October 2015 Carnival of Aces Call for Submissions — Aromanticsm & the Aromantic Spectrum

The “Carnival of Aces” is a blogging carnival where each month people are invited to write on a specific topic that is related to asexuality/the ace spectrum in some way.

(Also, vloggers are invited to speak on the topic in videos, artists/poets invited to be inspired by the topic, etc — whatever format you wish to participate with, please, use that format.)

Check out the masterpost of all of the other amazing topics previous carnivals have been on: https://asexualagenda.wordpress.com/a-carnival-of-aces-masterpost/

September’s was on “Living Asexuality” and was hosted by Jo over at A Life Unexamined.

For this current month, October, I am hosting, and I decided to make the topic Aromanticism & the Aromantic Spectrum. Honestly, I’m surprised this has never been a topic in the carnival before.

The topic is meant to be broad.

Some ideas on what people might write about:

    • What led you to identify as aromantic or with an identity on the aro-spectrum?
    • What did you first think when you heard about romantic orientations and that an aromantic orientation was an option?
    • What are your thoughts on the conflation — or perhaps, the separation — of aromanticsm and asexuality?
    • What does it mean to be aromantic, or aro-spectrum, in a practical sense in your current life?
    • How does being aromantic or on the aromantic spectrum influence your plans for your personal future?
    • How do you feel society treats romance, and how do aromantic people fit in?
    • What does it mean to “participate in romantically coded things” while being aromantic?
    • What counts as romantic/non-romantic to you, personally?
    • What does it mean for aromanticsm to be most often talked about in asexual communities?
    • How is aromanticsm currently portrayed in fiction? In non-fiction news and documentary/biography media?
    • In an ideal future, how would you hope aromanticsm would be portrayed in either fiction or non-fiction?

Please consider these as some jumping off points. You may blog about anything that is related to the topic though. Surprise us!

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or concerns.

To submit your entry, either leave a comment below or send an email to me at pemk7@aol.com . If you would like to post anonymously, I can copy and paste text from an email into a Guest post on this blog of mine, just let me know that this is your wish.


Non-libidoism & Asexuality (aka: I have never had a sex drive, so does that explain why I’m asexual?)

I think this can count as a submission for the September Carnival of Aces on Living Asexuality. This post, below, is largely about how I experience my own asexuality, in a very personal, “this obviously doesn’t apply to everyone” kind of way.

I don’t use AVEN. I never used it much. But before I discovered the asexuality tag on tumblr or the ace community on WordPress I was there, briefly, while beginning to try to figure myself out. And so I still track the two “What is Sexual Attraction” threads over there and get emailed when a new reply is posted on them. Those are literally the ONLY threads I still follow… it may only be one thread at this point (because they may have been merged or one may have died or something?).

A couple of weeks ago, someone posted something that sparked my curiosity. They said,

I apologize if this has been asked a million times but does having no libido make asexuality the default? How can one experience sexual attraction without having an interest in sex?

Personally, I can’t physically have penetrative sex. It’d be excruciating torture straight out of an Eli Roth movie. Is it possible to experience sexual attraction or desire when most acts are associated with pain?

Someone else replied:

I’ve always believed this to be the case, yes. I’ve considered myself “asexual by default” for that reason.

And they said more, but it’s irrelevant to the point I want to make here.

I don’t masturbate. I have never experienced arousal, or an orgasm. I don’t know how these things are supposed to feel. I can see sex scenes on movies/in TV shows, even pretty explicit ones, and feel nothing, regardless of the genders of the participants, and the same goes for reading erotic fan-fiction by talented authors.

I feel like I’m asexual by default, and I never saw that sentiment expressed until that post on AVEN. I really love how validating it felt to read that. I love the idea that yeah, I’m not the only person who is entirely non-sexual in every conceivable way and that is inextricably tied up in our versions of asexuality.

There is an article on the AVEN wiki about Non-libidoism: http://www.asexuality.org/wiki/index.php?title=Nonlibidoism and the idea that at any point in the history of asexuality:

Some people considered nonlibidoism the only valid form of asexuality.

