I Read the Texas GOP Political Platform (and I am Terrified)

Fun Fact! The individual parts of the GOP political platform are called “planks”. Haha! Cute, right? And, yup, that is all the fun we’re going to be having this evening. Because oh, my fucking God, I’m probably going to need to breath into a paper bag just to get through this. Fuck, um, read at your own discretion. And, no, I’m not just being dramatic.

Continue reading “I Read the Texas GOP Political Platform (and I am Terrified)”

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Stoic Week: Day 5

I felt really confident about today’s theme because it’s about Emotions and I’m actually a very calm person. I was very happy to share my “insert dragon” technique with someone. The conversation went like this:

Other Participant: I’m an extremely emotional and empathic person (I cry for everything! even sad TV ads) and I tend to let my emotions control me although I am trying to change this…When something triggers my anxiety, my emotions take a hold, and I start to spiral in this negative mindset thinking to myself “why do I feel this way? Why me? This is all my fault I should have stopped stressing in the first place that was the cause of all this anxiety to begin with!”…I was wondering if anyone has advice on this? How to train yourself to not react so negatively towards situations. How to take control of your emotions? Thank you so much, I really love this course and love reading everyone’s comments and wisdom. It is very inspiring to me.
Me: I have a weird technique I use for snapping myself out of negative thoughts. I don’t know if it’ll work for anxiety, but I use it for minor negative thoughts like replaying past conversations in my head or imagining future scenarios that stress me out. I call it the “insert dragon technique”.
Basically I realized that since replaying conversations and thinking about the future are just made up of thoughts and I can control my thoughts (I have an active imagination so I have lots of practice), I can just “insert” a dragon and it’ll snap me out of it.
Example: Say my boss calls me into his office and the whole way there I’m thinking “Crap, what did I do? Did I mess up? Did a customer complain about me?” So I’ll immediately start imagining about how I think the conversation is going to go and with each step I’m getting more and more freaked out. But the thing is it’s just my imagined scenario that’s making me nervous because the actually event of talking to my boss in his office hasn’t even happened yet. So once I realize I’m imagining the scenario, which means it’s only in my head at this point, I can take the reins back and I just imagine a dragon crash landing in the office, because what’s to say after that? (And I picked a dragon because I like dragons). The mental image that creates is so *bizarre and outlandish* that it’ll snap me back to the present.
It feels a lot like waking up from a weird dream when I do it. I’ll use the same technique if I catch myself replaying a past conversation I feel really stressed about or embarrassed about. The point of the exercise is to get back to the present where I have the most power. I can’t do anything about the past and I can’t predict the future.
Once I’m back in the present I can do a more accurate check in of what I’m actually feeling instead of what I imagined I was feeling. I also think it’s important to let myself feel my feelings. If I try to suppress what I’m feeling then I can’t get an accurate picture, or rather an accurate bio-feedback, of what I’m feeling. If I don’t know what I’m actually feeling then I won’t be able to figure out the cause and if I can’t figure out the cause then I can’t do anything about it in the present where it counts. I’m not sure how feasible it is to completely control some emotions.
Maybe the first step isn’t to try and stop feeling emotions or trying to control your emotions. Maybe the first step is not letting the emotions control you. Once that happens it at the very least levels the playing field.
Morning Meditation

It isn’t the things themselves that disturb people, but the judgements that they form about them. Death, for instance, is nothing terrible, or else it would have seemed so to Socrates too; no, it is in the judgement that death is terrible that the terror lies. Accordingly, whenever we are impeded, disturbed or distressed, we should never blame anyone else but only ourselves, that is, our judgements. It is an act of a poorly educated person to blame others when things are going badly for him; one who has taken the first step towards being properly educated blames himself, while one who is fully educated blames neither anyone else nor himself. – Epictetus, Handbook, 5

I really like this quote actually. Epictetus was referring to how people become trapped by their thoughts and anxieties not realizing that we can control our thoughts. There’s a difference between a reflex emotion (like fear) and a “judgement” emotion like dread. In the example I used earlier, if I got called into my boss’s office on my way there I would probably be feeling worried or anxious, but that’s because of my own thoughts not because of any real threat. However, if I see a spider crawling one me all bets are off and I’m going to scream and brush myself off. That fear reaction is a biological reflex and I would need several months of exposure therapy to even try to gain some control over that (and it’s not going to happen).

