When i was younger (and i know it’s hard to imagine your Auntie Sadie as a young woman but you’ll have to take my word for it for i cut quite the figure and was quite the It girl of the time), i was not the serious matronly aunt you know today. In fact, by the age of fifteen, i had joined the Young Socialist Alliance and wore too much black, dyed my naturally light hair jet blue-black and wore one of those funny scarves around my neck (you know the type – black and white and looking like they were picked up in some baazar, not Harvard Square). I even had a card that said i was a member of the Young Socialist Alliance and tried to get Hill elected to public office.
We young socialists felt it our mission to spread the good word of socialism and attend public rallies for middle-ground politicans and the like and be generally as disruptive as possible. We stood up and protested in the middle of candidates speeches, we sold our own newspaper by hand, we hung out only with other socialists and we made it our business to get arrested, or close to it, by staging peaceful demonstrations that we often co-hosted with other groups, such as PETA and local anti-vivisection organizations like NEAVS.
It was, of course, Auntie Sadi’s fate to join the animal rights movement, and i did so with a vengeance. Oh yes, i wore a bunny suit to protests, i picketed General Motors when they were still crash-testing live pigs in cars and Gillette when they were still, fetishistically, applying make up to rabbits. I would have none of it. And i would be there every time, prompt and sporting my bunny costume and ready for business. i climbed atop an old GM car that one of our staff members had donated and smashed it to bits with an ax in front of a GM dealership. I was a sight to behold; a mad woman wielding an ax and hacking a car to bits. But i tell you, if you had seen the video footage of what happend to these pigs, i think you may have too. It is one thing to eat them, but an entirely different thing to ruthlessly strap them into a car while they are alive to “see what will happen.” Any fool could tell you that.
You see, if you saw me now, you would think me a rather staid and dull lady of a certain age, but a caring auntie nonetheless. But what i have found is that to be this way when one is young proves that you have a heart. The French said, and this i translate very loosely, that if a man is liberal as a child he has a heart, if he is a liberal when he grows older, he has no brain. Something like that. (*i don’t agree with this completely, for the record. i think we may even out a bit, but empathy is not a thing i wish to every grow out of, so call me immature, but there you have it.)
I think when you are young you should follow the surge and uprise of movements. Any movement will do provided it is outside of your normal range of activity and though so much the better if it is a movement you actually believe in. This means not sitting around and watching TV with your friends on Saturday, but getting up, zipping up your bunny costume in the dead of winter, driving out to remote locations where they house such things as nuclear power plants, and seeing how close you can get with you picket sign before you are arrested. Or, you could do what i did, which is to protest hunting in areas that are enclosed (a canned hunt, because where the mcfuck are the deer going to go? it’s shooting fish in a barrel. You could join the Red Cross and be like Joan of Arc. You could join the USO, your local library – heck, there are a hundred such causes just waiting for you to come a knockin’ . You could help a lot of people and yes, you could even change the world, but it will not happen if you hide inside your shell and see only the same friends every day. Broaden your horizons!
You see, when you are young, you can get away with this stuff and more, it lends a certain vitality to the soul and the spirit to know that on this day you did something for someone or some animal or cause, and broke free of your emotive shell. Instead of sitting around and moping because Billy Bob didn’t call, you could be out there protesting circuses and elephant abuse and what not. You could tell the world that rabbits do not need any more eye make-up and that they looked better before. You can start reading all the great classics by Peter Singer and Rachel Carlson. If you are lucky (or unlucky, depending on your circumstance) you could even wind up like Auntie Sadi dressed in her bunny garb with the head under her arm and be have your picture splattered all over the UPI Newswire. Imagine that! Now, you’re family may not be so pleased with your newfound fervor for bunnies or deer or socialism or Ayn Rand, but no matter. As long as you stay within some sort of regulated and normal structure (READ: joining the Krishnas is not what i advocate here, nor is joining a Manson-esque cult or moving off to some weird rural ranch with some charismatic loser like the late David Koresh. He is exactly the type of man you are moving away from, charisma or no charisma, he’s bad news.
So, i encourage you to be radical within reason. I don’t want to see you getting dragged out of the screen on the evening news by a cop weilding a billy club to your wilted flower. But get involved, put your passion to a cause and all of that vitality you have into a group or a cause or a person(s) that could benefit from it. Stop wasting it on which color OPI nail varnish you will use this evening. Instead, yu might look into the Free Tibet movements etc. You could even take up meditation, learn what your dosha is, take up yoga, anything – but get involved, be dynamic, dare to be silly and dress up like a rabbit. I still have that photo of me from the newswire, and though i now work for many large corporations, that photograph will always keep me grounded and tell me who i am at my core.
Onward! Be brave, be bold, stay curious, never settle.
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