There is a slope inside us all that determines every disposition it's not a scale that can be tipped but the fixed incline of a hillside Some steep leeward cliff face, continuously crumbling as it creates long shadows the wind and sun can't reach this side a mountain cannot choose to shift Like Sisyphus we walk uphill the futile effort that must be made the only rest is rolling back down into the dust to start again
The Death of Beauty
There is a sad, humbling peace beneath the soft pain of realizing I am as helpless as the trees to prevent the age old forests from being torn down in one day for the filth stained greed that most others foolishly believe is a benefit to my species but we are not the same breed I am just another animal left homeless in the wreckage forced to watch the endless rape of our most holy mother earth as I tremble with the reeds bearing witness to the pain pulsating through all of nature is the only gesture I can offer to lie down alongside my fellow woodland creatures beneath the brutal, blood-soaked wheels of industry as we watch the death of beauty the end of everything
I resent the need for community the suffocation that settles over the soul after prolonged periods of being utterly alone I'm not presumptuous enough to suppose that other people could ever value me I wouldn't ask for what I don't deserve The human condition is being put in the position to require some amount of social support that I am unwillingly compelled to pursue I won't pray for things I haven't earned, that I am unfit for all I ask is to be spared the pain of possessing a basic need that always aches, but cannot be fulfilled Please let the empty spaces satiate fill me up with the silence beneath everything make this loneliness enough for me
Dahmer – A Vegan’s Perspective
I’m only a few episodes in so far, but the new Jeffrey Dahmer series on Netflix is definitely worth watching. What has drawn my attention is somewhat different than what a lot of other people I’ve spoken with about the series have noticed. This discrepancy in perspective is all the more fascinating to me because of the way I am able to see how this part of the story was intended to be interpreted versus how I interpret it.
More specifically, what I am referring to is the focus on the killer’s upbringing and early childhood/adolescent experiences. There are scenes that come off to me as if the director thought it would be clever foreshadowing. In a dark way, I almost find this funny because it is so obvious to me. Ominous moments in the series depict a young Jeff Dahmer fishing with his dad, practicing taxidermy, dissecting the infamous fetal pig in biology class. It’s as if the people that produced this show want this to be insightful. As if the viewers will watch and think to themselves, “Ah, one day he’ll be doing this to HUMANS!” and shudder.
For me, this is laughable because harming and/or killing animals is a known warning sign for future serial killers. Is it really a mystery to people why that might be? Is the majority of the population truly so far removed from the grotesque brutality of animal abuse in the forms of hunting, fishing, taxidermy, experimentation, dissection, etc. that they can’t see the similarity?
It’s interesting for me to see these two things side by side in the series, knowing that for some reason there is a distinction being made. One is wrong, horrific, criminal while the other is harmless, wholesome, and a hobby. What is the difference? Both acts involve suffering, robbing another conscious being of their life and bodily autonomy, and the cold, calculating mutilation of corpses. Even Jeffrey’s cannibalism to me is no different than what most human beings participate in multiple times a day. Does the simple substitution of one species for another really change everything so completely? It doesn’t change a thing in my eyes.
I think Jeffrey Dahmer’s story is an excellent example of why we should not be teaching children or anyone for that matter that it is okay to kill animals, regardless of the reason. I really don’t think it’s that wild to imagine him making the jump from these behaviors to what he later did to his human victims. I’ve made the same connection, albeit with the reverse conclusion. He was taught it’s okay to kill animals, so he decided it was okay to kill humans. I was taught it’s not okay to kill humans, and made the connection it’s not okay to kill animals either. Killing is killing. Suffering is suffering. Violence is violence. It’s only arrogance, ego, indoctrination, and delusion that creates an arbitrary separation between the perpetration of these heinous, immoral acts against other animals versus our own species.
After ten years of living this truth, that human beings are no better than any other type of animal, I truly have a hard time fathoming how this is not obvious to everyone else. Perhaps the strangest thing is, I used to think like they do. I always loved animals, while simultaneously justifying confining, killing, and eating them. I was somehow able to hold these completely contradictory ideas in my mind without the slightest difficulty. Now I can’t make it make sense. I wish I knew how the insanity and hypocrisy of it all finally struck me. I wish I could help others to understand.
At the very least, I wish other people could understand that in the same way they are disgusted, horrified, and enraged by what Jeffrey Dahmer and other killers do, I am disgusted, horrified, and enraged by what is done to farmed animals. The only difference is that I have to share a table with five Jeffrey Dahmers at dinnertime and smile and not upset and offend them with my “radical” views. I have to shop at a grocery store stocked with what the rest of the world would equate to human body parts. I have to bite my tongue every day and be polite and “tolerant” in the face of institutionalized, industrialized, mass murder.
I just wish, if only for a moment, people could comprehend how unbearable that is. How I have to perpetually shield my mind from the horror of the truth, and how guilty and weak I feel for doing so, because it feels like I am condoning this behavior, disregarding the innocent victims, and allowing it to go on right in front of me. Just put yourself in my shoes for a moment, even if you think it’s a ridiculous comparison. It’s how I and other vegans truly feel. But what can I do? What would you do? At least Jeffrey Dahmer tried to make sure his 15 victims didn’t suffer. I can’t say the same for the billions of animals.
