Category: Uncategorized

Falling

Imzy is shutting down. I want to preserve these little original writing things I did for the 100 words community so I’m reposting them here on my blog. The prompt at the time for this one was “Fall”.


In my life, there have been multiple instances where I’ve felt embarrassed – in fact, where I’ve felt lesser as a person! – simply because I had the misfortune of tripping and falling. Sure it makes sense to not want to fall. Literally being hurt in a physical way is, indeed, negative. Becoming skilled at avoiding injuring the only body we get is an important skill if we want to survive. But my instinctual first reaction? “Oh no; other people can judge me right now.” This shame seems illogical and problematic. I wonder… Do I shame others when they fall?

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Sexualized Language

This old post from The Thinking Aro (formerly The Thinking Asexual) is something I mainly agree with so I’m going to reblog it. Generally please remember to read everything this person writes with a grain of salt – read critically and acknowledge that sometimes they are wrong. In fact sometimes VERY wrong. They are elitist in many of their writings and make a lot of generalizations about all romantic-sexual people, and they don’t allow any comments on their posts these days and haven’t for quite a while. That all being said, sometimes they’re the only person to have written on some… really interesting topics, especially concerning aromanticism. It certainly frustrates ME that a few of these words are assumed to have a romantic or sexual meaning in contexts where it’s intuitive to me to use them in non-sexual, non-romantic ways.

Relationships that lack stages

This is my third and final submission for the January 2016 Carnival of Aces, which had the theme “Relationship Stages”. I’m a day late with this one, yes. Oh well. 😛 For more information on the Carnival of Aces, click here.


 

One thing that I think, traditionally, is so special about friendships is that they aren’t supposed to have stages, rules, limits, ultimate end goals, none of that. There are still ways friendships can go wrong, ways you can feel like you don’t have any friends or not enough, feel like you feel more attached to your friendships than your friends feel attached to you, etc. But it’s nothing like the distinction between being “single” vs “in a relationship”.

There are a ton of things that are special about friendships. They’re a kind of relationship that spans little kids (even toddlers) through old age. They aren’t relationships where you need to have a conversation about if you count as friends or not — you can just sort of let it happen and decide that you consider someone else your friend, regardless of how they feel about you. And there is a large array of different ways for friendships to play out that still feel “acceptable” in our society – there is not just one script for friendship.

If you Google “stages of friendship”, sure, plenty of things come up, often about the stages before reaching “best friend” status, and weirdly some results about specifically “female friendship”. But there isn’t a checklist for friendship the same way there is for romantic relationships. There isn’t a list of experiences most people expect to reach when they consider their own friendships, or consider entering into a new friendship. And when a friendship ends, there isn’t usually a need for a big significant “break up” — in fact most friendships just fade and these people couldn’t tell you the day they stopped being friends with that person. 😛 You don’t really feel like your relationship “Failed”, just that it “ended”, because in general, there is no goal for “success” when it comes to friendships the same way there is that kind of “goal” in traditional monogamous romance.

There are other kinds of relationships that, to me, don’t feel like they have stages either. Something like a relationship a person has with their sibling, their aunt, their uncle, their cousin, their grandparent — most of their family members (except not their parent/guardians) these are bonds that may or may not really be bonds at all, you can have a family member and not know them, never spend any time with them, etc, but if you do have a relationship with them… there isn’t really a progression, a set of common experiences that is easy to generalize among all families… there are just so many differences in how people experience these relationships. And often, there is constancy in these bonds. It doesn’t feel like they go through stages. I could be wrong and other people do experience what seem like stages in their familial relationships of these types, but the general cultural narrative I’ve picked up from living the the USA is that there aren’t general ‘stages’ one is expected to go through in these relationships.

