September 01, 2006

Confessions of a “Bad” Purple Woman

Guest Contributor: WalkerGirl
Alias: AlphaGirl, a former regular contributor to PW
Blog: Walk This Way
Raising childfree hell since 1995.
Orange County, California

I don’t think babies are cute..unless they are sleeping or in pictures.

I don’t think kids say the darndest things.

I don’t work with or volunteer with kids.

A screaming child is an aural assault comparable to only a jackhammer or sonic feedback. I don’t care what the kid’s problem is. Just quiet him/her.

I don’t see infants and children as any more “precious” than an adult.

Parental entitlement gets on my nerves, as do poor parenting practices.

Oh, the horror. I can hear it now: “Keep quiet. You’ll make us look bad!”
How so? I wonder each time I encounter this attitude, either online or in person. Why does my truth have to “make” everyone else look “bad”?I see and hear so much apologizing, fence-sitting, justifying, and mumbling from childfree folks I don’t have to wonder why they are being bothered by their church, relative, friends, pets, and perfect strangers.
Just as a predator can smell fear, an intrusive relative or other person can sense one’s uncertainty at hearing their own voice state what is true for them.
So begins the Greek chorus of “You’ll change your mind” “It’s different when they’re your own”, “You don’t know what you’re missing”, and well, you know the rest.

Very few people question my decision; I state it in a way that lets them know it’s not open for discussion…am I hostile? Am I a “bad” Purple Woman for being so “adamant”? Not in my eyes. I love the fact I was confident enough in myself at an early age to address and make my decision. Perhaps people aren’t used to hearing such clarity and conviction. Instead, they’re used to hearing justifying, excuse-making, apologizing, and foot-shuffling.

Time to stop being so darn “nice.” Stop working with kids if kids aren’t really your thing. Time to stop appeasing those intrusive people with excuses and justification. Your reproductive future is none of their business. They make it their business because you allow them to. Let them know in your own way that the topic isn’t open for discussion if you feel it doesn’t need to be. Time to stop being so accommodating of parents when they glare at you for politely asking them to shush a noisy child.

Time to stop indulging parents when they tell you for the 100th time that MiKayla used the Big Potty today. If that’s your thing, rock on, but if it’s not, say so. Chances are, those parents tune out anyway when you describe some of your interests. Pfft. to the double standard. Stop apologizing for who you are and what you want (or don’t want) from life.

You get the picture by now. You don’t need to be hostile, of course. You don’t need to be loud.
The childfree movement has many voices; some are loud; some are passionate; some are forceful and humorous; some are on the “fringe” and loving every minute of it.
There is a fine line between Live and Let Live and Peace at Any Price. Another fine line divides assertiveness and aggression. Where you are on that continuum is up to you; find your voice, speak your choice, live your life. Just don’t be so darn “nice” all the time.

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Elise said...

Hello alpha,

"Nice" does not necessarily equal apologetic, or uncertain in oneself. Just because I am more likely to explain myself rather than say "This is me. Deal with it" doesn't mean I'm not comfortable. I'm a teacher; I like to explain stuff. That's how I'm built.

I'm highly committed to manners and civility, and always have been. If a parent is being rude by letting a kid scream or run wild, I think it's returning the rudeness to confront them. Having to raise the hellion they're producing by being over-indulgent will be punishment enough for them, believe me. Plus, they're really unlikely to change their mindset on the basis of a confrontation. The only thing that's accomplished is blowing off steam --- if that.

That doesn't mean that I don't work to change rules when I see them working against CFs (tax laws, corporate policies, stork parking spots, etc.). I do, and often.

Living well is the best revenge, ladies. And whether we're "nice" or much edgier, we've all got that --- in spades.

Robin said...

Even though I am technically a "fence sitter" when anyone doubts my feelings I basically decide that these people don't have a clue. Maybe it's my undecisiveness that makes people question me, which is understandable, but I'm comfortable with how I feel about it all at this moment.

I think being childfree is a strong and beautiful thing...I'm proud to even be a small part of it.

alphagirl said...

Hi Ladies-
I'm not eonouraging anyone to abandon rules and civility, nor am encouraging anyone to be rude or to return rudenes. By encouraging people to not be so "nice" I meant the overly accomodating"nice" that some of us are taught as little girls...i.e. "nice" girls don't speak up, etc.
I'm all for civility..I've been on the ffront lines of the CF movement for years, and I have yet to be hostile to anyone. In no way am I endorsing hostility or rudeness. I'm just asking folks to find their strenghth in their choice.

Anonymous said...

Living well is the best revenge, ladies.

I am so down with that.

I am also still battling that old tape playing in my head that says "children should be seen and not heard", though you might not know it if you met me.

On a previous post a parent was courageous enough to leave a comment admitting that she always assumed that women without children were covering up some dysfunction. I kept my mouth shut in my 20s and 30s, and I was sitting on that fence too.

At 40-something, it's a different story. I am Purple, hear me roar, or at least let me speak up and face the music conversationally. (Heck, it might even be fun.)

It's all in the name of dispelling myths and other misconceptions that prevail about what it is to be childfree -- we're everywhere...!

LauraS said...

Ah, I love diversity. Diversity of opinion is the best!!!

alphagirl said...

Yep, I've seen the CF folk as a chorus of many voices..not necessarily in agreement, but each one rich, compelling, and of equal value.

Not only is living well the best revenge, but living confidently and truthfully is the best revenge as well. =)

Tanja said...

Amen to all you said, alphagirl! =)

M said...

I have witnessed those childfree people who seem almost scared of voicing their views for fear of offending. Hell, what am I saying, I was one of them once. And in my case, I was brought up that way, to be a people pleaser. But I'm not anymore, at least not in the way that I was (a way which made me uncomfortable). I do agree with the overall consensus here, it's important to be civil and polite, but firm. People can sense when you aren't wishy washy--about any topic, not just being childfree--and I think are more likely to not harangue you when you show that you are as sure about your decision as they are about theirs. Great post again, Alpha Girl.