One of the things that drives me insane about many Americans in my generation is blind individualism. It is apparently so important to be an individual that independence actually becomes hurtful. This hurt extends not just to the self, but those around us.
One might even call it ... (insert big gasp here)... selfish!
Let me take a step back here. I've never considered myself very conservative or even traditional. However my feelings about the institution of marriage are on many accounts old-fashioned.
And honestly, I *never* impose my traditional opinions on my friends or family. If asked, I will state them but ultimately everyone has a choice. You can choose to smoke cigarettes, snort coke, and have unprotected sex with tranny hookers. And I would tell you, in the most loving way possible, that your head needs some electroshock to get back on track.
Of course, this is a blog. So let's get down and brutally honest, shall we?
I hate people cohabitating with no intention of getting married yet they want to have kids (and no, this situation doesn't extend to those who desperately want legal marriage yet are denied it!).
The reason is this: if you don't feel comfortable tying yourself to this person permanently just to be a couple, then why the hell would you have kids? Kids are incredibly permanent! That's the stupidiest thing I've ever heard. That sends all kinds of signals about how you're starting out on sand when you should start on rock. Your kids will feel like their parents could split at any time. That's an awful insecure feeling to have when you're 5. It's ironic many people choose this because of their own parents' failures. I wonder what their children will do in turn...
Along these sandy lines, I also hate women *trying* to have kids when they're single. Yes, accidents happen. However, why would you *want* to be a single parent? That's crazy talk. I remember what I was like as a teen. I remember my brother's tantrums. You don't wish that stuff on your enemy. A woman who does that is basically telling the world she's selfish and freaked about her body clock. Those are horrible reasons to have children. We are not meant to live in isolation, but to have partners. If you can't find one, maybe you need to re-examine yourself.
I know what you're thinking.
"Wow Alexis! Harsh!"
"I thought you were a pinko commie liberal, not some straight-laced conservative!"
Yep, it is harsh. And it's unpopularly traditional. And it's the truth. People who don't see these situations for what they are, are deluding themselves. Perhaps they feel ashamed or realize they're too weak or undisciplined to be in a committed relationship. Maybe they just don't want to grow up. Maybe they're afraid. And when someone like that reads this, they'll get mad. They'll whine and beat their chests and curse at people like me for being so tied to the institution and advocating for the loss of the self.
And I would recommend therapy.
But despite these deluded selfish individualists, there are people who are quite the opposite - and I love them.
People I love? Families that try to make it work under outside pressures are amazing. Women who have liberated themselves from bad situations or are working to better themselves to be a role model for their children motivate others. Adoptive parents - period - are a blessing to the world as well as their chosen children.
Those people are not trying to screw things up. They're trying to make the world a better place. They accept how their actions influence their families and their communities. They are willing to lose themselves in a transformative and beautiful unknowable identity larger and greater than they've ever had... And it lifts my heart.
So do me a favor. The next time marriage comes up in conversation and someone can't stand the idea of their identity being transformed into something beautiful and amazing but they *do* want to get knocked up, sit them down. Tell them in no uncertain terms they might be looking at the world ass-backwards. As humans, it's never been about I. People need to get over I. That's an illusion. We're social and communal. It's better to embrace the truth...
It's always been about us.