22 & Tired

I did not choose to be this way.

I did not ask to be this way either.

Most days it feels like I am cursed.

The truth is: it is what it freaking is. I have been cursed with an immense amount of compassion for animals.

This trait of mine has gotten me in trouble. It’s lost me friends, it’s made me cry, it’s made me angry, and it has made me question my own purpose and existence. Imagine having a belief that feels so right to you but seems so foreign to all the people you truly care about and love in this world. Imagine being 22 and at bar, flirting, buying a drink, laughing with your friends or convenient strangers, then seeing out of the corner of your eye an ASPCA commercial on the bar’s TV. Now everyone else in their right mind will think something like, “Not again, its too sad I cannot watch”. Or they may think, “I don’t want to deal with this right now, I’m trying to have a good night”. What do I think? Well I think that that commercial did its job, it got a lot of people to donate to NYC’s ASPCA, but what no one seems to know is that all that money isn’t helping any of those dogs or cats they showed you in an attempt to make you feel bad for not doing more.

I am 22 and tired because I have been cursed with a constant need to make people empathize and care about what I care about. I imagine my Facebook page has been “unsubscribed” by most people I am friends with, because honestly, who wants to see images and stories about acid being poured all over a Pit Bull’s Head in CA, who wants to hear about a dog who was ripped from its family and confined for 2 years for the way he looks. No one wants to hear about Cisco the dog being shot for barking because a Police Officer got the wrong address. No one wants know about the thousands of dogs shipped off to be butchered in China for food. No one.

I don’t blame them! I envy them. I suppose this some how equates me to a religious fanatic. I do not subscribe to organized religion but more importantly I do not like when people try to push their beliefs on me. I tell myself, this is different, you do not have to be any particular race, class, or ethnicity to have compassion. The people I try to “enlighten” do not have to change anything about themselves except maybe choose not to buy a dog from a puppy store, or a brand of shampoo that unnecessarily tests on Beagles. The people I want to “enlighten” already care about their dogs. They already have the fundamentals, now they just have to look behind the curtain. Maybe I am more of a conspirator than a religious fanatic, because people do seem to look at me funny when I say the ASPCA wants to continue killing animals instead of implementing the No Kill Equation. I am jealous of how they some how find a way to function while knowing all these things, or controlling their curiosity and not clicking that link to learn anything at all. I have to actively tell myself not to talk about my fears, angers, and sadness. I have to decide which stories I will ‘share’ on Facebook based on how much I think people will care. I have to try not to hate myself for not being able to do more.

I am never surprised by any story of neglect, abuse or brutality anymore. I look at the pictures of dogs and cats posted daily from the NYC Animal Care & Control and try not to throw my Mac across the room. When I cannot control myself and decide to burden my Facebook Friends with these images I am always so annoyed when they are surprised. Then again, how can I truly be annoyed when I hear about a story about innocent people in Asia, Africa, or anywhere other than America really I can turn a blind eye. I can choose not to ruin my day or be saddened by something I know I can do nothing about. Why is it if dolphins in Japan are being butchered I become red with hate? But then when it’s an IED that kills 10 civilians I skip that post? I don’t think I have a good answer, I think this makes me as annoying as the people I find annoying! Or maybe I’ve just chosen my battle, and its not for people.

There are people in this world who want to look the other way when it comes to animal cruelty or injustice. Everyday I wish I was them. Everyday I wish I could 'Unlike’ every page about the No Kill Movement, the Patrick Miracle, The Save Lennox Campaign, and the handful of Justice for (enter a dog’s name).

I am 22 and tired because I feel so utterly alone in this fight. I know I am not technically alone at all, for there are millions of people in this world who share my curse- I just haven’t me them yet.