Due to the "controversial" nature of this topic, it is possible that I receive criticism regarding this article. I treaded lightly for years, afraid of reactions, as they are more often than not, negative. I am by no means preaching, attacking or trying to convince anyone of anything. I truly hope that all readers know that this is not an ode of self-righteousness nor a criticism of any lifestyle. These are simply my personal sentiments, ones I cannot help but feel deeply. I certainly do not expect everyone to be in agreement.
Since I can remember, I have loved you. I was not taught to love you nor was this love acquired, it simply and inexplicably is and always has been. I have marvelled at your presence innumerable times. Your unmitigated beauty and tranquility have often left me speechless and even reduced me to tears. My most treasured memories are ones in which I have been able to connect with you. When even the most certain of my truths became variables, you have been the constant in my life.
Watching your peaceful existence has always impelled me to live better. The way you take in every moment, your entire attention on the present, has forced me to question my way of living. Your freedom from ego, your unshakeable state of consciousness, your complete and total harmony with all that surrounds you. Your esteem for the earth beneath you, the life around you. Your impeccable representation of the way in which all life should exist. It is both humbling and inspiring.
I have loved you so, yet as we often do to those dearest to us, I have failed you. I have placed my own wants and desires above your freedom and wellbeing.
Guilt has plagued me since I was old enough to understand what I was doing. I am unsure if that makes it better or worse. Every time I would look into your eyes, I chose to close mine instead of responding to your anguish and changing my ways.
My feigning ignorance became a form of metaphorical blinders. I chose to remain in the dark so as to avoid facing one of two outcomes; either living with a guilty conscience or inconveniencing myself to some degree. Somehow, I managed to create a disconnect in my mind between your living vibrance and your adorned lifelessness on my plate.
I let negligence, inertia and my fear of bigotry get in the way of what I felt to be right. I regularly made excuses to justify my actions and continued delaying this ultimately minute shift in my way of living.
I ignored what I have always known to be my responsibility to you. I knew I needed to be your voice since you are unwillingly silenced. I knew I needed to be your strength since your power is taken from you. I knew I needed to be your shield since you are routinely forced into submission and abuse. I knew I needed to be your eyes since you cannot see why you are targeted. I knew I needed to make better choices for you. That your pain and suffering are no less important than my own. That after all the joy you have given me, I owe you. That you deserve better.
About two and a half years ago, I did take many steps in this direction but what I failed to do was to give equal importance to all members of your kingdom. I also continued disregarding the impact of my purchasing and fashion choices. I remained in denial because I suppose I cared more about sporting that new pair of boots than about your welfare. I committed myself to being better for you but in retrospect, it was only half-heartedly.
I have loved you but I have failed you. I am sorry. I will no longer harm you. I will no longer participate in your exploitation. I am only one person but I will do everything I can to protect you. That is my promise to you. One I should have made a long time ago.
Most do not understand my viewpoint and to this day, many of us who stand with you are judged for our allegiance. Many do not harm others similar to you, as they believe that their lives are worth more than yours. This is due to perceived “intelligence”, a word us humans use to define a behavioural pattern that serves us, one we understand, one that we can manipulate. I cannot preach as I valued their lives over yours for most of my own. However, I now see that suffering is extraneous of deemed “intelligence”.
I will not try to convince others to adopt my views, as I know that my attempts will be futile. Only those who are willing can make the decision on their own terms. Their paths are different, I understand and respect that. I will not use hatred and argumentation, as some do to support your cause. Negativity, division and opposition are never the key. Instead, I will proliferate peace and love for you, in hopes that it inspires others to see you as I do.
The next time that you look into my eyes, you will find me different. You will no longer find your own pain reflected within them. We will coexist peacefully. I will treasure you and protect you and do everything I can to give back even a tenth of the joy and richness that you have given me all my life.
Love always, Another Earthling.
After-Note: Thank you Earthlings documentary for presenting important, hard-hitting information in a real, raw and necessary manner. You have been the final straw in completing this lifestyle shift and for that, I am eternally grateful.