I don’t want kids

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I don't see these as a part of my life.

I don’t see these as a part of my life.

As a woman in my late 20s I have noticed a trend among my friends; all of them seem to be getting married, having children or both. To them I send my deepest, heartfelt congratulations.

I also remind them, when it inevitably comes up, that I do not plan on having my own children.

Don’t get me wrong, I adore kids. These little people are just beginning their journey into the world and I can’t help but be completely besotted with the constant wonder and fascination they express. I have many small children in my life and I love every last one of them.

BUT …

when someone puts a baby in my hands then asks me when I plan on having my own, I get uncomfortable.

I cannot remember a time when I actively wanted my own children. There are times when I was less adverse to the idea, definitely, but as a whole, child rearing has never been a part of my life plan. I have a lot of ambitions in my life as does my husband. In all honestly, some of those ambitions are fairly selfish. We both want to be successful at our chosen careers (his: music, mine:writing) and after talking about our wants at length decided that children were most likely not on our radar. This was and is not a fly-by-night decision – It is a deeply personal decision that was made by two adults planning their futures.

So when you tell me I will change my mind, I find it very insulting.

Honestly, it is one of the worst things you can say to a person who isn’t planning on having children. There are a multitude of reasons why someone may not see kids in their future and really, it is no one’s business.

Don’t tell me I would be a fantastic parent – Yes, I am good with children. As I said before, I love kids. I spent my entire youth babysitting for family friends as well as my three younger cousins. I changed diapers, helped potty train, dealt with runny noses and was kept up during the night with sore tummies. I struggled through homework, I got them off to school in the morning. I cooked, cleaned and tucked them in. I did this part time and that was more than enough for me. I truly believe that yes, if placed in the situation, I would be a brilliant parent. The fact is, though, I don’t want to be a parent.

Don’t tell me I am missing out. First off, I don’t feel that I am. I don’t have to find a sitter if I want to go out for a drink on Friday night. I don’t have to worry about extra mouths to feed. I don’t have to worry about being woken at 3 a.m. over monsters under the bed. I can buy pretty ornaments and leave them out without worrying about them being broken by curious hands. I don’t have to baby-proof my house. Leaving the house isn’t a logistical nightmare of toys, nappies and bottles. I don’t feel I am missing out because these are not my priorities. If they are yours, that’s wonderful. I will help you pack the diaper bag, but it does not have a place in my day-to-day life.

Don’t tell me I will change my mind. I know my mind and I know my own goals in life. I honestly don’t see myself suddenly wanting to have kids after 29 years of not, but if I do change my mind, it is the business of myself and my husband, no one else.

don’t tell me I don’t understand. I know I don’t understand. I am fine with that. The fact is that I don’t want to understand.

Every child needs a slightly eccentric, cool aunt and I am more than happy to fit that bill. I look forward to the day that my brother has kids with his partner (if they so choose). I will love that child to bits. I adore spending time with my friends’ children and playing make-believe. I spin stories out of thin air that leave them in giggles. I write them tales where they get to be the main characters. I will be friend, confidante and family, whether biological or not. I will go home to my cats and visit again soon.

Let me be this person. I don’t tell you why you shouldn’t have kids, so please don’t tell me why I should.

AI

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Bits and drabbles, or how to start writing again (Writer’s block)

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Any writer can point you to notebook on notebook of half-baked ideas and aborted plot lines that once showed promise but quickly lost steam. It’s a writer’s badge of honour and source of shame; we have all of these great ideas, but so few see their way to completion. I have countless journals spanning a decade and a half full of partially formed concepts and wild ramblings and I will admit, some of those ideas were downright atrocious. Some, though, have a degree merit and now that I am a few years removed from the initial concept, the ideas actually seem like a wonderful jumping-off point. I will promise that almost, if not all, of these ideas will never go farther than simple writing exercises but they are worth revisiting regardless.

Every writer takes a break between drafts – it helps to look at something with fresh eyes. It’s also why we have that brutally honest friend/ relative/ editor with the angry red pen look over our work. Fresh eyes make all the difference. If we can see something in a completely new light just by working through first and second drafts, why wouldn’t we be able to gain inspiration from ideas that previously ran into dead ends?

Writer’s block hits us all at inopportune times; when we want to write most is the exact moment that our creative minds go out to lunch. Next time this happens, visit some of your old notebooks or some abandoned stories on your hard drive. Take a look at these bits and drabbles and figure out why you thought the original concept deserved expansion. See what went right and what went wrong, then take the idea and write it down on a fresh sheet of paper (or in a new Word document) and see where it takes you. It will get you writing and maybe push you toward your next big idea.

I dealt with writer’s block for about six months this year (check the gap in my posts for an idea of the time frame) and have finally come out the other side. It took a lot of work and a lot of frustration (not to mention self-doubt) but I am here writing and that’s what is important. The stuff I have written recently has not been my best work – far from it, actually – but revisiting my past successes and failures and reviewing some of the things that didn’t work has helped me to get back on the horse, so to speak.

I hope this is helpful to some of my fellow writers. Good luck and never stop carrying your handy-dandy notebooks!

AI

Back to writing – creepy is in the context

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So, those that follows this blog have no doubt noticed a few months of inactivity. Simply put, some personal issues paired with some of the worst writer’s block I have ever suffered manage to make posting rather challenging. I am trying to write again. I won’t lie, I am toying with some ideas that I think, if executed properly, could be great…

… but that means writing again.

This is just something I splatted out onto the page earlier this evening. It is first draft; given a cursory glance for glaring typographical errors and nothing more. I would really, REALLY appreciate comments.

 


Creepy is in the context

                Today I went to the local bookstore to browse and maybe pick up some new reading material. One thing to know about me: I am an obsessive hoarder of books. Honestly, it is a disease. The look, feel and smell of a book are simply unparalleled in my eyes. Any bibliophile will tell you there is no substitute. I do own an E-reader, but a little electronic gadget will never stop me from adding to my ever-expanding book collection.

                That said, bookstores are my holy land and every trip is a pilgrimage. I step through the doors and show my reverence – not through anything as overt as crossing myself or anointing myself at the fount– but by breathing in. The scent coming from the rows on rows of books is enough for me.

                I immediately took to traversing the store, visiting my favourite sections and pulling random texts off the shelves when suddenly, nature called. I made my way to the rest room to do what needed to be done. While taking my pit stop, I started to indulge in the available scriptures; the writing on the wall, if you will.

                For those that have not frequented women’s restrooms in the past, the graffiti can range anywhere from a scribbled “Kaylee +Josh 4ever” that has obviously been scratched out with a Sharpie after forever just seemed a bit too long to platitudes about life, the universe and womanhood. As I said before, bookstores are my Mecca and it is interesting to get some insight into my fellow biblio-worshippers through their own writing.

                The wall in this bookstore lavatory is scribbled with a lot of female empowerment, concepts of love and relationships à la Jane Austen, rebuttals scratched down in feminist outrage and similar anonymous musings. Essentially, what you would expect in any women’s bathroom stall. I was having fun reading through my street-lit session when my eyes glanced across one little statement etched into the grout between two tiles. It was very innocuous in its intent but inside a toilet stall, it was downright creepy.

                 “You are never alone.”

                I said before, the bookstore is my sanctuary, my holy place. I am a book devotee and this is my place of worship…

                 … but I seriously hope that the god of books isn’t interested in what I do in the loo.