Author: luvtheheaven

Some Bullet Points – luvtheheaven’s Aro Thoughts On Music

This is my (late) submission for the Carnival of Aros in July 2020 hosted by Zazz. The Call for Submissions was here, and the theme was “Music”.

I forgot to write a coherent post on this theme while there was still time in the month, and now it’s 3 AM in my time zone on August 1st and I’m just now starting the post. But here is something because I did really want to participate.

My bullet points idea was short one sentence things and then I wrote this mess below. Lol oh well.

  • Music is something that often conveys emotions, and connecting strongly to certain emotions expressed in swelling instrumentals or passionately sung lines is a way that some aromantic people can prove to both themselves and to others just how emotional they are as human beings.
    • Conversely, not relating or caring about extremely emotional music is stigmatized and people are even dehumanized sometimes for not appreciating certain musical things, whether the person is aro or not. Music is not as universal as many would like to believe.
    • Not relating to romantic songs, not feeling those feelings, could be a good sign you’re aro
  • Amatonormativity is perhaps more strongly evident in the songs on a typical radio station or playing in the shopping mall than almost anywhere else in life, although fictional stories in movies, television, entire libraries and bookstores do compete. But musical lyrics are often harder to curate your life around avoiding the specifics of when they are played in public even, and reminders of specific amatonormative ideas are not just prevalent but truly pervasive.
    • Taylor Swift just came out with a new album, and the first song on it is “The 1”, which by using the numeral digit instead of the word “One” is differentiating it in part from SO MANY other songs you could find on iTunes called “The One”. Although at least one other artist already has one using the numeral and calling it “The 1” as well. There is a monogamous romantic ideal of “The One” you’ll get a happily ever after with that people keep writing songs about – I wish these artists would name the songs over a more unique phrase or couple of words in their songs lol.
      • I feel like an imposter/fraud at being an aro when I relate to songs like this. The lyrics are about “And if my wishes came true / It would’ve been you” kind of stuff, about someone you wanted to be “The one”, and I’ve had that twice now in my life. First with my former queerplatonic partner I call Robert on this blog, then with my more recent alterous partner who I use the pseudonym Asher for. I wished each of them could have been the person I built a life with as a co-parenting partner, and it’s… not romantic to me but it’s still clearly a romantic-adjacent idea.
    • I’m frustrated by how often kissing comes up in the lyrics to songs, because for me it’s the one main “romantic” actions that people engage in, in a way that fills them with positive emotions, that I just cannot relate to because of my orientation(s) and aversions. I can twist a lot of lyrics into a platonic or alterous kind of love that works for what I can experience. But when I’ve tried kissing, it’s been upsetting and extremely uncomfortable and lessens the intimacy I feel between me and the person who was interested in kissing, and I never miss with longing what it was like to kiss someone, etc. It reminds me how different I am from the rest of the allo world more than most things do when I hear lyrics about kissing, which I do hear more often than lyrics about explicitly sexual things, because of my taste in musical artists and what they tend to focus on.
    • There often feels like a frustratingly low percentage of songs on certain topics. For instance: why do people sing about the deaths of loved ones so infrequently that many grievers find themselves re-interpreting some breakup songs as about bereavement? Yes, there are quite a lot of songs about grief, but percentage-wise it feels like so little.
      • There are not enough songs about cutting abusive parents out of your life, so for the past 12+ years I’ve tended to relate to breakup songs in the not-intended way of many lyrics applying to cutting my mom out of my life, or relating to the anger I would feel towards her as someone who treated me poorly and I’m glad it’s my past now.
      • Relatedly, most of the songs about abusive relationships I would come across, such as “No Love” by Simple Plan, “99 Biker Friends” by Bowling For Soup, and “Face Down” by The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus were all very heteronormative stories of romantic partner-abuse, even “Jar of Hearts” by Christina Perri mentions the abusive/hurtful person being someone she once “kissed” on a regular basis, but where are the songs about abuse occurring in other types of relationship dynamics?
        • I can think of about two songs that are pretty clearly about abusive parents in my mind, although the implication is not actually all that explicit – “Numb” by Linkin Park and “Just Like You” by Three Days Grace. I also love how non-specific Taylor Swift’s “Tell Me Why” song is on who the abuser is, so it could easily fit a non-romantic dynamic too.
    • It’s not just each individual song that contributes to amatonormativity. It’s them all together to form a societal “norm” of what the vast majority feels and wants and experiences. The stories told in these songs collectively explain what common threads are, and cause young aros who don’t yet know they’re aro to assume this will be their future, because they aren’t hearing songs on the radio about the experience of being aro.
    • There are also countless songs that incorporate amatonormative generalizations into the lyrics.
      • “Everybody” by Ingrid Michaelson claims: “Everybody, everybody wants to love / Everybody, everybody wants to be loved”, continuing into the bridge:
        Oh, everybody knows the love
        Everybody holds the love
        Everybody folds for love
        Everybody feels the love
        Everybody steals the love
        Everybody heals with love

        And I, before I knew I was aro (over a decade ago actually), vidded this song for Valentine’s Day because it felt super romantic to me. I still don’t feel like this is really the kind of song where you could re-interpret love intended to be non-romantic, although maybe that’s just my bias of what my video was:

        Regardless, I think even re-interpreting generously the love described as possibly as platonic, claiming that “everybody” knows this love excludes people who don’t feel things they describe as “love” for their friends or family, some aplatonic people, etc.

      • I love the song “Moonlight” by Thriving Ivory, as another example. I feel like I still relate in my way I experience longing for partnership etc when they include the lyrics:
        See we’re all looking
        For something, for someone
        For anything. For anyone
        But I’m, I’m still looking for you

        And yet they do strike me as amatonormative nonetheless, like everyone is seeking a partner when that’s not true.

      • “Gotta Be Somebody” by Nickelback starts off right away with the opening lyrics:

        This time I wonder what it feels like
        To find the one in this life
        The one we all dream of

        As if “we all” dream of “the one”, and the song continues to discuss “the one that I’ll spend forever with”, making the bold claims that:

        “nobody wants to go it on their own” throughout the choruses.

      • Obviously there are countless songs like these. These songs convinced me I would relate one day because they so confidently discuss “everybody”. I really wasn’t prepared for the fact that some people might be exceptions to these rules and not want the same things or feel the same attractions etc.
  • Being both aro and ace opens my eyes to the amatonormativity in music even if I’m possibly aegoromantic (often feeling excited by romantic narratives even if I don’t feel romantic myself, enjoying “shipping” in fandoms, etc), even if I do date and partner with people, even if I relate more to romantic songs than many aros do – I’m still more aware of the amatonormativity than I probably would be if this wasn’t my identity. It affects how I listen to music so much so that I was considering years ago starting a series of blog posts on discussing the lyrics to songs from a gray-aro ace perspective, because I think about it with such a high percentage of songs I listen to.
  • I think there are more songs that aren’t about romance than people realize, because even songs meant to be about friendship, or a Christian love for God, or familial, etc our amatonormative culture tends to hear as romantic, but part of that is intentionally vague lyrics about “love” in many cases because of marketability. Like it’s a self-fulfilling cycle of too many songs about romance and people being afraid non-romance songs won’t do well.

I probably have a lot of other thoughts and feelings on music but… This is what I’ve got for you at now 4 AM on a Friday night/Saturday morning lol.

Sometimes I wish I never had stopped practicing playing a musical instrument. I’ve played guitar, and piano. I also sung in school choruses 6 separate years of my life plus an all-county middle school chorus, and sung in a couple middle school musicals. Most of this has nothing to do with my aromanticism or my asexuality, as far as I’m aware.

I edit fanvideos and have for about 14 years now. I have written already on ways it might intersect with my asexuality, but the two part post also applies to my aromanticism.

Please let me know if you have thoughts, comments, curiosities, etc after reading this post today. Thanks!

 

Going Through Thoughts After My Mom’s Death [a poem] (+ link to see slideshow)

Hi, it is now after midnight in my timezone, but it was Saturday, June 27th, 2020, which would’ve been my mom’s 58th birthday and which seemed like a good day to power through and finish writing the poem I started the first week in February.

If you’d like to see the memorial slideshow I made for my mom, please download it here: https://we.tl/t-hrXOdqfRUu for the next 7 days, or comment below if you missed the deadline and the link expired, I’ll upload it again. I’d rather have a link like that for people to use if they really are curious to see it, than to not share it at all. And yet this seems better than a streaming link.

I followed advice I found via Googling to use her own handwriting from the backs of photos and scan those too for the slideshow, to caption photos so people can tell who they’re looking at, etc.

I discuss the slideshow in my poem below, a poem I started writing while I was still in the process of creating the slideshow. So without further ado, this is a start to some of my thoughts in the aftermath of my mother’s death.


Going Through Thoughts After My Mom’s Death

Going through shots for a memorial slideshow
Many of two toddlers and their youthful glow
Christmas morning, playtime, in others’ arms, etcetera
But I’m looking for the woman behind the camera

Her love for her children wasn’t a ruse
But laws aren’t equipped to prevent all types of abuse
In another life, she might’ve been a good mom
Might’ve been equipped with patience, joy, and calm

So evident in the pictures is her affection
Toward unexpected people, the flash in their direction
She photographed her husband long after they separated
Sisters, brothers, those to whom she was related

She held onto images mailed from an in-law or a friend
Occasionally she herself appeared, her smile not pretend
It certainly is not the part of her I remember best
I recall her as always bitter, angry, and depressed

Continue reading “Going Through Thoughts After My Mom’s Death [a poem] (+ link to see slideshow)”

Life Upheavals and Developments (Part 2)

This post is continued from Part 1. Please read Part 1 first.

When I broke up with Asher, I also moved out immediately. However, the first bed bug treatment was happening in a week, and I needed to work very hard on trying to make sure the apartment complex didn’t file for eviction or anything drastic because of us not being prepared. Despite over 90% of the work to be done involving Asher’s stuff, it was my problem, I had to figure out how to handle it.

Friday of that week, only two days after breaking up with Asher, I received a Corrective Action email from my supervisor for my productivity having begun to suffer over the course of the past three or so weeks at work.

I ended up bringing my dad, my brother, and two friends over to see the apartment for the sake of helping with tons of physical labor of moving stuff around, taking things out to the dumpsters (the apartment being on the 3rd floor with no elevator), taking tons of clothing and linens to laundromats, taking many storage bins to a new storage unit over multiple car trips, etc. We did most of the work over the course of 2 weekend days, Christmas Eve, and still weren’t finished and had to keep working hard on Christmas Day.

Asher and I cooperated during this time, although Asher’s new partner was extremely angry at me and wouldn’t speak to me and it was a whole… dramatic thing. Asher and I stayed in contact and tried to figure out if there was any way we could be just friends but still in each other’s lives, or to get back together as a different type of polyamorous partner with no intention to be nesting partners (to be living together), no intention any longer to raise kids together one day, etc. We navigated a lot of complicated emotions and painful conversations.

My friends and family talked me into the fact that if it was at all posssible to terminate the lease early, I should not keep paying for the entirety of the remaining 9+ months I would not be living there. I discussed with Asher, who would’ve preferred to keep living there, but in the end we were able to terminate the 1 year lease fairly easily, with a minimal monetary penalty, all things considered. We gave our 30 day notice on January 2nd. Asher began to work toward finding a place (i.e. a room) to move in alongside their partner they’d been dating since September, in large part because the two of them could much more easily afford a place together, but also because they did want to live together.

That same day, at 10:30 PM, I received a phone call from the police, where I was informed that my estranged, abusive mother had been found dead in her home. My brother and I were next of kin because she was not married, and we had to decide what to do with her body and everything relating to her estate. She was renting a home, so we needed to empty it so that the landlord could rent it to the next tenant.

Over the course of January, I needed to prepare to present on sessions relating to asexuality and aromanticism at the Creating Change conference, for the third year in row, as the slideshows and plans were not even yet formulated. Meanwhile, I needed to figure out the practicalities in the wake of my mother’s death, and I was under more scrutiny at work, and it was all a lot.

Continue reading “Life Upheavals and Developments (Part 2)”

Life Upheavals and Developments (Part 1)

I moved in with my partner less than a week after my last blog post, the one called Crying Over A Fictional Kiss that I wrote for the Carnival of Aros and posted on the last day of September 2019. 

A week or so before we moved in together, Asher (my partner) met another person they had begun to date. Asher and I are polyamorous and Asher and this new partner were beginning to really hit it off.

I haven’t been able to bring myself to finish a blog post since then, but I really wanted to update all of my followers on a few things briefly even if I haven’t written a full blog post yet on any of these specific topics, some of which do really deserve their own posts. This draft for just quick updates was something I started and thought I’d post in February, before the COVID-19 pandemic really reached my part of the USA, before that was even on my radar as a topic that would consume everything. This post has nearly nothing to do with COVID-19.

Starting the very first weekend we were in our new apartment, Asher’s new partner slept over in the queen? king? (I can’t remember) bed in the master bedroom, while I’d sleep in the second bedroom in a twin bed on days said new partner was over. During the weekdays, I’d sleep in the queen bed with Asher. Asher’s partner usually stayed Sunday overnight and only left Monday during the day.

Here’s a rudimentary illustration:

illustration for blog post (bedrooms, Asher, Emily)

In early December, possibly end of November, I started a blog post that I haven’t touched since the morning of December 10th entitled Hopes and Dreams for Life with My Partner, Snags in the Plans and Changing Course?? My Uncertain Future. The post already is a thousand words long.

Continue reading “Life Upheavals and Developments (Part 1)”

Crying Over A Fictional Kiss

This is my submission for the September 2019 Carnival of Aros, hosted by aceofarrows, on the theme of “Aromanticism and Fiction”. The Call for Submissions was here. I’ve also cross-posted this to my tumblr if you want to reblog it or anything.

Content Note: discussion of varied kissing experiences, including my kissing-aversion. Let me know if I should’ve warned for something else.

Also… I’m not sure how much of what I am focusing on is about my (gray-)aromanticism and how much is my asexuality… it’s hard to really categorize some of this into one or the other category. But I know this is meant to be aro-centric and if you stick with this post I’ll make sure it ties back to aromanticism.


Last month, I listened to the audiobook version of Alice Isn’t Dead by Joseph Fink.

Potential spoilers are in this blog post below by the way, so you have been forewarned. I’ll try to minimize the spoilers (and I’m not spoiling the ending or anything). I’ll also mention, later in the post, details from over halfway through the book All the Wrong Places by Ann Gallagher, and a few details from The Flash (2014 TV series) season 2 and the Veronica Mars 2014 film and 2019 revival for a season 4.

I loved the audiobook of Alice Isn’t Dead. I found it really compelling. I have heard the podcast was probably a better way to first be introduced to the story, but I instead only consumed this fictional tale in its book form, because my asexual meetup group had decided to read it for its book club. It’s a story with a lesbian married couple at its heart—a romance.

Keisha is the main character. Her wife, Alice, went missing and was presumed dead before the start of the story. When Keisha first sees Alice in this story, Keisha is so angry about the depth of grief she’s been in, grief which is all Alice’s fault due to the circumstance of Alice faking her own death and then… they passionately kiss. And I kinda felt like I was triggered by the way the kiss was used in this work of fiction. I don’t know how else to describe it. I had a visceral negative reaction to it.

This is the paragraph:

Keisha could have hit her. Could have killed her, honestly. Let Alice finally actually be dead if she wanted to be dead that badly. But what she did instead was pull her toward her, and their lips met, and it could have been the day they met, could have been the day they got married, could have been any weekday evening before she disappeared. Keisha felt love, right where she had left it, and kissed Alice so hard that it hurt both of them, because what she really wanted to do was to find her way into Alice’s chest and live there among the bones and blood. She wanted them to be one person, but also to be two people; she wanted so many things, most of them contradictory. She pushed Alice away.

I just said I loved this book. I swear, I really truly did. There was so much I loved about this book, the #ownvoices portrayal of anxiety with a ton of depth (and kinda turning it into a superpower without minimizing how hard it is to live that way), the way the horror played out, the characters, and even the way the romance was written. (I’m usually a pretty big fan of romance in fiction even though I’m not alloromantic. I enjoy romantic arcs, and I even feel shipper type feelings a fair amount of the time.)

But also, listening to this audiobook in my car on a drive home late on a Sunday night, hearing about kissing, and how through kissing a character (whom I could otherwise actually emotionally- and personality-wise relate to quite a bit) was feeling a strong positive sensation of love coming rushing into her… it made me cry. I shed real, actual tears. I got distracted by my own thoughts and angst and had to pause the book and switch to playing music on the radio for a little while. I had to rewind it later because I’d missed parts of what came next. I was just. Not in the right headspace for this romantic kissing situation. Not at all.

The timing was partially to blame. I heard this moment in the book while I was driving home from a day spent with the person I’m dating, Asher. (Asher is the pseudonym I use on this blog for my alterous partner.) We had, just that evening, explored if maybe my kissing-averse self might be able to handle closed-mouth chaste kissing on the mouth, but first I had gotten confused and thought I was agreeing to trying open-mouthed kissing for the first time in nearly 6 years. I had indeed agreed on a previous night that I’d try that too, but when we’d get to trying a number of things had still been unclear. But I knew making out would be a thing we tried at least once… eventually.

Continue reading “Crying Over A Fictional Kiss”

Hi, I’m a Polyamorous Asexual Atheist (etc.)

This is a belated submission for the August 2019 Carnival of Aces, which was being hosted by The Demi Deviant, who happens to be my partner “Asher” referenced below, and has the theme of “Deviant Identities”. The Call for Submissions is here.


I’m not very familiar with the reclaiming of the pejorative “deviant” actually, but per the call for submissions, if it means “any identities that are counter-culture, taboo, misunderstood, frowned upon, marginalized, or otherwise not mainstream,” beyond being asexual I suppose I have a few.

Before I get to what I am, I’ll quickly cover what I’m not.

I’m an ace who is not, as part of my identity, kinky. Being kinky is one of the suggested identities you could have in the Call for Submissions, and while I’ve met a fair number of kinky aces, I myself do not feel deep inside of myself a very strong desire to try any of the various activities often included under a kink umbrella. That being said…

My partner is kinky, and I’ve been considering if I might be open to trying a couple forms of nonsexual kink with them. I also went with them to a queer night at a kink clubhouse.

Continue reading “Hi, I’m a Polyamorous Asexual Atheist (etc.)”

luvtheheaven’s Gray-Aro Narrative

shades-of-grayro on tumblr asked for submissions of experiences/narratives of what it’s like for individual people to be grayromantic.

I decided to write up a long post that will also serve as my belated submission to the Carnival of Aros this past month of August 2019, which had a theme of “Relationships” and is being hosted by assignedgothatbirth on The Aro Anarchist. The call for submissions was here. (This post of mine has been cross-posted to my tumblr as well.)

I think it fits this carnival because I cover what it’s been like dating-while-aro throughout this post, cover my relationship to a term like queerplatonic, etc. I cover a lot throughout this post, a fair amount of which has to do with various relationships? Hopefully you all think it fits enough. I didn’t have time to write my own separate blog post for the carnival this month even though I wanted to. My writing inspiration just took me down this path.


 

I identify as gray-aro and gray-panromantic, alongside my sex-averse asexual identity, and prefer the term “gray-aro” over “grayro”, probably because I appreciate how it emphasizes how close to aromantic I am.

 

Lately I’ve been wondering if I’m only pan-alterous and pan-demi-sensual, rather than gray-panromantic. That would mean, in my case, that I’m capable of alterous attraction to people of any gender, and capable of developing a desire to touch and hug people of any gender—but in this case of “sensual attraction” it only develops after a strong emotional connection with the person. I don’t think I really have any attraction that’s actually romantic at all, ever. Unless my alterous attraction is partially romantic, which is certainly a way you can define alterous. I find it extremely complicated/confusing to define and it’s why I liked the “WTFromantic” labels for years and relate strongly to other similar labels like quoiromantic and platoniromantic. It just took me a long time to figure that out, to learn alterous terminology, etc. Even if I decide romantic attraction isn’t something I feel, my (a)romantic orientation is still gray because of reasons other than romantic attraction. The gray in gray-aro still needs to be there because of who I date and who I feel other types of attraction toward (types of attraction that are often a part of romantic attraction in other people’s experiences of those attractions).

 

And for more context, I’m a white 29-year-old cis woman in the USA, who grew up in a relatively conservative town. I assumed I was straight until I was well into age 23, then for a few more months thought I was heteroromantic asexual. I was 24 when I started to realize I wasn’t heteroromantic and started to consider that I might be pan or might indeed be aro.

 

During times when I can’t use too many words to describe my identity (for fear people will judge me for listing too many terms, for fear people won’t take the time to try to understand all of them, or just because certain website bios have very limited space available), I emphasize being aro-spec over being pan anything. Sometimes I phrase it “gray-aro” and other times I like the even more vague “aro-spec” (where I’m trying to express that I’m somewhere on the aromantic spectrum but you’ll have to ask me to find out where exactly).

 

I can’t really tell sometimes which of my experiences are related to being sex-averse asexual vs which are my gray-aromanticism, and plenty of things could also be a result of something else entirely and neither of the two.

 

But some of my experiences are:

Continue reading “luvtheheaven’s Gray-Aro Narrative”

A Journey Toward Two Happy Homes

This is my submission for the July 2019 Carnival of Aces, which had the theme of “Home”. The Call for Submissions was here.


I have been living in the same town with my dad and brother since before I graduated high school, barring the times I was 450 miles away at college, or the times my brother was 20 miles away at his college, and also taking into account that my senior year of high school I lived with my grandmother 70 miles away during the weekdays. But I kept returning “home” to my dad’s. To this town. To this place, where my brother and I were both finally safe and free from my abusive mother starting when I was 17-years old, and he was 15.

It didn’t feel natural to call it my “home” instantaneously the moment I moved all my stuff in and slept there every night of the week for a summer. I had been visiting my dad on weekends since I was 10 years old, sleeping one night a week in his apartment building, but my “home” was still my house with my abusive mother. Even when I lived for months in a row with my dad after I stopped living with my mom, it was hard to break the habit of calling this space “my dad’s house” instead of just… “my house”. It was just… a new house that the three of us moved to almost at the same time, and where we happened to live.

For a lot of people, the term “home” is associated with a feeling of comfort, safety, or even “sanctuary”. And “home” also is associated with memories, usually pleasant ones, or of history and the story of your life. This is the place where significant moments in your life happened. In that way, it makes sense that a new house I just had moved into in 2007 was not a “home” for me yet. I had loving family, sure, in my dad and my brother, but the place was not exactly home. It was too new, if nothing else.

The song “Sometimes You Can’t Make it On Your Own” by U2 reflects on Bono’s tense relationship he had with his father most of his life, and the line:

A house doesn’t make a home

definitely evokes something powerful. Less intense but still thought provoking is this silly Yahoo Answer:

A house is just a house whether made from wood, metal or stone. A home is a state of the house which required sentient creatures living and interacting.

Ever heard of a haunted home? ^_^

I went off to college and at some point did start occasionally, without thinking, calling my dorm room “home” in the sense of “I’m going home” from class/the dining hall, which when I realized I’d done it felt weird. However, doing that was somehow easier than calling other people’s homes “mine”, like my grandmother’s or my dad’s. There was a sense I had on some level that no my dorm room wasn’t home, and my dad’s I visited for winter and summer holidays was, but I had to break a particular habit that was more ingrained about the language of “my dad’s house”.

I think emotionally when I said “my dad’s house” it felt like “home” in many ways though.

Continue reading “A Journey Toward Two Happy Homes”

“The Five Love Languages”—Round Up of Posts submitted to the April 2019 Carnival of Aces

Edit: My apologies to SoulRiser and Vesper for leaving out their submissions the first time this was posted and having to edit it in later! (Especially Vesper’s which was even later…)

Thank you to all those who participated in the April 2019 Carnival of Aces! The Call for Submissions was here. The Masterpost for that explains what the Carnival of Aces is can be found here: https://asexualagenda.wordpress.com/a-carnival-of-aces-masterpost/ and it looks like there are no future hosts lined up for this current month of May 2019, or for any future months. Please consider volunteering. Even if the topic has been done before it’s nice to get fresh perspectives. Even if you’ve hosted multiple times before, they welcome repeat hosts! Etc.

Without further ado, here are the submissions from this past month!

  1. Ettina wrote The Science of Five Love Languages, and an excerpt that sums up a lot of what Ettina covered is:

Unfortunately, although Chapman’s initial theory and writings have emphasized love languages in the context of many kinds of relationships, the empirical research overwhelmingly focuses on romantic relationships between heterosexual individuals. I would very much like to see research on the love languages in the contexts of queer relationships and non-romantic relationships, including parent-child relationships.

2. Next, Lib wrote The Languages of Luv, where this aromantic ace explains:

I’ll admit the title is me being just tad facetious because this topic physically pains me. As an aromantic I get major hebee jebees when people start tossing around words with romantic connotations particularly when the required reading for this topic is based on a book called “The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate” (Thank you Wikipedia), but I’m going to suppress my baser instincts that are screaming at me to run for the hills and try to form a rational, and hopefully relatable, opinion on the “Languages of Honest Affection” (there, I fixed the title in my brain so I can stop freaking out over the L* word, *shudders*).

3. After that Perfect Number contributed What My Marriage Is Actually About (It’s Not Sex And It’s Not Jesus), and she put forth a lot of sweet examples of the love inside her marriage.

It’s about communication. About knowing each other so well, because we’ve lived together for so long, that we’ve both developed all kinds of little habits that complement each other. And actually, none of this is really “what marriage is about”- none of this was caused by us getting a marriage license and having a wedding. Instead, it’s because we’re in a long-term, loving, committed relationship. And as the amount of time we’ve been together increases, we gradually come to know each other more and more.

4. Blue Ice-Tea wrote Why Love Languages Matter, which unpacks a lot including:

As someone with a high need for affection but little interest in sex, I’m glad a language exists to help me articulate that need. True, I would always have said, “I like spending time with my friends”, just as I would always have said, “I’m not much interested in sex”. But having a specific terminology gives me an extra feeling of validation. It’s nice to be able to say, “Quality time is my love-language”, just as it’s nice to be able to say, “I’m on the asexual spectrum.”

For another, love languages are a reminder of the Platinum Rule: “Do unto others as they would be done by.” Not everyone likes to be shown affection in the same way. For me, touch is way up on my list of preferred love languages; gifts are right at the bottom. It’s good for the people close to me to know that presents do little for me but that I’m constantly craving hugs. Conversely, it’s good for me to remember that this may not be true of them. Some people are very touch-averse but love receiving gifts. It’s important that I respect this and express my affection for them in the ways they like to receive it.

5. Controlled Abandon wrote Gift giving: How it does and does not work as a love language for me which is a very personal post with lots of examples, and the post ends with:

I scored lowest for physical touch, which I think reflects my difficulty in figuring out how non-romantic, non-sexual physical touch works more than anything else. I’d really like there to be more physical touch in my life. The few times I’ve managed it (putting my arm around a friend, sitting close together on the couch, etc.) it has felt really good in a “humans are social creatures” sort of way. Most of the time, though, it just makes me antsy, because I can’t quite figure out how to be sure I’m not sending the wrong signals, or even when touch is appropriate or not. Culturally, physical touch (beyond handshakes and brief hugs) between adults who aren’t in a Relationship isn’t something we really do in North America, so it’s difficult. But I’d really like to figure it out.

6. SoulRiser submitted The Five Love Languages, and why I’m grateful for cats, which includes some interesting personal analysis comparing human relationships to the author’s relationship with cats. (I’m glad animal companionship was brought into this discussion.) This is one interesting comparison:

This may be because my parents absolutely lovedoing things for me, and always have. All sorts of things, including things that didn’t need to be done at all. I know it makes them feel good to do things for me, so I kind of allow it, but I’m not really comfortable with it….

…I don’t mind doing things for cats though, I’ll gladly feed them and make sure they’re as healthy as possible, and they’ll happily do all sorts of random weird nonsensical shit to make my life more interesting and make me laugh a lot.

7. Vesper submitted “love languages”?? communication tool., which was a very interesting personal post on how unexpectedly useful having the idea of the love languages turned out to be for their relationship with their partner.

Two excerpts:

i remember scoffing at the concept of “love languages” itself, however. no offense to those who find such things helpful, but the cynic & skeptic in me can’t help but scoff at self-help books in general—even more so when the subject matter is mental health, relationships and / or “love”. whether theory or research-based or not, the notion of there being five (specifically five) love languages and online tests that can help tell you what yours are was little different to me than the trendy, user-made personality quizzes of the early 00’s—which, for the record, is also how i view other theory / research-based tests, such as 16personalities.com, and the MBTI. regardless of my cynicism and skepticism, however, my curiosity did eventually win out. again. and in January 2018 i revisited the idea of ‘love languages’, trepidatiously sending the test link to my partner of but a mere week at the time.

and

during the course of our relationship thus far, we occasionally come back to the topic of these five ‘love languages’ when discussing random things. sometimes it’s just in the form of an offhanded observation or comment during conversations, like Caspian noticing how my busy lifestyle combined with the timezone difference of me being in Japan & them in the US made them hyperaware of just how important Quality Time is to them, for example. sometimes it was just me mentally taking notice of how my inability to help Caspian out with even the most mundane of things when they get home from a hard day at work, my inability to share food with them when they had none, etc etc—and how, for me, i guess so-called Acts of Service really is something that i like to do for loved ones, even though it would have never occurred to me that that was a thing that mattered to me prior to this.

8. demiandproud submitted two posts. First Christian Love, Queerly Considered, which analyzes conceptions of love in interesting ways, and one excerpt is:

Cis/heteronormative: whether queer people are accepted depends on whether they are thought to be loved and accepted by God. If one considers God’s love to be unconditional and people’s deeds less important, then the Christian (community) is likely to be very inclusive. If God is considered harsh; if certain behaviour or identities are considered to constitute a rejection of God, then the Christian (community) will reject those people.

Personally, the love I consider good based on my faith is equal, consensual and with a more communal focus than commonly found in the Western world.

I would be monogamous towards my partner, but mostly because that fits how I love, I’d hesitate to say others should be as well. I have found my love towards friends and family, philia and storge, to be truer reflections of God’s love for humans than what I felt when I dated, a chaste incarnation of eros.

I hate the near-obsession with marriage and ‘family focus’ I find in my current church. I consider churches that exclude queer people wrong because I very much believe God’s love to be unconditional.

After that she wrote Christian Love, Queerly Expressed, which includes moments like this regarding “Physical Affection”:

Adjusting my behaviour has made me aware of how much both affectionate touch and respecting people’s boundaries can be appreciated. Some friends complimented me for becoming a bit more sensitive. I’ve also personally benefited. Since touch is my “native” love language, it’s made it easier to express it, easier to know when I should and should not. Easier, also, to say no to others when they cross my boundaries and I am uncomfortable. It’s been a boon in my desire to show friends and family affection.

And this regarding “Quality Time”:

Communal: I have found quality time to be a powerful weapon when it comes to showing acceptance and rejection. Being asexual around my family has meant an increased acceptance over time, even when it was scary in the beginning. Also, I’ve come to see people suddenly not wishing to spend time as the surest sign something’s up.

In media and society, I’ve also found that seeing how much time and space there is for queer people is the best measure to gage acceptance. For example, some churches say queer people may attend but that they cannot be themselves while in church and won’t have a space in heaven. Disney claims to be an ally but only shows half a second of men dancing with each other in Beauty and the Beast. Marvel didn’t think Valkyrie’s bisexuality deserved screentime. On the flipside, Doctor Who makes Bill, a queer character, a companion for a whole season, has bit parts as well as recurring supporting roles for gay and lesbian people, single as well as married.

Individual: I’ve learned to make time to love my demisexual self. At the start of 2019, I resolved to have at least one ‘queer’ day every month, in which I read an LGBTQ+ book or go to a queer space or engage in an activity that speaks to my demisexual or panromantic identity. Each one feels like a spa day and leaves me refreshed for another month’s worth of heteronormativity. When I come up against queerphobia, my self-care is planning an extra date with myself.

etc!

9. Finally I, luvtheheaven, have also submitted some posts. I wrote 3 parts to mine.

Personal Life Reflections Part 1, and My Takeaways From Reading Some Of The Love Languages Books

Things That Frustrated Me While Reading Some Of The Love Languages Books

Personal Life Reflections Part 2, and Musings On Compatibility, Attraction, and Love Languages

And things I covered were varied but included:

As a thoughtful listener to these audiobooks, I started to hypothesize a bit about what makes a person value certain love languages so highly, however, and thought back a lot especially on my own experiences as a child. I felt deeply loved by my dad. My mother was abusive and I didn’t “feel loved” by her in the way feeling loved is defined in this book. Although I also reject the notion that she “didn’t love me”. (See my Gaslighting and Love blog post.)

and

There was also one part of the marriage book that was horrible with the compulsory sexuality/sex-normativity… I believe it stated that people are almost NEVER sexually incompatible, and everyone loves sex in the same way, they just need to feel loved first, with the love languages used effectively, and otherwise all men are compatible with all women and everything is easy and happy. He implied that sex is obviously important to everyone. And to the woman in what seemed to clearly be an abusive marriage to me, he insisted she initiate sex even when she didn’t want to, with no concept of consent brought up. Just. Make the other person feel loved as much as possible, in as many ways as possible, until it works and they start loving you back. It was… creepy and wrong.

and

For all the original Love Languages books’ faults, and there are a lot (see my previous post), one thing that I think most aces would actually really appreciate is how sex is very clearly not tied to love in the books, even in the marriage-specific book. Author Gary Chapman says problematic stuff about sex, for sure, but he also says if the only Physical Touch you go out of your way to give or receive is sexual, then Physical Touch is clearly not your primary love language. Other touch is kind of given priority in terms of what “counts” as Gary Chapman actually separates out sex and other touch, much like the ace community separated out Sexual Desire/Behavior from Sensual Desire/Behavior, defining “Sensual” as non-sexual touch. It’s an interesting way to look at a lot of this.

So… check out everyone’s posts, and leave them comments! I hope you enjoyed reading what people had to say for this Carnival of Aces topic. Thanks again to everyone who participated!

Personal Life Reflections Part 2, and Musings On Compatibility, Attraction, and Love Languages

Hi everybody! I hosted the Carnival of Aces in April 2019. This is part 3 of 3 of my submission.


So after I posted the Call for Submissions for this carnival theme on The Five Love Languages, I ended up reading 3 of the books and having so many thoughts that I’m writing 3 blog posts on the subject. This is part 3 of 3. I know it says part 2 in the title but it’s actually part 3 total, just part 2 of the personal life reflections… Sorry if that’s too confusing!

Part 1 was here. Part 2 was here.

This post below has more to do with asexuality and aromanticism than the previous two parts did.
For all the original Love Languages books’ faults, and there are a lot (see my previous post), one thing that I think most aces would actually really appreciate is how sex is very clearly not tied to love in the books, even in the marriage-specific book. Author Gary Chapman says problematic stuff about sex, for sure, but he also says if the only Physical Touch you go out of your way to give or receive is sexual, then Physical Touch is clearly not your primary love language. Other touch is kind of given priority in terms of what “counts” as Gary Chapman actually separates out sex and other touch, much like the ace community separated out Sexual Desire/Behavior from Sensual Desire/Behavior, defining “Sensual” as non-sexual touch.  It’s an interesting way to look at a lot of this.
Also, from the aromanticism side of things, Gary Chapman doesn’t actually say or imply anything is “only true for romance” that isn’t also true for non-romantic dynamics, other than when he tries to explain about the “in love experience” and “infatuation period” based on what the audiobooks only cite as “research” [so I have no clue how sources are cited in the actual book]… But when it came to love, the theorizing was impressively inclusive of the forms of love aromantic people also usually experience and even of the spectrum of human experience from co-workers and college roommates to siblings to adult’s dynamics with parents, love as on a spectrum where even if love stops being a good word for it and maybe “appreciation” is better, it flows seamlessly from love to appreciation in these books and all of it is still important.
There is something oddly validating about the marriage counselor who “invented” the love languages terminology and system having so much to potentially offer in his system even to nonamorous aromantic people?
And the idea of the love languages and these books around them also have so much to offer to sex-repulsed or sex-indifferent asexuals as well! His advice would work well for aces and aros, in spite of his bigotry and what I believe might be a partnership with hate groups like Focus on the Family (or at least I know FotF endorses him based on this image exising). (I know that groups like these have brought about deaths of gay and trans people, I do not say they are a hate group lightly.)
Even if it was unintentional, sometimes I want to take inclusion wherever I can see it. Wherever I can squint and find it!
But enough about that…
Let’s bring this post to the things I said I’d talk about in my title for this post – Compatibility and Attraction.

Continue reading “Personal Life Reflections Part 2, and Musings On Compatibility, Attraction, and Love Languages”