It’s been awhile…

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on this blog, I do that. I forget. I get busy.

I was surfing the ‘net and remembered an old comment I left on a childfree article and dug it up:

Image

Here’s the original article, my comment, one hilarious comment from an angry mom and a bunch of others defending my comment and then me coming back every few years to creep. The thread is dead, but I just like to have it as a reminder as where I’ve come from.
http://community.feministing.com/2011/09/22/the-child-free-vs-breeder-war-why-are-we-fighting-it/comment-page-1/#comment-187725

It’s funny I mention adoption, but I also state earlier that I’m not changing my mind about having kids. You’d think as an adopted person I would understand that having an adopted kid is the same as having a birth kid – you have a kid. But I was trying to acquiesce to peer pressure without actually changing my mind. It wasn’t until I talked to my mother and said “I don’t want to have kids of my own, maybe I’ll adopt one day waaay in the future after I’ve been married for at least 10 years before I ruin my life.” She matter-of-factly stated your adopted kids are YOUR OWN, how could I even say that. And it hit me. I was just telling people I’d maybe adopt one day so they’d leave me alone. I had no intention of doing so.

This freed me. Finally. From the twilight space of my teenage years where I was subjected to so much peer-pressure I could hardly recognize myself. I allowed myself to be me again. The same girl that in freshman year of high school answered a question of “would you allow your kids to do X” with “I’m not having kids.” The same girl who at 11 cried about having functioning reproductive organs and wanted a full hysterectomy and tried to look up ways of sterilizing myself. The same girl who used to play house as the dog and only ever the dog. Who put unwanted baby dolls in the garage. 

I don’t quite know the point I’m trying to make, if there is one. It’s been awhile, it’s been a long time being childfree, even if I only realized it, put words to it, a few years ago.

I like to keep this blog and update it from time to time like I like to look up that old comment, because I like having this visual. Each year I just get more childfree, more sure of myself, no bingoers I have not changed my mind. Look at all the years of my life and see that.

Sex Education and Beyond!

I have often said I would love to teach a sex-ed class. Mine were piteous at best and wretched at worst. My first drift into sex-ed was “family life” in 3rd grade in catholic elementary school. I learned boys have sperm and girls have eggs and sperm gets you pregnant. Hello semen phobia! The rest of the day was spent holding books over my lady parts in fear that the sperm would get me. I think our parents were supposed to explain something about it to us I just remember there was a picture of the penguin on the book… it was a fail.

Then there was round 2 I think this was 5th grade. I don’t remember much of anything from that class. I’m pretty sue it was the same mechanics of pregnancy spiel. This didn’t interest me, I already knew I would never get pregnant so I just assumed with my 5th grade knowledge that I’d never have sex. 

My sex education was an absolute failure. I was left to flounder around on my own figuring things out from busting the crazy myths of my friends, looking up things in books, magazines and eventually online. I had to do it on my own, learning slowly as I grew that sex wasn’t just a procreative act to be avoided like the black death. 

Nope, from a relatively early age I had the libido of … well a person with a high libido. So my friends and I talked sex, but no one had done it. It was all so secretive, so exciting and there was also the fact that I’d never had so much as a male friend, so the likelihood of me actually having sex was slim.

But then I started dating my boyfriend. Originally we toyed with the idea of “waiting until marriage” except neither of us were religious and that idea really held no water. I had just been guilted and shamed about sexuality to a point where I thought I was a horrible person. Oh well, our relationship progressed and things got hot and heavy and eventually we did have sex (protected of course – thanks lifelong fear of semen).

I never told my parents I had sex, I probably never will. Hell, they might still think I’m a virgin. They put sex in a negative light for me. They made it a bad thing, they attached guilt and stigma to it that I still struggle with, which pisses me off. I’m a goddamn adult. I shouldn’t be ashamed of my sexuality. And I’m not in most contexts, but the fact that I have to hide part of myself from my family is paining. Is it so wrong for me to be able to tell my parents that I have a healthy, safe satisfying relationship that includes sex? I still feel like I’m sneaking around.

I watched an excellent documentary that’s only over an hour long about sex education in America. It’s called “Let’s Talk About Sex.” Which is ironically what I’d be tempted to play on the first day of my hypothetical sex-ed class which I’ll get to in a bit.

