I’ve been thinking about relationships lately because, well, I’m not sure exactly why. Probably because it’s the end of the year and I get introspect as the year comes to a close. Thinking about it reminds me of how I realized I didn’t want to have children. Well, not really, but the aftermath was similar. The decision itself was easy. It was as if the heavens parted and the sun shone directly upon me. If I liked sunshine, that was. I didn’t have to have kids! I was filled with relief and went about my merry way.
Or I would have except I naively shared this decision with people who asked me about children and when I was having them. I was a young woman in my early twenties, so this came up more than I wanted it to. To me, I made a decision that only affected me, and that should have been that. Instead, I had people question my decision making several gross claims that were firmly rooted in sexism even if I didn’t recognize it as such at the time. This was in the early nineties when it was still preached that a woman’s #1 job was to be a mother.* It was the main tenet of both of my cultures, and I got so much pressure from my mother, but that’s another post for another day.
I was so young and naive to think that I could dare state that I didn’t want to have children without any blowback. Mind you, it wasn’t something I brought up out of the blue, but I was honest about it if someone brought it up. The reactions I received ranged from condescending–you’re too young to know/you’ll change your mind–to anger. Yes, I actually had people think I was judging them for their decision to have children because I said I didn’t want them. Honestly? I didn’t give a shit about their reproductive choices–just mine. But, I was pushing back on the status quo which made some people very unhappy. More to the point, I acted as if it simply did not exist, which really shook some people. In reflection, I realized that people who followed the status quo without thinking REALLY did not like those who didn’t.
I gave dozens of reasons why I wasn’t going to have children depending on my mood. I was too selfish (true), I was too hot-tempered (true), and I didn’t have the energy (true). My go-to snark answer was that I would be screaming, “Get the fuck away from me! Mommy doesn’t want to see you for three days”, and I couldn’t afford paying for a lifetime of therapy–but it was basically true. I don’t like being around other people all the time or having anyone depend on me (except my cat, and even he pushes it when he meows incessantly in my face in the morning for breakfast), and something I didn’t admit to many people was that I could see myself abusing a child. Not purposely, but because I snapped.
It was all faff, however, because while it was true, the simple answer is that I didn’t have children because I didn’t want them. I never have, and I only thought I’d have them because that was what I was supposed to do. I cannot tell you how free I felt when I realized I could choose not to have children, and it’s a feeling that has only intensified over time. Over a quarter of a century later, I am happier than ever that I don’t have children. There was only one time I briefly considered it, and it was because my mother engaged a 15-year campaign to get me pregnant from the time I was 25 until I was 40. During the heyday when she was nattering at me yet again about how motherhood was whatever she said it was because I blanked out every time she mentioned it, I had a flash thought of, “Maybe I should get pregnant to shut her the fuck up.” Fortunately, I immediately realized that was a fucking stupid reason to get pregnant, but it was a rough fifteen years.
How does this relate to relationships? Here’s how. I have a million reasons why I don’t want to be in one. I recently discovered Boggle the Owl through Doctor Nerdlove, and as I was reading the archives, one thing he said about relationships and depression really resonated. It’s the post on August 20, 1913 by lily, and in essence, he said that being in a relationship while being depressed is really hard, and if you’re not in a position where you’re able to try to balance your relationship and depression in good faith, it might not be a good time to be in a relationship. I agree with this and it’s one reason I’m not in one. I have a hard enough time making myself do the bare minimum I have to do (plus health shit), so the idea of adding another person to the mix is unfathomable.
In addition, I was tweeting about my love for weapons after joking about it with my taiji teacher.
I was musing how the sword is like my main partner whereas the saber is my side piece. The cane is the hot crush who makes my heart skip a beat. The double saber (drill) is my buddy who is DTF.
This is one reason why it’s probably good I’m not in a relationship. 😆
— Minna Hong (@asiangrrlMN) December 21, 2019
I love my weapons like nobody’s business, and they get me excited in a way that I can’t explain. On the other hand, when I think about dating, I just get tired and depressed. And irritated. Part of it is depression in general, but it’s also because I feel I’d have to give up too much to be in a relationship. When I told my taiji teacher that I got more excited about weapons than being in a relationship, she said it’s because a weapon isn’t going to tell you make you feel bad about yourself or cheat on you or anything like that. We were laughing and joking about it, but it’s pretty much true.
I can list a bunch of reasons I don’t want to be in a relationship, and they would all be true. I’m selfish and want to be able to do whatever I want whenever I want. Or, to put it in a more positive way, a bunch of reasons why I dig being single. If I want to eat cereal at three in the morning, I can! I don’t know why I’m stuck on that one as I rarely eat cereal, but it’s my go-to answer. I can suddenly decide to go to Culver’s to grab a burger if I want, and I can get the large order of fries without anyone nagging at me. I can belt Vienna Teng tunes at the top of my lungs at any time without a second thought. I can practice my weapons to my heart’s content without being thought of as violent or fetishized. It’s neither something abhorrent about me or particularly exotic–it just is.
In fact, the only time I really want to be in a relationship is when I’m sick and I want someone to bring me soup (which I’ve mentioned). That’s a really selfish reason to be in a relationship, and I’m not looking to be with someone who has Munchausen by proxy, anyway. I don’t really care to cuddle or touch other people much except during sex. Even then, I’m pretty much done once sex is done. I don’t want to cuddle or be goopy afterwards (physically or emotionally). It’s not to say I can’t enjoy just lolling around afterwards, though in the old days, I used to jump up and have a shower immediately, but I don’t want nor need professions of love in the aftermath of sex. In fact, the thing I really want after sex is more sex. Barring that, something to eat is good, too. Sexing is hard work, yo. Barring all that, snuggling as we fall asleep is acceptable as well. Except that I rarely fall asleep after sex as I find it energizing.
Bottom line, though, is that I don’t want to be in a relationship. I don’t need a reason for it, but it’s hard for me to accept. I have spent much of my life being told it’s my purpose as a woman (after having children), and it’s been difficult to detach from that as an ideal. There’s also a part of me that wonders if I’m being a coward for not trying to date, but when I really think about it, it’s maybe 137 on my list of things I want to do with my life right now. Getting published, learning more weapons forms, figuring out my health issues, sex, and starting a vlog are higher up on the list.
In the end, it really doesn’t matter why I don’t want to be in a relationship as long as I’m comfortable with the decision I’ve made. It doesn’t have to be written in stone for me to say that it’s not what I want right now.
*It’s pretty depressing that it’s still a thing in the year of our lord 2019, but it has gotten a little better in the last thirty years.