All photography provided by Jared Chambers

Animal Rights Activist - Love Advocate - Artist

Vision for the future

  • A collective global consciousness in which all beings are at complete and total peace

  • A world where borders no longer divide global citizens

  • Compassion is shown for all beings

  • Those who have been systemically enslaved sexually, economically, and/or literally will be free

  • Materialism will be obsolete

  • Communication will be made from a heart level

  • Health will be a constant state of being

  • Every part of the whole will realize that they too are whole

 

MY story:

My journey here begins on December 19th, 1999 on the Big Island of Hawaii. I was brought into this world by a wonderful person who I am proud to call my mom. We spent the first three years of my life moving around with my father. He was a helicopter pilot with a persistent urge to see the world. However, once my brother came into the picture, they decided it was best to settle down with their two children. They had absolutely loved Hawaii and foresaw it as a perfect place to build a family. My mother, new born brother and I temporarily moved into my grandmothers guest house and awaited our nearing flight to join my father in Hawaii. He had moved ahead of us to prepare our new home and begin working. Father’s Day quickly arrived and our family shared a loving phone call. We wished my dad a happy day and I told him that I love him. I unfortunately have no memory of this.

Following our phone call, my dad boarded a helicopter and prepared to give a family a tour of the island. He wasn’t supposed to be working on this particular day, but the person who was had a wife who had just gone into labor with their third child. Of course, my dad agreed to take his scheduled flights for the day. My father was a brilliant man. In his high school yearbook he wrote that he was going to be an engineer and a helicopter pilot. He became both. He knew helicopters inside and out, progressing to the point where he built his own. On this particular day, however, he was not flying his handcrafted helicopter.

There is a required underbelly check of a helicopter that is routinely done every month in which the entire helicopter must be turned up side down. The company my father worked for had outsourced another company to do the mechanical checkup necessary. Tragically, this company was negligent in their findings. They didn’t report a faulty part that resulted in the death of four people on Fathers Day of 2003. One of those people was my dad.

This single event has shaped the entire course of my life.

Even now, almost 16 years later, I am still brought to tears writing this.

My family didn’t end up moving to Hawaii. We held a funeral for my father and stayed with my grandmother for a while before moving to be closer with my father’s family. We spent less than two years in the area with them and then transitioned a few hours away to be with my mother’s side of the family in a small town called Battle Ground. I was eight at the time and absolutely despised my mom for moving us across state. I begged to move back for the entire first year living there and for years after that spent hours upon hours house hunting online for mansions in Hawaii, convinced we would move.

Contrary to my overt desires, I lived in this town for the next decade. During that time, I was basically a disaster. I had developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from my dad’s crash that was accompanied with an anxiety disorder and severe depression. I clung to my mom, physically and mentally, not being able to spend the night in a house without her and having a literal panic attack every time she didn’t answer the phone. I was on constant alert and my guard was always up and around those I cherished, my mom in particular. I also despised my brother. With his birth came a hoard of medical complications quickly followed by my fathers death. My mother was left with a newborn son who was a medical mystery and a daughter who sees ghosts. I cannot fathom what she has gone through raising us, but I am so deeply grateful for her constant presence.

While I dearly love my mother now, I didn’t always feel this way. The love I have for her was buried in anger and resentment for quite some time and I was a bit of a nightmare of a child. I clung to food for comfort, specifically food my body was fully aware was killing me. I was the biggest carnivore in my family; regularly consuming burgers, steak, bacon and any other fleshy product I could get my hands in. I loved chips and developed multiple diet soda addictions. Cheese by the block was a must and I was absolutely obsessed with ice cream. By the age of 13, I was pre-diabetic.

I had major self image problems as I was clearly overweight and distinctly unhealthy. Doctors would tell me to loose weight and I would want to, but food had been reliable for me. I used it as an attempt to heal the pain I felt echo through my bones. My mother knew that eating was a coping mechanism for me, and she also knew that I desperately needed to loose weight. She is a health conscious person and is incredibly nutritionally literate. Yet it wasn’t fruit and vegetables I desired, it was pizza and cookies and whip cream. And I almost always got what I wanted, and when I didn’t, I threw a fit. Let me remind you that my mother was now singlehandedly dealing with me, the tantrum queen, and my brother, who had a condition that caused testosterone to course through his body at unprecedented rates giving him superhuman abilities. To elaborate, he was literally ripping doors from their hinges regularly as a three year old. Her priorities were split, and I was much more independent ( despite the fact I was codependent of her ) than my brother. So he received the attention he needed which I felt was stolen from me.