A few excellent points made in this documentary:

  • The language we frame sexuality colors our perception about it. Abstain from drugs, alcohol and sex. Now sex is being compared to cocaine?
  • Sex is called dirty. “Dirty” thoughts, doing the “nasty,” etc. How can someone have a healthy sex life when they think of sex as something gross and bad?
  • Teens are told sexuality needs to be wrestled with, urges need to be defeated, sex is now an opponent it is the enemy, it is not part of you it is outside of you.
  • Repression of behavior leads to an explosive result rather than having a healthy outlet. This is why drinking, hookups and wild parties are part of our college culture. It’s dangerous.
  • When young people are treated as young adults that can be responsible they generally are. They drink in moderation and can be taught that sex is a normal part of healthy term relationships. They also need to learn to talk about it.
  • Young adults have sex if they aren’t talking about it they’re sneaking around and lying about it. Great way to build trust, right?
  • “Guilty people are easy to control” this was from a priest. Sex is an easy way of making people feel guilty so they are easier to control. And it’s so true.
  • In America men who carry condoms are considered forward, disgusting and rude. Girls who carry condoms are seen as sluts. That’s moronic and untrue. These people are responsible.
  • The more information kids have about sex the longer they wait to try it.

 

So, as a childfree person why should I care? Because I have friends with kids, my brother will likely have kids and I want them to grow up feeling good about themselves and able to have healthy relationship. I don’t want anyone to feel ashamed of their body.

If I taught a sex ed class here’s some things we’d talk about:

  • Pregnancy prevention- birth control options, condoms, the pill, diaphragms, FAM, the shot, IUDs and sterilization. All birth control methods.
  • Sex as part of healthy relationships. No one should be coerced to have sex when they don’t want to or without protection. No one should ever coerce someone to have sex.
  • Pregnancy and what it really entails all the mood swings, vaginal tearing, and permanent life changes that come from creating another human.
  • The childfree choice! It’s ok to not want to have kids, it can be great.
  • Talking to your partner about sex, being able to tell them what you like don’t like and how to say no to sex or something that makes them feel uncomfortable.
  • STDs/STIs prevention, treatment, risks and reality.
  • Orgasms.
  • External diagrams of human genitalia. I know it sounds basic but I never knew where everything was or where it wasn’t. There were just internal diagrams. Gross.
  • I’d make damn sure that everyone in that room knew about the permanent long term consequences of having a baby as a teen. The financial, relationship, emotional, and physical changes that come with it. Adoption and abortion would also be discussed realistically.

I think that’s everything, but I’m sure I’d ad-lib. I feel toward sex education how some people feel towards parenting, they had a shitty experience and want to re-do it better than they had it.

Old Friendships

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJLIiF15wjQ

I hate it when random songs from the 90’s get stuck in my head, but alas the Spice Girls made their way across two decades of stored song lyrics and into my brain. And here’s what happened:

“If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends (gotta get with my friends) 
Make it last forever friendship never ends

Bullshit. That line is so idiotic and untrue in a whimsical optimistic sort of way. As a youngun listening to this cheeky pop music I really thought friendship never ended. WOW, could I be more naive?

Here are some highlights from my childhood. Hopefully this will be cathartic. Let’s start from the top with Anastasia* a dear friend since I was a tiny person in elementary school. We were thick as thieves (are thieves really thick?) and Anastasia and my other friend Barbara (who is slowly drifting away friendship-wise) actually used to fight over me, I wonder why I don’t have a bigger ego… The point is we were best friends for what seemed like the beginning of time and then one day she starts hanging out with a different crowd, starts acting different, talking different and dressing different. Which probably wouldn’t be a big deal to most people but I’m picky when it comes to friends and if there’s one thing I value in a person it’s authenticity. We got in a weird fight (partially due to Barbara’s meddling- incidentally the two of them are still friends) and stopped talking. Friendship DEATH.

RIP
CFWE & Anastasia’s Friendship
1995-2003

“Let’s have an adventure!”