Midday Reflection

The task for the midday meditation/reflection was to recall a time when I acted badly based on my emotional judgments and try to recall a time I acted correctly based on Stoic values. The first one is easy because I tend to get really annoyed when people ask for extra food like they’re entitled to it. Oh, the joys of food service. Some crazy lady wanted “extra jalapenos” and wanted to make sure I gave her “lots of onions” because she “always” gets extra jalapenos. Fuck that. I have a bar-code on my register that says “add jalapenos and onions”. It’s 75 cents. Her attitude about it really, really rubbed me the wrong way. And this other crazy lady who was not happy with the chicken we had on display so she point blank asks me “if it were your mother, what would you do?” the implication, of course, being that I would give my mom the best piece of chicken possible and I point blank responded “mom is vegan”. It wasn’t my most Stoic moment.

This week I’ve actually been really good about not getting irritated at my coworkers and just focused on enjoying their company and the sense of camaraderie.

Evening Meditation

So reflect on this: the result of wisdom is stability of joy. The wise person’s mind is like the superlunary heaven: always peaceful. So you have this reason to want to be wise, if wisdom is always accompanied by joy. This joy has only one source: an awareness of the virtues. A person is not capable of joy unless he is brave, unless he is just, unless he has self-control. – Seneca, Letters, 59.16

I am very, very tired right now. Friday nights in food service are sucky, suck suck. Like it was an hour wait for some folks before they got their food. They could have gone home and just cooked dinner in the same amount of time.

I’m going to trust Seneca on this one, but I need to work on my self control (the proof being the ice cream in my freezer right now). On a side note, my emotions are a little off balance (and I was doing so well) because a dude asked me out. Again. I said no before. My coworkers told him I was asexual (I’m so happy they accept it) and that I would say no. I understand he’s coming from a place of ignorance and he can’t put himself in my shoes. I did the whole “you know when you’re not attracted to someone?” and I pointed so somebody random I knew he wasn’t attracted to. “Apply that to the whole human race”. I could tell he was disappointed, but it’s not my fault that I don’t feel love that way.

The sad thing for me is I when I was filling out the “self-monitoring” sheet this week I would get flashes of loneliness and I realized I was actually feeling jealous. It was weird to realize that jealousy had a colder form and not just the passionate green that always gets portrayed in media. It literally feels like a ball of ice is sitting in my chest. I feel like I’m “missing out” even though I can logically reason that I’m not actually missing out on anything by not having romantic attachments. I don’t actually want a romantic relationship. It’s against my very nature to be romantic, but the jealousy is still there. It’s irrational and it hurts and it’s probably going to take more than a week to deal with it.

Living on the Fringe of the Fringe

You’d think I’d by now I’d be used to being the odd one out, the part of the venn diagram that doesn’t overlap. I’m the only red-head of my generation in my family, I’m aro-ace and agender, and I’m a liberal living in Texas. The problem is I feel like I’m living on the edge of the edge of all of my social groups right now.

Nerd Culture:

I’m a nerd. That’s not unusual, most people seem to be one in one form or another these days, but I’m more of the “may the force be mass times acceleration” kind of nerd.

Magic the Gathering is HUGE at my work. It’s all Magic all the time. Even the supervisors play on game days when enough people are off to get together. I’ve tried, but it’s not my thing. One of my coworker’s even offered to drop 50 bucks on a starter deck for me. …Like, can’t you just give me the 50 bucks? No? Really? sigh~ Fine.

I spent half that on a travel size Mahjong set and I have to say, zero regrets. I love playing Mahjong, but I literally cannot find three other people willing to play with me because it’s “too hard” and “too confusing” for my social circle. I literally taught myself the Cantonese style in a week and I just use a scoring app because, yes, scoring can be a little confusing for beginners, but I’m not trying to be a pro or anything. I play it because I enjoy it.

