kmraut

Being unemployed and searching desperately for jobs you don’t actually want is actually the most defeating thing. You put all your intellectual and emotional effort into writing a convincing and eloquent cover letter. You do this for jobs you are overqualified for, jobs you don’t want and jobs that you can’t have enough “experience” for because employers only want someone who already has said experience. You try and you try to find work and yet almost everyone around you makes you feel like you can’t be trying hard enough because you don’t have a job yet. The longer you don’t have a job, the more you are assumed to be a free-loading, dead-weight member of society feeding off the government’s money (which you’ve paid into yourself for years). You went to school (paid for that with time, blood and money), you worked since before you were legally able to (helping to boost the economy as soon as you could), you tried to conform to the system, but now you’re being rejected in this employer’s market again and again. All of this and really, this system works for nobody. Most people are stuck in dead-end jobs, dreading going to work every day, counting the years until retirement (which is coming to us later and later in life these days). And this is what you are fighting your ass off for, to be another fucking sheeple in a cubicle, another money-making monkey designed to pool shiny new bills to the assholes on top who give zero shits about the people, animals and environment beneath them. And still, in desperation and maybe even a sick sort of loyalty to the only system you’ve ever known, even though you’re aware of all of this corruption, you are willing to sell your soul for a paycheck just like everyfuckingbody else.

- kmraut, a writer without a paycheck

Vegan Visit to the Farm (Plus, Some Flustered Rambling)

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to visit a family friend, “R’s”, hobby farm, as well as his neighbour’s occupational cattle farm. R’s farm is truly lovely, as he keeps 6 chickens and 2 goats mostly just as pets. He sells the eggs yielded from his (named and very loved) chickens to friends, and has no plans of cooking and eating his hens once their laying seasons are over. These animals are well taken care of and have plenty of space to roam and live their fuzzy/feathery little lives.

R’s neighbour, on the other hand, has about 12 cattle and 4 goats which are not so lucky. The goats live together in a small pen, which I was informed they never get to leave the confines of, and the cattle are crammed into a small (partially indoor and partially outdoor) area as well. Their lives are, I can assume, infinitely better than those on an industrial beef farm, but still quite desolate and sad. When purchasing “free range” meat, this is what you are paying for. A penned, morose lifestyle. These cattle should be allowed to live out their lives as they please. They deserve more than to be raised simply for human consumption.

Now, this is where I am baffled. The omnivores with whom I visited these farms can all agree at how saddening it is to recognize that these beautiful animals (with large, soulful eyes) are being raised exclusively to someday be sold and eaten, and yet at the end of the day they were still able to sit down to a ham dinner. While that meat comes from a different species than the ones we observed that day, the flesh was still taken from a being with thoughts and feelings, a being who deserved life. Please do not assume that this means I respect or love my omnivorous friends any less, but I simply cannot understand their lack of nausea at the sight of dead flesh after such an experience.

Indeed, it is cultural. We have been raised to believe that we are at the top of the food chain, to assume that all the Earth provides is our own. But we are not the only beings on this planet, and we absolutely do not require meat any longer to obtain the nutrients we need to thrive. We may have needed it in the past, but (aside from some societies such as the Eskimo) we do not need to consume animal flesh any longer. 

Since going vegan in summer 2014, I have lost almost 30 pounds of unhealthy fat and effortlessly maintained a healthy weight (of 145 lbs, height 5′8′’) that my body now gravitates to. I now have the energy to workout efficiently and I have been steadily gaining muscle on nothing more than plant-based proteins. 

We do not need to harm or harvest materials from our animal friends. The ONLY reason we still do is out of HABIT and for the SELFISH want of the familiar flavours and textures of animal flesh. It simply is not fair. Even one animal life is not worth sparing for these pathetic reasons. 

If one is to gain from an animal in any way, it should be mutually beneficial to said animal. R’s farm provides shelter, love, food and care to his animal friends. They have names and their nutritional, social, entertainment and other needs are all taken care of. In return, R receives some eggs to eat and sell as well as the enjoyment of having these animals around (as he is most definitely an animal lover). The same thing goes for pet owners: if you wish to have an animal in your home, you must care for it and meet its every need. 

To me, these are all simple and straight-forward things that should be common sense to everyone. But perhaps the human race still has a great deal of evolving to do before it can realize these things.

It took me until my 20′s to have the strength to oppose the system and to change my ways. Changing my diet was easy, and healed my body and mind almost instantly. The difficult part was going up against those around me, who often challenged my position. “It must be so hard,” they say, “being vegan!” No, it’s not. I find vegan alternatives almost everywhere. “But what about protein?” They ask. I get more protein now than I ever did as an omnivore. But still, many cannot believe it is that easy.

All I can ask of anyone is that they question their motives for doing the things that they do. Ask yourself honestly why it is you feel the need to eat meat and dairy products. Read labels: why does there need to be meat, gelatin, eggs or dairy in this product? Where did this product come from? We are in a time where almost everything is produced in excess, often cheaply and inhumanely. You must know your sources.