Next we have Francine, Francine and I were only friends for a short time and in that short time my mother hated Francine and did everything she could to get me to stop hanging out with her – to no avail. (Francine could be a really odd person in public, almost like she had ADHD but she was completely normal on a one-ton-one basis.) So Francine and I were best buds, hung out all the time, could talk for hours and shared several interests. In this time Francine inspired me to really kick it up a notch and I got into great shape. Thanks Francine, can you show back up after finals? Well anyway, we were pals in middle school and going into high school. But here was the problem, we had no classes together! I worried that this would cause the dwindling of our friendship. I confided this in Francine and she assured me thing would be fine. They were not fine. Well, I have no idea where she was during school, but I didn’t see her and outside of school the same.

RIP
CFWE & Francine’s Friendship
“The power of sisterhood”

Finally, there is …let me think of a name I don’t know anyone by… Veronica! So Veronica and I were friends as kids but she moved away and we didn’t really keep in touch (mostly my fault). Well anyway we got back to corresponding and we saw each other one summer and it was GREAT like we picked up right where we left off. Move forward a year we’re corresponding still and she comes to visit again. She’s despondent, distant and cold. I try to make her feel better as she’d been sick, but she seems upset. Well, she goes home and we continue corresponding when out of the blue she spills all that I’d confided in her to her mother who blabs it to my own. This caused a huge rift in our families. We stopped talking because I felt truly betrayed and I couldn’t trust her. Another one of those important things in a friendship with me: Trust.

CFWE & Veronica’s Friendship
1996-2000/2007-2009

“I don’t style my hair, it just is.”

*names have been changed to protect the innocent guilty

I’ve had a few friends who’s friendship died and came back like a Phoenix from its ashes and we’re still friends now. I wish that could happen with all of my friends because I’d really still like to know them. They have become strangers.

Being young and childfree means I get to go through this shit all over again, when my friends start having kids. I’ll desperately try to keep the friendship going, but some of them will be too far-gone. Too wrapped up in their offspring to have any trace of their former personality bubble up to the surface… or maybe they’ll come out of it cool as cucumbers and nothing will change. I can hope.

So what is the point of this post? I’m getting there. BE PATIENT! The theme of the day is authenticity: being true to yourself. One of my now distant (moved away) friends once told me that I was the “truest” person she knew. That’s a huge compliment to me, because I value being true to yourself quite highly. So let’s check back in with our friends:

Anastasia: Vapid. I doubt there’s an original thought in this poor girl’s head. She followed her first and only boyfriend down to go to school with him. She chose a nursing degree (she never wanted to be anything of the sort growing up). She is in the exact same position with the exact same expression in just about every photo (yes I Facebook stalk former friends occasionally like when I have a Spice Girl’s song stuck in my head). She is a stereotype. She is the college sorority girl, no clear aspirations, hobbies, or even volunteer work (aren’t frats and sororities supposed to do that?). I’ll bet a stranger’s left arm within 2 years of graduation she’ll be married, pregnant and bored. I am disappointed. She could’ve done something great.

Francine is actually a really positive case. She was always a great artist and is continuing that today and I think she’s actually making some money. She seems happy and in a relationship with someone who loves her for who she is. She has always been an individual among others, she continues to be today. I pass her house often while I’m visiting home, I really should stop in sometime…

Then there’s Veronica. Veronica always had huge dreams (like me!) and that seemed to stay constant when we saw each other the first summer. Then she got her first boyfriend and suddenly her hopes of moving and traveling have become hopes of marriage, babies and living close to her family. Sure people change, but it was very sudden and honestly feels forced. I would be disappointed, but honestly after how she went behind my back…

Image

So to all the strangers out there reading this blog (and wondering if there’s a point to this rambling nonsense) be yourself, be what you’re like, do what you want, pursue your dreams. Don’t be afraid to be different, to stand out and live differently. Never compromise your values or your vision for someone else. You are the one who has live your life, make it worth living.

Image

I Guess You’ll Do

Brilliant satire by Mike Polk and gang.

I can really relate to this, as a child my vacations were Myrtle Beach and Orlando. Everyone around me was pretty much expected to follow the script of a boring conformist life. And then there was me. It took me a while to separate marriage from offspring, but I wasn’t interested in either for most of my life. This is my idea of hell and a life wasted and not lived. Everyone, even those who blindly follow this path needs hobbies, adventure, excitement and passions. Even if your passion is afternoon naps.

