Category Archives: Diary
Alright, let’s be serious. The other day, I wrote a tongue-in-cheek post about things I “regret” about being childfree. This was in response to a troll in a childfree group, a grandmother who showed up one day and never left, who insists that childfree people regret our decision and secretly envy her for having bred.
Finding this assertion absurd to the point it doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously, I wrote a list of things that I “regret” about being childfree. My list included things like not being woken up at 3am by screaming babies, not having to change diapers, and not suffering the bodily harm caused by pregnancy and birth. Obviously, this list is sarcastic. I don’t actually regret any of what I listed, and that’s exactly the point. Most people who read it, got it. A number of people even wrote their own list of fake regrets.
But it seems some people just didn’t get the point. It flew right over their heads. A few people on Reddit complained that they were hoping for an honest list of pros and cons. Actually, it kind of was, but more on that later.
Childfree people are often told that we will regret being CF. Some of the less secure among us find this possibility a source of doubt. Most of us just dismiss the notion, sure we won’t regret a thing. However, few us us seem to question the notion that there is even anything to regret at all. I feel like I’m explaining a joke here, but that’s the point of my list of fake regrets.
What is it, exactly, that I am supposed to regret about being childfree? Living in too nice of a house? Spending too much quality time with my boyfriend?Am I supposed to regret being too healthy? Too successful? Too financially-stable? Too happy? Too free? Too satisfied? Really, what is there to regret about not having kids? I feel like I’m being told that I will regret running a marathon without a ball and chain shackled to each ankle. The idea is laughable. It doesn’t even make any sense. I am clearly better off without the burden.
The truth, as I see it, is this. For one thing, not only do I not now, nor will I ever, regret being childfree, but I contend that there is nothing at all for me to regret. In the list of pros and cons of being childfree, I can not for the life of me think of one single “con.” Likewise, I see no real “pros” to parenthood.
My second realization, however, relates to those who insist that the childfree will regret being so. None of them can name a single thing that I should regret missing out on. It’s more likely that they claim that I will regret being childfree, not for my sake, but for their own. Maybe they feel insecure about their choice, perhaps even regret becoming parents, and as a result, they think that believing that I am the one who regrets living my own life differently than they makes them feel better. Too bad for them that reality doesn’t play along.
This is what I really regret about being childfree: Absolutely nothing!
• I’m terrible at drawing hands. I used to deliberately hide hands just so I wouldn’t have to draw them. Now, I force myself to draw hands so I can get better at it.
• I have trouble drawing men. I’m used to drawing the curves of women. My men tend to either look like women, or like they’re made of boxes.
• I tend to draw necks too long. I never notice until I’ve drawn most of the body and I can’t change it without undoing a lot of work. When this happens, I usually just leave it be on paper and then shorten the necks in Manga Studio editing.
• I waste a lot of paper. Most drawing that I start I quit on after a few minutes. Well, it’s not a total loss, I suppose. I have to start my fireplace with something.
• I can’t paint from life. Well, I can, but I’m never satisfied with it. I prefer to paint from pictures, using a grid to get my scale right.
• I hate drawing people head-on. I can never seem to get the eyes quite symmetrical, and they tend to look slightly cross-eyed. Usually, I just declare one eye a placeholder, then replace it in editing with a copy+paste+flip of the eye I prefer.
• Drawing armor is an absolute nightmare. And I tend to not even bother with helmets.
• Although I can draw faces, getting them to look like anyone in particular is challenging. I even have trouble keeping the same character recognizable between drawings.
• I can’t seem to get the hang of drawing side-profile faces.
• I draw with 0.7 mechanical pencils. On printer paper. I’m on a budget. No, really, I don’t need fancy-smancy one-million-piece art kits.
• I don’t need orange, green, or violet paint. I’m annoyed when paint sets include them. Waste of money. I have an absolutely obscene number of tubes of these colors in my paint drawer.
• I have my easel set up in my room, but I haven’t actually painted much in years.
• I trace my own drawings if I find I’ve sketched something I like well enough to re-use for something better.
• I can’t draw straight lines. Or circles. What’s up with that?
• I have very poor penmanship. My handwriting is so awful even I have trouble reading it.
• Some days I just cannot draw worth a darn. I try, but nothing good comes about. I don’t know why.
• I do some of my best drawings when I’m supposed to be doing something else like chores, homework, or sleeping.