Well, it’s hard for me to believe that was the case. The thought is so foreign to me, and such a shock to read. I’m glad we have a community of asexuals now with a variety of experiences, some with sex drives, some without. And with a variety of other experiences too, from types of attraction they experience, including sometimes things that might be sexual attraction. I’m happy to be a part of the asexual spectrum and to acknowledge that we don’t all experience it the same.

But today on tumblr I came across a post, one of MANY that I’ve seen in the past few years, ever since I’ve began looking at asexuality-related posts on tumblr…

And it said at one part,

An asexual’s body is perfectly functional. It reacts to touch just like anyone else’s, meaning, an asexual will experience physical arousal and likely feel appropriate pleasure from sex when touched in a way that feels good to them personally. Asexuality isn’t the lack of sexual functions, it’s the lack of sexual attraction only.

When I read things like that, I have to admit, it hurts. It makes me angry intellectually, but my gut reaction is one where I’m just… sad. Where I feel like even among asexual standards, not just larger society but even among aces, I’m “broken”. It’s not often anymore that I think of myself as “broken”. I was in denial about my asexuality for months after subconsciously realizing it was likely my truth, most likely because I associated the orientation with being lesser, with being broken, with missing out on what it means to experience the joy of being human, or being alive. Once I accepted that nothing would ever get me aroused, that it would be impossible for me to enjoy sexual activities, that I wasn’t even “just” on the asexual spectrum but rather was a 100% asexual person who was also sex-averse and libido-less, I embraced it. I was proud to claim this sexual orientation. I was relieved to finally understand myself. I was able to relax and be happy with my sex-free life and feel a sense of not being alone with my problems because hey, I’m not the only asexual person in the world. I had a new community, a new identity, and it was liberating in a surprising number of ways.

But then people say “asexual people’s bodies function normally” and then explain that of course they have “healthy” reactions to touch, at least, or experience the thing “all people” do that is arousal.

I think back to the Preliminary Findings from the 2014 AVEN Community Census:

Sex Drive

And I think about the how the number of asexual-spectrum who think they have an average sex drive is only slightly higher than the number of people who, like me, marked down that they truly feel their sex drive is 0 — nonexistent.

I know I’ve seen some people in the asexual community cite some study that says that asexual people masturbate at approximately the same rate as non-asexual people, but I’ve never seen the study linked, and I’m not sure what they were referring to. I find those supposed results hard to believe, but if true I am desperate to know, so if anyone can send me a link to look at, I’d appreciate it. I find it hard to believe because I have a strong suspicion that I’m not the only person in the world who has never had a sex drive and then ends up identifying as asexual. Whose lack of a sex-drive might explain my (their) asexuality.

I know some asexual people worry that because they do masturbate, they can’t “Count” as asexual enough, that this alone makes them “Sexual” (allosexual, zedsexual, non-asexual), or worse, they know they’re asexual and accepted into the asexual community, but they’re asked the intrusive question of if they masturbate by outsiders, and if they answer truthfully, that yes they do, they have a real chance of their identities being invalidated!! Of being told masturbating is “too sexual” and that they can’t “Count” as asexual if they do it.

But like the classic problem where it proves impossible to be an “unassailable asexual”, I have the opposite issue. I worry that I’m not really asexual, because clearly my body is broken in some way, why have I never gotten my hormones checked?, because if I just figured out a way to experience arousal and orgasm I’d realize I never was asexual, because I’m a freak who has never even masturbated so how can I know I’m asexual, how can it “just” be “another sexual orientation” for someone like me? It’s more than that. It’s a lack of me having any kind of sexuality at all. I worry that people will believe I’m broken, I’m not the right kind of asexual, that I’m a person that is a super-outlier, abnormal by far even among the asexual community, because even the average asexual has a sex drive, everyone writing their Asexuality 101 posts says that.

I don’t experience a lot of what other people in the asexual community do. I don’t experience any of the forms of “attraction” in a meaningful way, like a magnet being drawn to someone for aesthetic, sensual, sexual, or romantic reasons. I can enjoy cuddling or other forms of touch in a few cases, appreciate beauty, and romantically ship my favorite characters on a TV show together, but I can’t understand what it’s like to be drawn to them. I’m both WTFromantic and now, beginning to identify as aromantic too, and I really do feel like my aromanticsm is inextricably linked to my asexuality. Similarly, my non-libidoism is tied up in all of it. And while whether a person ever feels aroused or masturbates or enjoys orgasms is ultimately a very private thing, it feels oddly important to me that I don’t.

