America’s Next Bill Clinton!

“Coming out” to my parents

I am on vacation, but I still want to write, simply because I’ve ran across a lot of issues worth talking about, to include a fake “abortion” clinic that I called to find out what they’re about (I’ll blog that later). I also went to a strip club with old friends last night, and hated it. I’ll blog that later, too. For now, this one is about my “coming out.”

Almost two-and-a-half years ago, I came out to my parents. No, it wasn’t the type where at Thanksgiving dinner, I announced that I liked penises now, as my dad choked on the turkey breast (what else would he be eating, right?) and my mon slowly fainted, her face in the bowl of gravy.

My coming was a different sort. I announced to them that I had declared myself a women’s studies major, and now a feminist.

I think they took it quite well. In fact, they probably saw it as a phase, one that would pass. My dad, in his sense of humor, would introduce me to the neighbors as “Marc, our daughter.”

Coming home and seeing them now, though, it’s a little different. They’re beginning to realize that I am in this movement for good.

When I told them that I would be getting out of the Army, finishing up my degree and then going to law school to be an attorney in women’s and human rights issues before trying to go into politics, their first question was how I would make money.

“Why don’t you stay in the Army for 20 years and retire to collect paycheck? You’ll only be 37 by then,” my mom pressed.

“Mom, because women’s rights can’t wait. I want to make a difference,” I replied.

They still don’t get it. They worry about money and how I’d make a living, even after I’d told them that so long as I have a roof over my head and a few nice suits to go to work in, I’d be happy. They don’t get it.

I love my parents, but they want me to do things that don’t matter to me. My calling is feminism and progressive politics. My parents envisioned I’d be a doctor or a hot-shot attorney. This time, they’d even offer to start a business for me.

“What change in the world would I make?” I asked them.

“What girl would marry a man with no money, working for a non-profit as an attorney?” my mom asked.

“Mom, women aren’t gold-diggers, and they’re capable of making money on their own. Besides, I’ve got plenty of admirers who’d want to date me. It’s okay, I don’t need money to get laid.”

They’re unhappy, but I am not going to change my life and my passion around for them. I love my parents, but I love my country more. I want to make my parents happy, but there are millions of my fellow human beings who are still being marginalized based on the sex into which they were born. They take priority.

They gave me life and I am thankful for that. But now, I will use my life to change lives. I am not going to sit around doing my best to make them happy. After all, life is a gift. When you give someone a gift, you shouldn’t expect them to do with it what you want. It’s THEIR gift.

Benefits of being single/childfree.
August 14, 2007, 1:27 pm
Filed under: childfree, children, college, family, Feminism, love, motherhood, parents, relationships, singles

Last night, finally going to bed around 3 a.m., it all the sudden hit me – that, in a culture when so much emphasis is being put on creating a family, finding “true love” (whatever that means) and making little people, that there are great benefits from being single and childfree (not to be confused with chidless).

In recent weeks, I’ve made extremely important and big career moves, and the reason I was able to take those risks, make those choices, jump a few spaces, get my foot in the door and pursue my dream is that I have no children, and that I am neither romantically nor emotionally attached to anyone.

I have nothing against parenthood and I certainly have nothing against serious, emotionally-vested relationships; but it seems as though while the emotional benefits are great, and sometimes, children and relationships do make us better people, they also prevent us from taking the steps we need to do what we want with our dreams.

Let’s say: I decide to get out of the Army, intern for NOW and transfer to a university in northern Virginia? What do I have to do? Oh, just sign some paperwork, rent a U-Hual, and kiss a few friends good-bye, and there you have it. It’s done. All I’d need is a suit, a few dress shirts and a Fountains of Wayne CD, and I am happy.

But suppose I were with a father – or in love with someone.

Then, instead of just thinking for myself, I’d have to think of THAT child. I have to think with the person with whom I am in love. It’s a personal and emotional responsibility that I’d have to carry. It’s a responsibility that, quite frankly, anyone who have plans to change the world should never have to take on while in our 20’s. Society might look down upon those without children or aren’t in serious relationships (as if somehow they both legitimize us), but there is a worth to being without child and a relationship.

People say the benefits of children and relationships include the fact that there’s someone to come home to. Isn’t that a little bit egotistical? You should create children because you want to raise productive members of society. You should enter relationships because you and that person share very deep and common values and convictions. You shouldn’t do any of that simply because it feels good.

In the end, children are so beautiful, with their little fingers and hands, feet and gurgles; I love the way they smile and grip on to my finger so strongly. I love their laughter their soft breaths as their chests rise up and down while they’re sleeping; and I loved it when, the other day, a 6-month-old — in being asked to kiss me, just put his face against my cheek and started drooling. So I can appreciate children.

I also appreciate meaningful relationships, ones that consist of teaching and learn, taking and giving, which allow me to be my silly, full-of-love self rather than the rock of a politician; the relationships that I can be totally open and honest. Those relationships can be beautiful.

They can all be beautiful. But you know what? The single, children-free life can also be extremely satisfying and beautiful – and is also a cause for celebration.

It may be true that each night a child is born, is a holy night – but each night, to go to bed knowing exactly what you’ll do the next morning, no matter what life throws at you, because you’re in control of your life, can also be pretty fucking awesome. Not “holy,” but awesome