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.

 

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Me & Squishes (a Lack of Experiencing Crushes)

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

(Also, vloggers are invited to speak on the topic in videos, artists/poets invited to be inspired by the topic, etc — whatever format you wish to participate with, please, use that format.)
Check out the masterpost of all of the other amazing topics previous carnivals have been on: https://asexualagenda.wordpress.com/a-carnival-of-aces-masterpost/
February 2018’s was the second time we’ve had a theme on “Mental Health” and this time the theme received 7 submissions – it was hosted by Sophia over at hurricane sophia. The previous time that same topic (mental health) was covered as a Carnival of Aces theme was by Elizabeth over at Prismatic Entanglements in June 2015. That time spawned many responses. It was an extremely successful month for the carnival.

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

The topic is meant to be broad.

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

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

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

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

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

A bunch of ideas on what people might write about:

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

Let me know in the comments (or by email, etc) if you have any questions or concerns.

To submit your entry, either leave a comment below or send an email to me at pemk7@aol.com . The deadline is the end of the day Saturday, March 31st! If you would like to post anonymously, I can copy and paste text from an email into a Guest post on this blog of mine, just let me know that this is your wish. You can also contact me via my tumblr, which is luvtheheaven.tumblr.com – links don’t send in “Asks” though, so I’ll never get your post if you try to send a link that way. I do receive submissions and messages but in my opinion, email is easier, and comments here are easiest.

Thanks!

My Mental Health Journey & My Asexuality Journey

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Robert was/is his chosen pseudonym for my blog

I really like this article on Psychology Today about ghosting:

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

Especially this part:

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

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

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

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

immutable: adj. Not susceptible to change.

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

susceptible: adj. Easily influenced or affected.

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

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

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

Aftermath [a poem]

(Cross-posted to tumblr here.)

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

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

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

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


Aftermath

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

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

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

(Not you. Not anymore.)

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

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

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

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

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

Death isn’t better than much.

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

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

You were crying there.

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

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

And I offered all my commentary.

“Other people go through this too.”

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

Your situation looked better
from my side of the fence.

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

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

At least I said something.

I tried to convey
Divorce Sucks
and I was sorry.

If only I knew…

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

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

However.

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

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

I offered my helpless sympathy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You will miss all Decembers from now on.

And so will your wife.

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

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

There.
Yes.
I should mention:

I finally made it to Texas.

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

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

Would I have come sooner?

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

Would it have possibly even helped?

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

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

We had gotten past our disagreements.

It isn’t really
like you hurt me too.

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

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

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

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

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

You really hurt me too.

 

“The Romance of Friendship” in ScreenPrism’s analysis of the TV series “Friends”

This isn’t a real blog post or anything. I just thought people who are interested in the concepts of:

  • queerplatonic relationships
  • what is romantic vs. platonic
  • What does it mean to value friendships really highly even as an adult?

Etc…

I felt like you guys might, um, need to see this analysis of the TV series Friends, because wow it presents quite an interesting argument:

 

Also note I included only Chandler&Joey of the Friends core group as a possible queerplatonic type bond when I hosted my own fanvideo collaboration about queerplatonic-type-bonds on TV shows I know…

(Actually I hosted two fanvideo collaborations about queerplatonic bonds, but this is the collab containing Chandler/Joey.)

(I didn’t vid Chandler/Joey, my friend who vidded them though did capture multiple moments referenced in ScreenPrisim’s later-published analysis video, above.)

 

Anyway… I just felt like basically “reblogging” someone else’s (or, as I’m pretty sure it’s a team working with ScreenPrism, multiple someone elses’) awesome analysis work and a video I really appreciated. So check it out.

Unpacking Some of the Extreme Distress I Experienced Last Week

[Content Note: Heavy stuff, Traumatic Experiences, Discussion of Suicide kinda, Discussion of Murder and Domestic Violence and Abuse, Grief, etc. Tell me if you think I overlooked something I should be warning for.]


So Monday November 27th, I went through a particularly traumatic experience with a very close friend of mine becoming a murderer in the last second of his life before choosing to die by suicide. I have been through traumatic things in my life before, things that made it so I struggled to sleep that one night of the day the thing happened, things that made me want to talk about it constantly, things that made me still feel upset for a little while afterwards. But this particular thing affected me in a way unlike any of the other things I’ve experienced.

The tl:dr is that I’m doing way way better this week. I’m okay. I’m going to be okay.

But I wanted to write some more about all this.

After morning through midday last Friday (December 1st) writing up my last post about how I couldn’t stop crying, I still was a wreck. I then proceeded to be fired from my volunteer organization, as if that wasn’t going to be adding insult to injury especially when I had unresolved extreme fear/trust/walking on eggshell issues from September based on them treating me super unfairly back then, 3 months ago, and I just… and I still wasn’t sleeping, and I was adding EXTRA stress to myself about needing to wake up at the ridiculous hour of 3:45 AM to catch a shuttle to the airport that I almost forgot to book…

So it shouldn’t be that surprising that by dinner-time hours that night after I had kept being distracted by things all freaking day that it’d been about 26 hours since I’d eaten a meal (although around the 20 hour mark I’d shoved some plain cheese in my mouth from the fridge), I semi-tearfully told my brother how I wished we had hot dogs in the house or something so that I wouldn’t have to actually put any effort or even just patience into my dinner and he offered to go to the store and buy them for me. I asked if he really wanted to do that for me, and he chuckled a little nervously and seemed almost scared of… okay not scared of me, but out of his comfort zone with my grief and like he did want to help, and said maybe not like he super wanted to but he’d do it.

And it shouldn’t be all that surprising, either, that trying to sleep for 6 hours that night I still could not, I was an adrenaline fueled total mess, and at one point I started literally shaking in my bed, and I don’t think I was shivering out of any cold temperatures under my heavy comforter etc; it didn’t quite feel like that kind of shaking anyway. I got out of bed and put my pantyhose on that I planned to wear with a skirt to the airport because I was planning to be properly dressed for the funeral when I left the house at 4:00 AM. I put my pajama shorts back on, on top, and I tweeted my freak out briefly, and when I got back in bed I wasn’t shaking.

My friend on twitter told me:

This from https://www.helpguide.org/articles/ptsd-trauma/coping-with-emotional-and-psychological-trauma.htm sounds like what you’re going through.

what I'm going through

And I think that helped me a lot to read…

That article in general did help, not just the excerpt.

It’s probably true that something about:

While traumatic events can happen to anyone, there are risk factors that make some of us more likely to experience psychological trauma following a disturbing event. You’re more likely to be traumatized if you’re already under a heavy stress load, have recently suffered a series of losses, or have been traumatized before—especially if the earlier trauma occurred in childhood.

is affecting me too, that previous traumas are piling up on me. I’d just, earlier that month, finished vidding and writing up an explanation of my breakup from back in May. I had to dwell on some of the intense feelings, especially at the end of the vid, and I think the way Robert broke up with me was kinda a trauma; I was very suddenly and confusingly abandoned. I’d felt similarly again when Recovering from Religion as an organization suddenly suspended me as a volunteer for no good reason in September, like I was having flashbacks to my breakup almost in a very vague sense, even if they decided to end my suspension and let me back in later. It all felt really unfair. I tried so hard, put my all into a relationship of some kind, and got this in return. I found myself really upset by sudden shifts to my life, I’d recently been sent to tears at work by a co-worker accusing me of being a liar who was trying to destroy her career when I completely didn’t do anything and I was kinda a stressed and an ashamed wreck over how “sensitive” I’d been and how crying at work probably made it all worse. My supervisor and her supervisor both got involved to help me and they were super nice to me throughout the incident, but I’m left now still having a super chilly relationship with that co-worker… and that upsets me because I was really starting to feel like she could be a friend before all this. Obviously I have had childhood trauma too…. Even Thanksgiving week my aunt was acting frustrated by the tiniest of things and like everything we all did personally was offending her, and it wasn’t that bad but it kept things kinda tense that whole “vacation” staying at her house for 5 days. My dad, my brother, and I discussed it once we got back home, like it made everything “less fun”… and I just…

Things have probably been building and building for me and that’s part of why I finally burst and broke last week.

I’d already been remembering back to 2.5 years ago with this comment thread and started re-reading that stuff a little out of curiosity. I wanted to understand WTF was happening with me, with my body, with my reaction.

Eventually I also reminded myself of the sentiment in this comment too by re-reading more, a sentiment I’d seen plenty of places in my life but still it never felt as real until right now…

Continue reading “Unpacking Some of the Extreme Distress I Experienced Last Week”

I’ve Been Crying For ~95 Hours, Now…

Hi everyone. Where do I begin?? And how am I supposed to tag this freaking post…? *Sigh*. I am… beyond emotionally drained as this week sorta starts to come to a close.  Please read down to the end if you care about understanding the extreme grief and trauma I’ve been going through since Monday.

[Huge Content Notes for: Murder, Suicide, Domestic Violence, Grief… um let me know if I need to add something else in here.]

