree/etc?
I am appalled at the lack of gentleness in this world. It pains me. I find it really hard to endure the general vibe of the world at large. Hate crimes, violence, racism, illness, chronic disease, grief, sorrow, suffering…
How could a world of such magnificent beauty and wonder also be so filled with such pain?
How could people who are so capable of such miracles also be so cruel?
How could a universe so filled with light also be so dark?
These, my pretties, are the riddles that baffle and plague me.
And the allistic world wants to slap us with a “lack of empathy” assumption? How many of them actually think about things like those above every single day? How many of them are tortured by horrific images every day that they can’t shake for a decade at a time? How many of them are at permanent and pervasive risk of deep depression because of the cruelty and division and violence–not just in the world, but in nature itself?
“Lack of empathy” my ass.
This is one of my more popular posts!
(Image Credit: Justin Harris)