Hunger strikes are an amazing tool to help bring recognition to important causes through personal suffering. They require dedication, commitment, and an earnest belief in social justice, even at the potential expense of your own life. Which is why it’s a little weird, maybe, that people keep telling me mine is such a great idea.
When I announced my hunger strike in the usual ways—Instagram stories, 30-part tweetstorm, and via an office-wide conference call—I was expecting the typical uneducated pushback. My cause of ending pony rides at parks is undoubtedly just, but I didn’t expect many people to understand. “That’s so extreme,” I was waiting to hear. “That’s so incredibly courageous, but what if you die?” I was ready for those reactions. I even had a four-page poem already prepared for when someone inevitably asked “Are pony rides that bad?” (It starts: Beasts of Burden/The burden IN their eyes/Is their Subjugation worth it/for a birthday Surprise?)
So it was kinda unsettling right from the beginning when most of my friends responded with incredible support. “I think this is the best idea you’ve ever had,” Ashley in marketing said. I have to admit, I was initially flattered when even my ex chimed in on my FB post and said “This is the bravest thing I’ve ever heard, see it through to the end.”
Of course, I’m really grateful for all the support. My boss even moved my desk out of the co-working space and into a private storage room because he said he didn’t want me to be disturbed by other people’s food during my hunger strike. That seemed really considerate, although a little odd that he seemed like he’d been waiting to make that suggestion for a long time?
After five days on my hunger strike, the weirdness seemed to increase. I started to have trouble climbing the stairs in my apartment building, but my neighbors kept shoving me out of the elevator and telling me they didn’t want to tempt me with comfy living when there are ponies out there suffering. Of course, they’re right, but I was carrying a really heavy box of horseshoes for my dead ponies art installation, and it took me over an hour to get up three flights.
Of course, with all the weight loss, I’d expected the girls at my office to be impressed, and I guess they are. Hayley said she’d never seen me looking so healthy, and Peridot said that the bone structure of my calves is really evident now. They both urged me to stick to the hunger strike, because the ponies need me. They do, right? The ponies definitely still need me?
As you can tell, it’s hard for me to keep faith in my cause. Partially, it’s because I can no longer really stand up due to the trembling. Yet there’s still something I can’t put my finger on that’s so weird about getting overwhelming support. I talked to my dad, despite our feud over his use of non-biodegradable sporks, and he really turned me around. “Jessica,” he said, “if I have to hear about one more pony in pain from walking in a circle, I swear to God, I’ll join you in reaching your ultimate goal.” It’s amazing to know I’ve inspired even a moderate Democrat to fight for my cause!
After nine days of hunger, it’s getting hard to endure. I dream of the ponies running freely, but it no longer nourishes me. I’m so lucky I have the enduring support of such a huge community, though. Although my vision is getting blurry, I was able to squint and read an inspiring reply from a stranger on Twitter that says “Almost to the end, can’t wait for the big finish!”
I guess I can’t disappoint them now!