This begins the narrative of bitter resentment and outright anger I felt for my brother up until a few years ago. I had the belief that my brother had stolen everything from me. As soon as he came into the world, our father died and he took my mom from me. I felt as if I had to raise myself because my mother was too busy with him. This led to sour thoughts directed towards them both, but mostly him.

I was a horrible sister. I would call him terrible names and literally told him that I hated him on a daily basis. We fought often and got into yelling matches frequently. I’ve had issues with intense migraines growing up and he would always escalate them, which certainly didn’t help our relationship. While hateful Cheyanne would tell you that I hated my brother because he’s worthless and stupid, present Cheyanne recognizes why I felt the way I did. I hated myself. I thoroughly and completely hated every aspect of myself.

I hated my mind for what it thought. I hated my body for how it looked and functioned. I hated my heart for hurting all the time. I hated my brother for existing. I hated my mom for not giving my ego everything it so desired. I hated God for putting me in hell. And I hated my dad. I hated him for dying.

This toxic mentality followed me everywhere I went. I would have brief spurts of joy before sinking into the grave I had dug myself. In middle school, what little mental stability I had went out the window and into a flaming trashcan as I sunk into a series of suicidal episodes. High School only made it much worse. By my Sophomore year I had hit rock bottom. I was deeply imbedded in drama that got me into some dangerous situations as I continuously fell in and out of toxic relationships. Luckily, that year I started seeing a therapist. And that summer, I picked up a book that changed my entire life.

My best friend at the time and I had our whole lives planned out together. We were going to move into an apartment in Seattle, attend the University of Washington, become professors and then politicians before taking over the entire political hemisphere. I had just become involved in politics during the 2016 election. I had attended the Bernie rally in Vancouver and became feverishly against Trump. On election day, I said the words: “ If trump wins, then I’m running for president.” I full heartedly believed that Hillary would win, and even if she didn’t naturally have the votes then her team would’ve rigged the election in her favor. While she did get over three million more votes than trump, he won over the electoral college.

To say the least, I was shocked and devastated. And then I had a decision to make. I had said I would run for the presidency if he won, and he had. So, now what?

I saw two choices:

1) Pretend I said nothing and continue to float through life.

2) Become knowledgable in the political atmosphere and transform my entire life.

I chose option #2.

My friend & I immediately co-founded a “Women In Politics” club on our college campus. ( Side note: I was in running start, so for my last two years of high school I was attending a community college full time). We then became active and engaged in Model United Nations, which we were already members of. I went from doing nothing productive whatsoever at our last conference to winning an award on my position paper the following conference. Then at the conference after that, I became a board member for Model United Nations Far West. My friend went on to become the Head Delegate the following year.

We also decided that in order to support ourselves in Seattle, we would open a spiritual bookstore. We wanted to be knowledgable in all things mystical, so we headed to our local metaphysical store and began browsing their books. I believe that she chose a book on crystals and I picked up a book called “ The Disappearance of the Universe: Straight talk about Illusions, Past Lives, Religion, Sex, Politics and the Miracle of Forgiveness.”

I purchased the book that day and began reading it soon after. Two pages in, and I put the book down and pushed it away from me. I felt personally attacked. This book very swiftly and confidently states that YOU are the sole creator of your reality and that only you can change your life. The author continues to explain that self-hatred dictates a hellish world and self-love creates heaven. They speak about forgiveness and how it is the key to the love that will save us all.

Despite my initial shock, I continued reading and watched my paradigm shift before my eyes. Suddenly, when I looked at others I saw myself. I realized the power my words hold and the dark magic they had cast upon “other” parts of myself. I was shocked and appalled by the way I had treated my brother, mother, friends and myself. I began working on forgiveness. And for the first time in as long as I can remember, I told my brother I love him. I apologized to my mom and I began loving myself.

Soon after, I purchased a book frequently referenced in the previous text called “ A Course In Miracles.” This rapidly accelerated my healing process. Simultaneously as these books shook my reality, I was having an increasing number of spiritually significant experiences. I had recently become involved with some of the worlds rarest rocks: Boji Alive Stones. Multiple long stories accompany my experiences with these beings, but I don’t intend to write a novel about them at the moment.

What is relevant to this story is what they taught me:

1) Space and time are simply illusions that YOU control

2) Love is boundless

3) You decide what is possible; limitless is a state of being

These beliefs were on the complete opposite spectrum of the victim mentality I’ve clung to throughout my life. These beliefs also saved me. At some point in this process during 2017, I suddenly became very ill. The mere thought of food repulsed me and for two weeks the only nutrients entering my body came from smoothies. Once I was able to eat food again, I suddenly lost my craving for meat. In fact, the sight and smell of meat made me feel ill. As the biggest carnivore of the family, I was deeply confused.