When I come out as ace and someone asks me if I masturbate, I don’t feel offended. I feel like yeah, they get how big of a question that really is, and I want to answer. I feel like it is relevant to understanding me, and my sexuality, and how and why I came to identify with asexuality. I feel like the whole world just doesn’t get me AT ALL if they are thinking I masturbate, even if they know I’m asexual and maybe don’t imagine me picturing anyone/anything while I do. But then I want to make sure they know that people can be asexual and masturbate. It’s just me that… doesn’t.

I don’t know why my non-libidoism feels so important to me, but when I read stories about the women for whom Flibanserin (Addyi) is supposedly designed, when I hear those NPR interviews with women who have lost their sex drives, I just keep waiting for people to bring up the women who have NEVER, ever, in their lives, not even as a teenager, had a sex drive. The 25-year-old like me who hasn’t lost their libido, but rather never had it. I keep wondering if anyone in the entire world — or specifically in the medical community — even knows people like me exist.

I know I’m not the only one. I’ve been going to Asexuals of the Mid-Atlantic meetups and 1 person in the group told me he got his hormones checked (and they were normal) because he, like me, also has never had a sex drive. I know there was once an Official Non-Libidoism Society, and that there is a term for what I am because I am not alone. But sometimes it still feels like being a non-libidoist asexual means I’m broken, even among the asexual community. Sometimes it still feels like I’m even more different than the average ace when comparing myself to all of the zedsexual people out there. Sometimes I feel like I need to shout from the rooftops that I don’t have a sex drive and don’t masturbate, because whether it’s rational or not, whether it’s rooted in any reality or not, I just get the feeling that people are assuming, everywhere I go, that I do have a libido and I do masturbate and that I could enjoy sex if only I wasn’t repulsed or something. But my truth is that I’m not someone who physically could enjoy it. I’m averse to even kissing, and my lack of arousal is a huge part of what makes me feel so disconnected from a person when I’m doing it.

Does any of what I’m saying resonate with anyone reading this? I hope so.

And I really hope I haven’t upset anyone else who does have a libido or who feels differently about their lack of libido, feels it’s private or doesn’t matter to them or whatever. I know this is only my own experience, and I would never assume it applied to anyone else.

The Implications of the Words We Say: Learning Linguistic Mindfulness

First, before reading the post below, please check out my most recent post to this From Fandom to Family blog of mine, which was a reblog from someone else’s WordPress blog: How I stopped worrying and learned to remove ableist language from my vocabulary.

I haven’t updated my blog in a while. This was saved in my drafts for ages and I decided to put the finishing touches on it and publish it today.

And please forgive my writing style below. For some reason, this time, I chose to write about the past in a pseudo-present tense, for effect.

I’m a small child attending an American public school, so of course we have to say the Pledge of Allegiance. Decades later, I’ll still remember the words. We did it — or at least heard it, even if we didn’t speak it — every morning for 13 years.

I pledge allegiance
to the flag
of the United States of America.

And to the Republic
for which it stands

One Nation
Under God

With Liberty, and Justice, for all.

I remember finding out what the word “Indivisible” means and realizing for the first time it is not the word “invisible”. As a child, “invisible”, meaning: Impossible to see; not visible was a word I’d learned. I’d learned what “invisible” meant many years before I learned the uncommon English word “indivisible” that meant: unable to be divided.

I think it took me a long time before I had my little personal epiphany and began to fully understand that the words in the pledge aren’t just sounds to chant but rather two complete sentences that are actually supposed to make sense. I remember thinking about the meaning of what I’d been reciting only years after having begun saying it on a daily basis. When I was 5-years-old, I didn’t know what I was doing.

In kindergarten, I was certainly not old enough to care about the meaning of words I was being required to say. I should not have been required to say those words. I do not like that my country continues the tradition of saying “The Pledge of Allegiance” in school each morning.

