Back Doors | Teen Ink

Back Doors MAG

May 6, 2014
By AleMarquez PLATINUM, Monterrey, Other
AleMarquez PLATINUM, Monterrey, Other
37 articles 0 photos 14 comments

Favorite Quote:
If we call something impossible, we act in such a way that we make it so.

In the summer of my fifteenth year, my parents took me to the circus. The air smelled of the sweet combination of caramel popcorn and summer breeze. The audience was just arriving, anxious for the show to start. Kids ran around like tiny live wires of excitement, leaving trails of hot cinnamon pretzel droppings on the concrete beneath their feet and gazing with awe at the majestic tent that awaited them. Couples ambled around the entrance; boys slipped pieces of pink cotton candy into their girlfriends' mouths while they smiled softly and the hot sun kissed their noses.

After some idling, everyone took their seats. I waited expectantly next to my parents, and the giant tent that loomed over us embraced us in a magical aura. Then a voice boomed all around us, silencing the audience, and a spotlight appeared in the middle of the round stage.

The show was over in what felt like a couple of minutes, but the thrill of the antics and stunts stayed with me when it was over. I felt strangely excited, as if I had become one of the acrobats who could bend in so many different ways.

Outside after the show, a friend of my dad who worked for the circus came over to chat with us. “Hey, you wanna go see the elephants?” he asked me. Naturally, I did. So he led us around the tent toward the back door. I skipped ahead, following his instructions to go left once inside. And when I got there I stopped dead.

When you see cruelty with your own eyes, you don't need someone to explain it to you. At the end of a dim corridor were three elephants. Their right front legs and back left legs were chained to the cement floor. In the corner, a monkey screamed desperately and grabbed the bars of a cage not much bigger than his body. And in the back, two tigers paced pathetically in a wagon cage.

As I moved toward the elephants, I saw deep wounds in their wrinkled skin, shadows of the pain they had suffered. I looked into their eyes, and there I found a sorrow so real it was as if they were sinking and weren't there anymore.

From that day on, I began to ask questions. Where does my food come from? Where do my shoes come from? What really goes on in the dairy industry? I began searching for the truth wherever I could. It was as if I was being introduced to the world all over again, except this time I entered through the back door, as I had at the circus.

Instead of my fantasy of green pastures with cows and the kind farmers who milked them, now I saw how these cows were tortured, separated from their babies; I saw how those calves were slaughtered. I witnessed things I didn't even know existed, but to which I had been blindly contributing. Needless to say, I became a vegetarian and got rid of all of my animal-derived belongings.

That horrible moment at the circus changed the way I live and my view of the world. Now I am aware that everything I do, everything I buy, everything I eat and say has an impact. Because of that moment at the circus, whenever I am introduced to something new, I don't go through the main entrance. Instead, I look for the back door. I find the truth behind what is presented to me.

I am so grateful that I found that back door because it feels good to be in control and aware of the effects of my choices. Now I get to decide if the difference I make is positive or negative. If you are ignorant to the effects of your actions, there is no way you can take charge of your life. So find that back door and shape the footprint you leave on this world.

Similar Articles


This article has 0 comments.