By: Lauren Lockey
A few days ago I stood in front of the mirror, naked in the flesh with the desire to FEEL the rawness of my own heart. I needed to be with it. Be myself, with me. With tears rolling down my face and my heart aching for all the injustices in the world now amplified with my fear of our soon to be president elect, I struggled. I asked myself how and why? The questions rolled through my head. I thought of my 5 young nieces and what this meant for them as young women. What will this mean for young men and their view of power? Will minorities be alienated even more? Will the lives of animals matter even less? Will mother earth and her signs of depletion be denied even more than before? The oppressed now significantly more oppressed? Our country and our world divided, depressed, and enraged?
I reminded myself that the people of our country spoke and whether we are celebrating or running for the hills we MUST remember one thing, authenticity. The transparency and alignment to what is. For me that means never apologizing again for being an emotional feeling being who has the capacity and desire to empathize with others. Yes I wear my heart on my sleeve but is that a bad thing?! Perhaps that is what has been lacking this whole time. Our ability to empathize, feel compassion, and then take action. Do something! That is what made this election more devastating AND more motivating than in years past.
The last few weeks have been rough to say the least. My work and perhaps my rent for inhabiting this beautiful planet is speaking up for a large percentage of the oppressed, animals. Everywhere I look they are either being exploited, used, abused, or eaten by humans. Men in orange vests surrounded the outer limits of my property looking for their next victim. 300 cows with number tags in their ears stared through my windows every morning because they knew I wouldn’t harm them. I observed and spent time with them and learned that they have daily joys and fears. They communicate, form very strong friendships, and share the responsibilities of watching over their young. The bond between a mother and her calf is absolutely beautiful. So of course I feel tremendous sadness when that bond was broken after only a few weeks. I watched them get rounded up and separated. Their cries were heartbreaking. Next stop? Feedlot then slaughter. A trust broken and families torn apart.
I bore witness to pigs in a transport truck that was pulled over. Their bodies crammed so tightly together that they couldn’t move. Some frothing at the mouth because they were so dehydrated. Their breathing heavy from fear and exhaustion. I voiced to them that I was sorry for what we had done to them and that I will do everything I possibly can to stop it. I pet their ears and peered into the slots of the truck while I told them I loved them. Tears welled up in my eyes and at that moment, the driver returned and confronted me while saying “yup they will be bacon and pork chops tomorrow!” Right there and then I ask myself “how did we get here?” “What happened to empathy?” Is this lack of connection why the US is considered the most depressed country in the world? In my opinion empathy may be the only way forward.
I studied all the blemishes on my body, the lines in my face and felt proud and empowered. It takes tremendous strength to carry the weight and sadness of the world. Let’s be honest, we messed up as humans. True power comes from recognizing that and moving forward from a place of empathy and compassion. I picked my stomach up off the bathroom floor and re-membered who I am. A woman who feels deeply.