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Because it's a choice.

Hello, Goodbye.

I guess they call it relationships because it can either sink or float. Facebook friends and co-workers–even people we say hi to at the coffee shop are all stunned to hear our near-five year relationship is kaput, but I seen it coming a long time ago. Some relationships die quickly, like in Final Destination and some die slowly–even coming back to life like Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter. Mine died a very, very slow life–sitting on life support for as long as it could hold out. At this turning point in my life though, I don’t want it to be the beginning of doom but a new chapter in my life where I can rediscover myself and learn how to be independent.

Everybody goes through breakups and divorces. It’s the only relationship I know, going from teenager to living with my partner meant I never experienced full 100% independence. Now it’s time to figure out how to pay a bill, send out mail (the paper kind) and set my alarm every night. It means starting anew in every way. Goodbye to my apartment that I lovingly painted and set up my library and my statues. Goodbye to one of my beloved pets, and five years of good memories. Too bad I cannot say goodbye to the tattoo I have of my partner’s name. Perhaps that wasn’t the best idea…but usually most ideas are perfunctory when you’re 19.

I’ve never been single before. It scares me to wake up all alone in bed, but the idea of being in charge of every decision that affects my life amazes and excites me. Having nobody to ask for their approval makes me dumbfounded to the point of giddiness. It means I can spend time remembering what it was like being me, not only half of a couple. It means developing my character, and challenging myself–which I’m sure will happen (especially since I have no clue what to do now). I’m sure I’ll be buying a lot of relationship books like What To Do When Your Relationship Ends: THE Relationship Book but I’ll also get to reconnect with my friends, make new friends and see the world in a different light.

I don’t know what my future holds–but I sure as hell don’t want to get into another relationship any time soon. I know I’m young and naive, and have a lot to learn. But I see this ending as the start to a new beginning, for better or for worse. It’s life, sometimes. Ups and downs. Hello, goodbye.

Cool Childfree Guy

Sorry I haven’t written anything this week. I’m still trying to work through the pain and deep sense of loss I feel in my heart. I’ll be back soon, I promise.

In the meantime, here’s a poem I wrote, dedicated to Baby Z, titled “I’ll Never Forget.”

I’ll never forget when you first came home
How I could hold you in the palm of my hand
And how ever perfectly you fit there

I’ll never forget the first time I fed you
How I had to direct you to the bottle
And help you latch on to the nipple

I’ll never forget the many sleepless nights
How I’d wake up just to feed you
And just to comfort you when you were alone

I’ll never forget watching you open your eyes
How I broke down in tears at the sight
And knowing that all I did for you was worthwhile

View original post 172 more words

Cool Childfree Guy

Sorry I haven’t written anything this week. I’m still trying to work through the pain and deep sense of loss I feel in my heart. I’ll be back soon, I promise.

In the meantime, here’s a poem I wrote, dedicated to Baby Z, titled “I’ll Never Forget.”

I’ll never forget when you first came home
How I could hold you in the palm of my hand
And how ever perfectly you fit there

I’ll never forget the first time I fed you
How I had to direct you to the bottle
And help you latch on to the nipple

I’ll never forget the many sleepless nights
How I’d wake up just to feed you
And just to comfort you when you were alone

I’ll never forget watching you open your eyes
How I broke down in tears at the sight
And knowing that all I did for you was worthwhile

View original post 172 more words

Feeding the Ducks

There is something magical that happens here, on the huge rocks overlooking the lapping waves of Lake Ontario with nothing but clear skies ahead and serene geese floating by. It is almost unbelievable that just a day ago I was budging through crowds of commuters, working hard and gulping down a chicken wrap with my hot coffee. The fast-pace of day to day life was dissipated as I fed the ducks, stopping by a cafe that looked more like a cottage that sold delicious organic fair-trade coffee and fresh biscottis.

There is definitely a luxury in getting away from the hustle and bustle of city life, enjoying the peace that being by the lake offers. Not only yummy lakeside restaurants and great views, but the chance to remember what it means to skip rocks, hearing the plummeting of stone in water and getting your feet wet in sand. Who cares if you get a bit of mud on your shoes? Why did this even matter? Watching my dogs race around in the expanse of water and sand and grass helped me acquire a higher understanding of what it means to not just live, but enjoy life.

It was the kind of idyllic day I pictured myself living and when it comes along, it’s worth it. There is something more profound than spending money and consuming so much…and that’s just enacting our senses and experiencing new things. Even if it’s as simple as feeding the ducks.

