“The Romance of Friendship” in ScreenPrism’s analysis of the TV series “Friends”

This isn’t a real blog post or anything. I just thought people who are interested in the concepts of:

  • queerplatonic relationships
  • what is romantic vs. platonic
  • What does it mean to value friendships really highly even as an adult?

Etc…

I felt like you guys might, um, need to see this analysis of the TV series Friends, because wow it presents quite an interesting argument:

 

Also note I included only Chandler&Joey of the Friends core group as a possible queerplatonic type bond when I hosted my own fanvideo collaboration about queerplatonic-type-bonds on TV shows I know…

(Actually I hosted two fanvideo collaborations about queerplatonic bonds, but this is the collab containing Chandler/Joey.)

(I didn’t vid Chandler/Joey, my friend who vidded them though did capture multiple moments referenced in ScreenPrisim’s later-published analysis video, above.)

 

Anyway… I just felt like basically “reblogging” someone else’s (or, as I’m pretty sure it’s a team working with ScreenPrism, multiple someone elses’) awesome analysis work and a video I really appreciated. So check it out.

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Unpacking Some of the Extreme Distress I Experienced Last Week

[Content Note: Heavy stuff, Traumatic Experiences, Discussion of Suicide kinda, Discussion of Murder and Domestic Violence and Abuse, Grief, etc. Tell me if you think I overlooked something I should be warning for.]


So Monday November 27th, I went through a particularly traumatic experience with a very close friend of mine becoming a murderer in the last second of his life before choosing to die by suicide. I have been through traumatic things in my life before, things that made it so I struggled to sleep that one night of the day the thing happened, things that made me want to talk about it constantly, things that made me still feel upset for a little while afterwards. But this particular thing affected me in a way unlike any of the other things I’ve experienced.

The tl:dr is that I’m doing way way better this week. I’m okay. I’m going to be okay.

But I wanted to write some more about all this.

After morning through midday last Friday (December 1st) writing up my last post about how I couldn’t stop crying, I still was a wreck. I then proceeded to be fired from my volunteer organization, as if that wasn’t going to be adding insult to injury especially when I had unresolved extreme fear/trust/walking on eggshell issues from September based on them treating me super unfairly back then, 3 months ago, and I just… and I still wasn’t sleeping, and I was adding EXTRA stress to myself about needing to wake up at the ridiculous hour of 3:45 AM to catch a shuttle to the airport that I almost forgot to book…

So it shouldn’t be that surprising that by dinner-time hours that night after I had kept being distracted by things all freaking day that it’d been about 26 hours since I’d eaten a meal (although around the 20 hour mark I’d shoved some plain cheese in my mouth from the fridge), I semi-tearfully told my brother how I wished we had hot dogs in the house or something so that I wouldn’t have to actually put any effort or even just patience into my dinner and he offered to go to the store and buy them for me. I asked if he really wanted to do that for me, and he chuckled a little nervously and seemed almost scared of… okay not scared of me, but out of his comfort zone with my grief and like he did want to help, and said maybe not like he super wanted to but he’d do it.

And it shouldn’t be all that surprising, either, that trying to sleep for 6 hours that night I still could not, I was an adrenaline fueled total mess, and at one point I started literally shaking in my bed, and I don’t think I was shivering out of any cold temperatures under my heavy comforter etc; it didn’t quite feel like that kind of shaking anyway. I got out of bed and put my pantyhose on that I planned to wear with a skirt to the airport because I was planning to be properly dressed for the funeral when I left the house at 4:00 AM. I put my pajama shorts back on, on top, and I tweeted my freak out briefly, and when I got back in bed I wasn’t shaking.

My friend on twitter told me:

This from https://www.helpguide.org/articles/ptsd-trauma/coping-with-emotional-and-psychological-trauma.htm sounds like what you’re going through.

what I'm going through

And I think that helped me a lot to read…

That article in general did help, not just the excerpt.

