Caturday, June 27th

King of the castle

King of the castle

I leaned my mattress against the wall to put a new bedskirt on the boxspring earlier this week. Before I finished the job, Moe found his way to the top and refused to come down. Four hours passed before he got bored up there and allowed me to put the bed back together.

The Artist’s Way

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron is a book that sat on my Amazon wish list for ages. I finally broke down and bought it last summer when I learned that Dana, from the Tao of Dana, was going to be leading an Artist’s Way group on Facebook.

I’m really glad I joined her group. I’m certain that I would not have enjoyed The Artist’s Way nearly as much on my own. I’m also pretty darn sure that I would not have done all of the exercises (or stuck to the book’s timetable) without the steady stream of inspiring updates on my Facebook newsfeed.

Dana has decided to lead the group through the book again this summer. At first, I thought it would be best to sit this one out because I’ve got a lot on my plate right now. The Artist’s Way takes time—12 weeks. The more you put into it, the more you get out of it. I didn’t want to half-ass it if I couldn’t  take the time to it right.

As the start day got closer, and as new members started leaving messages on the group’s wall, I wanted more and more to be a part of it. Today—the day before it starts—I decided I’m going to do it. I can’t not do it! I got so much out of it last time. I’d be crazy not to do it again.

If you’re curious about Dana’s Artist’s Way group, check out the embedded video below. If you dig it, you can request to join her Facebook group here.

This year’s session starts TOMORROW (June 16th, 2015). I hope to see you in the group. 

Dark | Side | Thursday

Oh where, oh where has my dark side gone? Oh where, oh where can it be?

This is week three of Andy Townend’s Dark|Side|Thursday. I was so excited when Andy created this blogging event—I couldn’t wait to take part! I was totally going to rock this thing! I have a special talent for imagining the worst case scenario in every possible situation. Yay! There’s finally a constructive use for my “gift”! Imagine my surprise when I realized that my dark side had packed its bags and taken a vacation. I’m unable to reach it. I’m perplexed. How on earth did this happen?

For Andy’s inaugural Dark|Side|Thursday, I sat down to write a short piece of fiction, but I wasn’t able to get a single word on the page. A few days before the second instalment, I still hadn’t written a word, so I thought I’d try my hand at haiku instead. It’s only 3 lines. How hard could that be? Too hard, apparently. I couldn’t do it. For week three, I thought I’d take the easy route and submit a dark photograph. With camera in tow, I searched high and low for dark subject matter. I thought I hit the jackpot when I found a pile of burnt garbage. I took a few shots, went home and uploaded them to my computer only to discover that they were beautiful—not dark at all. I tried editing to make them look sinister, but I failed. They were still too pretty to qualify as dark. So here I am, once again, without anything to contribute.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m pleased that my dark side has taken a sabbatical. I really needed a break from it, however, the timing is rather unfortunate, don’t you think? Perhaps, if I stop trying so hard, inspiration will strike.

Childless By Choice

I’ve never wanted to have children. Ever. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, that I find appealing about motherhood. It’s not for me. Period. So, when I saw an article online this afternoon titled, “Child-Free Day celebrates choice to be childless”, I had to read it. Child-free day is the brainchild of 37 year old (childless by choice) Magenta Baribeau. The day is meant to promote respect for people’s decisions to remain childless.

Unless you are childless by choice, you may not recognize that there is a need to promote respect for people’s decision to remain childless. As a childless by choice woman, I know how clueless and disrespectful others can be about this choice. People are not in the least bit shy about letting me know that my decision is “wrong”. I’ve taken crap about it from people who’ve known me my entire life and from people who don’t know me at all. I’m in my 40s now, so, I’m not confronted about this subject nearly as often as I had been in my 20s and 30s, but it still happens pretty regularly.

Less than a month ago, I crossed paths a man who wanted to know my entire life history the moment we met. We spoke for about 20 minutes total. In that time, he grilled me about everything you can imagine. He wanted to know what I did for a living, where I lived, if I was married, if I had kids… When I told him that I did not have kids, he said, “Don’t you think that’s selfish?” Would you believe this man is older than me (in his 50s or 60s) and he doesn’t have kids either, yet, I was the selfish one!?

So, do I think I’m selfish? Hell, no! It would be selfish if I were to partner up with someone who wanted babies, and then refuse to “deliver”. It also would be selfish to give birth to and resentfully parent a child I do not want. Choosing not to have children, is not a selfish act. In my case, it’s a responsible and loving decision.

After hearing my response to the selfish question, the (childless) man who has known me only minutes, then told me that women are supposed to have children to become better people—that the challenges of parenthood teach us lessons we need to learn. Yes, I’m sure that is the case for some people—people who want children! It’s been my experience that any lesson I need to learn will be taught to me over and over and over again in a variety of ways until I finally get it. I don’t need a child to teach me a particular lesson. If I did, I would have been “given” a child in spite of the steps I’ve taken to avoid becoming knocked up.

It’s not just strangers who have no ability to see my choice as a valid one. Years ago, I remember driving in a car with a relative whom I love dearly —someone who has known me my whole life. When I mentioned to her that I had an appointment to get my tubes tied. The first thing she said to me was, “Don’t do that, you’ll change your mind when you meet the right person”. I was 35 at the time. I had no doubts whatsoever about my decision. No one, no matter how special, would change my mind. The next thing she said to me was, “my sister can’t have kids, why don’t you have one for her”. Not in this lifetime!

I’ve also experience unfair treatment in the workplace because I am motherless. I work for myself now, but back when I worked for others, I (and other childless women) would get stuck working holidays, while women with children would be given the day off. We should have been equally entitled to having the day off. Heaven forbid we should ever take turns working holidays!

I commend Baribeau for giving birth to “Child-free Day“. It’s about time some one brings attention to this issue in a big way. There is nothing wrong with people who don’t want to have kids. It is a real choice. Believe us when we tell you we’ve made this choice, and understand that we know better than you about what we want.  We deserve as much respect for our choice to not have children as people who choose to have children get.