Author: luvtheheaven

I Can’t Just Let The Future Pass Me By (alternatively: Finding The Twigs For My Nest)

This is my submission for the April 2018 Carnival of Aces. I kinda ran out of time to write this and still get it in by the deadline but I’m forcing something so bear with me. Also I’m typing this on my phone so please forgive autocorrect errors. I’ll probably fix them eventually.

This month’s theme’s inspired by a medieval Flemish-Dutch sentence:

Hebban olla vogala nestas hagunnan hinase hic enda thu[,] wat unbidan we nu[?]

All the birds have begun nests except me and you, what are we still waiting for?


On a most basic level, when my peers began navigating flirting, dating, when and where to first have sex, and (for some of them) when to enter marriage, I was indeed “left behind” as an aromantic-spectrum & asexual young adult. This medieval sentence describes a point of view I can relate to, sure. In fact I felt so left behind when my younger brother experienced his first kiss before me (he was 16, I was 18) that I actually cried.

I didn’t realize my future might take a different path when it comes to matters of romance than the average person my age, because among other things, I didn’t realize aromanticism or asexuality existed.

So I kinda just felt like a social failure, someone embarassed to have to admit to college roommates I’d never been on a date, mortified after my first kiss at age 22 to be asked if it was my first time kissing.

But at the same time, I kinda did know that the future was uncertain really early on. Sure, I incorrectly assumed I was straight, but I knew that not every straight person takes the same path to happiness in adulthood anyway.

In fact, I saw firsthand from the 3 main people who raised me that not everyone gets happiness at all in adulthood, because my grandmother seemed pretty unhappy most of the time, and my abusive mother was downright miserable. The third person to raise me was my dad, who found happiness in his kids (and maybe in his career, and in small things in life like music, or nature, or good books, television, and film all of which he knew how to truly appreciate). But my dad never had any romantic partner the entire time I could remember (my parents split when I was 3), and seemed to really lack in the friendship department as well. He seemed stuck in a toxic cycle with the mother of his children holding too much control over his life too, and life wasn’t fair for him on many levels either.

Expecting my adult life to just turn out with me happily married or loving being a mom seemed far from something to take for granted.

Continue reading “I Can’t Just Let The Future Pass Me By (alternatively: Finding The Twigs For My Nest)”

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“Physical Health and/or Our Bodies” – Round Up Post for the March 2018 Carnival of Aces

(This post has been cross-posted to my tumblr as well: http://luvtheheaven.tumblr.com/post/172508082527/physical-health-andor-our-bodies-round-up )

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.

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/

March 2018’s I hosted here on my blog. It was my fifth time hosting the Carnival within the past 4 years. (This was the call for submissions: https://luvtheheaven.wordpress.com/2018/03/01/physical-health-and-or-our-bodies-the-march-2018-carnival-of-aces-call-for-submissions/ ) The topic was “Physical Health and/or Our Bodies”. Thank you to all 13 of you who submitted. (There are 14 authors below if you include me.)

In no particular order:

1) socace wrote: https://almostalmost.wordpress.com/2018/03/09/carnival-of-aces-physical-health-our-bodies/

Which included thoughts like after puberty hit:

I hated my loss of androgyny, even without really knowing the reason why.

 

I grew increasingly depressed about those changes; I thought about suicide and started to self-harm.

2) Elbs wrote Asexuality, Fetish, and Sexual Dysfunction: https://acemindbreaker.tumblr.com/post/171491783818/asexuality-fetish-and-sexual-dysfunction-my

3) Rotten Zucchinis wrote “Invisible” chronic illness as an “invisibly” chronically ill ace: https://rotten-zucchinis.tumblr.com/post/172475544975/invisible-chronic-illness-as-an-invisibly

4) redbeardace wrote Physical Health, Our Bodies, and Asexuality: Some Vignettes: http://redbeardace.tumblr.com/post/171736607105/physical-health-our-bodies-and-asexuality-some

His post included a lot of good stuff on “Men’s Health” that wasn’t discussed in the other posts.

