Disconnected

I want to emphasize I am not perfect, I never claimed to be, and I know I never will be.

However, I find the older I get and the more I learn about my family, the more disconnected I feel from them. This is especially true of my father. It amazes me how I had the best relationship with him as a kid, but as an adult, it’s the polar opposite. I suppose that’s the curse of losing one’s innocence.

The biggest barrier is my attempts to learn financial responsibility. It really astounds me no one – absolutely no one – in my (immediate) family has any clue about finances, and at this point, it’s now a case of being unable to teach an old dog new tricks. My biggest mistakes – attending college when I wasn’t ready and financing my first car with a co-signer – came out of pressure, but the upside is those mistakes made it abundantly clear my family, no matter how much I love them, are not the people to go to for life advice. Regarding cars particularly, knowing about them does not correlate with having any financial sense.

For the record, I am aware financing a car can be a good decision. However, my father makes barely more money than me (I bring in roughly $2K a month), but his car payment plus insurance nearly equals my household’s rent. And in all the years he had to save money with his late girlfriend paying most of their household expenses (including rent), he never did. Simultaneously, my dad complains constantly he hates living with his dad. Find the problem.

I taught myself planning, budgeting, and saving, and as of late, I’m learning about investing, which a good friend got me started on. Am I perfect? Absolutely not. But I reached the point I’m able to plan out a month’s worth of expenses, and move them around as needed. Though I have a bad habit of frivolous spending I’m trying to kick, I stick to my budget, including savings, and I don’t sacrifice bills for pleasure. The bit of money I spend frivolously is the remainder after all my week’s expenses are paid.

It’s indeed strange to be berated for trying to be responsible, and I feel the more I try to pull myself together and recover from my mistakes, the more distant I grow from my family. It’s truly not something I like, but have no clue how to fix. How do you re-connect with people you can’t talk to, you can’t look up to, you can’t trust with advice? I don’t mean my personal goals. I can’t talk to them about the future, about finance, about feelings, about anything. How do I re-connect without feeling like I’m making myself small?

If you know, please teach me.

What I Can’t Say

There are words and feelings I have constantly, constantly struggled to verbalize to my boyfriend. Mostly because I do not think he understands. So, I’m laying them out here. I don’t expect this to be read. I had a nightmare every night over the last three or four nights, presumably from stress. This is an attempt to lighten my mind.

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Pessimism Or Realism?

There will be no “happy new year” post for 2021.

I looked back at my New Year’s Day post for 2020. Even then, I considered hoping for a good year was too much to ask for, but I had no idea just how right I would be.

I read back on my post from seven years ago where I express being happy overall I didn’t take my life. How naive of me. Absolutely everything I listed at that time became meaningless over the years. I claimed to be much better. If only I could’ve foreseen I would be so much worse.

I admire those who can continue hoping when they’re repeatedly let down, but I can’t. The only time I haven’t been let down is when I stop hoping and expect the worst. I can’t name a time I was optimistic and didn’t have it crushed. I truly can’t.

So many people would call it a “negative” point of view, but is being realistic really negative? Is it really negative to recognize when hope continually falls flat and the near future really is grim? Does absolutely everything really have a silver lining? Or do some things really suck and there is nothing more than to it than things are simply that awful?

I vote for the latter.

I mentioned in two previous posts I no longer want to be in this world. Sadly, I recently learned the method I chose for that exit has a high survival rate. So, I must either remain stuck or find access to something with a higher success rate.

Even in hoping for death, my hopes are dashed.

I truly believed 2020 could be an okay year at the very least. I don’t believe 2021 can be less than horrible. The only thing that will make it good is if it I don’t live to see it through. Tragically, unless I access a more guaranteed method to leave, it seems I will.

The only reason I have to remain alive is… to watch my DuoLingo streak grow. That isn’t really worth it.

It really isn’t.

What’s It Like…?

To have someone who can be there for you in crisis?

To not have an unbreakable barrier between the two of you?

To not be lonely?

To be a priority to someone?

To reside in the same state as your partner?

To be one of the friends who can see their partner when they want instead of the one friend who can only envy?

To have someone you really can tell anything?

To have someone you can talk to?

To have someone who takes crisis seriously?

To have someone who doesn’t downplay your problems?

To have a relationship that moves only forward and never backward?

To have someone who doesn’t think of life as a Disney fairytale?

To have someone who isn’t sheltered?

To have someone who recognizes others’ struggling?

To have someone who with a realistic view of the world?

To have someone who can show up?

To have someone who… cares?

I thought I knew. Like many things, it seems I don’t. Perhaps it’s a luxury I never will.

The countless weeks – inevitably, countless months – weren’t supposed to last forever, and I thought they were finally gone. But I was very wrong. They are here to stay and it will always be this way. There’s nothing I can do but accept that.

