My grandparent’s winter home in Sarasota, Florida, was my happy place!
The layout of the house wrapped around a swimming pool with a canal in the back where you could look down and see the ocean. My love of the ocean and all living beings led me to dream of becoming a Marine Biologist when I got older.
I had no cares in the world while we were there except for one thing, which I will explain.
Cold Canada to Florida
We flew from Canada to visit them. It was around 1983, and I was approximately ten.
One day, we went out and about exploring with my Grandpa. He had a special presence about him. He was very engaging, dynamic, and truly lived life. My Grandma was more reserved and tougher to know and lovely nonetheless.
We had stopped at a place where he bought live bait for my brother to fish later that day.
Shrimps in a White Bucket
When we got back, they set him up with a fishing rod and off he went. I sat nearby and connected with the interesting large shrimp beings in the white bucket. To me, they belonged in the ocean, and I was hoping he did not catch anything.
When no one was looking, one by one, I started releasing them back into the water from which they came.
When my Grandpa came to check on us, he realized that many shrimps were missing and knew my brother did not use them all. I told him what I had done, and he was mad. There was no way of him knowing what was happening in the mind and heart of his young granddaughter.
He went off to talk to my dad about it. Fortunately, my dad is also a kind and highly sensitive being, and he explained to him my deep love of all beings and creatures.
Usually, I would have been coming out of my skin if someone was mad at me, but I felt it was the right thing to do inside me.
My brother caught a fish, and everyone was pleased for him except me.
I wanted so badly for them to put it back in the water. Instead, they filled a garbage can with water and put it in.
Then we left to go to a restaurant for dinner. I could not get it off my mind. It was still alive and swimming in circles when we got back.
The next day they took its life force away, cooked it up, and ate it. It was on everyone’s dinner plates but mine. “How could they eat it?” I thought to myself. I felt like I was in a world all by myself.
Of all the many beautiful memories in Sarasota, this was not one of them.
Seeing anything hurt, harmed, killed, neglected, or abused does something profound and indescribable deep inside me as I feel what they are feeling and have so much love and compassion for them.
I can think of many more stories like this.
Fast forward eight years
Right after Highschool, I did a landscaping job for a few summers. I met a guy named Wayne, who was on a different crew. He was ten years older, and we became friends.
He had an apartment nearby, and as you walked down the stairs to his basement suite, he had a deer head on the wall. I believe he told me he hunted, but this next step mystified me.
I asked him more about it. He was slightly defensive and eventually said, “what are you talking about, you eat meat?!” He was correct. I did.
I was 18 (1991) then, and I did not yet know that it was an option to not eat meat. A switch flipped in that second, and the very next day, I became a vegetarian. No preparation and not enough knowledge, which I don’t recommend, but that came.
Honouring Highly Sensitive Children
Since 2016 I have chosen to be vegan as it feels harmonious within me.
Everyone needs to choose to nourish themselves in the way that feels right to them.
I write this with young sensitive, and empath children in mind who might struggle with this inner turbulence and not have people around that understand what it is like to feel things so deeply.
Gentleness and compassion are such beautiful qualities to be celebrated!!