Also, temporary relationships, as in, ones meant to not last. A job that you know you’re only at for a summer and your relationships with your coworkers there. A year in high school where you develop a kind of relationship with most, if not all, of your teachers but you know after you leave their class, the relationship will be over. These also are definitely types of relationships that don’t really seem to have “Stages”. True there is the “first meeting”, a period when, if you’re lucky, you feel like you know them better and they know you better, and maybe a “Goodbye”, but… but I feel like these types of relationships are not usually considered in terms of separate stages, that people usually think back on it in simpler terms than that.

Does this make sense to anyone besides me?


 

Anyway I enjoyed thinking through these things for the Carnival of Aces this month. 😛 I used my blogging as a way to help me think through the issues. I hope maybe someone enjoyed reading my thoughts.

Stages in Relationships

This is my second submission for the January 2016 Carnival of Aces, which had the theme “Relationship Stages”. For more information on the Carnival of Aces, click here.

[Content Warnings/Notes: Mentions of death. Discussion of abusive relationships. Brief mentions of sexual assault in a section about virginity.]


 

If you go to Google and start searching for “Parenthood stages” you will find PDFs like this one on 6 distinct stages: http://arbetterbeginnings.com/sites/default/files/pdf_files/Six%20Stages%20of%20Parenthood.pdf or, to my dismay, an article from bigoted/anti-LGBT group Focus on the Family on there being four “phases”. You’ll find various books published on the topic and various academic articles at .edu websites on research people have conducted.

Clearly, it’s not just romantic relationships that either seem to have stages. I could think of many ways a relationship between a parent and a child seems to usually… “evolve”, “progress”, etc, much like it has its own kind of relationship escalator. There are ideal stages for kids and parents to be at depending on the age of the child, and this extends until the death of the parent, which is “supposed” to happen prior to the death of the child. Obviously the child dying first is one way the stages won’t happen “according to plan” or according to “how things should be”.

But in truth, there are many ways for parent and child relationships to not follow society’s ideals for the stages. A child having a disability or being neurodivergent can easily throw off the course of the stages, slow them down, prevent some from happening, and the same is true if the parent is like that. A parent dying too soon means not all stages can be completed. Sometimes people just don’t follow the stages for no obvious “Reason”, but the world around them still judges them as doing the whole “being a family” thing wrong. You’re supposed to be exactly the right level of aware of what is going on in your child’s life, but not be overprotective or overly strict or overly bragging, obsessing about your kid when in social contexts, etc, and also you can’t be neglectful, distant, not involved enough, “oblivious”, etc. As a child, you are supposed to respect your parents, but also not be a clingy child one could make fun of with terms like “momma’s boy”.

You’re supposed to become friends with your parent once you reach adulthood, and people who don’t have good relationships with their parents need a good explanation, need an excuse, as for why they don’t. The default is that you would. Deviating from that norm is not usually accepted. People will wonder why the deviation has occurred.

One common reason for a deviation from that, a reason to not have a good relationship with your parent(s), is if they were abusive to you.

Abuse is something that has stages too. More specifically, abusive relationships of many different types, from romantic to familial to queerplatonic and many other types of dynamics as well, have specific recognizable stages.

Continue reading “Stages in Relationships”

Aro-Relationships

I just realized I have a lot to say in reply to this, so I’m coming up with a new blog post as a reply to this instead of just a comment. 😉

Ace of Spades

I have been digging around in a lot of ace and aro stuff on the internet lately. In part for the powerpoint that I posted a while back, in part so that I have some material to bring to ace club, and in part because I really want to know and try to understand all the different ace and aro perspectives.

One thing that comes up a lot in ace forums and pages is an asexual participating in a sexual relationship for whatever reason (they use sex to connect with their partner, they enjoy the act despite lacking the attraction, etc.). What I haven’t seen a lot of (hardly any, almost none) is an openly aromantic person participating in a romantic relationship. The individuals involved would not necessarily be getting the same things out of the relationship, someone would feel romantically fulfilled by the relationship, and someone else would be platonically…

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What are search terms I might’ve used before I knew “asexual”?

This is my response to Asexuality Archive’s question.

See the full tumblr post and look through the “notes” for all of the “Reblogs” with many different perspectives and comments, too.

