All Dogs Are Anarchists

Disclaimer: animals are animals and also individuals and projecting human intent onto their behaviour is never going to make much sense, but this was fun to write.

Cats are the poster animals of anarchism.

They’re independent, mischievous and demonstrably don’t give a fuck about any rules, all qualities which we often think of as being inherently anarchistic. As Earnest Hemingway once said ‘No animal has more liberty than the cat, but it buries the mess it makes. The cat is the best anarchist.’

Anarchy cat is a recognisable symbol which is available for purchase in both sticker and in patch form. There’s even a Facebook group called “A place for anarchists to post pictures of their cats in” (if you haven’t liked it already, 10/10 would deff recommend). Popular anarchist phrases are sometimes reappropriated into All Cats Are Beautiful (ACAB) and No Dogs No Masters. Cats are like, our thing.

anarchist_wild_cat_by_13vak

[Anarchy cat: Available in both sticker and patch form.]

Dogs, meanwhile, are not anarchists. They’re good pals, sure, but they’re daft, clumsy and notoriously pack animals with, many believe, a fairly strict adherance to hierarchy. They’re also known for being obedient, and their complete adoration of their human owners (along with the concept of ownership as a thing) doesn’t really tie in too well with the whole “No Gods No Masters” thing.

So the surface it makes sense. But let’s think about this. What are we actually trying to say here; that cats embody the most anarchist principles and cats are independent and self reliant. So, logically, the same should be said of the ideal anarchist?

Well, I mean, sure, if you’re an asshole.

Meanwhile, let’s think a little bit more on dogs. Dogs are loyal. They have strong values and they stick to these. They protect the ones they love and, assuming they’ve been treated well, they are full of love and joy for most creatures. They are caring and adventurous and have excellent instincts. These are all excellent and valuable qualities for anyone involved in community organising. Obviously the point about obedience to owners is fair and correct – but that’s a human imposed quality, not something inherent to the animal’s nature. What’s more, in many cases (historical species based oppression and domestication aside) the relationship between human and dog companions is give and take, as human companions will provide care, warmth and sustenance for the dog companion, which in my opinion helps us to develop better qualities in ourselves which are vital for community action and support.

loukanikos

[Famous Greek Anarchy Dog Loukianos fronts negotiations with riot police in Athens, Greece]

Anyway, my pal Rory tells me that pack hierarchies in dogs only usually materialise in domestic situations and in the wild they become much more non-hierarchical.

When you think about it, cats are those kind of creepily slick dudes who turn up to protests with a sign up sheet and stand at the side looking slick and not really doing anything to help.

But dogs? Dogs are your slightly mangy pal who always brings a full pot of food for the free community potluck. Dogs carry compost and wood to help in the local shared guarden space. Dogs phone up their pals following their “I’m really mentally ill, halp” status to ask if they what them to come over and do the dishes.

Dogs are the anarchists who won’t betray you. Who won’t make excuses when you call someone out for abuse. Who will do everything in their power to help out those who are in trouble. Who will research wage inequality laws and do boring shit like fill out complaint forms.

Fuck.

Cats are libertarians.

Dogs are perfect.

Hemingway was lying.

All Cats are Bastards.

Here’s a song.

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Endless cups of tea

TW: Depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, suicidalness

 

Depression can be feeling slightly sticky all the time even though you showered and put on clean clothes because somehow everything is effort and your skin seems to want to sweat constantly.

Depression can be passing out fully clothed at midnight and waking up at 8AM and sleeping all night long and still being to exhausted to move.

Depression can be drinking endless cups of tea to try and assuage how exhausted you feel from all the crying you did today.

Depression can be speaking out loud when there’s no one around to work through the conversations you’re trying to have in your head and one minute being calm and collected and the next being a crying, screaming, self harming mess on the floor.

Depression is the catch 22 of new relationships, where you’re scared of them losing interest because you’re mentally ill, but also if you had reassurance from them that this wouldn’t happen then that would assuage some anxiety and therefore make you less stressed about being mentally ill.

Depression can be feeling desperately that you just need someone – anyone – to kiss you, to breathe the life back into you. Like longing and drowning and gasping for air and feeling like you’re sinking all the time. But in reality, what you’re searching for is the short term serotonin hit and even after you latch on to that high, the low is still waiting for you.

Depression can be wondering if you should tell people you’re sad, but knowing you won’t even know how to follow up questions about you being sad, and knowing that people probably won’t be able to help so the whole thing is useless anyway and there’s no point.

Depression can be your whole being and your whole self and it can be a small part of you. It can be a scratch or a hole in an otherwise healthy brain, that just refuses to stop talking, to stop poisoning you.

But you can be happy and have depression. You can be laughing with friends and socialising. You can be upbeat. You can feel upbeat. And also deeply sad and isolated and lonely. You can be both at once because being happy is not the same as not being sad.

A friend once told me that depression was like having all of your thoughts flying at you at once and not knowing which one to listen to first.

Another once said it was like being lost in a fog, knowing that there are things you need to be doing, like getting up, getting dressed, getting washed, but not being able to remember how to do these these in any order.

Most friends just tell me it feels like being a useless waste of space.

Depression, for me, can be a tiny, tiny part of my brain, behind and slightly below my left eye, that feels like a stone or a knot, and all it does is secrete sadness. And it feels like really needing to throw up, but in your brain, except minus the feeling of relief when you do throw up because you can’t throw up depression and you can’t even cry it out it just comes more and more and more. And sometimes sadness is all it gives you, and sometimes there’s words like “You can’t do anything” and “No one wants you” and “Everyone hurts you so reject them before they reject you”.

And sometimes just “everything is pointless and you should kill yourself”

And it’s the reality, and it’s the reality that suicidalness is complicated and more than that, it can be passive. Your brain can tell you to kill yourself, but you’re not going to, because killing yourself requires a plan, and requires action, and the reality of death is still terrifying even though it might be your brain’s answer to the pointless sinking of life.

And depression is really fucking boring. So boring I can’t even be bothered romanticising depression anymore. I can’t make it into poetry and weave pretty words around it or turn it into an inspirational story or a soundbite. It’s just there, making you feel shit.

And sometimes depression is being held by a friend whilst they kiss your forehead and repeat the words “I love you, I love you” over and over again and you crying so, so hard because you can’t comprehend how anyone loves you because you know you’re not lovable, you haven’t been for a long time.

And sometimes depression is being told that people like you and making a dumb, deprecating joke about it and making things awkward but really you just don’t know how to comprehend that you could be respected and wanted by other people.

And sometimes it’s being surprised by how understanding people can be. It’s being held by people you never expected to be held by and it’s not having to explain why you can’t move as anything other than “I’m sad”.

Depression is something I used to feel all the time and now I only feel for a few days, every few months. And it’s hard to remember that it will go away but it does go away. And sometimes depression is just my brain’s way of telling me that the situation I’m in is a bad one and I need to change it. And sometimes by “Kill yourself” what my brain means is “Get out of here”, and there are other ways of doing that, me and my brain just need to work together. Because neither of us wants to die, really.

I don’t know why I wrote this. Here’s a song: