What’s on my mind? This. This has been on my mind for a few days. Maybe it’s just the perfect storm to create a rant. I have a feeling that if anyone reads all of this, I’ll be preaching to the choir but….
Children are a big deal, I mean HUGE. People in general should be planful, and mindful, and for everyone’s sake actually know yourself before having children. This is no small undertaking. I know many, many people who live very full, happy lives without producing children. Actually, if you can’t do that, if you need a child to complete your life, I recommend a good therapist because you need to be a complete person on your own to parent.
Children are not there to make you feel good. It’s the other way around, loves. Children, even one, will drain your energy, test your patience, make you doubt yourself, and leave you feeling helpless and stupid. They will drain your wallet, and your bank account. They will suck up your time. And they should. Once you bring a child into this world, you owe that child every ounce of you.
If you are not prepared to give up your dreams to help them chase theirs, don’t do it. If you can’t put your stuff on hold to answer 45534677532256 “Why?” questions don’t do it. If you are going to be heart broken if their dreams aren’t like yours… Each child is a person struggling to become. And your job, not your only job but your main job, is to help them do that. And no, it doesn’t end at 18. It’s for the rest of your life. If at some point they aren’t ready to try it on their own (barring some special circumstances) you messed it up; but we need our parents our whole lives, which unfortunately (and hopefully) means even after they’re gone.
If being a 24/7/365 giver of time, energy, and money, and even your body isn’t your bag, if you can’t hold another human being and not care that they are puking all over you at 3am, if you need your sleep, don’t do it. If you can’t deal with being pooped on, and called names, and told you’re stupid, and having someone who once thought you hung the moon look at you like they can’t figure out how you manage to breathe because you’re obviously the stupidest person ever (gah! f-n parents!), don’t do this. Get a dog if you want someone who’s gonna look at you with nothing but adoration and wonder it’s whole life.
There are limitless ways to be important to this world, even in the lives of children without this level of commitment and responsibility. You can be an aunt or uncle to your sibling’s kids. You can work in schools, you can volunteer (or work) in youth programs (religious or otherwise). These things are desperately needed. We, as a society, desperately need people who will give of themselves, even for short periods of time, to other people, and other people’s kids.
If you do decide to have children, or risk it by having sex where conception is possible, that’s the deal tho. You are no longer the most important person in your life. What you want isn’t as important as what they want, what you need isn’t as important as what they need. I’m not saying self care and your needs aren’t important, but they aren’t first anymore.
That is love. Your needs > my needs. Your wants > my wants. (My needs > your wants)
All that being said, if it’s the adventure for you, it’s a great adventure. I love my children, all of them. Those I bore and those I didn’t. When I get to see my kids struggling and doing stuff on their own, and knowing something I was able to give them helped them to feel capable, strong, important, and valued; well, that’s what it’s all about. It’s about them, my whole life.
And there aren’t words to say how much I support and appreciate my friends who decided not to have children, who give to this world and this world’s kids in other ways. There are countless children (all of them actually, all people in fact) who need that same love, even on a short term basis, from somewhere other than home.
And thank you to those parents who step up, regardless of how you came to be a parent: biological, adoptive, foster, step surrogate…families are put together in so many different ways. Those parents who are non-custodial and artwork covers your fridge and most of your FB is focused on your kid because even tho you don’t live together all the time, still about them…thank you. Those people stepping up and taking that job for a child not genetically linked to you, thank you. Those parents doing it alone because that’s how it worked out, thank you. And yes, those parents who had children and realized they couldn’t do this job and gave that child up to someone else, thank you too. Sometimes that is the ultimate act of love; to love a child so much you give them up so they can have what they deserve.
i can’t tell you how many times i’ve spoken up about harassment only to be told to “learn to take a compliment”.
since when do “compliments” intrude on my space? what kind of “compliment” makes a person feel unsafe or threatened?
harassment isn’t a compliment. know the difference.
I remind myself that no one day of writing matters all that much. A story is built somewhat like a stalactite - one little drip of mud and grit at a time.
I remind myself that the first few drafts are just for me. That gives me permission to let it be an ungodly mess, full of shit sentences and crap ideas, whipped into a creamy froth with the occasional bits that do work. Later I’ll winnow out the stuff that was no good. What remains will be (I hope) fun, economical, and lively.
It helps (me) to write longhand. I know no one is ever going to see my longhand draft but me. That’s a free pass to suck.
Also, though, I try and work small. If I think a scene blows dead rats, I’ll stop thinking about the big picture, and just think about the next sentence. If I can get down one sentence that really excites me, sometimes it will throw a spark powerful enough to bring a dying moment back to life.
WHAT HE SAID.
I think that may need more emphasis.
WHAT HE FUCKING SAID.
Whoa. Brilliant shit there.
Jonathan Carroll (via theremina)