Beautiful thoughts offered up by DxE's Priya Sawhney.
One of my professors in college once told me, “Guilt is a form of self-indulgence, it doesn’t do anything for what you feel guilty about. It only does something for you.”
I remember days when I would lock myself in my room and turn on some horrifying video of animals in pain. One in particular tormented me for days—a video of foxes being skinned alive in fur farms. I still remember the eyes of the fox, haunted with madness from being kept in a small space. His frail body looked as though he had already died.
I remember that night—I stayed up and cried all night and when I did sleep, I would wake up and look outside my window, trying to find a good enough reason to stay alive, with no desire to wake up tomorrow. My thoughts wandered to desolation for the remaining days of my life, and I felt agitated by virtually everyone around me. I would fall asleep to the screams of animals and wake up to their cries.
I felt so enraged. I felt so angry. I felt so betrayed by the world around me.
I felt so guilty. I felt such deep sadness. But most of all, I felt so hopeless.
I would seek feelings of guilt and sadness to validate that I was doing my duty for the animals. In fact, that is all I ever did—feel guilty, feel sad, and cry.
It wasn’t until my professor’s words played in my mind again and again that the thought occurred to me, “I don’t think I’m actually doing anything.”
The fact of the matter is that it is easy to feel guilty and get stuck in a repetitive cycle of sorrow and solitude. It’s not effective for anyone—not for you and especially not for the victims.
Having an emotional response to emotional subjects is reasonable and can be very powerful and evocative, if that emotion, whether it is sadness or anger, is the source of motivation to take action, to do something, to raise your voice.
It’s no secret that the Animal Rights Movement is tainted by hopelessness and sorrow, but it doesn't have to be that way.
We are allowed to have hope, in fact, if we are going to create change, we must have hope. There is no denying that we have compelling reasons to cry over and to feel deeply afflicted by, but if we truly believe in our vision, our community, and our actions, we have many reasons to celebrate over as well.
“So don’t let the world bring you down, not everyone here is that fucked up and cold. Remember why you came and while you’re alive experience the warmth before you grow old.” The Warmth, Incubus