Category: Carnival of Aros

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!

 

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”

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”

Yearning For “Queerplatonic” To Be Recognized As Not Romantic (and other scattered thoughts)

This is my entry for the April 2019 Carnival of Aros, which is on the theme of “Coming Out and/ or Being Out as Aromantic Spectrum”. The Call for Submissions is here. It’s crossposted to Tumblr here. For more info on what the Carnival of Aros is or how to volunteer to choose the theme for a future month, check out this link: https://carnivalofaros.wordpress.com/


There is a separate post I could be writing on the origins of the coming out phrase not having to do with closets but rather debutante ball language (and drag balls), and how complex it is to discuss aromanticism in the context of this phrase. I am not writing that post today.

Allow me to clarify really quickly that in my own life, how “out as aro” I am or am not is very complicated and I’m not particularly in any closet, but. I’m also not sure where I am in regards to outness.

Since I haven’t really blogged directly about my place on the aromantic-spectrum in years, I feel the need to establish context before really diving too much into the theme for the Carnival this month, so please be patient as I ramble and try to explain where I come from in this conversation. Also some of these context-establishing sections will likely be sprinkled throughout the post.

In February, during Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week, I wrote a draft that got past 1,000 words on “Why the Gray-Aro label?” but I never finished it, never published it, and didn’t really like how I had written so many words of context and not yet even answered that question. I felt like I needed to try again. (Maybe skip dwelling on backstory. Jump into the present.)

As an extremely “out” asexual person who isn’t gray at all in my aceness, yet who is hovering somewhere in the gray areas of the aro spectrum, I feel like I’m constantly being asked to place myself (my ace self) into one of only two ill-fitting boxes. #1 Being Alloromantic aka a “Romantic” Asexual, or #2 being Aromantic alongside my asexuality. Most people see things as black or white; one or the other. And maybe I still do too. Even internally, to myself, I jump back and forth—and back again—trying to settle on what I am. Am I fully aro? Can I fit in that box? I often feel like maybe it’d be easier for me.

I never really think I’m fully alloromantic anymore. It’s been 5 years since I’ve wondered if I’m “panromantic”, full stop, no extra modifiers. I feel comfortable saying I’m definitely not. I’m not an alloromantic panromantic.

But I can’t decide if I’m a plain-and-simple aromantic with absolutely no romantic attraction, or if I’m in some other part of the aro spectrum. My identity is blurry rather than solid and easy to categorize. (Thanks! I hate it. 😂)

Continue reading “Yearning For “Queerplatonic” To Be Recognized As Not Romantic (and other scattered thoughts)”