My apartment is a 250 square foot postage stamp. My stove is free-standing, my slightly small refrigerator connects to no upper cabinets, and my counter is… well… barely a counter. And I love to cook!
I know what you’re thinking, its impossible, impractical, maybe even stupid. But I’ve picked up some tips over the years, starting with an air frier and instant pot and working my way in to things like magnetic knife blocks to hold knives, stray utensils and magnetic measuring implements. So when I heard about this assignment, I knew immedietly that one of my topics had to be making cooking work, stupid small style. To illustrate this, I invited a friend, and her cat, to come make some deliciousness happen with me.
One of the tried and true pieces of advice when it comes to cramped living is to keep things simple, and though me and my porcelain doll collection resent those words, I figured it would hold true in this case, so we armed ourselves with this brilliant page full of four ingredient recipes and selected a roast chicken. We also made some hamburger patties to save for another day. A little more research and we had this list of 10 tips to success, ready to guide us on our way.
For some of the tips, I’d have had to order things to try properly, so suggestions like over-sink cutting boards won’t be discussed here, though they are great ideas. Many were successful, however, starting with tip 2, peeling vegetables over a paper towel, which we expanded to chopping. The page suggests this to make cleanup a little easier, but we found it also gave us more surfaces to work from. While I was doing meat prep with one cutting board, my friend was using my desk as another impromptu chopping station, and it came out unscratched. I wouldn’t trust the method with fruits or squishier things like tomatoes, but the carrots and celery were more than fine. Rinsing and reusing, (tip 4,) also served us in good stead, as I don’t have a dish water and sudsy tubs will only hold so much. This was something I was doing anyway, but it always pays to pay a little extra attention, and though it may have added a bit more time, it cut down a lot on clutter in the end. We also were able to use the fridge as an impromptu balancing space for cooling ingredients, a modification of tip 7 which recommends using the fridge top as a foundation for drawers using hotel pans. Though I wouldn’t try it if you weren’t using an edged pan or were dealing in any way with liquids, it was a fine spot for some cooling rolls and allowed the wonderful cat a little more room to play without fear.
Nothing really fancy was used as far as appliances go, just an air frier, an electric oven, and an instant pot. I regretted deeply that I had no emersion blender as cannily suggested by the article, just to play with, but the night went off without a hitch even without additions such as that. The chicken came out delicious, as has every recipe I’ve tried from the same page, though in future I would probably drive it up to five ingredients and add little button mushrooms to satisfy my fungi addiction. In the end, the answer to the question, “is it possible to cook in tiny spaces with multiple people and fluffy friends? A resounding YES! Hopefully, if you at all struggle with the same sorts of squishy, cramped problems, one of these resources will be of some help. Just remember that space can be multidimensional and that recipes don’t always have to be twelve steps long to be delicious and I’m sure you’ll do fine, no matter the size of your kitchen.
Antimatter is the antithesis of actual matter, the things that makeup everything we see and feel around us. Antimatter lives in subatomic particles containing an opposite electric charge called a positron so naturally, when matter is exposed to antimatter the result is explosive, to say the least. This happens with bananas, albeit to a much lesser degree, and it occurs naturally with various trace elements within our planet. Radioactive decay is the process by which the elements break down and while doing so they emit a positron otherwise known as antimatter. As you might have guessed potassium is one such trace element that produces antimatter. There is enough potassium in one banana to give off 15 to 20 particles of antimatter per day.
Weird right? What if I told you that it’s not just bananas but there are other foods that produce antimatter too. If you have ever eaten spinach, white beans, apricots, avocados, mushrooms, and many others. If food has trace elements and produces radioactive decay, there’s a good chance you’ve eaten antimatter at some point. Before I scare anyone into avoiding their favorite foods it’s important to note that this decaying process happens within our own bodies too. You would also have to consume over 200 bananas a day for years before dying of radiation poisoning. Every day we are exposed to background radiation from this same process happening in the Earth all around us. Who knows what we’ll find as we continue to explore the mysteries of science, I for one am looking forward to seeing if more discoveries are edible.