He said:

Before you knew what asexuality was, how did you think about or describe the collection of feelings that you later recognized as asexuality?  What were some of the things that you sensed were different?  What were some of the questions you had about the way you were?  If you looked for answers using a search engine, what were some of the search queries you used?

I have an idea for a new section for my site that comes at things from that angle, from the point of view of the ace that doesn’t know what asexuality is.  It’s still sort of fuzzy.  I’ve got about 85% of what I want to talk about, but it’s still missing a clear picture of the other 15%, something that connects all the pieces.  Basically, I want to reach out to the undiscovered/pre-identified asexuals, using the words and phrases they’d use and the thoughts they’d be having.

So, before you understood that you were ace, how did you think about things?

And someone else answered, and I reblogged and replied too. I realized I said enough for it to be a whole blog post… so I’m posting my tumblr response here too.

“I figured sexual attraction would come, but I thought I needed to pass some milestone, whether it was age or experience.  I had other things to do“

THIS.

I really thought I was “just” inexperienced, although as time went on, I started experiencing more and more cognitive dissonance about it: https://luvtheheaven.wordpress.com/2015/12/01/why-i-should-have-accepted-the-truth-that-im-asexual-sooner/comment-page-1/#comment-542

After I did know that asexuality existed, search terms I used were things like “Do asexuals not like kissing?” because I hated making out/kissing with tongue, the only kind of kiss on the mouth I’ve ever tried, and I thought it might be a sign that I was asexual. But what I found were all these asexuals saying “Can I still be asexual even if I like kissing?” so I felt more lost, like it must be that the guys I was kissing just weren’t “my type” sine EVERYONE, even asexuals, liked kissing.

If, @redbeardace​ , you had a search term like “Are there other people out there in the world who don’t like kissing?” or “Do some people like sex, but not kissing?”, that would’ve been the kind of thing I was wondering about then and searching for (wondering if I might like sex when I tried it in the future, even if I hated kissing.). Other asexuals could use, “Do some people like kissing, but not sex?”, lol.

Other things I started wondering about was if I might be demisexual/might just need to wait out being with my boyfriend for long enough to ”fall in love” before I could really give up on the idea that I was “normal”. I didn’t want to be asexual. If I didn’t know the words, I would’ve probably done the same thing, and I might’ve searched “how long until you enjoy kissing?” or “how long until you’re ready for sex?” or “how long until something your partner does gets you aroused/turns you on?”

Because, well, I have zero sex drive/libido/ability for arousal. http://luvtheheaven.tumblr.com/post/128500834127/non-libidoism-asexuality-aka-i-have-never-had

And I thought, I wondered, about hormone imbalances or about being stupid and about how maybe I was getting aroused and didn’t recognize it for what it was, or that I needed just the right trigger, needed to touch myself or be touched in just the right way, and then I’d experience what it was like to be “turned on”. I saw that hormone imbalances usually have other pretty obvious symptoms I didn’t have. I searched about a lack of or “no sex drive” or “low sex drive” in women and all I found were the types of things like, idk, what Flibanserin interviews talk about now. Older, married women not feeling interested in sex anymore, finding it hard to get in the mood, etc, and found that it’s normal for sex drive to decrease with age. But I was in myyoung 20s! Not that age yet!And even in my teens I hadn’t ever had a sex drive that I knew of!

I read this article: http://www.scarleteen.com/article/advice/what_if_i_never_want_or_feel_ready_for_sex and I really don’t like how they say it’s “unlikely” you’ll turn out to be asexual, (okay their exact phrasing is:

…most people, in a lifetime, will want to engage in at least some of them and will feel ready for at least some of them at some point.

