This song was played on the radio often when I was a kid. I associate it with a public swimming pool my mom used to take us to. They would play the radio on speakers and for some reason I remember hearing this song there.
I'm told that I get frustrated - more than many other people, I guess, at certain conditions in the world that are usually taken for granted. I'm a passionate person and an emotional person, and things just get to me sometimes. I realize that many of my beliefs and practices are not common. I realize that behaviors of others that I consider offensive and appalling are widespread and not given a second thought by many (probably including the "others" in question).
And I certainly realize that, out there in "the real world," there aren't a heck of a lot of pacifists, feminists, and vegans.
I realize that I could spare myself some anguish if I could somehow learn to not let things "get to me," however exactly that is achieved. I realize that I am an idealist.
But here's the thing. I have been fortunate enough in my life to see and experience huge moments of change in individuals. And I believe that's where change in the world begins - with individuals.
I think of one of my personal heroes, John Lennon. If you listen to some of his early Beatles songs, if you look at the way he treated his first wife and son during those years...well, I'm not so sure I like that guy. But his later songs show a huge personal shift. His relationships with Yoko and their son Sean were clearly transformative forces in his life. It's inspiring.
I think of the group of people I met on the New Year's retreat a few months ago. It was amazing to share a space with people who were so open, honest, and working toward similar yet individual goals - just trying to grow and be better people, each person at their own stage in the journey, but on that journey, and thinking that journey mattered.
I know and have seen far to many examples of changes for the better at the individual level to believe that our worse behaviors are all we're capable of. There is much debate over "human nature" versus social conditioning. I can't say for sure why we are the way we are. But I can say for sure that we can change, we can grow.
So when I complain about being treated like a one dimensional sex object because I am a woman, don't try to tell me that's just the way men are. Because, guess what? I know plenty of men who are somehow capable of looking at a woman and seeing a whole person.
And sure, you can tell me vegans make up 0.001% of the American population (yes I made that figure up), and there are so few of us that we can't possibly be making any kind of real difference...well, I just think about how many MORE vegans there are today, compared to when I was born, back in 1980. Heck, I wasn't a vegan back then, I didn't start going vegan till 2009. But I am one now.
I won't even say that I'm trying for some kind of utopia where everyone starts to self identify using the labels (feminist, vegan, etc) that I personally choose. Frankly, I can't even picture that. What I like to see, what I hope to see more of, is questioning. When people begin to question "the way it is," they can see possibilities.
And after that...who knows what could happen?