With the state of the creative industry (and general work), we have the privilege of many different forms of ork. There is the option to work a 9-5 in corporate america, within nonprofits, be a contractor, or a freelancer and the final option, start your own business. If leadership and the industry doesn’t fit how we want to work, there’s power in creating your own thing. As Gen Z we are dealing with more than most. We have access to more information than anyone before which gives us read and centurie with of knowledge and data to analyze our day to day lives. We are tired and hurt by many things; climate change, wages, legislation, and health care. As the generation that grew up will have cellphones we understand that when unsatisfied, you can do something about it. Earning from the past unionizing is a common method for change, so is social media activism and protesting. Another way is to be independent from problematic cultures by starting your own thing whether it’s a business or a movement. Starting a business is not the easiest task but has tons of benefits. As a freelancer and soon to be business owner, the biggest motivator was being able to do my own thing, on my own terms and to a satisfactory standard. Many creatives have already begun to start their own businesses along with being freelancers because there’s more power and respect when you’re the one making the decisions.
The first article touches on how the creative industry is falling to Gen Z by continuing a culture of undervaluing creatives. The second story highlights the start of many small businesses created by people who saw a lack and a need within their creative industries. Together you can learn the pros and cons of working in the industry and starting your own business.
There is tremendous courage in bringing up workplace toxicity, especially when said toxicity is coming from the top, to the ones that sign your paycheck. Additionally, there often isn’t an incentive in it if you are speaking up on behalf of your coworkers who are the recipients of the toxic behavior. “I’ve been concerned with equity and fair treatment of all of my sisters at the station. Past, present and future. Know your worth, embrace your unique talent and voice and lift each other up.” After working there for 17 years, you know that the situation had to be pretty awful.
The Current has connected many people to music over the years – shows like Rock The Garden sell out in seconds instead of hours like it did before the radio station existed. The archives listed for Mary Lucia on the Current’s weblink above shows that she created a powerful following through her own scheduled shows and curated playlists.
In the Bring Me The News article listed above, the shock of Jim McGuinn abruptly leaving his post will certainly stir up some more chatter – is there a shake-up going on in public radio? Are they going to hire an external system-change consultant to address the ongoing allegations of sexual harassment, gender pay-gap issues etc.?? Either way, it cannot be understated how much of an impact Mary has had (and will continue to have) on the Twin Cities music scene, and how serious and consequential for The Current her departure has been.
The lesson that public radio administrators would benefit to learn from this to keep their fans and stakeholders happy is that classical management and gender pay inequality is becoming a thing of the past, and tenured employees will leave because we are in a new era of what we (working people) will and won’t accept. The world is already full of uncertainty and stress because of COVID, why does it have to be in the workplace? Take Mary’s lead; state your boundaries, state your concerns. Just like any other relationship, if you are heard and understood (or not), you have your options to stay or to leave. Listen to your gut and trust there are people who will support your decision.
Anne Yeh, a Meta spokesperson stated that Instagram’s product tagging feature “makes it possible for anyone to support their favorite small businesses, share how they styled their looks along with the products they used, and more” in Protocol.com article “Instagram is becoming more of a mall” (https://www.protocol.com/bulletins/instagram-product-tags).
This statement is interesting because it is partly true but when you consider the fact that Instagram is owned by Meta it seems very fabricated. People being able to share their favorite small business on Instagram with people in their area is a fantastic idea and is a realistic expectation with a tool like this, but it is also important to remember the original purpose of Instagram and why a switch of ownership should not change that.
Intended Purpose of Instagram
When Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger launched Instagram on October 6th of 2010, they intended it to be an app where people could show off where they are or the cool thing they were doing in as easy as 3 steps, and people loved it. It would then start to morph toward branding, influencers, and a source of instant virality, but this is of course because the purpose of a for-profit business is to make money. It still begs the question, what happens when an app meant for posting photos is more focused on your exposure to a new brand? What the last decade has told us is that people’s love of shopping malls are dying and more of it is moving online, which is why we are seeing this sort of scenario.
