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Labels and gluckschmerz


On this curious Thursday afternoon, I was cross-checking fabrics in my closet that are cruelty-free with the guidance of a few lists that came up on Google.

Then I had this epiphany: You can put any label out into the world for your life decisions (“vegan”, “cruelty-free”, “eco-conscious”), or a combination of some and re-create a whole ‘nother label, but the world will always find a way to corrupt it … even if it’s a good, well-meaning one.

Just last night, my husband shared a similar story about our relationship to our weekly small group. During my recovery of depression pre-marriage and pre-acceptance of Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I’ve always asked him the dreaded question any woman with a troubled mind would ask: “Why do you love me?”, or “Give me a reason/logic/explanation for your love,” or somewhere along those lines. My small group found it funny because, well, can’t we all relate with this fundamental question of self-worth? Furthermore, it doesn’t help if you ask it in a way as if your life depends on it. In my case, I was really handing all of my responsibility for my own wellbeing on his hand. Based on all that I’ve known at that time, there’s no logic to it: Why would such a nice guy like him want to be someone as suicidal as me? All I knew was dragging people down. Without a better conscience (the one true God), I was threatening my man to put a reasonable label on myself because if not, I wouldn’t have any reason to be in the relationship.

He never gave a reason … until we got married.

Until I learned to trust, have faith, and relive my hopes and dreams again. Which is just another way of saying I’ve fully accepted Jesus as my first label above all labels.

I won’t even start calling myself a vegan. Or anti-cruelty. Or humblebragging myself as someone compassionate. Because I’m not always those things … and secondly, I’d be corrupting all of my actions from hereon because they will not be done with a pure heart. I’d stray away from whatever I was made best to act, say, and do, and start taking pleasure of other people’s pain just because they have the opposite label of mine.

Really, my simple decision to choose fabrics from now on that does not use animal or animal products purely came out of how much it hurts me to see the visuals of animals crying and bleeding and dying … all those lives wasted because humans have quite literally assumed the humans-dominating-animals label, and they’ve been feeding their greeds out of inflicting pain upon them animals ever since, rather than taking pleasure of one other’s wellbeing.

But …

Because I’m training myself to leave you on a positive note here, I believe the best thing you can do with your label(s) is to shed light on those who cannot do, speak, and act for themselves. In my world, it’s just my little pigs. I would love to just live in my little world and just keep fantasizing having a pig and enjoying the increasing popularity of pigs as pets and not as food. But as long as I’m still in this world … somebody has to be responsible for personal integrity and happiness … not my husband, not uninformed/ignorant fashion retailers, not the cruel animal factory workers. The price for me is to stop clothing myself with satins and chiffons and organzas … which is going to be difficult. But I hope my lifestyle speaks for itself, because really, there is no need for any form of abuse if the goal is to look and feel our best.