Whenever I see news of Cecil the Lion, an episode of M.A.S.H. always springs to mind. Episode 10 of season 6. It is the one where there is a stray dog running around the camp, that all of the cast take turns sneaking scraps to. Near the end, Houlihan, who had been spending the entire episode riding Nurse Cooper to toughen up and stop breaking, starts to break down herself down after hearing the puppy had been killed earlier. She tries to hide it and run to her tent, but is followed by Hawkeye who says he had seen her feeding the puppy all week. She snaps at him that she doesn’t break down.
“I’ve got people dying all around me. You think I’d get upset about a dog getting run over? Why would I get upset over… a little… dog.”
Here she completely breaks down.
Sometimes, what you see people breaking down over, what they are sharing being upset over, is not all there is to it. We face a lot of pain in this world. The “strongest” seem to stand up and fight continually without wavering. Eventually, everyone has to break. The one thing that causes the flood of emotions may seem small in comparison to all that is around us. But sometimes when you are crying over the dog getting killed in the middle of a war zone, it is not really just the dog you are crying over.
I started doing anti-violence/anti-rape education about 10yrs ago. It was like yelling at stone, most of the time. And it was like being stone a lot of the time as well. You are surrounded by images and information of horrific happenings, but just crumbling into a big mess about it all the time helps no one. So you are strong. You do what you do to keep going. The emotions are almost too strong to feel. They are a block. Until a dog gets run over. Or a lion gets murdered by a rich dentist for his sport. Then you feel yourself welling up with tears, and you want to run into a dark corner where you can just cry for a little while. You see the videos of people being shot down in cold blood by those with authority and uniforms. The news stories of children dying. And you think “I’ve got people dying all around me. Why would I get upset over one little lion?”
But sometimes when crying over a dog getting killed in the middle of a war zone, it is not really just the dog you are crying over.