I feel like a soldier who’s just returned from the battlefield. I’m not the same person I was when I took my first steps; I don’t think the same way, I don’t interact with people in the same way, and I’ve definitely been forever stripped of my naivete about the motivations of those who comprise our community. While women or those who female-identify are responsible for up to 85% of the actual hands-on work for the animals, it is primarily a patriarchy of white men who are responsible for maintaining their reputations, their brand names, and their donation base at the expense of the animals. Going forward, I think one of my main focuses will be on personal empowerment; if we want to be effective for the animals, unfortunately, we also need to be whole and focused in the sea of toxicity that pollutes our community. So for continuity, I’m republishing a Facebook status I put up last night.
August 24, 2017
I talk from a place of honesty; whether it an expression of anger or joy, I think people connect with authenticity. And right now I’m in a state of evolution, not saying much. I’m coming back from a literal public lynching – an evisceration of my reputation, my work, and all of its related personal devastation. I survived, but not without damage. And while I get ready to publish my memoir and finish filming for a documentary about my activism — both painfully honest — I’m trying to learn how I can best benefit animals at this point in my journey. I’m thinking that what I need to be doing is share my struggles with other activists to help empower you. I’ve yet to meet anyone is this movement who’s not been damaged by all the suffering we see.
I know a lot of you are dealing with the consequent issues of the work we do — depression, isolation, substance abuse, food addictions, frustration, and so on. What I want you to know is that it’s okay. And many of us would be able to accomplish so much more for the animals if it wasn’t for the people we were forced to work with — the backstabbing, betrayal, politics, malice, and pure stupidity. A lot of people are far more concerned about reputations, brands, and a donation base than actually creating real change.
As much as that sucks, it’s the community of which we all are a part. So please know that when people betray you (if they haven’t, they will), when we save one animal and leave 100s more to perish, when everything just seems futile, you’re not alone. I firmly believe change starts with me, and it starts with you. It’s okay to take some time to focus on you, and if talking about my struggles and overcoming them will give others strength, then that’s something I genuinely want to do. If we are not strong and 100% present, we’ll never be able to be effective actors for the animals or anyone else.
Maybe I just wrote the first few paragraphs of my next chapter.