• My sketchbook is a mess. I have a habit of picking a page to draw on at random, rather than just skipping to the next page. As my sketchbook fills, I have to hunt to find elusive blank pages scattered about the book.
• I practically run on soda. I can’t art without it. Also, chocolate.
• I star at myself in the mirror a lot. I try to look at myself from different angles. I do goofy poses, make faces, and talk. I’m not conceited. I’m studying myself. I am my own model. I know exactly what I want to see demonstrated. I’ve learned a lot.
• I sometimes ask other people to pose for me, but it can be a bit awkward.
• Although I have a tablet and some dandy imaging programs, I don’t like to use digital drawing as a starting point. I prefer to sketch on paper until I get something I like, then scan it. I then ink, add details, and sometimes color digitally.
• I want a Cintiq. Badly. Like how most people want a special car. You have no idea what I’d give…
• I have more ideas for things I want to draw than I have time or motivation to actually draw them. Most ideas never leave my head.
• Sometimes drawing something I’m not particularly interested in will give me ideas for other, more interesting drawings. I call it “free-sketching” (or just “screwing around,”) but I’m sure there’s a serious art-world term for it.
• When it comes to armor, vehicles, weapons, and complicated poses, I like to have visual references around. It helps a lot. I just can not commit that kind of detail to memory.
• I draw what I’m interested in. Lately, it’s Mass Effect. Yes, now that it’s pretty much over. It was the same with Knights of the Old Republic. I’m always late for fandoms.
• I’m bothered by typos, misspellings, and especially poor grammar. When writing dialogue bubbles for comics, I run it through a word-processer first.
• Noses. Why do people even have to have those? I can never draw those right. They either look like aliens or pigs.
• I have to be careful not to make women too curvy. Real people don’t actually look like hourglasses, at not in the way shown in cartoons.
• Clothes… I can never figure out the folds. It’s just so complicated! And patterns? Forget about it. The worst part? The part in the pants where the legs divide.
• Perspective is not my friend. In reality, all objects don’t sit parallel to each other.
• It’s not that backgrounds are hard, but they are really boring. I try to avoid them. The foreground is where it’s at.
• When I paint, I listen to music. The genre of choice? Metal. The result: Angry paintings, no matter what the subject.
• My office is a mess. Total disaster area.
I’m very happy in my new home. I’m especially happy with my large yard. I’ve already picked a small patch for gardening, and may try to weasel my way to expanding the borders if I can get the BF to cooperate with my plans. As spring planting time is nearly upon me, I’m gathering all my supplies. Reclaimed wood, containers, seeds, and information.
As I’ve been researching for things to plant, I’ve found that some are being claimed to have special properties. For instance, I’ve often heard it claimed that marigolds repel aphids and that nasturtiums repel rabbits. Such a thing is incredibly useful to gardeners, if true. And even if it isn’t true, there’s no harm in pretty flower borders decorating the veggie patch, is there?
Still, I would look very silly if I said to someone who knew better that this magic flower over there kept pests at bay, only to have him turn around and tell me that it’s doing no more to ward of pests than it is to ward of tigers. Just because the pest isn’t around doesn’t mean my plant actually put up an effective force field. Why did I think it would? Because someone told me?
When I first heard claims of pest-control plants, I was eager to accept it as truth. After all, I heard it from gardeners, people who have been working the land longer than I’ve been alive so I’d think they know a thing or two. It would certainly benefit me if the claims were, indeed, accurate. But just wanting something to be true doesn’t make it so, nor does hearing it from a perceived authority. This is something I gave little though until I considered another kind of plant use claim, on that I doubt, that being medicinal plants.
I’ve always found the effects certain plants are said to have for humans very interesting. Some flowers and herbs, I am told, have medicinal properties and can cure things like headaches and stomach upset, can promote healing, or can help you lose weight. I’ve even heard such lofty claims as this or that plant can prevent or cure cancer.
Do some plants really have the medicinal effects claimed? Maybe. I mean, it’s known that some plants can have an effect on animals. I mean, as an example right off the top of my head, the effects (medicinal and otherwise) of cannabis on humans are well known. And if I’m not mistaken, the developers of pharmaceutical have been known to look to plants, on occasion, in the development of new drugs. Plants can affect people as more than just a source of nutrition, and sometimes do so in some pretty strange ways.
I’m not questioning whether or not plants can possibly have medicinal uses. It’s whether or not the specific plants claimed really work as claimed, and whether or not they are really more effective and safer than commercial drugs. I’m not one to just believe whatever I’m told. Not without proof.