5) I, luvtheheaven, wrote a fairly similar post that was more a bunch of unrelated thoughts than a coherent single essay. Mine is from the perspective of a cis woman though: https://luvtheheaven.wordpress.com/2018/04/01/6772/

6) I received an anonymous guest post about PCOS & Pap Smears: https://luvtheheaven.wordpress.com/2018/03/24/guest-post-pcos-pap-smears/ (PCOS is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)

7) (Purr)ple (L)ace submitted Fat Acceptance, My Eating Disorder, and Asexuality: http://purrplelace.tumblr.com/post/172446919913/fat-acceptance-my-eating-disorder-and-asexuality

8) Demisexual and Proud’s submission is more on the poetic side, Demisexual Body in Action: https://demiandproud.wordpress.com/2018/03/15/demisexual-body-in-action/

9) Dating While Ace submitted a post called Looking into the mirror which, in large part, discusses “Korean cultural beliefs on how women should look and behave” and how that affected her: https://datingwhileace.wordpress.com/2018/03/17/looking-into-the-mirror/

10) Perfect Number went above and beyond this month for this carnival, as she wrote 4 posts on these topics. They cover sex, sex ed, masturbation, fear, “lust”, and “sexual sin” from her perspective as an asexual who grew up in Christian purity culture. This is the linkspam collection of them: https://tellmewhytheworldisweird.blogspot.com/2018/03/asexuality-and-my-body.html

11) Elizabeth submitted Body Baggage: Chronic Pain, Trauma, Aging, and Asexuality: https://prismaticentanglements.com/2018/03/25/body-baggage-chronic-pain-trauma-aging-and-asexuality/

A small part of the post that I found really interesting is:

Because I’ve been writing about asexuality here for such a long time, under a sorta-pseudonym, and have developed this pretty sizable body of writing that is the primary way I interact with the ace community… I feel like my actual physical body is pretty invisible, and inconsequential to most of you reading this. There’s a disconnect there, between my physical self and my internet self.

12) A³ submitted Sleep Hygiene, which doesn’t tie back into asexuality at all in the blog post but is an asexual person’s perspective on the topic: https://acubedblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/25/carnival-of-aces-march-2018-sleep-hygiene/

This post convinced me to install a new program on my computer screen. I’m liking it so far.

13) Rowan’s is the second submission this month that brings up being ace and having PCOS! Also though, this post covers a number of relevant medical topics including sex drive (or lack thereof) and how doctors basically have certain Priorities: http://adventures-in-asexuality.tumblr.com/post/172422161028/priorities

Finally,

14) Rachel submitted a guest post, Asexuality and Poisonous Body Positivity: https://luvtheheaven.wordpress.com/2018/03/31/guest-post-asexuality-and-poisonous-body-positivity/

That post is great and has had my blog reaching a record number of “likes” in a day, actually.

I appreciated every submission this month; so many great perspectives!!

If you have a post you’d like to turn in late, if you notice I’ve forgotten to include a link to a submission, or if you have anything else you’d like to ask me or tell me about last month’s carnival, please feel free to let me know in the comments below! You can also still email me at pemk7@aol.com or contact me on tumblr (I’m luvtheheaven over there too).

My Body & My Asexuality

In March 2018 I hosted the Carnival of Aces here on my blog, on the topic of “Physical Health and/or Our Bodies”. This was the Call for Submissions: https://luvtheheaven.wordpress.com/2018/03/01/physical-health-and-or-our-bodies-the-march-2018-carnival-of-aces-call-for-submissions/


I have a lot of thoughts on physical health and, often unrelated, on my body that don’t feel very directly connected to asexuality. I wasn’t sure if I was going to write a post for this carnival theme, even though I myself was hosting this month.

But let me try, a day late, to throw something out there nonetheless.

1) Well a big thing I’m starting to feel a little less alone with is that I have no libido/sex-drive/ability to feel arousal and orgasm, which is a topic people don’t talk about very often in asexual communities since we focus on the psychological experiences and because masturbation etc is a fairly taboo/too “persona/private” topic in many spaces. And because when does the lack of it even “come up” naturally in conversation?

I think the asexual community has more of us who have no sex drive than many of us realize, and I’m constantly desperate to not be alone in whatever I’m experiencing, including that, so I’m glad I’m in a community of people where my experience is some degree acknowledged. I especially appreciate the context of for some of us being a lifelong thing, not a lost sex drive, and that even if it was lost due to side effects of medications or due to other illness, it’s not a “problem to be solved” but rather a plus side for at least a handful of ace folks.