I’m attending Catholic Religious Education Classes as a kid, and it’s called CCD, although none of us know what those letters stand for, or why we don’t just call it Religious Education. One of the most often discussed religious figures is the Virgin Mary. I find myself embarrassed at age 14 that I didn’t realize Virgin wasn’t just part of her name/title or something very specifically Catholic. This is actually a descriptive term? This means she’s never had sex? Wow. To have gone this far in life and to not know what Virgin Mary means? That is unacceptable. Words like “virgin” have meanings and I should’ve been taught what it meant many years sooner. Age 14 was a bit late. Eighth grade? Why had no one explained the concept of virginity to me before now? If the “Virgin Mary” was going to be discussed in my presence for as long as I can remember, the meaning of “Virgin” should’ve been of some importance. I don’t like having used a word myself for years, not realizing I didn’t know what it meant.

We head away from the auxiliary building on the church grounds where the classrooms are, going over to the church and the chapel area where the confessionals are, because today is the day, as comes up once a year now, where it’s time to, as a class, confess our sins to the priest. They guide us through a brief presentation first about what confession is, how it’s a Sacrament, how we need to confess our sins, and what common examples of sins would be. I start to feel nervous, worried, anxious. I didn’t do any of the things on the list! Disrespecting my parents? Never, my abusive mother made sure I always respected her. My dad… was always so worthy of respect in comparison. Using “bad language” like “Oh my God,” or “What the hell?” also wasn’t something I’d ever do. I’d always say “Oh my Gosh,” or “What in the world?”. But still… if I had used the Lord’s name in vain… that’d have been breaking a commandment, right? Maybe I should just tell the priest I did that. Maybe I should lie in Confession so that I have something to say. I look back down at the long prayer written on a piece of paper that is now my hands. How am I supposed to memorize this whole Act of Contrition? Oh, we can look at it even once we’re alone with the preist? Great. I can relax a bit.

I don’t care that much that what I will say is true because the pressure is on. I need to say something. I need to act like I am a sinner. The exact sin I choose won’t matter. I try so hard to be a good person and here I am feeling guilty about lying in Confession. Because telling the truth does matter to me. Because I do care about the meaning of what I say, and what these lies will imply about me as a person, as well as what lying itself will mean about me.

I am sitting in my aunt’s house, playing a game of Scrabble. I look at the letters I have. Included among them are J, I, and P. That’s probably not how you spell the word I’m thinking of, though, right? “To jip”, meaning to deprive, or to cheat? I turn to my dad. “How do you spell ‘gyp‘?” I ask. I’m informed it’s spelled with a G and a Y. “What?” I’m confused. That’s an odd spelling for an English word. “It’s based on the word Gypsy,” I am told. (I soon learn it is derived from prejudiced popular perceptions of the Romani people as thieves and petty swindlers). I am a bit horrified that this word that I had used casually in the past has this particular… history, and spelling. I vow to avoid using the word in the future, if I can remember. It just feels so… racist.

Continue reading

Featured Image -- 961

How I stopped worrying and learned to remove ableist language from my vocabulary


Please read this post from Kasey Weird who blogs over at Valprehension. Please click the links and read the additional discussions on ableist language and arguments on why we should stop using all of these words. Please read all of it. As soon as I get a chance, I do plan to write a follow up blog post of my own on this topic. I’d love for people who read my blog to have the context of having read this other post first, before getting to reading mine. Thanks.

Originally posted on Valprehension:

For at least a year, I’ve been making a concerted effort to stop using ableist language in my normal way of talking. This means not saying things like “crazy”, “lame”, “stupid”, “dumb”, and other words that are rooted in current or past ways of describing people with mental and/or physical disabilities.

Ten Easy Alternatives to Common Ableist Language: Say unreal, not insane. Say unbelievable, not crazy. Say jerk, not psycho. Say awful, not stupid. Say bad, not dumb. Say moody, not bipolar. Say ridiculous, not retarded. Say eccentric, not mental case. Say dismantled, not crippled. Say unruly, not mad house. From Upworthy

This has been…. harder than I initially thought it would be. There are a *lot* of words that are rooted in ableist attitudes. And they get used a *lot* in normal day-to-day conversation. So it takes work to stop using them. And I’m not even really there 100% of the time yet. But that’s not what I’m here to tell you about today. I wanted to dig into my reasons for making this change, (and hopefully to inspire at least some people to do the same).