Sadly, I’m finding research on the matter a bit difficult. Actual scientific studies on such matters are hard to come by, and definitive conclusions harder still. Meanwhile, there remain so many claims out there, and it seems like more are sprouting up all the time as the “alternative medicine” movement gains steam online. It is therefore difficult for me to determine which claims are true, or at least plausible, and which are just “alternative medicine” hogwash. Honestly, I’m inclined to doubt “alternative medicine.” I doubt that any plant is medicinal until I can verify that it is.
It would be nice if I could grow my own personal pharmacy. However, until I can find proof that the herbs and flowers I’ve been told can do this or that really do as advertized, I will have the lingering and uncomfortable suspicion that I’d just be doing the gardening equivalent of superstitiously throwing salt over my shoulder, getting, at best, a placebo effect.
This doubt in herbal medicine makes me also wonder about the pest-control claims of companion plants. These claims too would be nice if true, but are they really? I don’t know.
This feels like an odd post to write because I’ve basically proposed a problem and then didn’t follow with a solution, making this post seem somewhat incomplete. The truth is, as of right now, I don’t have an answer.
Dear Natalist World,
Guys, I need to rant. A friend of mine wrote a post on FaceBook complaining about something unrelated to my rant, but did so while making a comparison along the lines of: “If you were childfree, you wouldn’t tell an infertile person that you envy them.
I commented that yes, I actually would say that. Getting fixed wasn’t easy. In fact, it’s extremely difficult to accomplish. Society and the medical establishment at large like to throw up all kind of barriers to permanent sterilization (hell, even just temporary birth control. )I WISH I was naturally infertile. And I’m betting she wouldn’t have had a problem with infertile people have no problem saying that they envy the fertile (CF or not.)
Am I the only one who has no patience for infertility whining? These people aren’t martyrs or victims or anything of the sort. It’s not like anyone needs kids. I mean, what’s the worst real affect of not having kids? No macaroni pictures? Too much money to spend? OH, boo-fuckity-hoo. You know, if someone really wants kids, they could still adopt. What does that tell you if they won’t?
People like to get all dramatic and say that these people are “suffering.” No, no they’re fucking not. People which chronic pain are suffering. People who are starving are suffering. Not getting some petty want in NOT suffering. Who would say that I’m suffering because I can’t have a Ferrari? (at least transportation is actually a practical need.
The way I see it, anyone who bitches about being infertile has some serious growing up to do. They remind me of toddlers throwing tantrums in stores because mommy won’t buy cookies. Seriously, it’s more than just the infertility that I envy. It’s the ease of existence someone would have to have to complain about it. If not being able to breed is really all someone has to complain about in life, then I’d envy them for having no real problems.
And anyone who actually gives these people undeserved sympathy is feeding into the drama. You’re not helping. In fact, you’re making it worse. Stop feeling sorry for people who aren’t actually suffering and maybe they’ll stop feeling sorry for themselves and maybe even realize breeding is not actually as big a deal as our natalism-obsessed culture likes to pretend. Maybe if you stopped pretending that there was anything wrong with being infertile infertile people wouldn’t get so dramatic about it.
I would say this whether I was CF or not, but apparently, saying this while CF makes me the devil.
I’ve been busy lately.
My place of work had been short-handed for a while, and with extra work needing done. Then I had the BF’s family down to visit for Thanksgiving, then there was the time-management nightmare that is the holiday season. I haven’t written in this blog in a while, and I haven’t written in my other blog, The Golden Coat Hanger, in even longer. I feel bad, but I only have so many hours in a day, and I spend most of them at work.
However, during slow periods at work, I’ve been slowly rediscovering an old love of mine. I used to love drawing. I would draw all day, every day when I was younger. Then I joined the Army, and didn’t draw much at all anymore. I still drew a bit, I mean, I did a few projects for the Army, and after getting out, briefly went to an art school (I had to drop out because of payment issues from the VA, as well as a death in my family.) However, I discovered that I was badly out of practice.
Lately, I’ve been recovering some of my lost ability. The going is slow, and right now I only have sketches to show for it, but it is progress, at least. I hope to have more. Mostly, I’ve been working on Mass Effect fanart. I have a few silly idea for comics. We’ll see if anything ever comes of it.
For anyone who didn’t know, I have a DeviantArt page. You can watch me there.
Oh, happy new year!