Gateway Women

If you take a moment to think about it, there have probably never been so many educated, liberated women without children in their 40s and 50s alive at one time before.

Let that sink in for a moment… In the past, most of us would have been either bringing up children or already dead from childbirth. And of those women who were childless (mostly by chance but a small percentage by choice) very few of them would have had the social, economic or political power to take advantage of their freedom from child-rearing.

1 in 5 women in the UK and USA is now reaching their mid-forties without having children. Some of them by choice, many of them by chance. This is double what it was a generation ago.

This cohort of women is diverse in other ways, but many of us are liberated and thoughtful about what shape the rest of…

View original post 949 more words

Two Wombs, One Relationship.

As I look across the living room to my soon to be 28 year old partner, with her pretty awesome Mohawk–I have a worrisome look on. Her eyes are glued on the flat-screen TV as she plays Naruto on PS3, her leg propped up on the ottoman; and she is clearly happy. But the words she spoke yesterday are still ringing in my ears, “We should settle down.” I replied, “We are settled. We have our apartment and our dogs.”  But she stunned me with, “No, I mean settle down like buy a house and…have kids.”

The awkward silence that ensued made me realize that I forgot to acknowledge both my fiancee and I are women and have wombs, and that even though I don’t have any maternal “clock” ticking–she may. In the short time that followed, I snatched up tickets to Odysseo and bought her a PS3 in the vain hopes to keep her distracted and occupied and hopefully, content without kids. But a part of me knows there is nothing I can do if she wants them. She has her own body and she is in control of it, the way I am in control of mine.

That is the tricky thing about lesbian relationships. In the based-on-reality movie The Baby Formula where a Toronto native lesbian couple uses their own DNA to impregnate one half of the couple, the other woman gets jealous of her spouse being with child and also impregnates herself with their DNA 7 months later. They now have a baby girl and baby boy born 7 months apart or something like that. Even though there is a lot of technology available for lesbians to have kids, I still don’t want one and I realize I cannot easily make that decision for my partner.

It is worrisome because I love her deeply, but I also love our lives the way it is. We both work hard, have amazing friends and a zest for life. As if being a lesbian couple hasn’t thrown us enough loops like coming out to family and co-workers, and dealing with homophobia and defining ourselves within society’s hetero-normative ideals; we are now faced with the dilemma of two women who feel differently about procreation. Even if I had my tubes tied, I couldn’t force her to do the same. And if she loved me too, she would respect my wishes to not be a mother. But then she’d be unhappy. So how does it all work?

I don’t know, honestly. Perhaps persuading her to stay child-free with theater tickets and promising a hot tropical vacation is the wrong route to take. I should sit her down, and let her know how I really feel about the whole situation–honestly and whole-heartedly. I can also explain the reasoning behind my decision (or just direct her to my blog, which has a year’s worth of why I don’t wanna be a mommy). I thought being child-free would be an easy thing–choose not to have kids and then live my life. But it’s not that easy because there is two wombs in this relationship. If all else fails, maybe we can flip a coin. 😉

THE L WORD

THE L WORD

Withstanding Pressure to Procreate

It’s not easy when all your friends and co-workers are popping out babies left, right and center. Wherever you go–you, the woman without child, sees strollers and bumps and kids holding mama’s hands everywhere. We all have kid-pushers in our lives, couples who urge us to join their ranks of motherhood and fatherhood and come jump onto the baby train. Even, at times, it sounds tantalizing but you have that big feeling in the back of your mind that it isn’t what you want. Lots and lots of women give in to the pressure to procreate, but if you are stoutly sure you don’t want to have kids–how do you deal with insistence?

1. Stand firm on your decision. One half of my favourite gay couple would often bring up the topic of children and his desire to be a gay uncle to our hypothetical children. It brought a lot of guilt and would sometimes make me feel like back-pedaling on my decision. The last time he brought it up, during dinner, I told him very sternly, “We aren’t having kids. And that’ s that.” To date, I have never heard about it again. Sometimes, the best approach is to be blunt. If you don’t want to hear the spiel about having kids, you shouldn’t have to (especially over and over again!)

2. Focus on the things you love. If your friends and family don’t understand why you’re not having kids–show them. Enjoy your life the best way you know how, and be a living example of how life without kids is fulfilling. If you just got a new promotion, booked a last minute trip to Oahu and finally learned to make Quiche Florentine than your friends will have a hard time finding points to argue against your life. If you’re happy–it shows.