In the VOI article on “The Origin of Instagram: Starting with The Check-in Site” (https://voi.id/en/memori/15872/the-origin-of-instagram-starting-with-the-check-in-site) it is stated that Krieger and Systrom left their positions as CEO and CTO of Instagram in pursuit of curiosity and creativity. It is also stated in the article that Instagram has not changed very drastically from how Systrom and Krieger left it. The site incentivizes people to spend money by constantly reinforcing them with images of influencers they respect enjoying themselves with specific products and clothes that they can buy to feel just as cool.
The Reality of Increased Advertising
The reason people started trading cable for streaming services is that cable started to become outdated. The advertisements started feeling like they were from a lost era and there were too many packages offering channels people didn’t want for prices they were not willing to pay anymore. Things are different now and the way users are targeted for advertisements now has become more nuanced and interactive. We are also seeing the formation of tech monopolies that are completely setting the stage for what we ingest every day. Instagram advertisement tags are simply the product of a 3-step photo-sharing concept that was built up to be sold for large profits.
What Can You Do?
This situation faces all social media apps, which is why it is important to take responsibility for the curation of your feed as much as you can. I try to make sure I am not following anyone who does not make it clear that their posts are advertisements. I make sure to watch the ratio of how many advertisements have been posted on someone’s account as opposed to actual updates or thoughts. You can also go to settings in your phone, find the advertising section and opt-out of personalized advertisements. If you truly desire it, authenticity can be mined on your feed.
My name is Anissa. But, some people may label me as a crazy, and dangerous individual. You may be asking why. No, I have never harmed anyone in my life. But, I have been diagnosed with Bipolar II, Borderline Personality Disorder, PTSD, and Anxiety. Not to mention that there’s the added stress of a stigma attached to every single one of these conditions.
As someone who struggles with this, I knew this was an important topic to bring awareness too. From my perspective, many people are uneducated on the impact this stigma has on those who struggle with a life-disrupting diagnosis.
Mental illness stigma is slowly decreasing in our society. But, that doesn’t mean that it’s still not a prevalent issue. We all have our issues and we have to fight our own demons Every. Single. Day. That doesn’t make us less of an individual. We are strong and capable of the things that those with no mental issues insult us for. Keep that in mind as you read on.
“Your illness is not your identity. Your chemistry is not your character.”
What is Mental Illness Stigma?
Mental illness stigma can be defined in many ways. The main definition is that it’s “a negative and often unfair social attitude” that can applied too many different areas of life and our society. The commonplace being on those with mental illness. People often place negative attitudes and feelings towards this group of individuals. As a result, it’s harder to open up and seek help when you need it the most.
There have also been numerous stereotypes that have risen from this existing stigma. Some of them including that you are crazy because you see a therapist, or you’re lazy because you have depression.
From these examples I have mentioned, this is the main cause of this stigma. Even though “none of these characterizations are valid.” This makes individuals with mental illness vulnerable. This is a battle that should’t be added too. We should protecting one another, not fearing.
Types of Stigma
It’s important to know the depth of this stigma. Because not only does it happen from others, it happens within ourselves. Stigma ties with discrimination and prejudice. Even if it is a subtle amount, it doesn’t mean that it’s not important to address. If our society took the responsibility of addressing this issue and bringing awareness to the importance of mental health, could ultimately help eradicate this stigma.
There are three types of stigma,
Public stigma involves the negative or discriminatory attitudes that others have about mental illness.
Self-stigma refers to the negative attitudes, including internalized shame, that people with mental illness have about their own condition. This can be found in four ways: alienation, stereotype endorsement, discrimination experience, and social isolation.
Institutional stigma, is more systemic, involving policies of government and private organizations that intentionally or unintentionally limit opportunities for people with mental illness. Examples include lower funding for mental illness research or fewer mental health services relative to other health care.
