On Children

Children of the Corn.

I’m not fond of children. They stare at me all the time, they move in unpredictable ways, they run into me a lot and don’t often apologize, they’re quite loud, and watching them eat is disgusting. I wasn’t fond of children even when I was one. I could never really relate to people my own age, probably because I carried more trauma than most of my cohort.

When I was of prime child-bearing age, I thought about having kids in that selfish way that people do. “I need to pass on my legacy, my lineage…” Bah. I come from a long line of doctors, lawyers, politicians, city founders, diplomats, and other professions of privileged, college educated, white men. There are towns, buildings, and streets named after my ancestors all over America and some in Europe too. I’m not proud of my ancestry. It comes from an excessively long era when old white men ruled the world and made it in their own image to the detrimental exclusion of everyone else.

I wasn’t born into privilege other than the privilege afforded to me by my stupid skin color. I am not college educated and I’m definitely not an old white man. Even if I was an old white man, I wouldn’t be an entitled old white man like those who came before me. Though my family tree contains many preeminent individuals of noble origin, it also contains a lot of asshats. In some instances, both at once. I feel no need to carry that on.

I think most people have children for selfish reasons. I’m not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing. Of course you want to carry on your genetics. From an evolutionary standpoint, our primary drive is to continue the species like every other animal. Still, most people don’t have children to further mankind; they have children because they want a mini version of themselves or simply because that’s what you do.

I’ve never been a big believer in “that’s what you do.” I have never earned a college degree, gotten married, had kids, owned a house, nor felt it necessary to watch the Superbowl or the Academy Awards. I’m contrary like that. Granted, I might have done some of those things had my life gone another direction, e.g., I was one semester shy of a college degree when I got a traumatic brain injury instead.

Male and I talked about having kids, but he was more vehemently against it than I was. I jokingly said that I would consider having kids if I could also afford a team of nannies or if I could just skip past the years where they poop themselves constantly. He was adamantly against passing on his genetics to another human. He had a lot of health problems, one of which ultimately killed him.

So, while I say I am against having children, it’s probably more accurate to say that I never felt a biological imperative to procreate. Had the circumstances ever been just right, I might have popped one out. They never were though. They never even got close.

On the post I wrote yesterday, I wrote the following comment: “I’ve been told repeatedly that I should have kids by people who have kids. Well, maybe I don’t want to, or worse, can’t have kids. Maybe the thought of having kids is painful to me like Father’s Day without a dad and you’re just rubbing salt in that wound. Projecting your ideals on someone else is the height of rudeness.”

Throughout the years, I’ve often been asked, “When are you going to have kids?” as if it was a given that I would. I used to joke with the team of nannies and pooping shtick. Now I just say, “I can’t have kids,” and that shuts the conversation down. It’s a bit of a white lie in the sense that while I am probably physically capable of procreating, I have never experienced the particular set of circumstances where procreation makes any sense whatsoever. I JUST CAN’T. People respond to that with, “I’m sorry,” as if that was a thing to be sorry about, and change the subject.

Apparently, it’s fine if I can’t, but not if I don’t wanna. When they hear “I can’t,” maybe those people who ask “when” might think twice about asking it in the future, because that question is invasive, it might be hurtful, and it’s none of their damn business, but that’s probably just wishful thinking on my part. People will continue to be all up in everyone else’s business regardless.

The worst thing parents say has to be, “you won’t understand until you have kids of your own.” Well, fuck you. First, the “until” in that sentence is presumptive. Again, it assumes that all humans must eventually procreate. Second, it implies that there’s some sort of merit badge I can never get, as if empathy can only be achieved through procreation. True, I do not know firsthand the worry that a parent has, but I am capable of imagining it because I’m not a sociopath.

I had a relatively shitty childhood that started at the age of seven with a sadistic pedophile. That led to substance abuse, homelessness, prostitution, and more fun things. I have major depressive disorder, anxiety, and PTSD. Cancer and heart problems run in my family. I’ve had skin cancer four times and I get migraine headaches every month or two. What about any of that that makes people think I should pass it on to another generation? There are tons of people out there having babies. The world really doesn’t need me to do it too.