Meanwhile, SF Bay Area people may have missed the Post Vibes Picnic. Fear not — my friend Cornelius Stahlblau, who pens The Outpost, will be in town soon, so...
We're gathering in Dolores Park on Friday the 8th, from 2pm – 6pm. Day-of I'll post directions for finding us in the park on Twitter. We may end up heading to The Sycamore or Zeitgeist afterward, and if so I will post that too.
For a taste of Outpostery, read this interview of Stahlblau by tundranaut, it's a good introduction. Regardless though, come thru and hang out, it'll be fun!
Also in the Bay Area: Vibe Gala on April 29. Be there, be square, or be both, I don't care.
As for the rest of you hooligans, you haven't missed anything. Unless... did you miss me? 🥺 I missed you.
My husband and I decided that we want to have a baby, assuming the carrier screening comes back "all clear" (or close enough). If you've known me for a long time, this news will come as a shock, because I used to be an outspoken antinatalist [example from 2015]. Or perhaps you expected the reversal and thus aren't surprised... biology is powerful. I'm 27.
In case you aren't familiar, here's the tl;dr rationale for antinatalism: 1) It's impossible to ask first before creating a new person, and you're rolling the dice on their subjective experience of existence, which might be persistently awful; 2) negative utilitarianism. I consider(ed?) suffering to be far worse than joy is good, based on intimate personal experience with depression, plus my observations of family members with severe mental illness. Glibly, the worst-case scenarios really fucking suck.
Typical rejoinder: "If life is so bad why don't you kill yourself?" Uhhhh like I haven't considered it? Why don't you kill yourself? Maybe the survival drive intrinsically bequeathed to each organism, which none of us can simply switch off? Did I ask to be imbued with that drive, or to lack the resolve to override it? Do you think it's easy to commit suicide? Lol shut up.
I've always wanted to be a mom; that has never changed. Antinatalism doesn't rule out parenthood. In my late teens I resolved to never have biological children, but I planned to adopt — my little sister is adopted and I adore her. (I still want to adopt, actually. Why not both? Family is wonderful however you come by it.)
Not long after developing my antinatalist convictions, I clammed up about the topic, because it was by far my most controversial stance and people always wanted to argue. I can't stand justifying myself on demand. Exit > voice especially when it comes to annoying conversations.
And now... well, I guess I'm an antinatalist who plans to have kids anyway. It's funny what growing up can do to a person in terms of accepting contradictions. (Not saying that other antinatalists "need to grow up" or whatever; simply this is where my own maturation process has landed.) Probably I will shed the label with time. Knowledge of pain's potency, however, I don't think I can relinquish, nor do I wish to.
My husband and I kinda tag-teamed changing our minds. First, I quit drinking and got religion. (By the way, I still plan to publish the Godpost; I need to return to my draft soon. Have faith 😜) My husband caught religion from me — atheists beware, we're contagious!!!! Eventually he realized that he wants to father a child. I'm eliding the details because that's his story, not mine. Point being, my husband's revelation prompted me to update my own cached beliefs.
The philosophical shift, my paradigmatic reorientation, is hard to describe. Hence my Godpost struggles.
In 2020 I wrote:
Suffering is. The Problem of Suffering supposes a fantasy in which it is not, but no clever philosophizing can instantiate that fantasy. We live in the existent world, for which suffering poses no grand problems — that fate belongs to its inhabitants. But whaddaya know, pain is indispensable to survival.
Assuming my marriage can produce a baby — it would be precisely God's sense of humor for us to struggle to conceive or stay pregnant — I do expect my kid to be miserable from ages 13–25 or so. Longer is certainly possible. Forever is possible. At the very least, adolescence is hell.
How can I do that to the person I will love most in the whole world?
With hope. Hope, and willingness to bear the costs. I've borne a few already, myself — now I hope to bear them again, until they are born. Someday, God willing, born again.
What is thirsted for in an ever-more unreal world is above all an encounter with reality — reality which is not optimistic, but miraculous; not free of suffering, but not devoid of healing; and which demands we face our own mortality, not in despair, but in view of reality's ultimate telos: restoration, renewal, resurrection.
There are events that resemble one another, continued the elder, but opposites are born from that similarity. The Old Testament opens with Adam but the New Testament opens with Christ. The sweetness of the apple that Adam eats turns into the bitterness of the vinegar that Christ drinks. The tree of knowledge leads humanity to death but a cross of wood grants immortality to humanity. Remember, O Amvrosy, that repetitions are granted for our salvation and in order to surmount time.
Do you mean to say I will meet Ustina again?
I want to say that no things are irreparable.
— Laurus by Eugene Vodolazkin, translated by Lisa C. Hayden
Poems on parenting that make me cry:
- "I Go Back to May 1937" by Sharon Olds
- "This Be The Verse" by Philip Larkin
- "Those Winter Sundays" by Robert Hayden
- "Good Bones" by Maggie Smith
- "The Pomegranate" by Eavan Boland
Read whatever grabs you and ignore whatever doesn't.
- Marginalia: "independent DIY search engine that focuses on non-commercial content, and attempts to show you sites you perhaps weren't aware of in favor of the sort of sites you probably already knew existed."
- Yassine Meskhout's blogletter is excellent. In particular the pieces about being a public defender.
- "With the Feed as my witness" by Vicki Boykis
- "Is Mitski Really Not A Sad Girl?" by @coldhealing
- "The Qing dynasty starts to fall: Chinese history part 1" by marshwiggle
- Sodalis Primus by @SODAL1S; see also "I am Sod"
- "The Stone-Soup Video Game" by Rob Mariani
- "A Whirlwind Romance at Vibecamp" by Chris Kazz
- "Out of the valley" by Nadia Asparouhova (née Eghbal)
- "How I learned to stop worrying and structure all writing as a list" by dynomight — not my style but I respect it!
- "Optionalitymaxxing and the Search for the Greenest Pasture" by Grant Dever
- "Corporate Power Plays" by Aris Catsambas (quite amusing)
- "Why I Schizopost: What Schizoposting Is" by thedayofthecollar
- "jPay Message #397" by Brendan — also on Instagram
Giveaway instructions: Hit reply and send me your mailing address to receive zines and/or happy mail, while supplies last. My back catalogue of such materials overfloweth. I'll accommodate as many respondents as I can cover with roughly $100 worth of stamps... so like 30 of you, thereabouts. International is no problem as long as your country accepts mail from the United States.
Thank you for listening, as always. Catch you on the flip side 🐰