The Draize Train

The Draize Train

As you can guess by the title I’m feeling rather depressed, I can’t quire put my finger on it, it’s not me its society as a whole that’s getting me down. I feel so insignificant and helpless and as though somewhere along the line I have to collude with someone with opposing ethics to myself. This was train of thought that I frequently followed I my late teens and early twenties. By the age of 37 you would have thought that I may have grown out of this, but it’s back. It’s quite a strange but disturbing train of thought that questions everything, from what shampoo I use and where I bought it, to the shoes on my feet and how they were made. It also questions how society operates, which is how this train of thought started off this time.

Initially I started this line of thinking at quite a young age, I was worried about the striking miners and their families and I worried about the threat of a nuclear war. I spent quite a lot of time worrying about these issues whilst still at primary school. My teacher wondered what I was daydreaming about, if only she knew. I then started worrying about animals when I got to secondary school; I worried about the treatment of farm animals and the ethics behind eating meat. I did have some interesting discussions with my RE teacher about this. I was about 12 years old when I became a vegetarian, I got the mick taken out of me, but I was going to stick to my principals (not a single bit of meat has passed my lips until I found a bit of beef mince in a tin of roast red pepper soup a couple of years ago, a certain German, budget supermarket doesn’t realise how distressing that was and only refunded me the cost of the soup). I was also quite politically aware, and I had developed a sense of fairness and passionately disagreed with everything the conservatives did and couldn’t wait to be able to vote. Women were imprisoned when my grandmother was a small girl whilst fighting for women to get the vote, I should use it wisely. I briefly toyed with the idea of being a politician.

When I moved to Colchester, my first attempt at trying to get a music degree, I became a vegan, with my buying power I was choosier about what I bought and where it came from. I even attended a couple of animal rights marches in London. I was very concerned about the make up of society and would have much preferred to opt out and live in a socialist, vegan, feminist, anti-consumerism utopia. But that doesn’t exist, the closest I’d get ever get would be to buy and old bus and become a crusty. I didn’t become a crusty; I enjoy too much the trappings of living in a house.

I’ve gone full circle now, I’ve eaten at McDonalds (veggie burger), I eat cheese and chocolate, I shop at Tescos (begrudgingly), I have leather clothing (to protect me from the road and the elements) and I live with carnivores (human and feline). But now I’m feeling immense guilt, somehow I’ve let my moral standards slip, how can I make a stand against the big corporations that are more powerful than the government? I’m only little, and now my TS has become worse I’m even smaller, as a person with a disability it’s difficult to have a voice in society, everybody’s so greedy, what’s the big deal with flat screen TV’s? What’s the deal with big, fast cars? I don’t want those things, I’m quite happy with my freecycle TV and my freecycle washing machine. My plates and mugs don’t match, but they’re clean and my clothes have come from charity shops. Some politician, I forget her name referred to people with disabilities as “useless eaters”. A lot of politicians are useless eaters, eating up all the taxes we pay on duck houses, goodness knows what else and hobnobbing with the corporate bosses. Meanwhile here I am trying to get a job, trying to get foothold on the roundabout called society. There’s a lot going on and I find it truly disturbing. The idea of opting out and becoming a crusty is beginning to sound really tempting, except that I won’t be able to have a shower everyday. Maybe I should just shut up and take my Risperidone.

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  • Good Morning Catherinem, I'm sitting here with my cup of green tea,half awake having got up to make my son's breakfast, see him off to school & wondering whether to go back to bed but wanting to check my emails first. I nearly saved this for later but I'm glad I didn't. So much of what you said rang true for me it made me smile.

    Over the years I too have battled with different things. Having problems with my weight & my body image almost my whole life the stress of it caused me to attempt an overdose of slimming pills at 15. Sickness in my early twenties which was for some time largely ignored by my doctor until I managed to persuade him to send me for a test which showed duodenal ulcer & the scars of others which the G.P seemed surprised.

    All he said when I asked how I could prevent/stop this was 'find out what makes you sick & don't eat it'

    Which has led to many,many years trying different things. Discovering I seem to have a problem with wheat/gluten & dairy mainly. Frustratingly they didn't show on NHS tests though,but I know I am.

    I have been vegetarian & vegan but my stomach,intestines, nose (& others noses!) preferred I wasn't! ( :-O) I too tried giving up leather but my feet, and nose, prefer them to wear leather shoes. I also toyed with the idea of giving up using any shampoo & read a forum whereby people were just rinsing their hair daily either with just water or water & olive leaf. Apparently your hair seems to rebel for a week or two by being greasy & itchy & supposed to be 'wonderful'. Somehow I couldn't bring myself to finish doing it when it felt greasy & itchy I just had to wash it.To me it felt horrible. I've tried D'Adamo's Blood Type Diet which is rather good but unfortunately heavily based on American obtained foods. I too like my creature comforts, that's not a crime probably why I hate camping. I don't mind caravanning but that's another story!

    In general I don't like the way society operates. For years this country has swung between different political parties & none ever seem to get the balance right. I always seem to be the loser whichever force is in power. Now with only 1 income at present & very little of it too I find it hard to maintain any of my ideals. It's not that I wouldn't or haven't tried but no longer have the means to support it sadly. Least we can say we tried I suppose?

  • I thought about having my hair in dreads, but it wouldn't look good for job interviews, well nor does swearing !

  • :) That's one of my absolute favourite songs!

    I have some similar ideas too - I've been vegetarian most of my life and vegan for a few years. I hate the waste and excess of our society, but also i feel i don't have much choice because it would be so lonely otherwise unless i moved to a commune :P . I feel guilty that I am not doing as much as I could, and I don't use the 'one person can't make a difference' reasoning, but I think because of the environment in which i live, my quality of life would be impacted if i tried to live in a way that would make me guilt-free. Viva la revolucion.

  • I saw these guys who were "freegalers" on TV the other day, basically they raid the skips outside supermarkets for food.Sounds like a good idea using up food that the supermarkets have discarded, but I don't think I could bear to eat food out of a skip. I've taken other items from skips, I found an antique chair, like the ones my Mamgu had when I was little, it's now in my kitchen, I also got a massive mirror. When I lived in Colchester, my flatmate was standing as councillor for the Green party, he wasn't successful, but he always bought his toiletries from Body Shop, since then Body Shop have been bought by L'Oreal - who were one of the companies that were targeted by Animal Aid et al with regards to animal testing (hence the title Draize Train, album track by the Smiths). The Gripe with Tescos is that they are so big, recently half of Bedworth has been bulldozed to make the Tescos bigger, some of the bulldozed buildings were small buisnesses, including the butchers shop that my partner uses (local Warwickshire dead animals) that has been in buisness 100 years. Now it's gone, now he goes elsewhere and has to by meat from goodness know where. At least as a carnivore he is carefull about where his meat has come from. He is also trying not use floride, so he send me to the healthfood shop to get floride free toothpaste. My teeth are very sensitive so I have to use sensdyne. I could go on and on and on.........