It’s probably true that something about:

While traumatic events can happen to anyone, there are risk factors that make some of us more likely to experience psychological trauma following a disturbing event. You’re more likely to be traumatized if you’re already under a heavy stress load, have recently suffered a series of losses, or have been traumatized before—especially if the earlier trauma occurred in childhood.

is affecting me too, that previous traumas are piling up on me. I’d just, earlier that month, finished vidding and writing up an explanation of my breakup from back in May. I had to dwell on some of the intense feelings, especially at the end of the vid, and I think the way Robert broke up with me was kinda a trauma; I was very suddenly and confusingly abandoned.  I’d felt similarly again when Recovering from Religion as an organization suddenly suspended me as a volunteer for no good reason in September, like I was having flashbacks to my breakup almost in a very vague sense, even if they decided to end my suspension and let me back in later. It all felt really unfair. I tried so hard, put my all into a relationship of some kind, and got this in return. I found myself really upset by sudden shifts to my life, I’d recently been sent to tears at work by a co-worker accusing me of being a liar who was trying to destroy her career when I completely didn’t do anything and I was kinda a stressed and an ashamed wreck over how “sensitive” I’d been and how crying at work probably made it all worse.  My supervisor and her supervisor both got involved to help me and they were super nice to me throughout the incident, but I’m left now still having a super chilly relationship with that co-worker… and that upsets me because I was really starting to feel like she could be a friend before all this. Obviously I have had childhood trauma too…. Even Thanksgiving week my aunt was acting frustrated by the tiniest of things and like everything we all did personally was offending her, and it wasn’t that bad but it kept things kinda tense that whole “vacation” staying at her house for 5 days. My dad, my brother, and I discussed it once we got back home, like it made everything “less fun”… and I just…

Things have probably been building and building for me and that’s part of why I finally burst and broke last week.

I’d already been remembering back to 2.5 years ago with this comment thread and started re-reading that stuff a little out of curiosity. I wanted to understand WTF was happening with me, with my body, with my reaction.

Eventually I also reminded myself of the sentiment in this comment too by re-reading more, a sentiment I’d seen plenty of places in my life but still it never felt as real until right now…

Continue reading “Unpacking Some of the Extreme Distress I Experienced Last Week”

I’ve Been Crying For ~95 Hours, Now…

Hi everyone. Where do I begin?? And how am I supposed to tag this freaking post…? *Sigh*. I am… beyond emotionally drained as this week sorta starts to come to a close.  Please read down to the end if you care about understanding the extreme grief and trauma I’ve been going through since Monday.

[Huge Content Notes for: Murder, Suicide, Domestic Violence, Grief… um let me know if I need to add something else in here.]

I basically want to laugh (darkly) because The Asexual Agenda’s Question of the Week this week is all about keeping secrets and well… In the past few days especially and into this blog post I’m braving writing now, I’m going to make it so there are basically ZERO secrets anymore in my life, in the sense of no separation of my real life identity and my online persona. I’ve been doing it slowly but surely for a little while now, and while even now I’d still rather not write my full name on my blog here so that people Googling my first and last name don’t as easily find where I write about “not masturbating” or “trying sex and being averse” or whatever, just in case for my next job… of course that precaution might still not really be enough though. But basically I’m going to tell you all my first and last name now.
So, without further ado: I’ve been volunteering with Recovering from Religion as a non-profit internet-based organization since February 2015 when their “The Hotline Project” first launched. (It has more recently been renamed Recovering from Religion’s “Helpline”.) I have been in many roles as a volunteer there – Call Agent, Chat/IM Agent, Mentor, Supervisor, Moderator of a Helpline Community when they started the communities, and, most notably, since we published our first episode on Friday May 6th 2016, I’ve been a co-host of Recovering from Religion’s podcast.
2 months ago today, I even mentioned in my bio which you can read at the end of this that I was both a co-host of the Recovering from Religion podcast and that I blog under the username luvtheheaven at WordPress. 😛
William Scott Smith, who preferred to go by his middle name Scott, starting about 7 months later than me in September 2015, has been in every single one of those roles too, and he’s been one of my very best friends for most of that time. 2 years of my life I’ve known him… Pretty darn well for an “internet friend”.

Continue reading “I’ve Been Crying For ~95 Hours, Now…”

Viewing Shipping, Sex Scenes, even Friendship through Asexual Eyes: a Privilege and a Curse since 2013

This is my second submission for the Carnival of Aces October 2017, themed around Asexuality in Fandom. I’m a day late finishing this one up… The call for submissions is here.


