Mama always told me to face my fears. Actually, no, she never once said that. But I know someone's mama said it, and whatever anyone's mama says is canon. Frankly, if my mama knew I was going into urban niches photographing vandalism, she'd tell me I'm going to get raped and robbed and tossed in some bushes to die. But the world is not always the bloodbath that the media paints it to be. In fact, most people die at home in their beds. So I should be as far away from my bed as I can get. I was safest when I flew off to Africa by myself because I was as far away from my bed as I'd ever been.
I'm pretty good at facing most of my fears. I don't even flinch at the sight of a spider anymore. But I have one fear that I absolutely do not want to face. I recently came across a book on Twitter called A Child-Free Happily Ever After by Tanya Williams, and as I read the title I knew this woman had me and all my friends in mind. Of my five closest girlfriends, four do not want children and one is unsure. I also don't want them; it's my worst nightmare.
Pregnancy and parenthood are my number one greatest fear. My second greatest fear is being ripped apart and eaten alive by wild animals. Number three is revolving doors. The ten minutes between pissing on a stick and peaking at the results are like the ten minutes in the electric chair before the executioner pulls the lever (or however they do it now; forgive me, I'm getting this from The Green Mile). It's an irreversible transition.
I don’t know why this generation of American women doesn't want children, but I can't deny that I'm one of them. Maybe it has to do with our sense of disconnectivity from other people, or maybe it's new opportunities that women never had before. Maybe it’s the unreasonable stresses of modern parenthood, the lonely nuclear family, the rigid school system, pressure to maintain a perfect body. Whatever the reason, good or bad, all I know is that I want a Child-Free Happily Ever After.
The way society is headed with women not wanting to have children, we might undergo a kind of population implosion. We will be an entire generation of old people wandering around horribly confused, undernourished, and pissing ourselves because the few young people will be hooked up to a supercomputer living in a matrix, and there won't be enough of them to look after us. I have no research or data to back up my theory, but I'm pretty sure this is the future.
I'll be alright, though. I'll be a little old lady of 99 years living in the mountains with Pajamas VI and a bow and arrow. I'll be tripping on weird mushrooms and wearing a loin cloth, fending off the beasts of the wild and working on my bird calls. I might be senile, but I won't be retired and I won't be living in the matrix supercomputer. I also won't be a grandmother or a great grandmother. I fear many things, but I welcome the barren womb.
Catfish in the Mud
I went to Namibia and took a tour of Sossusvlei, where it hasn't rained in 6 years. The river is completely dried up. My guide told me that even in the six-year drought, catfish are hibernating deep down in the mud and will surface again when the rains come back and restore life to the desert. I didn't believe him at first, like I didn't believe in the mysterious fairy circles on the dunes. But now the idea of catfish in the mud has become a metaphor for the things trapped on the inside and down below that wait for the rains to give them some vigor and life. Catfish in the Mud is a pretty standard millennial blog in which I say mostly nothing in about 300 words.