A sincere message for those of you with your partners physically nearby: You are luckier than you will ever know and more fortunate than many can dream of. May you remain close until death separates you… and hopefully, that’s temporary.

If I give up altogether, will I stop being disappointed?

Why I’m Done With r/childfree

I was a part of the Reddit’s childfree subreddit for four years. The subreddit has a (well-deserved) bad reputation. Of course, every group has its share of awful people. The problem is the awful ones are the loudest. It reached the point the subreddit was the focus of an article on Daily Dot.

For the most part, I tried to ignore the more toxic posts because overall, I did enjoy the subreddit, but I finally found the one that made me say “I quit”. For the sake of not bringing it more traffic, I will not share the link, but I did screenshot it.

You could say this is just one person, and that’s true. But much of the subreddit was hugely in agreement, and anyone who objected was downvoted to the point their comment was hidden or deleted. The subreddit hates “breeder pleasers” – childfree people who do not hate children, or like them – almost as much as they hate the existence of parents and children. The idea is a childfree person who likes kids or doesn’t hate them is justifying their lack of desire to be a parent. Or, you know, simply likes kids and is okay with saying that.

Aside from the obvious, the biggest problem with the sub is many of them proclaim they hate to be judged, but do the exact same thing about parents and children, and will defend it with the excuse of needing to vent. Putting aside the utter absurdity of being irritated at someone’s mere existence (especially when they are not bothering you), this person is proud they sound like a borderline sociopath (“I’m selfish. I’m unsympathetic. I am that monster”), and the majority of the subreddit agrees this is okay.

Hilariously (not the good funny), this person insisted they shouldn’t be judged based on this one post, and hating parents and children isn’t the center of their being. A child’s mere existence is bothersome to you, but hatred doesn’t rule your life. Right…

It’s not so much the post as the nearly united agreement in the comments that was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. Even if I continue to consider myself childfree (yes, I’m debating that), I have no desire to be part of any community that’s ultimately a hive mind. No, I don’t think it’s okay to be angry at the world because someone under age eighteen dares to exist in your space. No, I don’t think it’s okay to be a narcissist, let alone proud of it. And no, I absolutely don’t think hating parents and kids is prerequisite for considering yourself childfree. If my account wasn’t four years old, I’d delete it and make a new one just to have any and all posts from r/childfree out of my history. I genuinely want nothing to do with the subreddit anymore.

I have no children, nor do I intend to have any, but this person, and every person in the comments who thinks it’s a “brave” post for its honesty, is someone I hope I never cross paths with.

One of the several agreeing comments: I just can’t fathom enjoying being around the disgusting things.”

The reason this ticked me off a bit is children are not things. Perhaps if they stepped outside their circlejerk, the idea children could be pleasant company to some people wouldn’t be so unfathomable.

Another: “The Victorians had the right idea. Children should be seen but not heard and speak only when spoken to.”

I’ve ranted about that phrase twice before, so it should be obvious why this particular one bugs me. No, children are people who deserve respect and kindness as much as any adult, and if this is what the adults have to say, I’d much rather hear the kids talk if I have to listen to anyone. At least, they’re cute.

While there are extremists who believe not having kids is a sin or evil or any number of negative adjectives, r/childfree’s reputation isn’t because it’s a spot for people who don’t have kids. It earned that reputation by turning from a support community for those who dealt with real pressure (from family, friends, or conservative communities they lived in) into an echo chamber for confirmations their irritation that a child is alive on the planet is okay and normal. And apparently, they’re proud of it, so even they can’t argue any longer the sub’s reputation is undeserved. They want it like that.

Reddit as a whole isn’t known for being a friendly place, but that’s par for the course for social media in general. The childfree subreddit, however, is undoubtedly one of the worse areas. At the time I’m writing this, it has 663,625 followers, so one person leaving has zero impact, but I don’t want to have an impact.

Reading some replies to deleted comments I missed, it seems some of them felt the need to insist none of them want to hurt children and none of them would. I really want to believe that, but some years ago, there was a case of a father who murdered his young child and police discovered that subreddit in his browsing history. Someone who’s bitter and vindictive toward parents for no other reason than them being parents, and hates children “with literally every molecule in [my] body” (but supposedly, this hatred isn’t the center of their life), sounds very much like someone who, at the very least, would relish in hearing about child’s death, if not out to be the one who causes a child harm.

There is a subreddit called “true childfree“, which is not as active, but not toxic either (and unsurprisingly, it’s not liked by r/childfree). In the Daily Dot article, one of the mods stated you can filter out the hateful posts (which is true), but that doesn’t really change that the subreddit is a toxic pool. It merely hides the poison.

The upside is, assuming most of the subreddit’s followers are American, that’s about 0.2% of the population. Chances are I never will cross paths with these folks. Good.