Imagine you really needed glasses (or contact lenses – you needed vision correction of some kind!) in order to see the world clearly, but you didn’t have them. You never knew you needed them. Zero people around you have glasses and every single person you encounter assumes level of eyesight is pretty consistent across humans. So you just assume it too. They look at you and just assume of course you can see with clear vision! (Everyone does.) You don’t realize they’re seeing more than you.

You manage your life for a while, maybe a long while, only very gradually realizing you’re… not fully seeing all the detail most people around you are. Maybe your vision is getting worse and worse all the while. Eventually you are pretty sure your vision is worse than other people’s but you don’t imagine any solution is possible, so you just try to make the best of the situation.

I wear glasses and I know the metaphor is far from perfect. But one day finding out about the existence of and/or need for select people to get vision correction (in this ridiculous hypothetical world I’ve come up with where average teenagers and adults aren’t already aware that people lose eyesight from genetics, age, illness and/or injury, plus are unaware that some people are completely blind, etc etc…)

Well in this hypothetical universe, the opportunity for vision correction would feel practically like a lifesaver, after all those years of being used to life without them! This is huge. This is what real people in our actual present-day world experience when they get their first pair of glasses, but to a much more intense degree. Once you possess those glasses you needed, you can’t help but notice many details all around you that other people overlook. You can’t help but feel very attached to your glasses. You guard them as the valuable item they are. You hate taking them off ever even when it’s only practical for something like sleep. You get frustrated by the lack of any characters in fiction either wearing glasses or even seeming to know low vision can exist…

The point isn’t that you finally could see exactly the same things as people who don’t need glasses. (That’s not at all how it works for us aces and… “Feeling sexual attraction” and that kind of thing. We don’t want or need a “cure”, and regardless no such thing exists.) The point I was going for is that the glasses themselves (the asexual identity), that item, were a thing you needed, something you find immensely useful, and an item other people around you don’t personally need to wear but you feel you do.

Ok I’ve clearly run this metaphor into the ground. It was never a very good analogy in the first place. But the idea I was trying to set up for this blog post is:

I was in fandom for between 6 and 7 years without knowing I was asexual or that asexuality existed.

And then, and I’ll admit the shift wasn’t instant like putting on glasses would be, but during the course of 2013, as my worldview shifted to accommodate both 1) the fact that asexuality existed and 2) the fact that asexuality included me.

(My worldview also, during this time, shifted to accommodate aromanticism, which in some ways was harder and slower for me to fully accept perhaps, and also took more time before l would understand that I myself was on that spectrum.)

I was freshly seeing fandom through asexual eyes.

It’s not like I was seeing the world through allosexual/”straight” eyes before, but it was eyes of not knowing what I wasn’t seeing/not knowing fully who I was vs being very much aware of it all, and it has made a huge difference.


In many ways, the shift was jarring and surprising to me, not something I realized would become a part of my experience… and also impossible to ignore.

I went from being indifferent to sex scenes or even curious and intrigued by them, perhaps trying to learn about allosexuality through them before I knew that’s what I was doing… to just instantly when a sex scene would come up feeling reminded that in real life I am sex-averse (because after giving sex a shot I knew I wasn’t ever going to enjoy it), instead of hopeful or expecting to one day be in those characters’ shoes.

Continue reading “Viewing Shipping, Sex Scenes, even Friendship through Asexual Eyes: a Privilege and a Curse since 2013”

My Vidding, Fanfiction, Podfics, and Meta: The Works that Incorporate Asexuality

This is my first submission for the Carnival of Aces October 2017, themed around Asexuality in Fandom. The call for submissions is here. A definition of fandom for the sake of this carnival topic is here in the comments of the call for submissions announcement.


So I know this blog post below is a stretch when it comes to fitting this requirement of the carnival, especially in light of this explicitly being said in the call for submissions:

Be mindful that this call for submissions is not looking for fanwork, but for meta (aka discussions about fanwork, fandom and the way it relates to its source text and social context) either about the fandom(s) you participate in or about fandom in general. You can add some examples or recs, but make sure to focus on the analysis part.

