In last month’s essay, I talked about being an auntie, my connection to my biological family, and how I feel about being childless. A lot’s happened in the month since then. Mostly, I’ve been consuming media that have made me think and re-think found and chosen families, particularly as my attitudes about them have continued to evolve over the years and not just because I’ve finally come to understand I have at least one.
It’s been years in the making, probably a little before 2011 when I finally got some work and begin plotting my move from the South, away from my biological family. But I feel like fate finally led me to the ones who’ll hold me for life. By the way, I use those words chosen and found interchangeably as they pretty much mean the same thing to me. So perhaps since then I feel like I’m building or re-building my family, but it hasn’t been an easy process.
These days I find myself thinking more about what it means to be an aunt and also my embracing of the “auntie” label that often has nothing to do with family ties. I mean, I’ve gotten older. I’m officially 40 years old, that age where I’d be called a cougar or MILF if I were a white woman of means. But I’m a Black woman, and auntie is our label of choice. And I often find myself wondering what that really means to be as a single, childless woman navigating this life.
2018 was a hell of a ride for me. It started off with saying goodbye to a job that was holding me back more than I realized until it was gone. It was the part time I’d been holding on to, the one that paid only $11 an hour since I had a master’s degree and would need to provide proof of a PhD to be advanced to $12. Yeah, that job. So I became a full-time contractor working on transcriptions, a job that at worst can be boring but sometimes is actually pretty interesting when the content is good.
Even though I’ve spent much of my life as a loner, I’ve become more aware of the importance of having a reliable community of people around me as I’ve grown older. I’ve talked with friends about things like communes for us single, childless folx so that we’re not alone as we age and have people around us with common interests who can take care of each other. I’ve also thought more about immediate needs of human contact and just someone to share experiences with. Yet still, there are so many things that I continue to parse about adult friendships and why I still find it so hard to make new friends in my older age and very often worry about keeping the ones I have.
I’m a music junkie. And therefore, I wanted to focus on what means most to me in this world as I reflect on the year of my birth. While when it comes to older music, classics and such, I gravitate more to the 60s, the 70s had some great things going for it music-wise. And yes I include disco and the burgeoning electronic dance music scene that would grow from underground scenes in Chicago, Detroit, and the wider Midwest throughout the 80s.