You absolutely CAN change the system just by making small changes of your own. Others WILL follow. Your purchase is your vote, and this system desperately needs changing as soon as possible. Veganism is better for your body, the environment and for the animals whose lives are in jeopardy.

- kmraut.

“Every individual matters. Every individual has a role to play. Every individual makes a difference.” - Jane Goodall

I’ve never posted a video of me playing Samantha, my ukulele, before (or any other instrument, for that matter), and I’m trying to boost my self confidence/acceptance by putting myself out there so here goes. It’s been a while since I’ve practiced and I realize I’m not a great singer, so only nice comments please.

What I Learned in School

In dealing with three different institutions to complete this one final course, I can confidently say that there are many distinct flaws in our educational system.

On several occasions, when requesting assistance on important affairs, I have either been fed the wrong information or been pointed in the wrong direction by my guidance councillors. This misinformation has set me back an entire year in completing my degree, and now it could possibly even threaten to have me miss the deadline for this course completion by as little as a single day due to postage.

While a few of my guidance councillors have been somewhat helpful, they have all been reluctantly so, requiring my constant monitoring and hounding in order to get the job done. When something has gone wrong due to their relay of misinformation (or their failure to provide me with detailed information), their instinct is simply to quote fine-print at me or to otherwise insist that the fault is my own.

Now that I am nearly a graduate, my peers keep asking me if I am going to attend my graduation. I tell them simply, “No,” as I believe it is just another way for my university to make me feel like I am just another number; I am just #5880558. That is all I am to my university.

My educational experience has taught me a few things, but mostly it has made me into a very untrustworthy individual, as I have put my trust and my future in the hands of strangers (whose job it is to handle such things) only to be disappointed time and time again by their incompetence and, more frequently, their indifference.

As an English major, I am consistently asked if I wish to become a teacher. “Are you going to go to teacher’s college?” they ask me, expectantly. While I do wish I could somehow instigate some kind of improvement in the way in which our educational system functions, I do not believe such a change to be possible in our near future. This is because I believe there is too much money to be made by continuing on the way things are.

Our education is processed, mass-produced, just like our food, our goods and just about everything else we buy into. This society has become so good at consuming that we have come to believe that the only way to get a quality education is to pay large amounts of money for it. But this is not true, and the second we decide to put more emphasis on learning than we do on our income, our grades or our degrees is the second we encourage learning on a larger scale. “Higher” education should not only be accessible to those who can (in many cases only narrowly) afford it; learning should be for everyone who has an eagerness to learn.

Something I learned from my university experience is that I am no scholar, at least not in the conventional sense. I believe that my schooling forced me to pay such close attention to the completion of credits and obtaining high grades, that I failed to learn all that studying English literature has to offer.

While I do not wish to become a teacher, I hope to someday convince a reluctant child of the joy and benefits of reading, as I believe that books are by far the best tools for learning. A book can provide us with wonder, knowledge, wisdom, inspiration, imagination and so much more without the pressures of grades or financial expense.

Some people are just literal garbage.

CONTEXT: Late last night I received a private message on Facebook from a former manager and acquaintance. We hadn’t spoken for two years, since I left Ottawa, where he lives, and moved back home to the Greater Toronto Area. Now, he is in Toronto for work and has coincidentally decided to finally respond to an old message I sent him about the health of his wife, who was sick with a flu or something at the time we last spoke. It was maybe 8 messages into this conversation when he began hinting at his ulterior motives, transparently dancing around his true intentions. He mentioned something about having desires towards women outside his marriage, which he stated his wife would not be happy to hear about, but that he doesn’t ever act upon them. He acted as though he just wanted my advice on this, and of course I was prepared to give it to him, provided it wasn’t all just a guise to get into my pants. I asked him is he was worried he might act upon these urges and he stated that he was “only slightly” worried he might be adulterous. Soon, he mentioned something about “2 hall passes” that his wife had allegedly given him. At the mention of these passes, I immediately became uncomfortable and disgusted at the transparency of his intent. But here is where it got really gross. After giving him my detached advice on this topic, I attempted to end the conversation and turn to something different to no avail. He asked if he could call on my advice once more on something, to which I said “sure”. Then, he stated that he has decided not to act on his urge to send something to me. Here, I believed I knew what he was talking about but I wanted to make him admit it and be straight with me and himself. In the end I made him confess that he was considering sending me a naked photo of himself. Angrily, I expressed my disgust with this, considering especially the circumstances of his marriage, my expressed monogamy and respect for my boyfriend and of course the nature of his timing for contacting me again while he is in town (making it appear as though he was hoping to use one of those hall passes while he is in the area). He tried to pass it off like I had misunderstood him, like he was just asking advice about the fact that he had that urge to begin with. YEAH, he tried to lay the blame on ME for HIS disgusting behaviour. Typical. I told him he was twisting things and then he got uncomfortable and wanted to leave, so I let him after some much deserved reproach. The kicker, I later found out was that it was his wife’s birthday the whole time (and she’s out west right now). I am now debating sending her the conversation, as, if I were in her place, I would want someone to tell me what had transpired. Below is the post I wanted to send last night while I was angry and appalled and disgusted by this man and his objectification of women and his lack of respect for his wife.