As you can see, this stigma does not originate from outsiders, but it also occurs internally. Think of public stigma as what I have been communicating throughout this explanation. Refer to the instagram attachment for examples of public stigma.
Secondly, there is self-stigma. I struggle with this distinction of stigma the most. I fight a battle with my own mind every day. Not only do I have image issues, but I also struggle with negative attitudes and thoughts that I don’t share with others as there is a lot of judgement. I destory myself more so than others around me.
Lastly, there is institutional stigma. Even though this distinction is evident in the funding aspect for mental health resources, I also find it in the psych ward itself. This can be a combination of institutional stigma and public stigma. I watched a great slam poetry segment that depicts this issue very well. This resonated with me because I was hospitalized at one point and experienced this first hand.
**TRIGGER WARNING: If you are easily triggered a long the lines of suicidal ideation and/or have trauma associated with institutions, just know that this segment could affect you. Watch at your own discretion.
How to Overcome this Stigma
There are many ways we can overcome the many forms of mental illness stigma.
Talk openly about mental health
Educate yourself AND others
Be conscious of language
Encourage equality between physical and mental illness
Show compassion for those with mental illness
Choose empowerment over shame
Be honest about treatment
Let the media know when they’re being stigmatized
Don’t harbor self-stigma
If we collectively use our voices, we can easily face mental illness and fight the surrounding stigma. We can make a difference by understanding that mental illness is not anyone’s fault, even if this existing stigma is feeding us that thought. If we collectively decide to live stigma free, we can make a huge impact on societal attitudes towards those with mental illness.
I never thought I would type the words “#FreeBritney” on social media. I rolled my eyes at the idea that any celebrity, worth millions or billions, would need a social media movement to spotlight control over their own rights. “Go cry into your millions”, I brazenly thought.
You may know the story; it’s shocking headlines are sprinkled across many social media outlets. But an article caught my eye. As I read “Beyond Britney”, suddenly, I realized that Britney’s story wasn’t just a celebrity, who had a very public mental health collapse, pandering for more fame and to once again become relevant. Conservatorship, the key word in Britney’s story, is a topic we should all be familiar with, because the laws around it affect millions of our most vulnerable citizens. Here’s how I did a 180 on my thoughts on Britney Spears and the topic of conservatorship.
In a Vice article entitled “The Horror of an Unwanted Conservatorship, According to People Who Lived It”, Michael Lincoln-McCreight exposes how he was held hostage in an unwanted conservatorship when he aged out of foster care. He did not know he was receiving a guardian, he was not advocated for in the judicial system, and he was forced to be psychologically evaluated without any understanding of the process. After his full guardianship was granted to another by the court, he was “awarded” no legal rights: “the right to vote, the right to get married, the right to choose where I wanted to live, the right to choose my socialized environment” was taken, he states. Any money he possessed was given to his court appointed guardian. He was placed in a group home where he was restrained, administered medication, told not to call 911, and could not maintain any contact with his family.
Fortunately, Michael was able to contact Disability Rights Florida and hired a lawyer to defend his right to his own life. He is now able to make supported decisions in a less restrictive guardianship. Michael is free. He owns a home, has a driver’s license, and is a state-licensed security officer.
About 1.5 million Americans are under guardianship or conservatorship, many over 65, or with legally recognized disabilities. The guardians or conservators are charged with ensuring the wards in their care have access to medical care, and legally obliged to protect their wards wellbeing and health. As we can see, this does not always happen. While Michael’s story is one of hope over a fraudulent system, more tragic stories paint a picture of the true horrors of conservatorship.
Some guardians use conservatorship criminally to take finances from the most vulnerable people in our society, and the judicial system makes the practice of shutting citizens in group homes or senior living houses easy. These criminal guardians isolate those under their care from their families, cut them off from their finances, and make life-altering decisions like Rebecca Fierle, placing those they care for under a DNR without consultation of the client or family.