Continue reading “My Body & My Asexuality”

Guest Post: Asexuality and Poisonous Body Positivity

This is a submission for the March 2018 Carnival of Aces which I myself have been hosting this month here on my blog. The theme is “Physical Health and/or Our Bodies”

I offered to host guest submissions on my blog if anyone desired that. Here is Rachel’s essay, “Asexuality and Poisonous Body Positivity”:


Content Warnings: vague discussion of ableism and sexism, body shaming, bullying, body negativity, weight (?), industrial strength bitterness, awful metaphors including one about eating pork

*Looks at the theme for the month*

*rushes out from under my rock to write this*

I’ve been practically chomping at the bit for a theme like this for a while, having a mess of loosely connected thoughts on this topic knocking around in my head for years now. For the sake of keeping this semi-coherent, and because I have at least a semi-unifying theme that underlies all of these separate thoughts: a systematic estrangement by the rhetoric of body positivity. What initially set off this domino chain was an anonymous post on Queenie’s site:

Here: www.queenieofaces.tumblr.com/tagged/body-negativity

To my fellow aro ace, whoever and wherever you are, this is, at least in part, for you.

Confession time: I kind of loathe body positivity as a movement. Please refrain from throwing rotten tomatoes at me until the conclusion of this essay. I know how this looks: I’m nervous to even write this, let alone submit it, because I know this will attract naysayers out of the woodwork like flies. My feelings are born of a convoluted brew of bullying, sexism, asexuality, aromanticism, disability, and quite possibly gender all mixed into an obnoxious cocktail.

I am going to start with the bullying since starting at the beginning is easiest: I was bullied a lot as a child, and by a variety of people. My repertoire of elementary school bullies reads like a college diversity pamphlet. It was the body-shaming and body policing from other girls though, that I think did the most damage. My excessive body hair, acne, and, believe it or not, my thinness all made me a prime target for body shaming (the other girls kept insisting that I had an eating disorder and that I should put on weight).

It took me years to put all of these pieces together, in large part because of my then unrecognized aro aceness. My aro aceness comes into play because women’s beauty standards, as an extension of women’s gender roles, are heavily tied in with performing heterosexuality. Even as a kid, long before I knew that I was aro ace, I had an instinctive aversion to performing women’s beauty standards in part because of that non-straightness. Tie in my ADHD and the fact that women’s beauty standards tend to be taxing on executive function, and performing girl was very much a diminished reward. All of that failure to conform, born of disability and unrecognized aromanticism and asexuality (and possibly being quoigender as well) all painted a body-policing target on my back.

The weirdest part is, I actually managed to bounce back from most of this because my ability to avoid internalizing most of that filth. I always thought of myself as having good body image because, well, I didn’t have a poor body image (compare how I thought I was straight because, well, I knew I wasn’t gay). What I do have is in fact an apathetic one. My first epiphany on that was I undergrad, when my dorm had a poster on the wall allowing female students to write something that they liked about their body. At the time, I was supportive of this (and still am), but that flipped the first switch when I realized that I couldn’t think of a single thing that I actually liked about my body. I had good body image, right? So I should have been able to come up with SOMETHING, right…? Please note that while body image is a component of self image, the two are heavily conflated, which I think is shortsighted. It is possible to have an overall positive self image without having an outstanding body image. I am extraordinarily lucky to be in a position to be able to sustain a healthy self image despite my apathetic body image. It’s more than a lot of people have.

Remember what I stated before that I managed to avoid internalizing that body-shaming filth? That wasn’t entirely true. I did internalize it, just in a different way. Instead of internalizing the messages that the traits I was bullied for were flaws that diminished my worth as a person, I internalized the idea that these traits made me an easy target. It has made me acutely aware of the standards that I fail to fulfill. I don’t consider myself attractive to others because I know that my body is coded as unattractive by others. And you know what? I’m okay with not being attractive. Because when you are aro ace like me, and averse to sex and romance to boot, being attractive loses its appeal. But that has still left its scars. I have a knee-jerk mistrust of compliments concerning my appearance. After enduring so much bullying about my body, compliments on it feel insincere, not to mention also kind of sexist. If you want to pay me a compliment, couldn’t you be bothered to pay me one that is more personally and materially relevant? Apparently not, instead I have to make do with insincere sounding ones about the very thing I was mocked for, because all women prioritize beauty first and foremost, right?

Now, what does all of this have to do with my distrust of body positivity? One, body positivity at its most insipid is all about vague and platitude-laden validations of ~you’re beautiful~. Uh, no I’m not, and stop insisting that I am (remember the insincerity hang-up). Women of the world: you do not get to specifically and deliberately target me with ableist, sexist, and aphobic body shaming and otherwise ingrain the message that I am ~not beautiful~ and then pull a complete 180 on me with impersonal and clichéd validations that don’t mean a thing now that it’s easy and convenient. I am not buying it.

Two, related to point one, body positivity is heavily tied up with sex, romance, and sensuality. Messages about ~celebrating~ and ~enjoying~ your body abound, all tied up with eroticism. I’ve written before about how I am averse to sex, romance, and touch. As a result, a lot of body positivity is actively anathematic. I live effectively severed from eroticism and limerence, so what is a heady perfume to most is a noxious sewage to me. Being aro ace with a triple helping of aversions and absolutely no libido means that I don’t have a body that I can enjoy, and certainly not one I can celebrate. To risk misquoting Coyote of The Ace Theist: “I don’t want to celebrate my body. Go jump in a lake.”

Three—and this is a damning thing to proclaim—I don’t think it’s possible to build authentic body positivity for someone like me. Body positivity that encompasses me is self-defeating: it’s great and wonderful that you do not enjoy your body and are indeed stuck in a body that is incapable of being enjoyable. See, aren’t those empowering vibes just overwhelming? Even if I’m wrong and it is possible, I don’t like the idea of creating a permanent underclass of second best in which I can only get the ham hocks and pig ears while everyone else gets the juicy, juicy bacon. (Incidentally, I’d sooner go without pork than eat ham hocks or pig ears thank you very much). Or to use a punny metaphor: a system where everyone else gets to fly first class while I’m confined to flying economy. But I should totally be grateful of the fact that I am at least allowed part of the pig or am allowed to fly at all, right?

Look, I get why these points take center stage in body positivity. I know that these are uplifting messages that a lot of people need. But… I’m sick and tired of being cast aside because I don’t fit trendy rhetoric. I’m sick and tired of being expected to applaud things that benefit OTHER PEOPLE when it comes at my own expense. Because we aces and aros are constantly expected to sacrifice and de-prioritize our own needs for the sake of People Who Matter More. It’s alienating. It’s embittering. It’s isolating. And I really don’t want to be bitter. Despite bitterness being the cool thing to be online these days, I don’t recommend it. I’m not the first one to point out that body positivity is a mess of well-meaning but contradictory sentiments and competing access needs, but I wish that I wouldn’t get branded as regressive for the crime of pointing that out. I wish that body positivity would be honest about being inherently built for some people but not for others. I’d still hate it, but at least I’d respect it.

 

Guest Post: PCOS & Pap Smears

This is a submission for the March 2018 Carnival of Aces which I myself am hosting this month here on my blog. The theme is “Physical Health and/or Our Bodies”

I offered to host guest submissions on my blog if anyone desired that. Here is an anonymous person’s short submission. (They asked for this to please be posted anonymously.):

I have an endocrine disorder, called PCOS. Basically, my body doesn’t know how to regulate some hormones. It isn’t something I share with a lot of people, like my asexuality, but I can’t share both. Because I know what will happen next: they will think the asexuality is just a result of my hormones being off, and that if I treated the PCOS the “right way”, then my asexuality would be cured. But the thing is, I’m already treating the PCOS with the recommended treatments. And I didn’t suddenly become attracted to people once I started treatment. I’m just as asexual now as I was before I started treatment. I hate hiding this part of me, but what I would hate even more is feeling like a “bad” asexual because of my hormonal condition providing ammo for those who refuse to accept asexuality. Both things still make me feel broken, and it is hard to get past this.
I am also a sex repulsed asexual (first time I’ve even typed those words) and I know part of it is tied to my pain (related to PCOS, and other diagnoses that are suspected but not yet confirmed, because the exams are horribly invasive and painful). Any gynecological exams I’ve had were extremely painful, and I can’t bring myself to do anymore (panic attacks), so I’m not up to date on my reproductive health (pap smear isn’t going to happen anytime soon) and I hate the constant nibbling of anxiety in my mind about it. But I also find the medical requirements idiotic. The guidelines in place for these exams all assume sexual activity. I have no idea what my risks (cancer) really are, because there is no information about people like me, who aren’t sexually active.