However, I figure this compilation would be something fans of my blog here might be curious to finally see—seeing exactly how I sometimes inject asexuality into my fan endeavors. I blog so much about asexuality, and all the while the word “Fandom” has been in the title of my blog. When I hosted the Carnival of Aces 4 different times I didn’t ever think to make it about fandom specifically!! But someone else (Chrysocolla Town) did, and I appreciate it so much.

I’ll make this not just a list of my ace fanworks by also, in “meta” form, I’ll explain some of my thoughts behind working on them. 😉


(I’m sorry if this post is simply too long, I got a little carried away…)


So the most recent “fandom mixed with asexuality” thing I’ve done is… well, actually, it’s that I’ve written a fanfic that I haven’t actually posted yet.

So… The most recent fanwork I’ve actually finished is THIS, posted in September 2017:

And I’m very proud of this fanvideo of mine. I made it for a contest where each round is themed around capturing personal sides to our own life/who we are. For this round, we had to vid “our breaking point”, and at first I wasn’t sure what to do. The obvious answer was something to do with my abusive mom, cutting off contact, other moments related to those periods of my life… that all was very much “breaking points” in my life. However years ago in a couple of different contests I’ve vidded I’ve already captured in fanvideo form my feelings about my mother. I have that already on my channel. I also within the past year vidded my emotions over my grief over my grandmother. That was another low point in my life. But this… I’d never captured my own personal experience of asexuality in fanvideo form. I’d made an informational fanvideo on asexuality before (see way down later in this post) but never a personal one. And this was an emotionally trying time for me.

I participate in this type of fanvideo contest where we vid personal things because I find it’s a way to vid things I really want to capture in fanvid form, to make a video I really want to make but probably wouldn’t without added incentive to do it, so I ultimately got myself excited about making this once I thought of the idea. It took a lot of time and effort to get the clips and figure out how I was going to do it though. I used a pretty popularly vidded song (“overvidded” in many of the fandom circles I hang out in, perhaps, or at least not “undervidded”), one that has made me think of asexuality every time I saw a fanvideo set to it and again heard the chorus about wanting to sleep next to someone and that being ALL they wanted to do “right now”…

I found a female cover version of the song. A cover was in part because many vidders have found the original to be copyrighted and blocked in some countries on YouTube and they had to pitch-shift the song in order to share their video, but also mainly I wanted a female singer anyway (the original is sung by a guy) because I wanted to capture the importance of the female POV in my journey. There isn’t enough female ace representation, especially on TV, and in headcanons in fanfiction, and maybe in novels too… and I find the fact that I’m female and ace an important nuance to capture. I tried to mainly show women’s POV throughout the vid… I included many characters to span varying parts of my journey and all were women or teenage girls (including canonical female ace Voodoo on Sirens) except for two canonically ace men (Todd in BoJack Horseman but just one scene for him, also a few scenes of Gerald from Southland Street), plus one particular headcanonned as ace male character who to me feels practically canon ace, an extra personal and extra important-to-me to include guy, even though much of fandom doesn’t agree he’s ace: Reid.


Yeah, about Reid…

The not yet quite finished and most recent ace fanwork I’ve been working on is:

I’ve finally written 3,300 words of a story which is tentatively titled Reflections on Love and Life where Spencer Reid from Criminal Minds is an asexual character. After I finish the final part of writing this fic, which is likely only maybe 100 more words, it really is so close… and also after it is beta’d (a fellow fan writer works as an editor with helpful suggestions to improve it) I will post it publicly on my fanfiction.net account as well as on my AO3 profile.

I say “finally” because I’ve been headcannoning Reid as asexual since I started watching the show, actually. I started watching Criminal Minds at the end of 2013, and binge watched all 8.5 seasons that existed at the time, and loved it so much. (I was unemployed and had extra time for watching TV, for what that’s worth.) But the end of 2013 was also when I knew I was ace. I figured out, after months of sitting on the idea, that I was definitely ace at the start of Asexual Awareness Week 2013, around October 21st or 22nd of that year. And I had been in fandom spaces, enjoying TV shows, for years and years, but Criminal Minds was the very first show I started watching, freshly experiencing it, after knowing I myself am asexual.

