Thursday, 6 October 2011
My Little Carnivorous Sister, Nade.
As anyone with a younger sibling knows, it was my duty to make her life difficult when we were little. After a few years of her putting up with me bullying her into saying swear words and eating her own bogies, I began to see that she wasn't born into our family for my own amusement, and we became best friends.
Occasionally we'll spend our time together acting like real grown ups...
But usually we wont.
Aside from being the funniest person in the universe, she's recently grown up to become one of the most kind and compassionate. It'd be cruel of me to say I never would have imagined her to turn out like this, but I'll say it anyway.
I was always able to talk openly and frankly to her about my thoughts on meat, even though she ate it. She was never disrespectful or defensive, in fact she would cover up the meat on her plate so when we ate together I didn't have to look at it. She listened to what I had to say, but didn't usually have anything to add herself apart from something along the lines of ''yeah, I know you're right, but I couldn't live without steak''. She ate meat at every meal, she ate her steaks blue and one time I recall her drinking the blood left on the plate with a straw(!!!!). Entirely carnivorous.
In my experience there are two types of meat eaters, the ones who are in denial and refuse to listen to the truth, for fear of having to change, and the ones who can listen to what you say and it apparently has no effect on them. Nade comes from the latter category.
The others are the type of people who I have always tried to educate; sure that once they allow themselves to see the truth, they'll change. It never occurred to me that someone like Nade would ever give up meat, I couldn't imagine the massive shift in attitude that would have to take place for them to do so. I thought at least the other people are part way there, at least they feel guilty and responsible sometimes. Where some people would cringe and get angry if I pointed out that the rib there were eating was actually from a dead pig's chest, she would literally not bat an eyelid.
A few months ago we started reading books on Buddhism, it was weird, we both decided to do it at the same time so went to the book shop together and got Buddhism, Plain and Simple. That very same day, I was in the kitchen and she came in, announcing ''Nic, I think I'm going to have to be vegetarian''. I literally could not believe my ears. ''I know eating meat is wrong, I know it is, so I shouldn't do it.''
Unlike me, Nade loved to eat meat, she never had any of the nagging feelings that I'd had right throughout my life. I'm still in shock I think, because of how much strength it takes for someone to make such a change so suddenly and selflessly.
I think since then she's really allowed herself to awaken to all manner of truths, it's as though the curtain of denial has been lifted and she no longer inhabits the greedy, self fulfilling world she was a part of. She was a professional dancer, but she now volunteers in Ethiopia, educating people on environmental issues and women's rights.
Apparently she's also abandoned the idea of cameras as this is the only photo I have of her in Ethiopia. She gets to play with wild monkeys every day too so you can imagine my frustration at her taking no photos*hint hint*
Not one to appreciate being labelled, so I'll avoid calling her a freegan or a flexitarian, she will eat meat that would have otherwise gone to waste. I'm going to talk about my ideas on this another time, as I think it leads to some really interesting questions. But for now I think my point is how excited I am at the thought of such unlikely folk awakening to the truth. I'll never rule anyone out, and I realise the importance of having faith in people to do the right thing in their own time. It's nice because it kind of eases the burden I know a lot of us feel, when you think of it this way.
Nade has been writing a blog since she got to Ethiopia...she doesn't often get access to a computer and when she does she frequently encounters power cuts, but the posts she writes are witty and entertaining :-)