I basically want to laugh (darkly) because The Asexual Agenda’s Question of the Week this week is all about keeping secrets and well… In the past few days especially and into this blog post I’m braving writing now, I’m going to make it so there are basically ZERO secrets anymore in my life, in the sense of no separation of my real life identity and my online persona. I’ve been doing it slowly but surely for a little while now, and while even now I’d still rather not write my full name on my blog here so that people Googling my first and last name don’t as easily find where I write about “not masturbating” or “trying sex and being averse” or whatever, just in case for my next job… of course that precaution might still not really be enough though. But basically I’m going to tell you all my first and last name now.
So, without further ado: I’ve been volunteering with Recovering from Religion as a non-profit internet-based organization since February 2015 when their “The Hotline Project” first launched. (It has more recently been renamed Recovering from Religion’s “Helpline”.) I have been in many roles as a volunteer there – Call Agent, Chat/IM Agent, Mentor, Supervisor, Moderator of a Helpline Community when they started the communities, and, most notably, since we published our first episode on Friday May 6th 2016, I’ve been a co-host of Recovering from Religion’s podcast.
2 months ago today, I even mentioned in my bio which you can used to be able to read at the end of this that I was both a co-host of the Recovering from Religion podcast and that I blog under the username luvtheheaven at WordPress. 😛
William Scott Smith, who preferred to go by his middle name Scott, starting about 7 months later than me in September 2015, has been in every single one of those roles too, and he’s been one of my very best friends for most of that time. 2 years of my life I’ve known him… Pretty darn well for an “internet friend”.

Continue reading “I’ve Been Crying For ~95 Hours, Now…”

Viewing Shipping, Sex Scenes, even Friendship through Asexual Eyes: a Privilege and a Curse since 2013

This is my second submission for the Carnival of Aces October 2017, themed around Asexuality in Fandom. I’m a day late finishing this one up… The call for submissions is here.


Imagine you really needed glasses (or contact lenses – you needed vision correction of some kind!) in order to see the world clearly, but you didn’t have them. You never knew you needed them. Zero people around you have glasses and every single person you encounter assumes level of eyesight is pretty consistent across humans. So you just assume it too. They look at you and just assume of course you can see with clear vision! (Everyone does.) You don’t realize they’re seeing more than you.

You manage your life for a while, maybe a long while, only very gradually realizing you’re… not fully seeing all the detail most people around you are. Maybe your vision is getting worse and worse all the while. Eventually you are pretty sure your vision is worse than other people’s but you don’t imagine any solution is possible, so you just try to make the best of the situation.

I wear glasses and I know the metaphor is far from perfect. But one day finding out about the existence of and/or need for select people to get vision correction (in this ridiculous hypothetical world I’ve come up with where average teenagers and adults aren’t already aware that people lose eyesight from genetics, age, illness and/or injury, plus are unaware that some people are completely blind, etc etc…)

Well in this hypothetical universe, the opportunity for vision correction would feel practically like a lifesaver, after all those years of being used to life without them! This is huge. This is what real people in our actual present-day world experience when they get their first pair of glasses, but to a much more intense degree. Once you possess those glasses you needed, you can’t help but notice many details all around you that other people overlook. You can’t help but feel very attached to your glasses. You guard them as the valuable item they are. You hate taking them off ever even when it’s only practical for something like sleep. You get frustrated by the lack of any characters in fiction either wearing glasses or even seeming to know low vision can exist…

The point isn’t that you finally could see exactly the same things as people who don’t need glasses. (That’s not at all how it works for us aces and… “Feeling sexual attraction” and that kind of thing. We don’t want or need a “cure”, and regardless no such thing exists.) The point I was going for is that the glasses themselves (the asexual identity), that item, were a thing you needed, something you find immensely useful, and an item other people around you don’t personally need to wear but you feel you do.

Ok I’ve clearly run this metaphor into the ground. It was never a very good analogy in the first place. But the idea I was trying to set up for this blog post is:

I was in fandom for between 6 and 7 years without knowing I was asexual or that asexuality existed.

And then, and I’ll admit the shift wasn’t instant like putting on glasses would be, but during the course of 2013, as my worldview shifted to accommodate both 1) the fact that asexuality existed and 2) the fact that asexuality included me.

(My worldview also, during this time, shifted to accommodate aromanticism, which in some ways was harder and slower for me to fully accept perhaps, and also took more time before l would understand that I myself was on that spectrum.)

I was freshly seeing fandom through asexual eyes.

It’s not like I was seeing the world through allosexual/”straight” eyes before, but it was eyes of not knowing what I wasn’t seeing/not knowing fully who I was vs being very much aware of it all, and it has made a huge difference.


In many ways, the shift was jarring and surprising to me, not something I realized would become a part of my experience… and also impossible to ignore.

I went from being indifferent to sex scenes or even curious and intrigued by them, perhaps trying to learn about allosexuality through them before I knew that’s what I was doing… to just instantly when a sex scene would come up feeling reminded that in real life I am sex-averse (because after giving sex a shot I knew I wasn’t ever going to enjoy it), instead of hopeful or expecting to one day be in those characters’ shoes.

Continue reading “Viewing Shipping, Sex Scenes, even Friendship through Asexual Eyes: a Privilege and a Curse since 2013”