For a long time I was a person who resisted this effort, in…

View original 1,000 more words

Identity vs. Description, and How Labels Are Used For Both

This was a post written for the May 2015 Carnival of Aces, which was hosted by elainexe and has a topic of “Identity, Labels, and Models”. For more information on this ongoing blogging carnival, check out the main page by clicking here. Consider participating sometime soon, or even hosting a future month’s theme yourself!

The Wikipedia page on “Identity” in a social science context — specifically in psychology, sociology, and anthropology — is fascinating. The idea of what makes something a part of someone’s identity is such a complex one.

In the ace blogosphere and community we tend to discuss identity fairly often. Mainly, most of us in this community prioritize asexuality as an identity, and if it’s not “identity” worthy levels of importance to a person, if it’s more just a description of how they “don’t find [many/any] people sexy” or “don’t care about/want sex”, then they probably aren’t going to bother staying in this community for long, or may not even search for/find the community at all.

Continue reading

I was curious, so I chose to have sex! Then, my curiosity was satiated. I decided never to have sex again.

[Content Note: the following blog post is NSFW and contains very explicit descriptions of sexual situations. I also discuss menstruation/ovulation briefly.]

Elizabeth over at Prismatic Entanglements is collecting as many different articles related to the topic of respectfully approaching sex with asexual people as people are willing to write. In order to do my own small part to help, I’m sharing my experiences below. It is a response to this Tentative Revisions post she put up, and I definitely recommend you read onlyfragments’ post which was also written for this purpose as well. She discusses her journey toward where she is now: enjoying a sexual relationship with her girlfriend. It’s a very different post than what I am writing, below.

I’m a 25-year-old woman, and by one of the most common definitions of the term, I am a virgin. However, I have consented to sexual experiences at two different points in my life – about 1 week apart from one another. I was naked with my boyfriend both times, and he was wonderfully respectful of my boundaries. For weeks prior to us taking off our clothes together, we’d had conversations, mainly over texting, where he’d told me his fantasies, and asked me about mine. I’d told him I had never in my life had a sexual fantasy, honestly. I… wasn’t even sure what I was supposed to be fantasizing about. He knew I’d never seen porn but had read some erotic fanfiction. He of course had seen porn. Again most of these conversations were via text, but we did have a few “real life” conversations too about these topics, and others. It was easier, in some ways, to talk about sexual topics via texting, though. It helped with some of the awkwardness and embarassingness.

We’d talked in person about how I wasn’t “into” the making out with tongue we’d been doing since our first week of dating, and how I thought I might be asexual but I was curious to try more things and see if maybe I’d like other things instead. We also talked about what his experience of kissing me/making out with me had been like, and he’d admitted to me that he had “gotten hard” while we had been cuddling… so by the time we were doing sexual things, getting naked together, we continued to have a very healthy approach to the whole situation. He was careful to keep checking in with me, and to stop touching me when I mentioned that it was beginning to feel uncomfortable. He wanted to be able to provide me pleasure. He had already told me, before the day where we first took off our clothes, that he thought he might already be in love with me. I appreciated him so much, was so grateful he cared so much about me, and I cared about him and his happiness too.

Still… despite all of this… I ended up breaking up with him within a few weeks of all of this. I broke up with him because he wanted to lose his virginity in the traditional heteronormative penis-in-vagina (PIV) way, preferably in the forseeable future, and it may have taken me a while but eventually I figured out that I did not want to be that person for him. I decided that I was sure I never wanted to actually have intercourse, or even ever be naked with anyone again.

After what had been months of anguishing over whether or not I was asexual and hoping I wasn’t, I embraced my sexual orientation. I decided I was sex-averse on the same day I decided yes, I was asexual. I kind of equated the two. I’m not sure why, but at the time I didn’t want to officially call myself asexual if I wasn’t sex-averse.

Also on that same day that I officially decided once and for all that I was asexual, I broke up with my wonderful, loving, sweet boyfriend. I wished him only the best, and that he could find a new romantic partner who this time would be much more compatible with him, sexually-speaking.

