It's ridiculous how I censor myself to avoid hurting feelings.
Several years ago, there was a huge argument brought among friends (which extended to me) when my friend joined the Childfree Community on LiveJournal. My best friend insisted that it was the equivalent of joining a hate group. She honestly believed (or believes -- I've been too timid to ask if she still feels this way) that a childfree community was akin to the KKK or something.
I can appreciate this to a point. A lot of childfree people use terrible words when describing terrible parents or misbehaving children, and my best friend knows that I find this unacceptable. That said, I still crave the camraderie of likeminded folks who don't care to have children around them on a daily basis.
Yes many of us have a low tolerance for misbehavior and a high value for our personal space. We voice our frustration and vent, and we don't want to hear how "it's different when they're yours". We just don't.
So here I am, contemplating joining such a community again, and I quickly chickened out. I feel like I would die if she found out about this blog, not that it's private or anything. There is a fundamental difference between us now, and I understand that. But she's got to realize that as much as she enjoys talking to other parents, I enjoy talking to other childfree folks.
And, here comes the age-old argument… it's different when it's kids I care about. It's true! I love her boys, I love my niece, disclaimer disclaimer another effing disclaimer.
I hate that I have to be so afraid of my friends. Christ, it's just Livejournal, it's just an effing blog, yet I'm so afraid to talk about it I have a special "Childfree" filter on my LJ and I keep this and my CafePress store a secret. I'm proud of my decision to have no children, yet still when I tell my best friend about my IUD she says "that's good, then if you change your mind…" or when I talk about my career move she says "then if you have kids you can stay home".
If I called her today in tears and told her I was pregnant, she'd squeal with glee and shout congratulations all over the place. She doesn't get it.
I understand why she doesn't get it -- she can't imagine not being a mom, and that's okay. I don't say anything when she makes comments about "if" we have kids (at least it's not "when") because I understand it's her nature now. But I make room in my life for her, and I feel like I've been very accommodating. I keep the childfree commentary out of her face, and I genuinely adore her children. She's so sensitive and I'm so terrified of hurting her feelings, though. I just want confirmation that she gets it, and that it really isn't personal. Because noisy children in a restaurant make me angry, unattentive parents with squealing babies irritate me, and I'm just plain not fond of the babies of strangers, that doesn't mean I'm a bad person and it bears no reflection on the people I care about.
I just wish I could stop being afraid and just start being myself again.