 

Me & Squishes (a Lack of Experiencing Crushes)

The question of the week this week, Question of the Week: March 20th, 2018, over on The Asexual Agenda, is:

How do you tell the difference between a friend and a crush?

I once saw a post on facebook saying ‘that tingly feeling you get when you like someone is common sense leaving your body’.   I really like this definition because the only way I can really tell that I have a crush on someone is that I notice myself being kinda stupid around them.  Even then though, I don’t really think I treat crushes much differently to how I treat new friends. Either way, what I want is to get to hang out and talk and do fun things with them, so it all ends the same.

Can you describe what it feels like to have a crush?  Or a squish or other types of attraction? Are these things easy for you to differentiate?  How do you decide what to do about your shiny new feelings?

I have a whole blog post worth of an answer. Please check out the other comments there for other people’s answers! There are plenty of good ones.


Continue reading “Me & Squishes (a Lack of Experiencing Crushes)”

Physical Health and/or Our Bodies—the March 2018 Carnival of Aces—Call for Submissions

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/
February 2018’s was the second time we’ve had a theme on “Mental Health” and this time the theme received 7 submissions – it was hosted by Sophia over at hurricane sophia. The previous time that same topic (mental health) was covered as a Carnival of Aces theme was by Elizabeth over at Prismatic Entanglements in June 2015. That time spawned many responses. It was an extremely successful month for the carnival.

For this current month, March 2018, this is the fifth time that I am hosting the carnival. Before, I hosted select months in 2014, 2015, and 2017. This time, since we’ve done mental health twice but never physical health, I decided to make the topic Physical Health and/or Our Bodies.

The topic is meant to be broad.

It may have plenty of overlap with the time all the way back in 2013 the Carnival of Aces was themed around Disability.

It may also have overlap with plenty of the things people ended up writing about when the theme was gender or about being nonbinary.

It probably has overlap with plenty of other topics the Carnival has been themed around in the past, the one on Touch, that one time about Kink, heck even my own theme of Sex-Aversion and Sex-Repulsion

So maybe me listing all that is already giving you ideas for what you could now write. You may have not been able to submit for one of those old carnivals, but you can submit something now that ties into the current theme!

The point is literally anything having to do with physical health or our physical bodies and how it intersects with asexuality.

A bunch of ideas on what people might write about:

  • Hormone-related stuff, like hypothyroidism, HRT (Hormone replacement therapy) as an option for trans folks, and more in this regard
  • Masturbation or Sex-Drive/Libido, including if you wish to write about a non-existent Sex-Drive
  • Kink, quite possibly non-sexual kink, of the varieties that have to do with your body
  • Your relationship to sexual actions with other people
  • Your relationship to “sensual” actions with other people, and I’m using that word in the ace way to mean things that are non-sexual but still physically intimate
  • Gynecologist related thoughts
  • Or thoughts related to asexuality & your primary care physician
  • Body-image could probably be a big part of this theme
  • Drugs like Viagra or even Addyi (Flibanserin) could be discussed, or other drugs that feel relevant
  • Physical Trauma-related topics
  • Any physical disability you want to write about including chronic illness and how this intersects or doesn’t with asexuality
  • etc! If I didn’t list something and you’re not sure if it’s close enough to the topic, go for it! We want the only tangentially related stuff too, truly. We want the stuff I didn’t think of. More posts is always good!
  • For more ideas, check out The Asexual, a literary journal, the issue that was released on “Asexuality and Body” as a theme: http://theasexual.com/journal/#vol-1-issue-3

Let me know in the comments (or by email, etc) 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 . The deadline is the end of the day Saturday, March 31st! 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. You can also contact me via my tumblr, which is luvtheheaven.tumblr.com – links don’t send in “Asks” though, so I’ll never get your post if you try to send a link that way. I do receive submissions and messages but in my opinion, email is easier, and comments here are easiest.

Thanks!

