Want to learn more about Krystal Brown, the 2017 Childfree Woman of the Year? She was kind enough to do this Q&A:
How did you know at the age of 16 you did not want children?
Every time I saw parents, they looked stressed and frazzled. We all have different personalities and tolerances; I need order and a reasonably quiet environment to be happy. I cannot stand lots of noise and chaos. And that is what you sign up for in parenthood. People always say this mindless slogan to the childfree: “You were a child once!” And? Even when I was a child, I did not like being around other children. I preferred the company of adults because they were less chaotic and had more interesting things to talk about. I understand that children do grow up, but I don’t think my sanity would be intact by that time!
Tell us about more your e-book,Tales from the Gutter. What inspired it, and what do you hope readers will take away from reading it?
Before I wrote it, I was talking with a white friend about our life experiences, and when I spoke of some of them, she looked at me as if I had two heads! I realized I had some interesting material to communicate. I think that in some ways whites and blacks do not understand one another.
Even though we are all speaking English, sometimes we see and interpret things differently. Miscommunication can be the root of tension and trouble. Tales from the Gutter shows whites the underlying root of why we engage in certain self-destructive behaviors or may see things differently. I also hope it shows people of color that we need to change and let go of some rooted-in-slavery behaviors and mentalities that are doing nothing to help push us forward.
Coming of age in a low/working class Southern black area I experienced that different types of blacks have different experiences. What I want people to take away from the book is understanding…I want us all to understand each other better because miscommunication is the cause of so many problems.
You wrote that your album, entitled,“Stripped,” reflects your life in “unapologetic frankness.” Can you elaborate on this?
The majority of the songs on the radio are about infatuation and lust (and sometimes love). This is not all that the human experience is about. I talk about everything from the human-animal connection in “Different” to feeling abandoned by God in “The Day that He Died.” In “Contempt,” I talk about a toxic relative and how blood doesn’t mean that we have to tolerate unacceptable behavior. In my song, “Who Are You?” I talk about the “life script” (e.g., dating marriage, children) and how people who don’t follow it are looked down upon.
A lot on the album is either considered taboo or “corny” to talk about. But the songs reflect parts of my life that I feel others will resonate with if they just give it a chance. People often complain about “music today.” We can’t complain about there being “nothing on the radio” if we aren’t willing to give indie artists a chance.
In your view, where does society stand with regard to accepting the childfree choice?
I feel that society is still in the Stone Age when it comes to accepting the childfree choice. As soon as you say you are childfree, the fangs come out and other people have so many nasty things or mindless slogans to spout about your choice. It’s almost like parenthood is a cult and people take it as a personal insult that you don’t want to drink the Kool-Aid!
If more people would think about having children instead of just mindlessly popping them out because “that’s what you do,” it would be a better world. But parenthood today is like a cult and people lose all sense when it comes to procreating. Mother’s and Father’s Days have been elevated to the hoopla previously reserved for religious holidays.
Even though genes have a lot to do with who we become as adults and people only have partial control of how the kids turn out (nature vs. nurture and all), society keeps glorifying parenthood as the “Most Important Job in the World.” Think about the high infant and child mortality rates of times past, and how many people wouldn’t even have children to raise if it weren’t for doctors, medical researchers and scientists of the world. In my opinion, those are the people doing the most important job in the world for us all.
Thank you, Krystal!