If you’re running into opposition, questions, and doubts, there’s probably a good reason–you’re going somewhere. Lately I have been running into all of those. Mainly, it seems many of my female friends ask me, “Sooooo….when is the wedding? Are you guys talking about it? Don’t you want children? Don’t you want to be married?” and so on. Maybe it’s written all over my face, but please, don’t ask me that anymore, or any of your other unmarried childfree friends; no good comes of it and most likely you end up unintentionally making the other person feel bad for not having something you feel she should have by now. I think women do this to each other more than men: ask about when you are getting married and having children. Admittedly, though, I have been pretty wishy-washy with what I put out there, “Yes I want kids. No I don’t. Maybe I do. Yes I want to be married. Maybe I don’t…,” and so on. I am going to share something that terrifies me to put out there with everyone:I may not want children or marriage. I do want, however, loving relationships.
In fact, I am coming into the realization that I may want a childfree life. When I tell people that, they look at me like I am selfish and heartless. Or maybe that is in my head: how I am perceived by others. We all do it. I actually think the decision to not have children of your own can be an extremely unselfish and a good-intentioned decision. I love children. I am nurturing. Do I ever get sad that I don’t have a baby of my own to currently hold and rock to sleep? Sure. And I accept that suffering as part of my present human experience. We all suffer from something. However, once we move past the suffering, and accept ourselves and the choices we made and where we are in life, then can we let go of that suffering and enter joy through gratitude. Living childfree doesn’t mean less responsibility. It just means you choose different responsibilities. There is a voice inside me that lights up, saying, “Child, you are an eternal mother of earth.” Heck if I know what that means, I’m still exploring! I do know I’ve done a lot of raising, though.
A stranger interviewing me for an acting class recently asked me, “So who raised you?” I replied, “I raised myself,” surprised by my quick gut-response. Then, unsatisfied with my answer, she asked again, “No, who raised you? There had to be someone responsible!” And if you must know, I really did raise myself. I took everything in, observed and processed it, then decided who to be and went into action. In fact, I think most of who we are has to do with how we raise ourselves and less of our parent’s parenting. There are recent studies out there on this theory. I don’t look back at my troubled-childhood and think, “I had a horrible life.” I look back and smile and think, “My family loved me the best they could with the resources they had.I am grateful for those experiences because it made me who I am today.” Now this type of thinking isn’t without a great deal of internal work, but if we learn to cultivate our mind, body and spirit with Love, or that which is light and good, we can live wholeheartedly, and that sort of joy and compassion will connect you to others in such a way that uplifts, versus destroys. And each “uplift” contributes to the light in this world. And I feel being a childfree woman right now is in some small way helping contribute to the “uplift,” because it allows me to speak up about accepting people different than you, and accepting yourself for being different from others; appreciate the uniqueness. And if something changes my circumstance later, great. Part of life is learning to embrace and enjoy where you are at in the present, versus constantly focusing on the future. Also, if I get too far into time and feel I made a mistake, so be it; I hope I approach myself compassionately. I believe a compassionate perspective leads to freedom and achievement of your greatest potential because you choose to see flaws and meet things head on and say, “Ok, I made a mistake. I’ll give myself a break and will try again”. Compassion takes the ego out of the picture; it is honest. I digress from my long tangent!
It’s easy to get caught in a path that is socially accepted, and there is nothing wrong with going that direction. Getting married and having children is more socially accepted than deciding to be childfree and marriagefree. I used to think I would be married with children by my age, but I’m not, and I’m ok with it because I accept who and where I am right now and feel grateful for being given life. I admit though, this took time to accept, and I recently pushed my boyfriend with marriage to a tipping point. Sorry honey! But truthfully, it was because I was tired of not feeling accepted or like I belonged by my friends, and I also thought this was the ultimate symbol to demonstrate our love to each other (Trina, look at ya’lls actions towards one another, ‘nuff said). Really it was probably my own insecurities in my head. Don’t we all want to belong? Now, accepting myself and current condition, marriage isn’t important to me because it’s not my reality right now. I got so caught up in securing the future that I forgot to simply put one foot in front of the other and enjoy the now. I took for granted what I have right in front of me: an authentic partnership; which helped me realize what I value most. The most important thing to me right now is having kind, caring, gentle, honest, pure, lovely, admirable, trusting, persevering, joyous, humor-filled, respectful, accepting, conscience, curious, authentic, courageous, creative, vulnerable & fun relationships. (PS – also my values). AKA wholehearted, real or loving relationships. I repeat: the most important thing to me is having loving relationships. With God, people, & myself. This is the ultimate connection and what I value more than anything in life, so that’s what I’m focused on cultivating: relationships that will stand the test of time. And to build that, I have to be that .(seriously?! what was I thinking in choosing this hard path?! ;))
I am grateful my partner put up with me and patiently waited on the other side while I went through a period of opposition, doubt, questioning, and ultimately, growth into the truth of what I want. I wish I could say it won’t happen again, sorry honey. The very things I wanted lied within myself. Those are gifts I have to offer. The first step to anything is learning what you want. Now, you may ask, is my heart entirely closed to children and marriage? Do I judge those who have those? No, not at all. I live with an open heart; I’m just not there yet, and may never take that path; we all experience our own journey through time. You may wonder, will I look back and regret the decision to not have children or marry? Maybe I will. I cannot predict the future. I would like to think I will look back with compassion and see the good over the bad, regardless the outcome. For those that have marriage and children and/or both and are happy with that, I am happy for you, but I ask, please do not judge me for not having those things right now. Please treat me as I do you, with loving kindness. Please accept that, though I am weird and against the grain, I am also a person, just like you. It is pety, insignificant and toxic to judge the lives of others when we each have so much work to do in our own (I’m saying this to myself). I leave you with one thing: live a mindful life, listen to your heart, be compassionate and accepting, and take your time enjoying the journey!
I Dream of Trina