Not only that, but Reid being headcanoned as asexual is something I saw at least one other person, probably multiple other people, do. I knew quite early oh that I wasn’t alone in this interpretation! This was really validating and comforting.

Continue reading “My Vidding, Fanfiction, Podfics, and Meta: The Works that Incorporate Asexuality”

Once Upon a Time I Was a “CisHet Ace”

This is my submission to the September 2017 Carnival of Aces, themed around “What’s One Thing You Want To Tell Ace Exclusionists?” or “Messages to Ace Exclusionists”. See here for the masterpost and explanation of what the Carnival of Aces is. (The call for submissions this time was here.) I’m a day late, which is nothing newsworthy if you are familiar with me and my bad habits…


So… Cishet aces or cishet aros are just straight people, and therefore the logic follows that they’re your oppressors. That’s what you Ace Exclusionists say, right?

You don’t seem to really believe or understand just how huge asexuality or aromanticism can be as an influence in a person’s life. You don’t seem to really accept they’re real. There truly is a reason these concepts evolved into being commonly accepted by people who use the identity labels as analogous to sexual orientations.

If you accept a trans het ace into being “LGBT” but only because they’re not cis (because they are trans), you’re saying that heteroromantic asexuality is the same as typical (allo) heterosexuality, and it just isn’t. You’re saying being Trans is the only aspect of their queerness, their non-straightness, you’ll even bother to see. You won’t give them space to feel fully welcome as their full selves.

If you say people who live their lives as aromantic while meanwhile feeling sexual attraction toward “the opposite gender” are exactly the same as most straight people who happily date and easily feel fluttery romance stuff or easily fall in love, you’re missing another point. But aromantic people aren’t brought up as often on any side of this “Debate”, this “Discourse”, this Fight. They are lumped in as a sidenote with the aces. I’d love to defend these aromantic people, but about allosexual (including heterosexual) aromantics I fear I might say the wrong thing. I still have to learn how to be the best ally possible. I still think about them more theoretically than have I read or heard enough personal accounts from real people who live those lives and right now this is all outside of the scope of this post. Let’s get back to the more blatant fight here, against asexuals.

Continue reading “Once Upon a Time I Was a “CisHet Ace””

luvtheheaven Ace-ing It Up Offline

This is my submission for the July 2017 Carnival of Aces. Read all the other submissions here.


There are so many parts of my experience as an asexual person that are offline these days. I do feel very attached to Asexuals of the Mid-Atlantic now that I’ve been attending for 3 years, co-organizing events for 2.5, and if my life ever takes me a direction where I’d want to move, I’d hesitate to move anywhere without any kind of accessible, in-person ace community. I’ve been spoiled by how wonderful the community is here. I currently have 39 numbers programed into my phone as people I met through Asexuals of the Mid-Atlantic, some of whom I only maybe met at one meetup, but still, it’s a fairly accurate reflection of how many aces are in my lifebecause there are still other folks, many others, whose phone numbers I don’t have and never needed but where meeting them has enriched my perception of what asexuality is and who makes up this orientation.

Continue reading “luvtheheaven Ace-ing It Up Offline”

Make Sure To Frame Asexuality, Clearly, as a Sexual Orientation

This is my (1 day late) entry for the June 2017 Carnival of Aces, which was themed around “Asexual Education”.


Today, in the afternoon into evening as we went grocery shopping at a few stores and then cooked dinner together, I had some amazing conversations with my dad, spanning:

  • the nature of asexuality and aromanticism
  • the complexities of what different people experience
  • the often unintentional and subtle erasure in TV shows
  • multiple real people’s experiences in the local ace meetup group and what that ends up playing out like
  • etc

And basically I was engaging in a much more 201 (rather than 101), in-depth version of asexuality education, imparting my nuanced lived experience from 4-ish years exploring these topics and what’s been on my mind lately to a straight ally who has enough foundational groundwork to basically “Get” all of it.

For this month’s Carnival of Aces, one of the suggestions of topics we could talk about was:

How can those of us who aren’t professional educators teach about asexuality? What are some good places/resources to start? Is anyone currently looking for people to teach about asexuality?

and I think there are so many ways!! It’s such a complicated topic.