…………………………………………………………………………………………

Some people are just so damn disgusting. Go back into the past where I left you, old “friend”.

What is it about the men from that time in my life and wanting to send me nude pictures of themselves? NO! For fuck sakes, NO, get out of my fucking face with your disgusting penis. I am so tired of being sexualized and objectified by horny, disgusting men who try to lay the blame on me for their inappropriate, behaviour. No, I did NOT misinterpret your words, you’re just being a gross fuck and you can’t admit it to me OR to yourself.

Listen, FUCKO. No amount of “that’s what she said” jokes when I was 19 years old and working in a shop with primarily crude male co-workers acts as an invitation for my former boss to try to send me nude pictures of himself. Especially when said former boss is some unfortunate woman’s fucking husband. Learn how to respect women, you piece of shit!!!

Why don’t you start that quest by not striking up a conversation with someone two years after last speaking with her, coincidentally(?) at the same time that you HAPPEN to be in the very area she now resides, only to find a way to mention your so-called “2 hall passes” that your unsuspecting wife has, you claim, conveniently “given you”. It’s clear that’s a lie, since you just finished telling me she wouldn’t like to know you fantasize about other women (yes, this also came up). I’m not a goddamn idiot and I’m not the shy girl I was two years ago, so, enjoy your shame and disgrace, you repulsive troll. I’m glad I had the strength of mind to tell you how disgusted I am by you.

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“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
- Desmond Tutu

I feel it is my responsibility to tell his wife about this incident. If I were her, I would want to know. If I am silent, I am enabling him to continue behaving this way. What do you guys think I should do?

Those of you who have been following me for a while might have come to realize that I suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or GAD. Recently, I decided to try medicating my disorder with an SSRI class drug called Cipralex. I have been on a small dose of this drug for about three weeks now and I have definitely noticed a considerable change in myself overall. Situations which may have previously caused mild to severe anxiety are no longer doing so. I can face social interactions with more ease and confidence, and I find that I am able to talk myself down out of an anxious feeling more easily than before.

In the past couple years especially, GAD has had a strong hold of me, controlling my mental and emotional abilities socially, in school and in work situations. For the first time in my life, I feel that I am beginning to feel comfortable in my own skin. I am learning to accept and love myself. 

While for me there have been some adverse effects of the drug (some dizziness, headaches and lessened appetite), overall I feel that Cipralex has been very helpful in regaining control over my anxiety disorder.

Welcome to telescopes are time machines. 

Here, I will be posting samples of my personal art and literature in the hopes of receiving some (friendly) constructive criticism. 

Needless to say, I would appreciate it if people did not steal or tamper with my work, but I acknowledge that it is always a possibility on the Internet.

I hope you enjoy what I post here. However, if this is not your cup of tea, perhaps you should try my personal blog, crumblybutgood, my Star Trek blog, heisdeadjim or the Carl Sagan Comics blog, applepiesfromscratch, which I co-run with a few other snazzy science bloggers.

A wanderer still,
K.M. Raut

Sometimes I’ll be all, “I don’t need things! All I need is a roof over my head, food/water and the people and animals I love. Let’s fall off the grid and separate outselves from this fucked up system!”

… And then I remember that personal libraries are a thing and how much I’ve always wanted one with a slidey ladder and a spiral staircase. Sigh.

But really all any of us needs is to live peacefully and to show each other compassion to the best of our ability. Money and things are a distraction from what’s really meaningful, such as nature, community and kindness.

Still, it is hard sometimes not to want things for ourselves. We must just try and remember to share what we can with those in need, with each other. We are all members of the human family and therefore we must stick together and work as one. We are all connected.

-kmraut

Letter to my Cats

Dear Edwin,

I know you just want to play with your new big sister (like you do on occasion with your biological sister, Serenia), but she is not sure of you yet and you are coming on a little strong. Please back off so that she can feel more comfortable with you first. Slow down, little buddy. She will be your playmate in time, but only if you give her her space first.

Love,
CatMom



Dear Tesla,

I promise you that I will always keep you safe. I know your new little brother seems scary, but he is really just a chicken with a raven coat and he really wants to play with you. Just like you, he loves playtime and cuddles and shrimp treats. Just as I always have, I love you more and more each day and no little dragon-cat can change that. However long it takes, I will make sure you are a happy kitty always.

Love,
CatMom

Sorted through my old writing and was proud for the first time of my younger self for her work. I found that I was reassured of my voice. I used to keep those older works tucked away, but I have decided to keep them all out in the open where I can see it from now on.