My Mental Health Journey & My Asexuality Journey

This is my submission for the February 2018 Carnival of Aces themed around mental health, and per usual, all of us participating linking our blog post submissions in some way back to both asexuality & the theme. The call for submissions was here. The round-up of all submissions is now here: https://hurricanesophia.com/2018/03/01/carnival-of-aces-mental-health-wrap-up/


When I first posted this blog post it had been written entirely on my phone within the final 2 days of February, most of it within one sitting, and it was extra ramble-y and a few of the parts didn’t tie back to asexuality as much as I wanted. So I added a bit more on March 1st in the middle of the day/edited on a computer and hopefully the post is slightly improved, even if the rambling and random nature can’t be entirely fixed as this is kinda stuck as my blogging style.

I’ve been through a bunch of traumatic experiences related to my abusive mother. I’m 28-years-old nowmy birthday was last monthwhich means I’m well into adulthood. That’s hard for he to believe sometimes, as it took me a while to start doing a lot of adult type things, such as to be gainfully employed, and part of what delayed me might’ve been my process of recovering from my childhoodmy experiences with my mother largely were contained to my childhood or teenage adulthood years (18/19).

There were more of these experiences than I can easily count, more than I’ve ever really blogged about, including the two times most recently:

1) being in a deposition for a civil case between her and her former fiancé, as a character witness against her/in her fiancé’s defense at the end of 2014 (when I was 24) which shook me much more than I anticipated, and

2) at the end of 2016 (when I was 26) the experience of seeing her again at my grandmother’s funeral and witnessing how much this woman I’ve been successfully avoiding entirely (other than her voicemails) just hasn’t changed at all, seeing her siblings call the cops to have her removed from the funeral home.

Then, on the other side of my family and while she remained completely unaware of this part of my lifebecause my brother, father, and I successfully went No Contact with her years priorI witnessed my uncle die by suicide, in November 2013. (I was 23, and this occurred about 1 month after I settled for sure on the asexual label for myself.)

4 years later, almost exactly 4 years from the date in fact, a person I considered a friend and a peer perpetrated a murder-suicide in November 2017. Yesterday was the 3 month mark since this transpired.

These events all have almost no overlap with asexuality, but these traumatic things all certainly did affect my mental health. (Also I’ll note that while I experienced abuse, none of it was sexual abuse, nor abuse in the context of a sexual relationship of any kind.)

At the same time, despite the lack of overlap, my asexuality affects all my interpersonal relationships, and always has (even before I had the word asexual to categorize myself with!). It affects who I am and the context I’m in when I repeatedly find myself needing to process traumatic things.

(For instance, those 2 most recent experiences with my mom happened after the summer of 2014—which was the moment in time at which I slowly started making friends via the in-person asexual meetup group in my city. I had grown extremely isolated over my 4 years at college and 2 years post graduation, and my only friends were via online friendships… until meetup.com kinda saved me from that life. I spoke to at least one ace friend about the deposition at the time, and I talked to a number of ace friends about that horrible experience with my mom at my grandmother’s funeral.)

Continue reading “My Mental Health Journey & My Asexuality Journey”

Immutibility, aka the Parts of Myself That I Can Count On

This is my submission for the January 2018 Carnival of Aces, on the subject of “Identity”. The roundup of entries is here. The call for submissions can be found here. The masterpost explaining what the carnival is is here. I was rushing to finish this post, below, by the deadline so please tell me if you notice errors.


If you were to ask who I am, you might get an answer that copies other people’s bio blurbs on blogging websites or something. You’d get a different answer if I were to write a cover letter addressed to you as I tried to get hired by you. There are different parts of me that are relevant to reveal at different times.

There’s this lyric I love in the Marianas Trench song Who Do You Love?. The second line especially, but it’s both of the initial lines in the first verse, and they are:

God, it’s been so long wide awake that I feel like someone else. / I miss the way that you saw me, or maybe the way I saw myself.

Feeling like “someone else” than they were when with their (presumably romantic) partner – these are lines about a person’s sense of identity! This is a breakup (and hoping to get back together?) song, by the way.

After my queerplatonic partner broke up with me – really, after both times he did (because yes we were on-again, off-again) – I could feel this.

