By AlphaGirl, Guest Contributor
Blog Author: Childfree: Uncut. Unedited. Uncensored.
I have always been aware of and sensitive to my environment and setting. As a child, my friends and I would build forts and tree houses, where we would role-play, draw, read or just hang out away from adults. We all loved the way the setting and the environment supported us as we made our way in the world. It was our retreat, hideaway, gathering spot, and its walls held many of our stories and secrets. As adults, my friends and I have turned our individual homes and apartments into our own sanctuaries.
As human beings, we all want to create environments and settings that support who we are now, as well as who we want to become. The office space decorated with personal items to remind us of life outside of work, the personal items in our cars that turn it from an impersonal vehicle to our very own sweet ride, the home our apartment decorated to meet our individual needs for noise level, light, and activity.
Let’s look at some other environments that are not of our making. The waiting room at the Dr.’s or OB-GYN’s office. Our neighborhood or townhouse/condo/apartment complex. Our favorite food joint. The waiting area and consult room at the shrink’s office. What are the messages that are conveyed in these environments? Are they welcoming, judgmental, neutral, or ambiguous? Specifically, what do these and other settings say to you as a childfree person? Are you welcome there, or do you find yourself wondering what the heck you’re doing there, and wondering whether or not you are “seen” in that environment.
Two personal examples: A friend of mine switched OB-GYN’s after many years of seeing the same doctor. She got fed up with the cradle-laden, baby-photo decorated waiting room and exam rooms. D was childfree before the term was invented, and she got sick of the very pro-baby messages in that setting. She saw her OB-GYN quite a lot for various health problems, so her alienation was understandable. She also wondered how a childless woman would feel in that setting. “Do we not count?” D asked me one night on the phone.
I had scheduled a series of counseling appointments after being knocked silly by a string of personal setbacks. The counselor was competent enough, but the consult rooms at the counseling center were decorated like a child’s bedroom: Toys, blocks, rocking chairs, teddy bears, dollhouse figurines, and stuffed animals. I half-expected a pig-tailed, shrill little girl to burst through the door at any moment and demand that I get out of her room! “No grown-ups allowed!” The setting’s message was quite clear. I just could not get comfortable there; I don’t particularly enjoy being in child-centric settings anyway, (Well, OK ….not at all) but especially not while airing my dirty laundry. So I reached for my bootstraps and beat it out of there. I did, of course, explain my trepidations before leaving.
What settings do you find yourself in?
Are you comfortable there?
What steps are you willing to take to make sure your environment supports you in living a full, happy, childfree life?
Technorati Tag: Childfree
January 24, 2007
By AlphaGirl, Guest Contributor