What does it mean to survive, and what are we surviving from? With all people, in all different walks of life, we are survivors. Some are survivors from wars past and present, others from devastation, hardships, miseries, and misfortune; either physical, emotional, or mental. We all can identify with one of those words. We each have a story to share of how we’ve survived and made it out alive. If you’re reading this, I’m sure you’ve already thought of various events in your life when you read the words above, and thankfully, you’re a survivor. You’ve found a way to keep going day by day. 

While I was in Thessaloniki, Greece in November 2016 I was confronted with street animals at literally every corner I turned. I have never seen so many street cats and dogs in my life in one neighborhood. What started out as a fun and light hearted idea turned into something more meaningful for me as time went on. I started to look at these animals and reflect upon myself, as well as others, and started to ask, “Do I identify with these animals in one way or another? What about them speaks to me?”.

In these times we are confronted with so many horrific world events every month, and for some time it hasn’t stopped. The reality is as long as the world keeps turning these things will continue to happen. I think we all have been through this moment of standing at a cross road and thinking, “I can either ignore what’s happening in the world and carry on with my daily life, or continue to educate myself and allow these uncomfortable emotions to develop.” It’s really the idea of empathy vs comfort. Every human is able to experience each feeling, but at times we’re able to decide when, how, and for whom.

I hope with this concept you’re able to reflect and question upon many things. I hope every individual is able to openly interpret something within themselves, as well in this world, when flipping through the pages. Ultimately, let’s help our brothers and sisters, as well ourselves, when we have the opportunity to do so despite our circumstances.