Allow me to backtrack.

I’m a 25-year-old white cis-woman from the USA, and by many definitions of the word, I am a virgin. I’ve never had penetrative sex with a man. I’ve never had oral sex with anybody. I’ve never been intimate in a physical way with a woman, nor with any non-binary person. I’ve never even experienced an orgasm. I’ve barely tried masturbating.

Continue reading

Figuring Out My Mother Was an Abuser (Part 3 of 3)

Please read part 1: https://luvtheheaven.wordpress.com/2015/05/14/figuring-out-my-mother-was-an-abuser-part-1-of-3/ and Part 2: https://luvtheheaven.wordpress.com/2015/05/14/figuring-out-my-mother-was-an-abuser-part-2-of-3/ first! ;) Content note was on part 1, and all three parts are all tied together. I was originally going to just post them as one long post, but then decided breaking them up would make for easier reading.

Around December of my sophomore year in high school, when I was 15-years-old, I had to go in for surgery. At one point, I happened to be alone, and someone — a nurse, perhaps — casually asked me a question that caught me off guard.

Have you ever been abused?

I’m still, to this day, unsure of what they were going for with this question. It could be that since it was an orthopedic procedure and involved broken bones, maybe they wanted to suss out if someone had broken my bone as an act of physical abuse? Allow me to assure you now: the injury truly was not the result of abuse in any way. It was a freak accident. Anyway, I hesitated. Had I ever been abused? They asked me, point blank, and I specifically remember that I paused before answering. At this point, I already knew the answer was yes. By this point, at age 15, I distinctly recall knowing my mother was abusive.

I don’t know when that happened. I don’t know when I got to the point of knowing so much of what she did was actually abuse — to the point of truly considering it, in my own mind, to be abuse. I just knew, in that moment, that it definitely was. I was so much more sure than that day two years prior when I’d tried to garner up the courage to call the hotline.

However, I answered “No”. No I had never been abused. I lied. Because I didn’t want to have to explain what I meant by abuse. Because it wasn’t the type of abuse that “mattered”, the type that these medical professionals — or potentially a social worker/person from Child Protective Services — could do anything about. Because my mother was the person who had brought me into the hospital and she’d be so angry with me if she found out I considered her to be abusive, and nothing good could possibly come from me calling her abusive in this moment. Because clearly the person asking wasn’t expecting me to say yes, given the throwaway way they asked it, not even making eye contact as far as I know. Because after I considered the question for just a single moment, I knew they must have meant physical abuse, and all my mom had ever done to physically injure me were tiny little scratches. Yeah she’d abused me in some physical ways already at that point, and would continue to do more as the emotional abuse escalated more with time and escalated, as it often does, into things that are more physical (I still had a few more years to endure with her). But… she didn’t seem like a physical abuser to me at that point. She might violently throw or break objects. She might trap me in corners with her body. But the only time she’d ever physically injured me it was “by mistake” in the midst of a largely shouted burst of anger — or rather than burst, really usually it was a seemingly never-ending period of intense rage.

So no, had I ever been physically abused? The answer was no.

That wasn’t the day that I figured out my mother was an abuser. That couldn’t have been. That day was a day when I already knew. Rather, that was the day that I officially realized once and for all that at some point along the way I had stopped doubting that “abuse” was the correct term for the emotional torture she would constantly inflict on me. I remember that day, that moment so clearly. My decision to say “no” was huge for me. No I had never been abused. Because it had felt, so completely, like a lie.

I could talk about so many other things regarding my mother and her abusive nature, or about abuse in general. But I will save those topics for another day — probably another month. For now, I just wanted to get out my story of my complicated journey of figuring out, just short of my 16th birthday, that oh yes, I was actually abused throughout the majority of my childhood.

Thank you for bearing with me and reading the whole long thing. ;)

Figuring Out My Mother Was an Abuser (Part 2 of 3)

Please read part 1, first: https://luvtheheaven.wordpress.com/2015/05/14/figuring-out-my-mother-was-an-abuser-part-1-of-3/
And consider the Content Note I put on part 1 as well, as it applies to all 3 parts as a whole.

