A friend recently said something about my anger, of which I have plenty, and made a giant assumption that it is anger fueling my activism.
I thought about it. My first reaction was pissedoffness. Anger, really?
The implication is that I’m vegan because I’m angry. That anger is a negative emotion, one that should be controlled. She thinks that activism is a good outlet for my anger; after all, activism is constructive, isn’t it?
I thought about it more. I thought about how it felt to watch Earthlings. There were several points in that documentary where I would have furiously committed the same atrocities on those humans perpetuating the abuse if they had been standing in front of me. That wasn’t really anger though, that was an outrageous grief.
I thought about how I feel when I think about the fur farmers, raising animals in cages where they go insane before they are anally electrocuted and potentially skinned alive for a “fashion statement”. I thought about how I feel when I remember the confusion and pain of the cows being trucked to be slaughtered for the skin on their backs. I thought about how I feel to think of the 10 million companion animals killed every year for being homeless, about the millions (unknown number) of lab animals killed in pointless experiments ever year, about the Bolivian people dying from unclean water as we buy our little bottles of spring water trucked in who knows how many miles in environmentally polluting plastic, and don’t even recognize our privilege.
I thought about how I feel when I think about all that and more. And yes, there is anger. And no, I don’t think that anger, warranted as it is in these situations, is a negative thing. I don’t think I’m going too far when I say that anyone who doesn’t feel anger when faced with the human-perpetuated atrocities looks sociopathic to me.
But it is not anger that fuels my activism. It is a driving sense that I can make a difference, no matter how small. That people I touch can make a difference, and change ripples through the world in that way. It is the conviction that being angry about atrocities is healthy, doing nothing about it is hypocritical.
She thinks it is anger. And that made me realize just how right ani is:
I am not an angry girl
but it seems like I’ve got everyone fooled
every time I say something they find hard to hear
they chalk it up to my anger
and never to their own fear
and imagine you’re a girl
just trying to finally come clean
knowing full well they’d prefer you
were dirty and smiling