I didn’t only miss tangible things about our relationship, but at times I also felt my entire perception of myself shifting. There were all sorts of levels to this. It was like external validation that I’m logical if he thought what I said made sense and little things like that, which I also get from friends and family in my day-to-day life but which I got a higher degree of from him.

But it was also… Knowing someone else thinks you’re worth talking to more often than anyone else, knowing they want to build a future with you – it can be a powerful thing, and for me it boosted my self esteem, my sense of how “likable” a person I am, and all sorts of hard-to-quantify things.

Feeling secure in that relationship also shifted what I saw as possible in my future, and there’s some sense that “me” – who I see myself to actually, in full, be – is some combination of my past, my present, and my future.

The second time Robert* broke up with me, he all but ghosted me – while he did tell me he “couldn’t do this relationship anymore” and made it clear he was breaking up with me, he didn’t offer any real explanation and suddenly was completely gone from my life despite a promise to explain more the next day. He went silent, no proper goodbye, nothing.

*Robert was/is his chosen pseudonym for my blog

I really like this article on Psychology Today about ghosting:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/living-forward/201511/is-why-ghosting-hurts-so-much

Especially this part:

One of the most insidious aspects of ghosting is that it doesn’t just cause you to question the validity of the relationship you had, it causes you to question yourself. Why didn’t I see this coming? How could I have been such a poor judge of character? What did I do to cause this? How do I protect myself from this ever happening again? This self-questioning is the result of basic psychological systems that are in place to monitor one’s social standing and relay that information back to the person via feelings of self-worth and self-esteem.

How does this relate back to identity? I think things like “clearly, I’m an unreliable judge of character” is kind of about your sense of identity, core parts of your skills/abilities/instincts in ways that at least feel unchanging and just the way you are, for better or worse (and you’re thinking, at this point, it’s the “for worse”). Maybe it’s not true that you even are bad at that, and even if you are, maybe it’s not true that it’s unchangeable. But planning to raise kids with a person who ultimately leaves you without a goodbye makes you doubt yourself, “who you are”, how you could’ve ended up in this situation. How much of it was your own fault?

My feelings back when I was still happily in a queerplatonic partnership with him also shifted what I felt my own self capable of feeling – like being “in love” and realizing my capacity to have sensual desire for touch/hugs occasionally but in a demisensual way. I still feel those as lasting effects on my sense of identity, even with Robert gone from life.

What I’m “capable” of feeling, generally speaking, is a big part of why I identify as a non-libidoist sex-averse asexual. It is defining what I like to see as immutable parts of me. It’s not just with one particular person that I feel the need to run away/push the person away if sexual-anything seems potentially on the table. No, instead I possess, knowing these identities of mine, the ultimate “it’s not you, it’s me” card, a description of a core part of who I am and expect to always be, in all relevant circumstances as an adult. It’s just a stable set of facts about me.

immutable: adj. Not susceptible to change.

Anything immutable is a pretty good starting point for identity, I think.

susceptible: adj. Easily influenced or affected.

There are tons of parts of me that technically could change, given certain extreme circumstances, but are quite unlikely to change.

In general, the way I conceptualize it, an identity is only an identity once you already realize you’re basically “past the point of no return” – this is who you are by now, whether it was choice that started you on this path or not? Things that are so embedded in your sense of self. Things that even if they change, you’ll say it’s who you used to be in a “I was __ back in those years” sense rather than just what you did.

Continue reading “Immutibility, aka the Parts of Myself That I Can Count On”

Aftermath [a poem]

(Cross-posted to tumblr here.)

This is related to my two recent blog posts on a certain subject. Ideally the prose poem could stand alone without you even knowing the context of my blog posts.

Check out the content notes over here at this one: https://luvtheheaven.wordpress.com/2017/12/07/unpacking-some-of-the-extreme-distress-i-experienced-last-week/ if you are concerned you might want content notes for my poem, and feel free to read my blog posts either before or after you read this poem I wrote.

I started a couple lines of this poem within that very first week but kinda had to start fresh as my feelings evolved. I wrote this late at night Sunday December 10th before going to bed and later that week edited it a little after receiving feedback from an acquaintance in an online informal writing group. I thought it might still be edited more but now I’m thinking this is probably the final draft of it.

I may write more poems on the subject, on different emotions, or a more updated way to express where I’m at. Poetry feels like a good medium right now.


Aftermath

It isn’t really like you
To hurt people
Or was it? Was this always who you were?

It’s taken me time to accept
we’re in the
Aftermath
of this horror.

“We” being me, and your other friends, and your family.

(Not you. Not anymore.)

Because when you made the choice, you trapped me
in the
Before.

Was I fortunate to live on the east coast?
Free from the danger you posed?
Was this really Freedom?

I started crying here.
But days passed before the crying was because you were dead.

What a shame. The people who loved you, not one of us, can ever simply be sad you’re dead. You. You made this about… everything else imaginable, but not really that.

Grief isn’t ever simple, regardless.
But if you had died, and that was all? It would be infinitely better.

Death isn’t better than much.

But
this example plainly illustrates how
your friend Dying by His Own Choice
isn’t actually the worst thing that can happen.

I feel like I’m lying by omission unless I say the part that happened first.

You were crying there.

You told me for a month.
Not sleeping.
At your lowest point in your life right now.
Dreading Christmas.
Dreading every task of every day.
You even implied all the feelings of Shame.
(Avoiding telling anyone why you quit.)
(Only telling me a week later because of guilt, like you really owed your professional partner an explanation and not explaining had been unfair. You and her, ninety-five percent chance of Divorce.)
(Only telling me you had been struggling with alcohol after another a length of time passed.)
(And there was that added context in your tone of voice too.)

Yes.
I heard you loud and clear.
You said it all.

And I offered all my commentary.

“Other people go through this too.”

“My parents had a worse situation than you and her. I truly believe getting divorced within months is better than the decade and a half of no legal agreements, which as a child, I survived.”

Your situation looked better
from my side of the fence.

I kinda knew the grass is always greener on the other side.

Maybe my comments missed the mark. But at least I tried.

At least I said something.

I tried to convey
Divorce Sucks
and I was sorry.

If only I knew…

No.
I didn’t hear even a muffled whisper.
You didn’t say anything at all.
Through my own tears, I realize now how you never mentioned if you were crying.
(You even said you weren’t suicidal.)

You acted relatively calm about her. You were upset at the thought of seeing her.

However.

You had honestly hoped to save this marriage not too long ago.

I guess in the most twisted of ways, you did prevent a divorce from being finalized.

I offered my helpless sympathy.

I openly expressed I wished she wasn’t seeing another man,
wished you weren’t going through this,
wished I could do more.

You said you knew all these things from me.
You said Thank you.
You acted kind. Appreciative of my sentiments.

I assumed you knew I wasn’t the best person to comfort you.
You had to have known.
My longest romantic relationship spanned such a fraction of your marriage.
My years of being alive such a fraction of your life.

You didn’t scare me at all.
(You didn’t reveal any of your anger.)
You… cracked another joke about Texans and them not having heard of winter coats.

You’ve now made it hard for me to look at my winter coat.

You’ve already missed the snow that came to San Antonio this December.

You would’ve had so much to say about it.

But I guess you’ve missed this entire December too, now haven’t you?

You will miss all Decembers from now on.

And so will your wife.

And your kids will never look at anything the same I’m sure. Snow or Decembers or Sadness or Divorce.

There are too many reasons I’ve been
Crying
Both Here and There.

There.
Yes.
I should mention:

I finally made it to Texas.

When you decide to orphan your children it suddenly gives me a reason for a journey.

If I had known it would save the course of five lives…

Would I have come sooner?

Would I ever have believed I needed to be there for you?

Would it have possibly even helped?

Sometimes it really was like you
To hurt people
To hurt my feelings
To make me doubt myself
To make me cry

But you were trying to help the world
You cared about making it a better place
A safer place
Less scary
And more fun too

We had gotten past our disagreements.

It isn’t really
like you hurt me too.

When I say five lives
I mean you, plus
Your poor wife
Who, it should go without saying,
Didn’t Deserve This
And your three daughters.
Who also Didn’t.

And we all keep saying it anyway.
Because what else is there to say?
Apparently you didn’t realize this.

In the end, it was so much more than five lives.

It is such a huge number of us.
This ripples out more painfully than you would have dreamed, even when you were in your right mind.

So today
I’ll remind you of just one more.

You really hurt me too.