There's been so much written this week (and spoken) through World Childless Week. I'm still making my way through it all, both to see what people I know have written, and to find new writers and stories. It has been wonderful to see it grow, and to hear all the different stories. I do hope you have been looking, and reading, and listening. I submitted two pieces, one on Legacy (surprise, surprise), and the other, interestingly, was the piece I posted here last Monday for Our Stories. It was selected for the Moving Forwards theme of the week, appropriately the very last theme of the week. The one that shows people who are in pain that it is possible to move forwards, that life can still be good, that there's much more to life than whether or not we have children. It finishes the week on such a positive note, as it should.
I felt torn a lot of last week. I didn't publicise my writings on personal social media accounts. But I did write this on A Separate Life, where I neither hide my childlessness nor highlight it. You see, I was torn because whilst I want to educate people about the way they view, judge, talk to and think about childless people, I also don't want to make it see as if I want pity. Navigating that fine line isn't always easy. There are the intolerant people who role their eyes whenever I mention a difference in my life because I don't have kids, when all I'm trying to do is participate in a conversation. There are the ones who judge or condescend to me, and I don't want to give them any more ammunition. But it does get easier as I get older, because I both say more of what I think, and I'm not as sensitive as I might have been when things were very raw. And it's important to let people know that life for us is a little different than they might ever have considered. As I said in the piece,
"The more we understand about all our differences, the kinder we can be to both groups, and the more we will ALL benefit."So I'll finish with World Childless Week 2021 by including my #Iamme pic. If you look carefully, you can see my shadow as I took the pic on our drive through the South Island in May. And if you read the words, I deliberately didn't label myself as "childless." Because as I've written so many times before, I don't like that label, though I use it out of necessity. I much prefer to say that I am not kidding. It's the truth, it doesn't judge, and the play on words pleases me. I am Mali, and I am not kidding.