I go “Holy Crap Some People” at least once a day. Some days it’s the “Holy Crap Some People” of disgust and anger and annoyance and down to outright rage, some days it’s sheer boggling at the things humanity or specific humans come up with, some days it’s even less quantifiable than that. Today’s HCSP comes via ThoughtCatalog, a website I don’t actually frequent but this blog entry has been popping up on my various media so often I thought I’d give it a look. Holy Crap. Some people…
(The title is “I Look Down On Young Women With Husbands And Kids And I’m Not Sorry” and that about sums up the entire contents.)
And I’m sure to some people it’s hilarious that I have this drawing back horrified cat gif reaction, because I am neither married nor do I have kids. Nor do I intend to get married, although the boy and I have been together for 11 years and hopefully will be together for many more, nor do I intend to have children, although I have never emphatically and permanently ruled out that possibility. I like children well enough, there are just Things I Want To Do. And that’s fine. My cousin, who’s around my age, is as far as I know even legally unmarried but has two children with his long-time girlfriend, and that’s fine too. By the time my mother was my age she had one child with another on the way and had been married twice, and that’s fine too. It’s all fine.
But why do I need to say that’s fine? Why is this at all a thing?
I don’t have strong opinions on what women should do because they are women. Sometimes I have strong feelings in a particular moment, then I settle back down into a more even keel of, well, not all women are able to do this/in a situation where this is necessary/feel like doing this, so people should do what they can and want to do. This is, by and large, my default setting, I’m sure it’s come through in other blog entries. I have strong opinions on some things! Democracy. Rape culture. Universal health care. What other people should do because they are $gender or $race or $religion or $FavoriteTVShow is not one of them. Life’s too short. I have two novels to get out of edits, a handful of dime novels to write, entries to blog, leather to craft, sewing to do, a day job to work, my wife to murder, and Guildor to frame for it. I really, really do not have time to worry about what people who are not me or anyone I depend on in large ways or small should or shouldn’t be doing. Amy Glass seems to spend at least a couple hours of one of her days worrying about what other women are doing and how they think of themselves. That’s fine. If she feels that’s important to her, she can spend the rest of her life telling women what a wife is and that they shouldn’t fall in love if they want to be at all successful. That’s her truth, to get back to some of my raised-by-hippies roots for a second.
So, Kitty, why the hell are you writing about it then? Because people read posts like this, and they believe it. They think less of themselves because they have fallen in love, because they have chosen to be a wife and mother and take care of a home rather than go out and get a career, and they believe that one choice is better than another. And that’s one of the things I do have strong opinions about. Your choices are your own, and my choices are my own, and the only choices I will feel bad about are the ones I have made in contradiction to my own inclinations. I have such strong opinions on this that I try to hold myself to it even when someone makes a choice I would strongly disagree with for myself, on things like sexuality or political stance. Choose to live your life and find love or a career or a family and children because you want it. Not because a blogger says falling in love and settling down with a partner is a lesser thing to do. And so should you.
There are bad choices, I’m not saying that there aren’t. You can choose to step into someone’s fist or duck or block, and out of those stepping into the first is definitely the worst. You can choose to spend all your money on boats and horses or you can choose to spend some and put away some for a rainy day, and one of those will definitely make you unhappy if it starts raining later. There are choices that will make sense in the long term and hurt now, and there are choices that feel good in the short term but you know you’ll regret later. And then there are choices that make no difference to you essential health and comfort, that are yours to make, and no one else’s business.
I have a theory that people spend so much time worrying about other people’s choices because either they don’t know what it is they want, or because they have adopted someone else’s idea of what they should want for their own. In either case what they’ve chosen doesn’t fit, so they try to convince themselves that it does, voraciously, viciously, and with every tool they have available. They strike out in an attempt to justify themselves to themselves by making themselves the only acceptable form, and in doing so, reveal their desperation. It’s hard, yes, to figure out what you want in life. You can spend a lot of time making choices that don’t satisfy you, over an over again. But it’s worth while to find something that fulfills you, whether in the arts or in business or in the home or in a crowd or by yourself. Whether your life allows you to do it for a living and fill your days with things you enjoy, or whether you have to slog through days to pay the bills and spend only fragments of leisure time on something that is your choice, that makes you happy. It’s not lesser. It’s not a waste of time to do a thing that makes you happy, and you should not be looked down on it.
But choose for yourself, as much as you can. Don’t choose for others, and don’t allow them to choose for you. I have taken a quote from the Marquis DeSade’s letters on this point, and whatever the legacy of the rest of his writings, I hold true to this one: “My manner of thinking so you say, cannot be approved? Do you suppose I care? A poor fool indeed is he who adopts a manner of thinking for others! My manner of thinking stems straight from my considered reflections; it holds with my existence, with the way I am made. It is not in my power to alter it; and were it, I’d not do so. The manner of thinking you find fault with is my sole consolation in life; it alleviates all my sufferings in prison, it composes all my pleasures in the world outside, it is dearer to me than life itself.”