Murder is not an exaggeration as to the fates of some placed under conservatorship. Carl DeBrodie was a man with developmental disabilities, placed under the care of a guardian who managed hundreds of wards in Missouri. He was placed in a group home. After living in the group home, his family saw him with cuts and bruises, indicating possible neglect. After such a report was filed, the Carl’s family was banned from seeing him. Seven months past before Carl’s body was found encased in concrete at the group home. The staff at the facility falsified medical records, claiming that they were caring for him. When found deceased, his body showed signs of malnourishment and maltreatment, which lead to his death. He was likely isolated in the basement, and died alone.
Meanwhile, the guardians who criminally exploit their wards spend the money of their abused or deceased clients on luxury homes, shopping sprees, and vacations.
The article with this title was posted on BuzzFeed about 24 hours ago. You may have seen it pop on Facebook, like I did. You may have kept scrolling, or you may have read it. You may have doubted it, you may have thought it was terrifying, or you may have felt apathy. However, given the context of conservatorship and the stories of Michael Lincoln-McCreight and Carl DeBrodie, how do you feel now?
It was quite dismissive and narrow-minded of me to ever assume that Britney Spears’ addiction and mental health struggles were something she would ever use to manipulate the media and the public. “Cry into your millions”, I thought. I was wrong. Please understand, this is not actually about Britney. She is merely the lens I, and maybe we, needed to open our eyes on conservatorship and it’s horrors. The #FreeBritney movement should mean more to you: it is about protecting our most vulnerable citizens and ensuring they have the right to exist.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock since 2018, you know what TikTok is. Although, for those of you who don’t; TikTok is a social media platform where lip-syncing, dance covers, and other forms of entertainment are created and posted. TikTok has become a part of most people’s daily lives and culture. There are many different categories in which TikTok has made such an impact on the pop culture world such as Education, Self-Expression, Talent Discovery, Career Revivals, Cultural Diversity and Inclusivity.
Many of the TikTok users that are still in school anywhere from grades K – 12 have found the TikTok platform very resourceful when it comes to educating them academically or culturally. There are many TikTok influencers that create content for the sole purpose of educating their viewers. These influencers will create content anywhere from academic knowledge such as math, history and science all the way to daily life skills such as cooking and cleaning. There are many TikTok influencers that are teachers in high schools or middle schools. This is so the teachers have a way of connecting with their students and also educating them in an entertaining way.
TikTok is a great platform for expressing yourself freely and creatively. This is a space where content creators can show their talents and participate in entertaining “challenges” posted on the TikTok platform. Many TikTok creators have used their platform to go against fake social media norms such as photoshopping and editing to make their posts look better. This makes other creators feel more open to expressing themselves on their TikTok page and expanding their platform. Many TikTok users will post their hobbies or side talents on their page that draws attention and then creates a chain of posts leading from one comment to another asking them to create content pertaining to the comment posted.
In today’s society, you don’t need to be discovered by Usher or J-Lo in order to become famous. Just by posting multiple entertaining videos on TikTok and going viral, you can create this huge platform, get “verified” and then become a social media influencer. Many have released their own songs on TikTok that have went viral and ended up on the radio and have then gone on to get discovered by famous artists who want to sign a contract with the song creator that went viral on TikTok.
I don’t use TikTok, but Instagram has started to take on their platform by adding what they call “Reels” to their app. This is essentially the same as posting a TikTok. I thought it would be interesting to see what kind of responses I would get from posting a reel on Instagram using a popular sound that has been trending all over social media.
Everyone ranging from not famous to famous and young to old, have found second chances on TikTok to revive their career or even start a new one they didn’t even know was possible. For many who thought their career was over, a few viral videos on TikTok can change that all around to making them a social media influencer. An app that started as an entertainment platform has now created many career paths for influencers around the world to grow in the path and take advantage of their newfound opportunities.
Cultural Diversity and Inclusivity
TikTok has been a great place for many users of many different cultures and ethnic background to educate viewers about their culture. Many users on TikTok are welcoming of all from different backgrounds and is inclusive of everyone and anyone who wants to use and post on the app. From the website listed above, influencer YanYan De Jesus says, “The platform is proud to be a place where everyone belongs, regardless of nationality, gender, background, or any other dimension of identity.”
