Your Vegan Thanksgiving is still a Celebration of Violence!

Photo via Pinterest.com

A vegan Thanksgiving is more sustainable and animal cruelty free. Supporting semen being sucked out with a straw from 46 million male turkeys’ anuses each year is cruel.  But having Thanksgiving at all is not necessarily cruelty free. The only ethical way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to spend it educating yourself on indigenous rights. 

“Happy Thanksgiving” I am so thankful for the Native Americans who continue to fight for their rights, their lands, refuse to abide by the societal expectations of pretending nothing terrible happened to their ancestors on this holiday. 

As we are having a beautiful Thanksgiving feast with our families and friends, remember that today is a national day of mourning for native Americans across the country. So while you’re thinking, “wow, this holiday is so incredible and based upon gratefulness and love between humans,” please don’t forget that thousands upon thousands of Native Americans have been brutally murdered in cold blood (partly) for their lands by white colonizers. 

And this question shocks me… but how many people across the country will celebrate Thanksgiving today having never even engaged with or met a native person, can’t name five tribes, can’t name the tribe whose lands they occupy or even can’t name a living native person? 

So… why not celebrate gratitude daily? It is one of the most important self-care practices a person can do. Daily practices rather than on just one day covered by blood which is just another white supremacist holiday. I’m not saying we should completely cut Thanksgiving from our yearly tradition but being less arrogant and realizing what this holiday truly represents. Being “woke” can be very emotionally taxing and difficult to talk about; but it’s worth doing the right thing rather than taking the easy way out and staying silent. 

Ignorance is not bliss. Even though it would be much easier not to post about these topics and just pretend today is a wonderful day of giving thanks…like everyone else does… so I don’t hurt any proud Americans’ feelings. If you’re not speaking the truth, you’re part of the problem. 

So bon appétit, but don’t forget!  As we celebrate thanks, for Native Americans Thanksgiving is a reminder of the genocide of millions of their people, the theft of their lands, and the assault on their culture and history of colonial violence.

Youth

Back then, war was a card game, race issues were about who ran the fastest, and protection meant wearing knee pads,

and a timeout was the worst punishment we knew.

Back then, our parents were our heroes, the safest place was in mom’s arms, and the highest place on earth was dad’s shoulders.

Back then, we shared toys, not boys. Back then we said “thank you” more than “I’m sorry,” “yes” more than “no,” and “I love you” instead of “I hate you.”

Back then, guys played sports, not girls,

back then, we looked forward to every day instead of dreading it,

back then, we were scared of the dark, not the world,

and back then we couldn’t wait to grow up.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

I Want to Believe

dear world, dear life, dear faith,

tell me your secrets,

fill me in on your knowledge,

and cast me away with your limitless being.

dear god,

whoever or whatever you may be,

listen to my problems, answer my prayers, make right all the wrong,

and give me hope.

oh please

give me hope that you can fix the evil in this dark world we live in.

oh god…

I want to belive in you,

I envy and pity those who do,

because, how great would it be to live

and believe that someone in the sky will make everything okay,

to believe that you are protected by one overarching being,

to blame your stupid mistakes on the ideology that

“everything happens for a reason, it’s god’s will,”

to not fear death because heaven awaits the good…

How great, how easy, how amazing would that be,

but how naive do you have to be to believe.

dear self, dear time, dear life

i’m afraid

my being is all in my hands.

Photo via Pinterest 

Can’t Forget About Jew

I have always considered myself a person of faith. I was lucky enough to be born a Sephardic Jew in one of the most welcoming periods in world history. Because of this, I never had to hide my beliefs, I had the opportunity to inform countless masses of friends what the laws of Kosher are, sharing stories about my main man Moses, and having a global network of strangers and friends alike that I could rely on, that I could confide in. But that’s not what I wanted to highlight today. Recently, I went to Yom Kippur services for the “Jewish New Year” where I fasted the whole day and prayed in repentance of the misdeeds committed by me and fellow Jews this last year. At the end of the second night, after nearly 30 hours without food, water, or bathing, as night falls, your fate for the next year is sealed, your past year is wiped clean and are given a chance to start anew. As I left services with my father, I felt invigorated, I felt fresh, I felt strong despite my thirst and hunger, and it was all due to this faith of mine. I realized I possessed a luxury that many of my friends grew up without and still live lacking. 
 
