When I was a sophomore in high school, I chose to do a report on the plight of the dolphins who were (are) getting caught and dying in fishermen’s nets. It led me down a rabbit trail of books, studies and information on animal welfare. I sat in that library surrounded by dog-eared books and the card-catalog scent that hung in the room like old drapes and cried my heart out. From that day until I became pregnant with Jack I chose not to eat meat. It was a challenging process initially because it was the 90’s and we were still waiting for the Whole Foods Generation–health food wasn’t trendy yet and it felt like I was one of the few who had made such a life choice. Still, I ordered tomatoes and lettuce on bread at Jack in the Box and played guitar on the beach in my hippie clothes with my hippie friends. Everything I did, I did differently than everyone else because at a certain point I realized I wasn’t going to fit in, so I might as well do me.
It was easy making such drastic decisions for myself because the implications only affected me, though I felt like my righteousness was making a statement loud enough to make a difference. I am raising two sons and two daughters now; I am one half of my marriage and one sixth of our family unit. We are raising thoughtful, critical thinkers who are learning to make the right decisions for themselves. Part of my job as a mother and a human being is to be receptive to alternative ideas, to be willing to open my mind and heart to new things.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about why I write, who I’m writing for and how I’ll bind these stories together in a slightly tattered, perfectly worn and spit-shined package for my dear ones. These days and hours that make up our immediate and eventually the months and years are like one long road trip. We tuck all of these little hearts within the vehicle that is our own lives, hit the gas and just go.
These moments, to me, need to be documented for my own future reminiscing and for my children, who will hopefully read fondly when they’re able and interested. I’m grateful for the outlet that writing and photography provide for me, and for the thoughtful audience that provides a greater conversation than I ever expected.
We are all at the helm of our ships, I just happen to process the journey better aloud and with a written treasure map.