While TikTok has created a lot of positivity in the pop cultural world, there is also a negative side to the TikTok platform. It can be very bad for users’ mental health when using the app.
Many have been glued to the TikTok app ever since the platform released. TikTok has become even more popular ever since the pandemic in 2020. The website listed above was written by a concerned parent who took it upon themselves to download the TikTok app to see how the platform worked and evaluate for themselves if it was an appropriate platform for their kids. There are many reasons why this parent thinks that the TikTok platform is unsafe for their child, such as: dangerous challenges, automated feed, TikTok predators, TikTok is addictive, harassment, and data privacy.
TikTok has become a platform where creators will post “challenges” for their viewers to partake in; most are harmless, but others are very dangerous. TikTok’s audience is made up mostly of young children or teenagers who are easily influenced or crave the need for instant fame. There was a challenge on TikTok that the site talks about where it encourages pill popping Benadryl to get high and have hallucinations. This has led the creators of the videos into seizures, comas, or even worse, death.
The content uploaded to TikTok play automatically as soon as you open up the app. This is what sucks people into watching TikTok content for hours at a time. Automated feed on apps is made on purpose to keep viewers on their platform longer and glued to their phone for long periods of time. Automatic feed is also a bad idea in the sense of not being able to control what videos that you watch on your feed. There is always a possibility of coming across a video that you wish you would have never seen.
Unfortunately, there are many predators all over social media platforms. Although, TikTok lacks the security protocol needed to be put in place in order to keep predators out of children’s private messaging inboxes. There have been many reports of child predators trying to direct message children with explicit messages to their accounts. The social media platform has made it easy for child predators to contact children and message them privately and does not do a great job at getting rid of the predators quickly.
TikTok is Addictive
With the constant entertainment that TikTok provides, there is always the feeling of wanting more content. Not only is TikTok addicting for viewers to scroll through, but it is addictive when you are the person posting the content because you are always looking for more likes and comments on your posts. Many users on the TikTok platform will intertwine their online feedback with their self-worth on the app. This can lead young people to having severe anxiety and depression from the social media app.
Many negative comments are made on social media platforms. There will always be trolls and people who make themselves feel better by bringing others down with their comments and hiding behind their smart phones. For an adult, most negative comments can just be brushed off, to an impressionable child who is still forming their identity, those comments can make these children fall into depressive episodes. Cyber bullying is a huge problem in society today and social media makes cyber bullying very easy as users can create anonymous accounts.
There are many social media apps that require you to share permissions such as your camera, audio, pictures, location, contacts, and more. TikTok is owned by a company in China, so there are very many unknowns surround how their data is collected and used. This was one of the main concerns when TikTok first came out, the fact that it is owned and controlled by an external country can be very concerning for many reasons.
It is important to make sure that you are aware of the dangers that social media can possess. TikTok is a great place to be discovered, entertained, and connect with people; but users still need to be aware of the dangers and walk on the cautious side of the platform when using the app. Both of these sites connect by one giving you the benefits to using TikTok and the other giving you some of the dangers that can come about from using the platform. Both of these websites have helped to inform me better on what the TikTok platform can be used for in both great ways and bad ways.
I was having difficulty coming up with a blog subject and was discussing ideas with my husband. He said “make sure that it’s something you have knowledge and feelings about. Something you understand … like how you can’t ride a bike.”