But while that’s true for most people, it’s not true for all people. Some folks really don’t ever want to have some kinds of sex or even all kinds, because they just don’t feel those desires or don’t feel the desire to enact them.

but whatever)

because it made me doubt myself, doubt that that could be my identity, for longer. “What if I never feel ready for sex” seems like a search term more asexuals would use than non-asexuals, although maybe not, but either way @hellyeahscarleteen made it seem like there is such a low chance that asexuality is the answer, that you shouldn’t bother “worrying” about the fact that asexuality might be your answer, about figuring out if you’re asexual or not, in fact the word asexual isn’t even mentioned in the text there, only indirectly told people about asexuality being a possibility in the link under “Don’t feel those desires or don’t feel the desire to exact them”. It brushed off asexuality as a potential comfort to the asker of the question, and instead focused on all of the things in life you can do instead of sex, and idk, while I like the post overall, I know at the time it almost made me feel worse about myself, when I was confused and searching for answers and wondering myself “if I’m 23 years old and have a great boyfriend and I’m not ready YET, will I EVER be?”

They have these posts on a similar topic, too:

(see the second question here, especially, since sex isn’t enjoyable for the advice-asker, an aspect many asexuals could probably relate to) http://www.scarleteen.com/article/advice/im_not_readybut_am_i_just_overthinking_it

and:

http://www.scarleteen.com/article/advice/im_25_shouldnt_i_have_been_ready_for_sex

Anyway… I guess I had a lot of thoughts on this topic. I’m looking forward to your page meant for asexuals who don’t know the word yet! It’s important, for sure.

Why I Should Have Accepted the Truth that I’m Asexual Sooner

This is my (late) entry for the November 2015 Carnival of Aces, which has the theme “Reasons I Should Have Known I Was Asexual”. (Whoops, time got away from me and it’s December already. Well, in the wee morning hours of December 1st I’m trying to write this quickly and squeeze this in under the wire.) For more info on what the Carnival of Aces is, look here.


 

I’ve read multiple people saying for this Carnival of Aces theme that they should’ve known they were asexual sooner (and often should’ve known they were aromantic too) because they were so obviously sex-repulsed (and anti-romance) in the way they acted and the things they said throughout all of high school, or otherwise for years before discovering the label.

They use anecdotes of the form “I was so ace, I ___”, most of which I don’t personally relate to. I understand that some of them are perhaps a bit exaggerated. Often the stories are told in purposefully amusing ways and they are entertaining sometimes to read. I do appreciate everyone sharing their experiences, even if they aren’t the same as my own. I love learning about what other people in the asexual community went through.

But growing up, or just looking back now in retrospect, things weren’t really that obvious for me when it came to my asexuality, and I didn’t say or do things that seemed drastically different than my heterosexual peers.

lilo-the-awesome-one’s submission is one of MANY examples that has moments like the ones I’m talking about. She said, for example:

I actually remember one time in preschool I was thinking about how someday I would have to get married. The thought absolutely sickened me. I thought boys were gross, and girls… Well I couldn’t see myself marrying one either.

And, well… I don’t relate to that at all. When I was a young child I dreamed of getting married one day. I looked forward to the limited stuff I knew about romance — even despite my parents getting divorced prior to the age when I really started forming solid long-term memories. And I always thought traditional, heterosexual romance would happen for me, which, once I knew what sex was, would include sex in my hypothetical future.

I don’t really think I “should have known” I was asexual before discovering the word for it.

But what I do think is that I should’ve “known” that I was asexual a little sooner than I did. I found out about the word asexual when I was still in college, when I was 20-ish.

It took 3 full years for me to embrace being asexual, including months – months!! – of dating a heterosexual guy where I did not yet know.

Continue reading “Why I Should Have Accepted the Truth that I’m Asexual Sooner”

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

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

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

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

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

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

The topic is meant to be broad.

Some ideas on what people might write about:

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

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Implications of the Words We Say: Learning Linguistic Mindfulness

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

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

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


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

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

And to the Republic
for which it stands

One Nation
Under God
Indivisible

With Liberty, and Justice, for all.

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

Continue reading “The Implications of the Words We Say: Learning Linguistic Mindfulness”

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

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

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

Valprehension

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

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

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

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

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