3.Say “no” to mass media influence.Mass media is very powerful and influences virtually every part of our lives. Whether you are watching your favourite show, flipping through commercials or coming across a giant billboard–the chances is you’ll see the Happy, Go-Lucky Family or the Radiant Mother there. Almost every show now is including babies and motherhood and pregnancy and if you’re not having it–turn it off. Go spend some time outside–go for a bike ride, go to the art gallery, spend time with friends going out for lunch or a coffee. But yes, still check in to childfree and lifestyle blogs! 😉

4. Connect to others like you. Which brings me to my next point: childfree blogs, websites and social media. Sometimes the only thing to keep you sane is knowing there are other people just like you who are sick and tired of leaning up against the wall so a double stroller can bolt by, or getting invitations to yet another baby shower. Not everybody is enthralled with children, and if you think everyone wants to have kids–you’d be surprised! (I was!!!!).

5. Go a little crazy. If all else fails, just think of creative ways to thwart the kid-pushers and to ignore ads that idealize motherhood. I draw little devil horns on the babies in the magazines I read while waiting at the doctor’s office. It’s silly, but it gives me a little smile. When someone asks, “When are you and your significant other going to have kids?” Just think of something crazy to say like “I have a lifetime supply of free condoms so I guess never!” or “My uterus is in permanent hibernation” or whatever you’d like. 🙂

You Don’t Need to Understand

            In the two months I’ve been at my new job, I’ve been asked if I had children 3 times. I made it clear to the younger associates around my age that I wouldn’t be having kids ever and my usual response to the question is, “No, we decided to have dogs instead” which is often met with a quizzical, confused glance.

One man, quite assured I was a mother, just dove into the question, “So, do you have a son or daughter?”

Out of the 8 women I work with directly, 5 of them are mothers and the other 2 are under 20 years old but plan on having children. I hear them constantly talk about their children, ages ranging from 2 years old to 18 years old, and about the woes and joys of motherhood; as well as the complicated mixture of working and childrearing.

When it is my turn to return from my weekend off and discuss what I’ve been up to, the conversation is cut short with uneasy looks and changed quite quickly. I speak candidly about my dogs, showing co-workers pictures I have of my little troublemakers but their disinterest is obvious.

A few days ago, one female co-worker, a Filipino lady in her late 30s listens to me tell a story about a romantic dinner I had on the waterfront patio atIl Fornelloas I watched the boats swaying on the waves, and she just said, quite bluntly,

“I just don’t understand how you don’t want kids!”

She was a mother of two or three girls, I think, and for her having children was not only the norm but also expected. I glanced at her, trying to rack my brain for an explanation that would make sense but couldn’t think of anything to say. She was such a nice lady–and a hard worker; and in spite of being a full-time worker…her two children were her life.

I did try to explain it to her, gently. I told her how my partner and I were dreaming of flying all over the world, and spending our Saturdays at farmer’s markets and painting in the sunshine–and how I loved growing my book collection and highlighting the best parts of each book. I counted off my fingers the many things I would accomplish by not having children–adding that I would be the first person in my family to have a university degree. Yet, despite it all, her blank look said it all. For her, having a child was tantamount to everything I was saying. Just as I couldn’t understand why she had chosen to have her children, she couldn’t fathom why I would choose not to.

And then, we turned back to our work; though I am sure our minds had wandered off in different directions.

Use Condoms, People!

“I am not responsible enough with my own life to have the extra weight of making sure another being lives… and I’m not irresponsible enough to think that I will magically become responsible enough.” – Blog Post Commenter

Whenever a young friend on Facebook comments they’re pregnant (yet again…) I just shake my head. I don’t know how they’ll afford raising another child, especially in this economy but usually the first thought that runs in my head is “A pack of condoms on sale would’ve been cheaper!”  Everyone in my age group, 18-25 roughly, is having sex and probably a lot of sex. We are young, agile and our skin is still smooth and unwrinkled. The fountain of youth is on our side for now. I tell EVERYONE and I mean everyone, to use condoms if they’re not on birth control.

I have a whole drawer-ful of condoms I hand out like Christmas presents I got for free at the Pride Parade. Yes, there is some random Chinese writing on them that looks sketchy but hey–it should work 99% per cent of the time which means you don’t have to wake up hungover and worry how you’ll make a living 9 months from now, or if you got some girl you’re not even sure you LIKE preggo. Snooki and the Kardashian clan might look all glamorous pregnant in leopard print stilettos but babies aren’t just a hot trend like Chihuahuas were not too long ago–they are adults that need to be nurtured and shaped.