Does anyone else have trouble on two wheels? I love bike riding, but l have to admit there is some truth to his comments. I am fine cruising on straight wide paths (most of the time). I can be the “leader” of a group of people biking. I enjoy biking long distances on old railroad tracks made into a bike trail. However, if you are riding with me, don’t point out things of interest. I will swerve. Don’t take me in neighborhoods where I have to manage curbs. I will run into small corner fences in a yard and flip over them (and of course, there will be small decorative rocks on the other side). Remind me to not, and I mean NOT bike with a shoulder bag that can and will get caught in the front wheel, stop your bike in a second flat, flip you over your bike, and fracture not one arm, but one arm and the clavicle of the other side. I mean really. Have you heard the saying, “Anything worth doing, is worth doing right?” or “If it wasn’t for bad luck I’d have no luck at all.” On a positive note, I did get a couple of weeks off of work to heal and think about flying lessons.😉. And last, do not take me into one of those adorable little tunnels that pass under roads and such, with a curvy downhill finish. I will likely run into the tunnel wall, scaring both you and me.
As usual, my formative years might have played a role in all this. I grew up in a large family (12 kids) on a farm and we had one used bike that we got when I was about 10. I don’t remember having it long or getting a lot of “turns” mounting and familiarizing myself with this sacred vehicle, so I’m thinking no skill set was developed. I really didn’t start riding a bike until I was in my 20s, didn’t play in sports, and though I worked hard on our farm, there was no need or natural reason to develop two-wheeled balance and coordination on a bike. I mean there was weeds to pull, cattle to feed, hay to bail, and rocks to pick up. This was supposed to be my true passion, not pedaling the dirt roads at breathtaking velocities.
I think it is really important to get your children on bicycles and teach them during their formative years. Sure, children have a fear of getting hurt, and they don’t want to fall, but they can usually get over that fairly quickly with encouragement, persistence, and some highly recommended skill building. When children learn young, you can instill in them proper gear, how to use the brakes correctly, getting a bike that fits them, and teaching them road signals to name a few things.
Biking teaches children coordination and balance and a sense of achievement that they accomplished something. Learning how to ride a bike, gives them freedom when they get a little older to meet friends, and a method of transportation, that does not involve another family member, to a job and school during their teenage years. It’s a great form of exercise, builds muscles, and is something that they can do for their lifetime.
The two articles below further discuss how to teach children how to ride a bike and discuss other benefits of this great exercise / fun activity. My advice would definitely start out with coordination and balance.
With every passing year comes the age-old question from friends, family, or nosy strangers: “Are you going to have kids? No? Why not?!” Saying “no” is the kind of answer that sends people into utter disbelief and concern. Often, they’ll reply back with: “Well, if you don’t have kids you are going to regret it.” Or my personal favorite: “You don’t know what true love is until you have children.”
What’s worse, is they make it their personal mission to convince me to change my answer, as if I had made the wrong one, and will eventually choose the right one. These situations are usually uncomfortable and intrusive. There is a cultural ideal and societal standard that [as a woman] you’re supposed to want children. You’re supposed to have a strong nurturing/maternal drive and feel like your life is incomplete without a child.
So when I say, “I don’t want to have kids,” to society, it’s like I’m saying I’m not a real woman.
Whatever the reasoning behind the choice, research shows that most women who choose to live a childfree life are confident in their decision to do so. It’s everybody else who struggles with it. There’s also this assumption that you’re selfish because you’ve chosen not to have children. The individual choices to remain childfree vary, with answers ranging from monetary reasons, freedom, and ability to travel. I personally believe that motherhood is not only amazing and beautiful, but also incredibly admirable – it’s just not the path for me – and my personal decision does not affect you.
I chose two interesting articles focusing on why women today are choosing to not have kids. According to an article from CNN, since 2007, the nation’s birth rate had been declining about 2% each year on average. Despite early speculation about a pandemic baby boom, the coronavirus crisis accelerated the decline even further, with births falling by 4% last year. It was the largest annual decline in the number of births since 1973, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Women are happy with their decision, even if no-one else is.
It is okay for women to do things, or not do things, because they just don’t want to. Women shouldn’t have to list reasons to validate their decision not to. Simply not wanting to is reason enough. So, when a woman says that she doesn’t want children, the response should never be “Oh, you’ll change your mind.” The response should be, “Okay, that’s valid.”
I applaud and respect the women who are mothers and would never judge their choice. I also applaud and admire women who have made a bold and non-conventional choice to not be mothers.