My dad moved back to the same state as me — Maryland — when I was around 10 years old. He then could visit my brother and me more often. We saw him every weekend from Saturday afternoon or so through Sunday night. We slept in his apartment one night a week. My mom would never do any of the driving — my dad would drive roughly 6 hours every weekend in order to make this happen. Three of the hours were him alone in the car, and the other 3 hours every weekend included us kids. And for us, it was great. Car rides with my dad were so much fun. Car rides with my mother were torture. Going shopping for new clothes with my mom was also torture. My mom taking me to doctors appointments… pretty much anything with her was torture, okay? Going shopping with my dad was so much better. So that’s how things began to play out. My mom didn’t want to do chores like shopping for her kids’ clothes, and my brother and I didn’t want to have to spend hours alone with the woman, and my dad completely understood this, and was happy to spend his limited time visiting with us doing those kinds of tasks. It didn’t matter that my mom was the parent who wasn’t even employed and had the time to do this stuff during the weekdays while he was at his full time job. My dad didn’t complain. He was happy to be spending time with us. And as I’ll address in a later post, he was also a bit trapped in my mom’s sticky web of abuse.

I remember starting to watch ABC Family re-runs of the TV series 7th Heaven on a regular basis at my grandmother’s house after middle school, around when I was 12-years-old. I’d also record the new episodes that aired later at night during the prime time slot on the real channel (the WB) on my grandmother’s VCR. (By the way, for my K-12 school experience, I would leave school in the afternoons on a bus to my grandmother’s house. I went to my grandmother’s after school, every day.) I’d watch that ep the following afternoon, since I usually would be back home at my mom’s in the evenings.

I must’ve been 13 when I saw season 8 episode 9 the day after it aired. I’m not 100% sure it was that exact episode, but age 13 is about right for what I recall, and

This episode ended with a promo from Childhelp USA saying “If you need help or information call Childhelp USA, National Child Abuse Hotline, 1-800-4-A-CHILD.” And also showed its website at http://www.childhelpusa.com.

I remember sitting alone in my grandmother’s living room, finishing a 7th Heaven episode, and taking note of a phone number for some child abuse hotline. It was probably this one. I remember thinking long and hard about what my mom was doing on a regular basis, and if it was bad enough to count as abuse. I remember considering the fact that what was happening wasn’t really anything compared to the horrific story told in the episode I’d just seen; compared to everything I’d ever heard abuse to be. Cigarette burns and bruises on your arms, or even broken bones. My mother’s brand of abuse wasn’t physical enough, and it certainly wasn’t sexual. It wasn’t even perpetrated by my father, as all abuse supposedly was committed by men. Neglect could be something a mother could do, but abuse? What my mom did probably didn’t count. My mom did too many things right. She said she loved me and my brother. We were always clothed and fed. What I was considering potentially abuse was only my mom yelling at me and my brother a lot. Wasn’t that all it was? I wanted to call the hotline. I really did. I remember picking up the phone, and dialing most of the numbers. I may have dialed them all before quickly hanging up. But I did, ultimately, hang up. I didn’t want to risk saying that I thought my mom might be abusive only to be told my mom wasn’t actually abusive. I couldn’t risk that invalidation. I also was terrified that my grandmother might pick up the phone to make a call and hear me on that call. And then she might tell my mother. And I couldn’t have my mother find out I was accusing her of abuse! She’d be so mad. And that fear — that fear of what my mother might do to punish me for such a betrayal — stopped me from calling the hotline. I wasn’t sure it even was abuse, anyway. Continue reading

Figuring Out My Mother Was an Abuser (Part 1 of 3)

[Content Note: The post below, as well as part 2 and part 3, contain discussions of physical and emotional abuse. The focus, as you could probably infer from the title of this post, is on abuse from a parent toward children, but I did include some discussions of spousal abuse as well.]

If there’s anything else I should be adding a content note for, please let me know. I’m not sure. It’s a long post, and a lot of things get brought up. Triggers, Menstruation, just a lot of random things. I use an explicit word at some point so the post is probably NSFW.

I told you all that I wanted to blog about abuse? Well now, here I finally am, doing that.

Growing up in an emotionally abusive environment was… confusing.

I had somehow learned what child abuse was at quite a young age. Continue reading