I’ve always been an animal lover and have devoted hours of my childhood to watching animal cops and hoping to one day open an animal sanctuary. Concurrently, I ate animal flesh with basically every meal. I remember the justification I used to say to myself was “ Well, they’re already dead, and I didn’t kill them, so it would be wasteful and disrespectful not to eat them.” With my desire for their flesh suddenly missing, I started to unravel this narrative I would preach to myself. I realized that since I don’t want animals to be hurt; I probably shouldn’t eat them. From that point on, I appointed myself as a “shitty vegetarian.” My meat consumption reduced by about 96% and I only consumed animal flesh on very rare occasions. This eventually led to being 100% meat-free.

I distinctly remember the last time I ate meat. I was at an event with my brother and I began having a hypoglycemic attack ( which I had almost every morning). My hands were shaking, my chest was rattling and my head became light. I knew I needed food. We were near an Applebees, so I decided we’d eat something there. Since my body was clearly lacking necessary nutrients, I decided that I probably needed protein. At that time when I thought of protein I immediately thought of meat. So despite my weak claim to vegetarianism, I ordered a steak with mashed potatoes. When it arrived, I took approximately two bites before swearing to never eat meat again. I ended up just eating the mashed potatoes ( which stopped the hypoglycemic attack along with some green beans) while trying to shake off the feeling of disgust that eating meat elicited in me.

Several months later, I had developed a loving relationship with my brother and mother and I hadn’t directly eaten the flesh of an animal for quite some time. I was feeling good. I had lost weight, was feeling healthy and was ready to head on our annual family vacation with my dads side of the family. We all went to a lake house in Idaho and lounged in the sunshine together. A few days after being there, I was laying in my bedroom scrolling through instagram when I came across a post from Liam Hemsworth. It was a picture of the documentary What The Health with a caption that said something along the lines of: If you care about your health, animals, the environment or literally anything then watch this. Even if you don’t care, watch it. As someone who was deeply impassioned to save the entire world, I responded to that call to action by immediately watching it.

Halfway through, and I had decided to go vegan. And by the end of the film, I was in tears. I had been lied to. Everything I was raised to believe regarding food was a complete and utter lie. I burst out of my room, found my mom and declared to her that I was now vegan. At that point in time, I had told my mom I was going to follow a dozen different diet fads and eventually gave up on all of them. Due to this, my moms response was submissive, but not discouraging. I retreated back to my room, started the documentary from the beginning and spent the next several hours taking 19 pages of notes from the film. Then I followed over a hundred vegans on twitter and made it clear on all social media platforms the stand I had decided to take.

[I’d like to clarify something. Although I thought I was vegan at the time, I was plant-based. While I love animals, I did not go vegan for them. I went vegan for me. Veganism is a philosophy in which individuals do as little harm as is practical and possible with the ultimate goal of animal liberation. A plant-based diet is centered around food and health while not necessarily pertaining to animal rights. At this point in time, I was plant-based, yet didn’t understand the difference at the time so I ascribed the word vegan to myself.]

That night for dinner we had tacos. I remember the feeling of my heart sinking when I saw the food laid out for everyone. I tried to tell them about what I had just learned while eating a taco shell filled with beans and lettuce. Unfortunately, nobody took me seriously.

Once returning from the trip, I began diving into the world of veganism as my body began to heal itself. After a month of leading a vegan lifestyle, I was no longer pre-diabetic, my LDL levels had dropped, I had lost weight and I hadn’t had a single hypoglycemic attack. As I did this, I increasingly became aware of animal rights. I can recall videos I saw from vigils of animals in transportation trucks heading to slaughter and feeling my heart call out to them. A quick facebook search led me to Portland Animal Save (PAS). I contacted their page and was informed that there was going to be a vigil the following day. My heart was telling me to go, but my head was telling me that I couldn’t because I had class and was responsible for driving two people to college with me.

I started the day out by listening to my head and drove to class. While sitting there, I began panicking as I watched the start time of the vigil near. I felt so selfish and small. The sound of my heart became prominent in my head as my breathing became staggered. I felt a tear trail down my cheek and as we walked out of class I knew I had to leave. I briefly spoke with my best friend at the time, who encouraged me to go, and so I did. I spent the forty minute drive there crying. When I arrived I met with a small group of activists who would change my life. The organizer of PAS walked me through what happens at a vigil and explained that as we collective we must have compassion for everyone — I cut her off and said “ because they’re victims of the system too.”

