We All Belong Here, and None of Us Are "Better"
Many people have relatives who, if asked how the blood ties are bound, would shrug and say, "Beats me." There are the Godmothers we call "Aunt," the family friend we call "Uncle," the second cousin twice removed we simply call, "Hey, you" at family barbecues because we can't recall that her name is Becky, or that she exists.
There were many such figures in my own family, second, third, fourth cousins I simply referred to as "cousin," or distant relatives of my grandparents who I called, "aunt and uncle so-and-so." When family is involved, it somehow feels better to refer to people with labels instead of names.
I ran into one such "Uncle" when I was home from college for a summer. He asked what I was studying (English), and he found this answer understandably uninspiring. He probably asked, "Gonna be a teacher?" to which I responded, "No." To which he may have responded, "Well what the hell are ya gonna do with an English degree then?"
I'd like to quickly note that this is a common question proferred to English majors across the world, and our answers may range from, "I'm planning to become the next great romance novelist," to "I don't know," to "I don't care, why should you?"
I personally didn't have a plan for what my career would look like, but most 18 year-old's don't, and frankly, probably shouldn't. I ended up in the nonprofit world, writing grants and raising money, which I like to joke makes me a professional beggar. I'm not bad at it either, in case my 8 dedicated readers care.
But when my sort-of-uncle asked me what my life plans were, he didn't exactly give me time to answer. Instead, he pointed to a semi that was parked in his driveway and said, "All that fancy learnin' can't help you drive one of these."
The glaring hole in his logic is that I would never want or need to drive an 18-wheeler. I would never be so blessed with the task of transporting a semi-load of breakfast cereals from a manufacturing plant to a local Walmart, where they would be shelved by a poor bastard in a blue vest, purchased by harried mothers in grey sweatsuits, and dumped down the throats of bratty children I hope to never have.
I'm being facetious, but hopefully you already knew that.
When women say that they don't want to have kids, we receive varied responses. Some of my favorites are,
*gasp* "But WHY NOT?!"
"What if your husband wants kids?" (assumes I have or will have a husband)
"I guess some of us aren't the nurturing type." (the passive aggressive types are fun)
"There's always a chance you'll change your mind." *wink*
This story would be measurably better if my "Uncle" turned out to be right and I did have to drive a semi someday because my studies turned out to be futile and useless. I'm not a bit sorry to report that I still have never had the time, inclination, or need to learn how to drive a giant truck-thing, but I have mad respect for the men and women who do. I also have mad respect for the mothers wearing grey sweatsuits while wrangling their children in florescent super-centers, because raising tiny demon humans must be difficult at best.
Since I've made such a valiant effort to bridge this nearly-entirely-constructed-cultural divide, I shall kindly point out the following:
-Studying the humanities is just as valuable as learning to drive stick shift or building cars. We bring you art/music/comedy/books/movies/tv. We raise money so that, should your home burn down or be torn away in a hurricane, you will have resources to recoup your life. You need us, and we need you to transport aforementioned breakfast cereals and tow our dead vehicles. We all belong here, and none of us are "better."
-Women without children are not sad, unhappy, or cold. Sometimes, we have other goals we want to work toward, and that's okay. Sometimes, we haven't found a suitable man who we trust to help us raise the little gremlin we push from our nether orifice. And some of us like kids but don't want to raise one. We all belong here, and none of us are "better."
P.S. Listen to an audio recording of this blog post HERE.