Continue reading “Make Sure To Frame Asexuality, Clearly, as a Sexual Orientation”

The kindest letter I can muster up for my abusive mom

(Note: I don’t understand why the paragraph breaks aren’t showing up correctly… maybe I can fix it later, but I’m going to sleep right now.)

June 27, 2017
Happy 55th Birthday, Mom.
I remember 15 years ago, how stressful it was purchasing a gift for your 40th birthday, how important it was to me that I succeed in getting something you’d like. The fact that this is a milestone birthday number wasn’t lost on me.
How I, a 12 year old who’d only had my ears pierced for a little over a year at that point, shopped at a huge Jewelry Exchange place for the first time in my life and told my dad (your ex-husband) about your taste in always gold and not silver, how we (he) spent $100 on pretty earrings made of white gold with gold plating so it still didn’t look silver in color and…  and then when that weekend spent with my dad was over, when I was back home…  I waited with bated breath to see if it would make you angry because I’d failed at gift giving in some important way I’d overlooked.
You must not have liked your Mother’s Day gift 5 or so weeks prior because why else would I have been so determined to do this well this time? I’m not sure. Maybe I remembered a different gift thing you hated but it was probably Mother’s Day. I think I gave you little Hallmarks figurines of like a lighthouse and other things you’d see at the beach. Because despite how much i remembered you being unhappy at the beach the last time we ever went, when I was 8, you in the years since would comment that you liked the beach… you even wanted that “By The Sea” song played at your funeral
In the end, you smiled weakly in my bedroom when you opened your gift and said you liked it – without sounding like you meant it. And I thought that was the end of my feelings about giving you this gift. That the reaction happened,  and it was over.  It could’ve been worse,  it could’ve been so much worse, this was a pretty good reaction,  but I wanted to cry anyway, because I’d tried so hard but you still weren’t happy.
Literally nothing would make you happy, because you were in the midst of Persistent Depressive Disorder, but none of us knew that. Not my dad or me and my brother, not you.

I wrote a bunch of other stuff recounting the awful but I just hit “backspace” for a few paragraphs. I changed my mind. I want this to be… in a different tone.

I saw you for the first and probably only time I’ll ever see any glimpse of what you in your 50s looks like back in December at your mother’s funeral home visitation (my grandmother’s). It was so jarring seeing 54 year old you. Your hair was so much grayer. Your hair was shorter. You were wearing a shirt that actually looked pretty nice, I was surprised I liked your style.
I hadn’t seen you in 7 years. I haven’t even seen any new photos. My brother noticed your teeth looked decaying. He noticed your breath smelled like cigarettes. I didn’t notice these things. He even noticed you flip off the casket.
You came over to me, and my brother, and two of my younger cousins, including the 17-year-old one you later made burst into hysterical tears with some harsh whisper. Why did you do that to her? But sorry, I’m digressing. You came over to us and you called your mother abusive. You said she was an evil bitch. You asked the 4 of us to “Name one good thing about her. Just one!” and I felt so guilty that in that moment I couldn’t think of how to respond. I wanted to defend my grandmother. There were plenty of good things, I’d been mentioning them to people in the days before and after that moment, and other points that day when you weren’t there. I’d been hearing about them from others. But in that moment, when you asked me, my cousins were ignoring you on purpose and not taking your bait, being calm and reasonable about your scariness. I, on the other hand, was so hurt by everything about your presence, so outraged on behalf of my grandmother and on behalf of my cousins/aunts/uncles/the strangers who shouldn’t have to deal with you and everything else.
But you know who else I could say “one good thing” about, “just one”?
Well. You.

Continue reading “The kindest letter I can muster up for my abusive mom”

The Relief…

Imzy is shutting down. I want to preserve these little original writing things I did for the 100 words community so I’m reposting them here on my blog. The prompt at the time for this one was “Sweet”.


She never intended to actually drive us out of her life, but oh it happened anyway. My mom was yelling, I was crying, my brother was defending me, she was ignoring him, and the next thing we knew…

There was the sweet relief of freedom.

His hand broken from having punched the wall, my grandmother yelling at her daughter over the phone at 1:00 AM to stop calling – (we all needed to sleep, after all) – the many stressful, difficult things that were still to come…

None of that prevents this memory from being somehow fond in my mind.