In the beginning…

There was a blog. It’s not like I haven’t blogged before, but much like my novels, short stories and non-fiction work, I get started I get distracted and I start a new project. So I’m hoping this one sticks. This one will focus on childfree issues, joys etc. and include anything that happens to cross my mind. It will be random at times, rambling at others and sometimes just maybe profound.

It begins.

Words in my head: Wastrel, Scathing.

Stress Level: 2.5

Energy Level: Moderately Low

Tolerance Level: High

Relationship v. Relationshits

As I get older I’m really starting to appreciate the variety of relationships that exist. Romantic, friendships, family, fuck-buddies, and everything in between. Even within one category – romantic relationships – there are all kinds. Open relationships, monogamous relationships, marriages, partnerships, noncommittal, polyamorous, old, new, good, bad, and ugly.

I thought I had a good grasp on this, but I’m beginning to see the layers. Naturally, I want to compare romantic relationships with my own. I have a good fucking fantastic relationship. It’s normal that I love my relationship and I would want others to have a relationship as satisfying, but we all have different needs. My significant, other who will henceforth be known as man-beast for lack of a better identifying moniker (we’re not technically engaged but he’s more than a boyfriend and yada yada blah blah blah), and i enjoy spending vast amounts of time together, talking for hours when we can’t. Which I love – he loves, some people would hate.

Our relationship wouldn’t work for a lot of people and I am starting to re-evaluate what I have come to call relationships v. relationshits. In all kinds of varying relationships comprised of all kinds of varying people certain things ring true. 

Relationships Relationshits
 Make you feel good, happy, fulfilled, etc.  Make you feel self-conscious, upset, stressed, etc.
 Your partner(s?) are supportive and understanding  Your partner(s?) is manipulative and controlling
 You are able to maintain your separate interests, friends and hobbies You are obsessed with the relationship or your partner doesn’t allow you to see your friends or do anything alone
 You think of your partner fondly  You think of your partner bitterly/feel trapped
 You have similar/compatible life goals that do not conflict with one another  You have to majorly compromise your happiness/your partner’s happiness

Like I said, all relationships are different, but healthy relationships should be something that adds positively to your life rather than taking from it. There are no be all end all rules of what makes one relationship good and one bad and no one grades relationships, but if you are interested in what healthy relationships look like check out this shit:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/tags/healthy-relationships
http://www.girlshealth.gov/relationships/healthy/index.cfm
http://www.k-state.edu/counseling/topics/relationships/relatn.html
http://www.loveisrespect.org/dating-basics/healthy-relationships

Bringing this full circle back to childfreedom is the last item on the list: compatible life goals. There are some things that you really can’t compromise on, having children is one of those things. You either have a kid or you don’t, you can’t kind of sort of half have a kid. You can foster, but ultimately that child is still your responsibility as if it was your own birth or adopted child.

If you don’t want kids and your partner does or reverse issues arise. Ultimately one person will end up sacrificing their happiness for the other and that generally doesn’t end well. Sure, maybe in time, your spouse will adjust to the idea of being childfree, maybe even embrace and enjoy it. However, if someone truly desires a child they will not be happy without one. Similarly, if someone DOES NOT want a child and has one to please their partner they may resent the child, their partner and that’s unhealthy for everyone involved. Nothing is more serious than adding more people to a relationship. Even if you both want kids there are things to be discussed: how many, what spacing, adoption, what to do if you are infertile etc.

Not all relationships are built to last and that’s ok. We grow with each new experience positive or negative and we learn from our trials and errors. As far as relationships go communication and honesty are always a good thing.

Carpe Vita

Seize life, the tag of this blog is meant to embody what it stands for: making the most of our lives. I don’t care if your childfree, a parent or on the fence; find out what you want to do and don’t let anything get in your way. If you like kayaking buy yourself a kayak and get on the water. Traveling your thing? Try weekend getaways, save money for big trips, get a group together and save.

Whatever you enjoy do it. Love with your whole heart. Throw yourself into your work. Live passionately and your life will not be wasted.