Sunday, 13 December 2015

Don't take all the advice you're given.

I heard the other day a man said, "I like to listen to what everyone has to say. I think everyone has a little bit of wisdom they can share." Without sounding like I'm completely full of shit, I'd like to pleasantly disagree with this.

I listen, a lot. I do. I love hearing other's stories and their experiences, but I can't say I fancy other's advice too much as often they feel overstated. How can someone so far removed from myself and who I am possibly have useful advice to share?

During this year off, I worked for three days at a call centre. Sat in the cubicle with my headset on, mindlessly dialing, a man around 5'5", scruffy dirty blonde hair, a leather jacket reeking of cheap cigarette smoke sits next to me. I don't find him particularly attractive, but I am intrigued by why he's suddenly appeared at this odd hours. It was just after 7pm. He introduces himself and asks me what brings me to this call centre. I tell him I'm just looking for some easy money. "Well that definitely what this is," he says, "Are you in school?" Yes, I'm a third year comm major. "Nice. That's a good degree. Lucrative. What do you wanna do afterwards?" He pauses to take a call and we get told off by a supervisor about 'chatting' between calls. The supervisor walks off. I'm not sure, I tell him. Right now I'm really just trying to finish this degree and get the hell out of school.
He says that's not a good plan. He dropped out of his major in economics, and has worked at the call centre for two years. He's back in school now, but advises me to do the same. Drop out and find myself. I'm not sure if the intent behind that advice was well-meaning, maybe it was, but it is awful advice. Firstly, who told him I'm lost & in need of finding anyone? Who told him I hold that belief, that who you are is someone who needs to be found? When did I say I didn't like my studies? I'm not sure where I'm headed afterwards, but I love my program and I'm good at it.

My soon to be ex-manager, whom I despise, had some advice for me too. Firstly, it's a massive thorn in my side when people assume they know anything about my degree and more importantly what I'm doing. Especially people with no possible way of knowing. She is a manager of a fast food place who didn't even finish a (college) course in Social Work. Where does she get off telling me what I need to do to accomplish my degree? She laughs when I tell her my major because she says I need to be good with people, and I'm not. Yes, because that's all a communication major needs to be 'good with people.' Mind you her definition of good with people is to smile more. I fail at hiding how I feel about a person. If I hate you, you will know it. I physically can't smile in her presence, my disdain runs that deep. Communication is about understanding people, and proceeding as such. Less about fake smiling all the time and more about analysis. Communication does not only involve me talking to people all day, because surprise surprise we don't only communicate with words. As a matter of fact almost 90% of what we communicate to others doesn't come from our mouths. We can write, sing, use body language and create. Still communications. Yet, somehow...she thinks her advice is even remotely warranted, appropriate or useful. I should hand her one of the last paper I handed in and ask her opinion...even she even manages to understand past the introduction.

You're going to encounter a lot of people throughout your life. A lot of them are going to try to give you ill advised 'advice', in an attempt to deal with some personal mistakes they've made and some of their own regrets. Everyone's got advice, but trust when I say not all of it is worth listening to.

Monday, 7 December 2015

I don't eat meat.

I've intended for the following string of posts for at least the next month or so to just be a series of explanations as to what's been going on with me over the last year; because I've gotten up to quite a lot. One of the things I've spent six months of the last twelve doing is revamping my diet. No more meat or eggs. Dairy is on the way, but we haven't completely beat it yet.

Now, I'm not sure how much I've previously gushed on here before about my love for food, or the fact that I am Jamaican, but my diet is a huge part of who I am. Food, constant supplies of it, makes me who I am. I'm 99% burrito 0.5% air, 0.5% other. However, this was a necessary things do and eventually will be a necessary thing for all of us to do.

I was simply educated about the meat industry and what it is doing to the world. Beef production is the largest consumer of fresh water on the planet. One pound runs about 2,000 gallons. Which means one quarter pounder burger took an incredulous 500 gallons of water to make. That figure scared me. Earth's supply of fresh water is scarce, water scarcity is already a very real thing and yet we're using THAT much water on....beef?

Granted, I'm also a compassionate person. I've always had a soft spot in my heart for animals, I was just always blissfully ignorant to just HOW poorly these animals are treated, how they are skinned and murdered alive, neutered, caged and the conditions they're suffering in.

Economically, this industry isn't even feasible. We feed a cow about 16 times more food than it is able to then provide for us.

I can't make anyone change who they are or stop doing what they like to do or see the bigger picture. It's not my place too. That's a personal decision. But something about suddenly living your life according to a moral standard you've set upon yourself is remarkably rewarding. Seeing a problem and deciding passivity is not the answer, gives a sense of pride that's hard to truly explain. It's nice to feel I'm making a difference, you know? I'll save about 30 animals a year. And each week I don't eat the average five pounds of beef the average North American does that's 10,000 more gallons of water that we ALL have to use. That's rewarding. That makes my heart sing.

Singing hearts make me hungry, so I'm going to have a veggie burger and some fries and veggie gravy and some soda. Because at NO point in this post did I say I was suddenly healthy, or care about how hard my heart struggles on a daily. (Okay, I lied I'm slightly concerned). All I said was, I don't eat meat.

Learn for yourselves: