Category: carnival of aces

Learning to See Experiences Related to Asexuality as Potentially “Poetic”

This is my submission for the October 2018 Carnival of Aces, which had the theme “Poetry”.

I apologize for any autocorrect typos, I wrote this whole thing on my phone. Let me know kindly and I can fix them.


Two years ago, in September 2016, I wrote a prose poem about my asexual experience without really realizing I was writing poetry again. (“Again”, because I hadn’t written any poetry in 4.5 years, since my Creative Writing class my final semester of college ended.) September 2016 was during that blip in time when Imzy existed and I was in the 100 words community, challenged to write exactly 100 words, no more and no less, on a different prompt each week.

The prompt that time was “Clocks” and somehow I ended up writing:

The concept was always framed with a presupposition; there would of course come a point in time when I’d be ready. When that time came, I needed to be armed with knowledge. I must brace for the emotional consequences. Itwas an inevitability.

So I learned. For over a decade of my life, I prepared. I absorbed more information than was really necessary. I planned ahead.

But society was wrong. Maybe all along I’d been a broken clock. I’d felt stuck. I tried to push myself forward.

As it turns out, though, I am the flower doomed to never bloom.

I am still not entirely sure if it counts as a poem. But writing about an asexual experience with metaphors and without ever once using the word asexual seemed poetic somehow to me.

It was a start of something.

A key concept from those hundred words made it into a stanza of my new poem, No “Just” About It that I wrote two years later in September 2018 — just last month (as of the time of me writing this blog post) — and which was published in The Asexual, a literary journal. My second piece of writing to be published in one of the issues of this journal but my first poem.

http://theasexual.com/article/2018/9/28/no-just-about-it

This poem is kinda… Political. It’s also fun. We’re often our own harshest critics but to me it seems apparent that it’s not very impressive from an artistic standpoint. But I’m glad I decided to write it, and I didn’t let the genre of poetry intimidate me away from something relatively simple like this.

If The Asexual didn’t exist as a platform I never would’ve thought to write poetry with asexual themes so I’m very grateful to Michael Paramo and everyone there who keeps it running.

From 2004 through 2008 when I was ages 14 through 18 and in high school, all four years I participated as part of the literary magazine club after school. We accepted fiction but mainly received poetry and a little bit of art. Once a week after school our club would read aloud as a group, discuss the merits of, and also respectfully criticize each submission. They would be typed up to anonymize each submission ahead of the discussion, no author listed and no handwriting to recognize. We were always keeping in mind the possibility that the author could be one of us in the room so we had to be careful not to be unkind in our criticism. (I don’t think the visual art pieces needed to be discussed; I think maybe they automatically got in.)

Continue reading “Learning to See Experiences Related to Asexuality as Potentially “Poetic””

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An Asexual Virginity (or Lack Thereof?)

Virginity. The state of never in your life having had sex.

It means different things to different people. It means different things in different circles. It has so much baggage and causes harm around the world. Many very sexist views are rooted in ideas about it. Shame can be so intricately tied to both aspects of how and when virginity was lost or to the fact that by a certain point in someone’s life, it wasn’t.

While celibacy has been written about a number of times in the asexual blogosphere, I’m pretty sure virginity hasn’t been written about quite as much.

On celibacy, I mainly agree with all the points outlined on Asexuality Archive here back 6.5 years ago:

Asexuality and Celibacy: What’s the difference, anyway?.

Elsewhere on the internet you can find a lot of other nuance to this topic if you search deeper into other things written on how asexuals who are not sexually active feel about categorizing themselves as celibate, including information from the ace community census on the topic. (Or, you can at least see how they felt at a snapshot in time, a few years ago.) The word “celibate” has a lot of connotations and implications for a lot of us native English speakers.

“Virginity” is even more fraught to try to talk about, given all the cultural context of the concept, which I think is why a lot of asexual bloggers often avoid the subject. Not all of us avoid it, and certainly it comes up occasionally, but often I feel like it’s “talked around” instead of being the focus of a conversation.

I do really like Jo’s post on A Life Unexamined from 2012 on the topic. Also, Sara K. from The Notes Which Do Not Fit has written some good posts about virginity too (in 2012 & 2014).

Notably, I probably bring it up significantly more than most ace bloggers do. Here on my blog, it’s come up in passing in various posts, and most notably it has come up in these posts of mine:

There’s a Reason It’s Called a “Virgin” Cocktail

My Doubts about Not Wanting to Have Sex (and my journey through the depths of Scarleteen’s sex-positive sex-ed website)

and

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


The Carnival of Aces this month, May 2018, is themed around “Nuance & Complexity“.

Elizabeth, the host, says,

This month, I want us to focus on those things that we tend to avoid talking about, for fear of being misunderstood, or anything that we may have felt we can’t quite (openly) articulate.

This is my first but probably not my only submission for the carnival this month, as I have multiple (completely different) ideas that fit this carnival topic! But for now, I want to dive more into the topic of virginity.

Continue reading “An Asexual Virginity (or Lack Thereof?)”

“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.

 

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”

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

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


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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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


Yeah, about Reid…

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

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

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

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

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