This vigil was the beginning of my involvement with the Animal Rights (AR) movement. I very quickly became deeply involved in every single AR group in the Portland area: Portland Animal Save, Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), Sea Shepherds and Anonymous for the Voiceless. While I loved these groups dearly, I started to notice some issues with the overarching power structure of some larger groups.

Prior to attending my first vigil, I had actually already co-organized a ‘Walk for Love’ with a friend of mine. The event was coming up in a few weeks and wasn’t under any particular groups name, just our own. I began brainstorming with friends about how I could open my own group that combined all of my favorite aspects from other groups into one cohesive and effective organization. While messaging with my friend, she suggested the name PEACE: Promoting Equality, Acceptance and Compassion on Earth. I loved it. I tweaked the phrase slightly, changing ‘on earth’ to ‘everywhere’ and we had our name.

PEACE: Promoting Equality, Acceptance & Compassion Everywhere.

I began chatting with one of my friends about PEACE and he told me about a form of demonstration a group of people had come up with called a “love disruption.” It was a quiet, impactful demonstration that he believed could be incredibly effective. He encouraged me to hold similar events in PEACE, so I did. Once again, I slightly altered the methodology and with his advice changed the name to a “love demonstration.”

As of right now, all PEACE events are a form of a love demonstration, while they differ slightly in application but retain the same motive. The purpose of all PEACE events is simply stated in our name. We aim to achieve a world in which everyone is treated with love. In our demonstrations we do not aim to ostracize or criticize anyone, but instead to reach out and have meaningful conversations about the way we treat all animals ( humans included) and the planet.

The general structure of a love demonstration includes activists wearing all black. We have several people holding signs and laptops displaying footage and images from the animal agriculture industry. Those people will be wearing black duct tape over their mouths to represent the people in this industry who have been silenced. These people will either be standing in a line, circle or cube formation depending upon the venue and stream of foot traffic. We then have people on outreach who speak to the public and answer any questions that may arise. Those on outreach will be equip with PEACE cards that are loaded with resources and information.

Mind you, as I was setting this all up I was a senior in High School. My original plan, as mentioned earlier, had been to move to Seattle with my friend. I quickly found out; however, that I had absolutely no desire to do so. I had already prewritten my application papers, but I simply didn’t want to apply, so I didn’t. I had no idea what I wanted to do in terms of my education, but I knew I wanted to continue expanding PEACE.

One day, a few friends of mine began discussing the future and how they had no idea what they wanted to do. I suddenly remembered an ad that had been popping up on my facebook for months. This ad was for a conscious-based education institution that only served organic, vegetarian meals and had meditation as a standard. It sounded too good to be true, but I vaguely remembered signing up for their email list. I checked my emails and low and behold: Maharishi University of Management (MUM).

Flash forward a few months and I was now touring the school with a shaved head in the middle of January. A series of events happened while touring that convinced me I was absolutely meant to be here. When I got back I began planning my move and searching for an organizer to take the Portland chapter over. One quickly emerged and I began training him. Soon after an activist from Alaska contacted me and we started an Anchorage, AK branch. We now have branches in Fairfield, Iowa and Seattle, Washington as well.

I am currently living in Fairfield, Iowa attending MUM. It took a lot of support and convincing for me to make this move on my own. Eternal gratitude stems from my heart to the support system I have in place and the family that backs my every move. My mom & I drove across country in the course of five days and she delivered me to my new home. She helped me move into my dorm ( which I literally just moved out of ) and held me while I cried about how much I’m going to miss her.

Since moving here, PEACE has exploded into a kaleidoscope of light. We formed a Board of Directors, filed as a 501(c)(3) non-profit and have launched operation: Home. With Home, we aim to purchase a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation ( CAFO ) and turn it into a mega sanctuary for all. We will be building a self-sustaining eco village from the ground up and rescuing hundreds of animals in the process. In order to attain the funds for this, we are now renting an office space where we will be operating a vegan helpline and filming a reality youtube series from it. We are also drafting plans to open Plant: your favorite food - vegan.

Plant will be Fairfield’s only all vegan restaurant. PEACE will be operating Plant and all proceeds will go towards fundraising for Home. Plant will be fully vegan, organic, fair-trade and we will offer many gluten-free options. We will also be as low-waste as possible. We will be working on these plans for the next month as people return to their families for winter break.

Most recently, I am moving into a vegan household with my friends & I am now a certified reiki practitioner!

Now you’re all caught up!

I’ll be editing this story as life unfolds.

Thank you for reading,

I love you.

Cheyanne

—-

2/20/19 update:

Over the past two months I have been trained and certified in Reiki I, II & III - making me a certified Reiki Master. I now operate a by donation reiki healing clinic in Fairfield, IA.


I view all life as love and all love as equal
— Cheyanne Holliday