My faith has always been something I could rely on. From a young age, when I questioned something, I found my faith would always give me a confident answer, giving me a sense of closure, a peace-of-mind not afforded to my peers. When my friends grew to understand the finality of their mortality, when they struggled to find meaning in their lives, when they tossed and turned trying to comprehend our loneliness in our vast expanse of the universe, I had Judaism to fill the gaps in my young mind, sheltering me from the despair. Now I’m not saying it by any means encourages ignorance, some of the best Jewish scholars throughout history have integrated the scientific understand of our universe and Judaism because “[Both] were understood to be two different manifestations of the same divine truth.” (MJL, 2007) I was always encouraged by numerous Rabbi and teachers from my Jewish primary school to find my own truths, but if I couldn’t find a why for any of these, an explanation for my truths, Judaism would always be there to support my conclusions, to give me confidence about my role in our universe, no matter how small. I can go to sleep every night knowing if I were to not wake up in the morning, it would be because I have served my purpose and my job is completed, for this I am incredibly grateful.  
Photo Credit: Kenzie Bruce, The Denver Post
Mjl. “Judaism & Science in History.” My Jewish Learning, My Jewish Learning, 4 Feb. 2007, www.myjewishlearning.com/article/judaism-science-in-history/.

for her.

As I have grown older, I have danced around with my faith in God. My extended family is very Catholic. Like, so Catholic that my great grandparents had fifteen children. 

Both my mother and father grew up in the church. With families that wholeheartedly believe in God and Catholic values, there was little room to be different and your own person with different values and morals. My parents saw flaws in this system and didn’t raise my brother and me in the church. 

Now, as my relationship with God is pretty non-existent, I wonder about the strength in religion and the power of spirituality. Around the world, there are all these varying forms of praying to a higher power(s) in order to feel something like happiness, clarity, or reassurance. 

My aunt is currently sick.  And I am waiting for a miracle. 

My family has urged people to pray to keep her alive and healthy. But, is that legit and enough?

We have been praying for months. 

We have been watching the sickness take over her. 

We have watched the weight drop off her like the tears that run off our faces when thinking about her future.

We are putting our hopes and prayers on one person and what is He doing to save her? 

But, I pull myself back from this cycle of negativity and think about her, just her. I think about her needs, what she wants right now. 

She lived and lives a beautiful life. 

She is surrounded by people who love her and will be for eternity. 

She has made hundreds of people smile. 

My sentiments on prayer and putting all your hopes on one figure can be pushed out the window. For now, I will pray because I know that is what she believes in.

photo credit: pinterest.com

An Editorial on Milk

There are many unanswered questions pertaining to human history. What was the first language? Why do we feel emotions? Exactly where did the first human come from? Yet one question rules over the rest, hovering over the heads of puzzled scientists. Why do we drink milk? Or, more specifically, who in the hell thought to pull on a pink dangling thing underneath a cow, see white stuff come out, and then DRINK IT? Sure, whoever this individual was, their logic wasn’t completely flawed, as humans spend the first year of their life drinking milk. But it could have gone very poorly.

Most likely the first Milkman was in fact a male, as men tend to have more dumb ideas than women. So this person happened to luck out by choosing a cow. It’s possible that he could have stumbled upon a cat and decided to milk it, which would likely have yielded fruitless yet harmless results. But say he had decided to milk a horse, or even worse, an alligator. The future of humans would have been drastically different. No milk means no Marie Antoinette saying “let them eat cake.” No milk means a race of people who don’t exceed 4 feet.  No milk means no mid-class gastrointestinal issues from Aaron.

Thankfully, the Milkman chose a cow. Now, imagine if you lived in a small community of 30 or so people, who may or may not have had language, and largely depended upon each other for resources. You have been living tranquilly in a temperate valley for the past 20 years, and in two years you will be old and die. Suddenly, Thag, the town fool rushes into your village holding a handful of white liquid, some of which appears to be dripping down his beard, a wild and crazed look in his eyes. Of course, you might assume the worst. But he tells you to drink it too, for it tastes good; and lo, it is, and rejoice! for Milk has been discovered. Soon, there will be cookies, ice cream, Got Milk? posters, and of course, yogurt. A revolutionary discovery has been made, and the world may never be the same again. So thank you, Milkperson, for not trying to milk an Emu. We appreciate it.

Credit: ThoughtCo

“The God who made the world and all things in it”

photo credit: jdboggs.blogspot.com

For quite some time now, I’ve been trying to find God.

It’s not that I feel I’m lacking something without being a member of a religion, I just find it fascinating how people feel so empowered by so many different faiths.

In some ways I’m jealous of those people, the ones who know whole-heartedly that there is some higher power out there to guide them.

I know a lot of people who are skeptical of religion and, in some ways, I am too.

But, I’ve come to the conclusion that good people don’t use the Bible or anything else to justify hate or harm. The people who make excuses in the name of God are hypocrites in the truest sense and are ignorant by thinking that just by adhering to a faith will guarantee a better life or afterlife.

I think there is so much we can learn from religious texts. Even if you don’t interpret them in a spiritual sense, I think that anyone of any faith or background can gain something from the lessons in them.

From my perspective, the main purpose of a religion is to give people a sense of purpose or fulfillment and to help them live the best life possible.

So if this is true, then I’ve found my god.

I find my religion in the wilderness. I find god in the trees and in rivers and mountains and the sunshine.

My god makes up everything that is natural and wild. It teaches me to live the best, most fulfilled, and positive life that I can.

And that’s all I could really ask for.