Caring about things is hard. It requires a certain amount of vulnerability to admit that you are affected by the actions of other people, the outcomes of certain events or the fate of fellow beings.
Caring about people can be painful as it opens you up to experience loss and rejection and heartbreak. Yet that’s what we are wired to do. We are designed to live in community and look after each other.
Caring about our loved ones, although difficult at times, is arguably easier than opening yourself up to caring about causes that are bigger than just our social circle and our community. It takes courage to live consciously, aware of how your every-day decisions can have a knock-on effect for other people, creatures and the environment.
It’s pretty inconvenient for us to have to research every clothing manufacturer before making a purchase rather than just finding the cheapest option; It’s really hard to accept that we have done irreparable damage to the planet and that our lives are going to have to change in order to keep Earth habitable; It’s difficult to come to terms with the fact that our eating habits may not be healthy for us or the environment; It’s saddening when you become hyper aware of the amount of discrimination that is still prevalent in the world and in our communities.
All of these things seem like huge, bigger-than-us issues. And if you start caring about one, where do you stop and doesn’t it just make you miserable?
In my opinion, all of these problems link together. They all have something to do with convenience and compassion. I’m not going to pretend that being environmentally aware isn’t bloody inconvenient sometimes, because it is. And the amount of flack you get just for having a point of view or identifying with a label is flipping exhausting.
I could come up with several examples but probably the most recent one is to do with food. I have chosen to stop eating meat and I avoid animal products 99% of the time. When people see you eating something different to them, they want to know why. And when you explain that you have done a lot of research and have come to the conclusion that a plant-based diet is the best option for both you and the planet, people tend to get on the defensive, as if just by having your own opinion you have attacked their own choices.
Not to mention the fact that if you stand up for a cause, one of the most common responses is a dressing down for highlighting one issue whilst neglecting another. I can completely understand why it can seem a bit too much and that you would be fighting a losing battle to even try to make a difference, when there are people poised at their keyboards ready to shut you down. But these people are not coming from any sort of moral high ground and it’s not up to one person to save the whole world and rid it of injustices.
Here’s another example: A year ago I would have told you that I am a feminist and have been most of my life. And then I probably would have apologised for it. But what I have realised in the last few months is that if you really, passionately think that something needs changing, nothing is going to happen from you being silent about it. I thought I needed to be the “cool-girl” feminist. The one that very vocally doesn’t hate men and won’t call you out for calling women sluts and bitches or whatever else because I understand that you “don’t mean it like that.” Well guess what? That kind of feminism will never affect change, and realising that has been both terrifying and empowering at the same time.
That’s really what I am trying to get across. Caring about stuff flippin’ sucks sometimes. People can be cruel and there is so much to be done. But at the same time it’s so damn liberating! Knowledge is power and research gives you back the control that has been taken away by the corporations who are the only ones that stand to profit from the way things are.
Realising that you care more about a cause that is important to you, than what some random acquaintances think of you, is so freeing. You will also attract like-minded, fellow carers and challenge your friends and family who may initially think you have turned into a crazy person.
So finish reading this and go out and think about what you do. How much of your routine and your choices are dictated by what you know to be true or what you have been told is true? What do you believe in and who are you prepared to stand up for?
Peace and love badasses