The Beauty of Broken Things
The sweet sadness of loss and long, lonely nights I once viewed as damage chips and cracks to cry over evidence of unworthiness that everyone would see I've learned to understand that old wounds are what weaved me into who I am a wonderful landscape with deep valleys of despair that can be filled up with healing water These dark caverns of past pain create breathtaking contrast and allow me to ascend higher and appreciate the peaceful peaks speckling my span of time here with all consuming beauty I am so grateful for all the tears and the twinges of discomfort that form tight tethers to my past even my small sufferings have been dear friends and teachers to me I've learned how to love my broken pieces
Why should I have to opt out of violence? brutality and bloodshed shouldn't be weaved into the very structures of society I hate proclaiming "I'm vegan" like it's something special and exotic othering myself in the eyes of those around me Why am I the odd man out for not killing animals? it feels like I'm living life upside down having to justify myself to those with viscera and flesh stuck between their teeth receiving weird looks for eating a plum rather than slitting the throat of another being Why is it my responsibility to explain choosing peace? compassion and kindness were supposed to be the default but in reality they are so far from the norm that I am a sensation, a social pariah for caring for others for simply trying to exist without victimizing those not even worthy enough to be considered victims Why is it my job to not ruffle any feathers? years spent learning how to make myself small enough not to offend the inhumane actions of the masses choking off my own inner sense of justice and morality just to share a meal with those I love as they grin between bites of slaughtered babies and mock me for not partaking in the carnage Why am I the one left to make sense of this madness? the surreal sensation of a sinking stone inside my stomach as I snuff out the ever swelling righteous rage before it spills out of my tight lips and separates me from all the "normal" people that I desperately want to share my life with despite their conditioned participation in egregious daily cruelty Why is it weird and sentimental for me to cry when the realities of this world come crashing down on me? when I can't help but remember the shuddering suffering of billions and billions of precious innocent beings being exploited and mercilessly tortured and confined on behalf of my own friends and family Why do I have to opt out of violence? why am I part of a pathetically small minority of people who live by the values we all pretend to have I'll never understand why it's even up for debate whether we should subjugate and slaughter or take the life of another for a fucking flavor
The Density of Suffering
There is this weight that presses me down into the thick clay earth the undercurrent of awareness of all the souls left unseen the immensity of the masses subjected to bone shaking suffering the surreal recognition of the world somehow still turning despite the violence that lurks just below the surface the colossal cruelty of humankind how can a system so monstrous continue to exist without consequence how could justice ever hope to tip the scales back from what we've collectively done what we continue to do the inexplicable gravity of grief overlooked and unacknowledged left alone with this deep knowing an anchor of unbearable anguish I am helpless to lift from those I love the gut wrenching screams of billions kept hidden behind closed doors cannot distill the poison these sins spill into every particle of air apparently no peace can prevail until we all choke
There is a man in Italy with a body made black by tiny tattooed x's a permanent reminder of the burden he shares the shameful knowledge of a horrific truth hidden in plain sight the blood staining the hands of humanity is impossible to measure 6 million bodies burned in German gas chambers shaken to our very core by the unimaginable cruelty every two and a half hours that same death toll is met again with silence and disinterest the clinking of silverware on ceramic those 40,000 tiny x's represent a body count the sentient lives lost each second to humanity's greedy palate to grotesque notions of tradition the earth groans under the weight of our atrocities as they continue unimpeded, growing every day 40,000 slaughtered every second 40,000 tiny markings of ink crowding one body a silent protest, a sadly inadequate attempt to atone for the immense pressure of suffering that is impossible to conceive that chokes the lungs of the world with the thick, black smoke of karma with the unreal irony of the word "humane" do not dare ask God for mercy we don't know the meaning
I've always been afraid of final suffering and mortality I used to wonder how I would handle a death sentence from a doctor life laid out on a definitive timeline no where left to hide I never expected that sentence to come from scientists instead given the heavy knowledge of our impending expiration date I never thought dying alone would feel like a blessing It's better than awaiting the end of everything at once among crowds of people with their eyes covered "I told you so" won't feel very satisfying I've been reading books for the terminally ill in an attempt to learn how to cope with utter annihilation on my own But none of them touch the terror of the truth I harbor none of them tell you how to prepare for an apocalypse or to get your loved ones to take you seriously Fear follows me closely as I float through these shapes and forms I find no comfort in the idea of life eternal or peace in the notion of not existing both options terrify me equally at least there's a dark humor in that But more than anything I fear the reality that my final days, months, even years will be shrouded in unfathomable suffering I fear the rising terror and despair stealing the color from my family's faces but I guess I've always been afraid
A Life’s Work
A grateful heart grows in size as it gathers in all the goodness that surrounds A cynical heart licks its wounds as it shrivels and becomes saturated with complaints Perspective is all that separates the two both can be formed or found in any circumstance or station of life Let us not be fooled by the feeling of not enough lest it linger on despite all we continue to acquire The mind may hold habits that are hard to break of looking for lack feeling justified when it always finds what it seeks Creating illusions of darkness and depravation despair solidified through misunderstanding and fear disguised as certainty Failing to see the joyous truth that the mind's fruitful efforts merely prove it's own power to shape our reality through sheer focus Nothing has been lost it's not too late to turn the tides in our favor and refocus our gaze toward the sun The source of light that has formed the shadows we fixate on yet fail to see fully Finding balance so we may behold the beauty of duality becoming like water to withstand the push and pull of reality The deep hollows made by hardship leave more space for love to fill our laughter resonates deeper through the caverns carved by sorrow may we cultivate a container that can hold it all