A good chunk of my coworkers dress up and go to Comic-con every year. Meanwhile, I’m saving up to go to World Con once every few years (next year it’s in Dublin!). I’m less about the action and spectacle of Science Fiction movies and more about the philosophy and social issues they try and address. My coworkers watch anime; I watch cheesy Hong Kong movies. My coworkers quote classic 1980s action films. Meanwhile my Netflix que is 99% mystery films from every decade. I’m definitely a nerd, but somehow I’m not really overlapping with the rest of my local nerddom. I could try a little harder do fit in, I guess, but if I may quote a more recent movie:

“I have lived long enough to know what I like. What I dislike, I cannot abide.” –Hercule Poirot Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

LGBT+ Culture:

There’s several LGBT folks at my work and as an aro-ace it’s really hard to fit in (again) because their usual pass time is clubing and drinking. My dad is an alcoholic so it’s a very touchy subject for me. Apparently music plays a big role in LGBT identity? Makes sense I guess, but my tastes in music are a little…odd. Mostly because a lot of popular music is about romance or some teenage angst I missed out on because I didn’t discover my orientation until I was an adult. I’m weird about music because it’s like it needs to age for a decade or two before I can really enjoy it. I casually mentioned to one of my coworkers that I was listening to an Everyly Brother’s album “because they have the best break up songs” and he looked at me kind of weird and was like, “did a dog snub you or something?” Which I guess points for acknowledging that I don’t date and stuff, but at the same time- rude, dude! It’s not like I didn’t experience a profound sense of loss after realizing that as an aromantic all chance of the fairytale romance I grew up believing in was never gonna happen and because of that Bye Bye Love really happens to resonate with me and I’m Not Angry always cheers me up because it’s so freaking ridiculous. It’s not like there’s any music specifically for aromantics and yet there’s millions of love songs, so I’m working with what I got.

 

It’s definitely lonely living on the fringe, but it’s tolerable for now. I don’t have an over abundance of people I truly call friends, but I don’t want nor can I to change to accommodate others. I’m hoping to at least find a compromise, but as of yet I haven’t really found anybody willing to give my interests more than a passing “gee that’s weird”. Maybe, I’m just a little too out there on fringe.

Carnival of Aces May 2018: “Filling In the Blanks”

This is my Carnival of Aces submission for May 2018 hosted this month by Prismatic Entanglements under the topic of “Nuance and Complexity“. For more in formation about the CoA, to see past topics, or to volunteer to be a future host see the master post on The Asexual Agenda

“figuring out you’re asexual is like trying to find a nonexistent needle in a very large haystack except people keep trying to convince you that you’re just not looking hard enough or you’ll find the right needle eventually but the needle just isn’t there and yet everyone else’s is and then you wonder whether or not you actually have a needle and then you spot something that might be a needle but nope it’s just another hay strand and everything is confusing and now the haystack is on fire”
Source: simplydaisys

One thing I don’t like about identifying as asexual (and aromantic and agender) is I feel like my identity is defined by blank space. Other identities can say things like, “I like girls and I’m mostly a girl, so I’m lesbian” or “I’m pan, I like who I like regardless of gender.” My explanations feel like a fill-in-the-blank question on a test you didn’t study for. I am who I am based on attractions that aren’t there and more often than not that’s met with skepticism or lack of comprehension.

Continue reading “Carnival of Aces May 2018: “Filling In the Blanks””

Carnival of Aces: April 2018 “My Unexpected Future”

[This is my Carnival of Aces submission for April 2018 under the topic of “How did your (a)sexual and (a)romantic orientations impact your (expected or imagined) future?” Hosted this month by demiandproud. For more information about the Carnival of Aces, to view past topics, or to volunteer to be a future host see the master post on The Asexual Agenda blog.]

As soon as I finished paying off my first go at college I set three goals for myself for the following five years:
1) be financially stable, 2) get started on my career, and 3) be in a “meaningful” (meaning “romantic”) relationship.

As the saying goes, “If you want the gods to laugh, tell them your plans.

Five years later I’m “financially stable” in the sense that I’m flat broke, I’m going back to school to change careers, and surprise! I’m an aromantic asexual.

I’m flat broke. But that’s because I’m paying for classes out of pocket, so it’s okay?
I’m almost 30 and I still live at home. But I pay rent, so it’s okay?
I haven’t started “my career”. But I like my current job for now, so it’s okay?
I’ve never had a “meaningful relationship”. But being queer means I basically have life-time membership to an awesome club of people as weird as I am, sooo it’s…okay? I think I’m okay.

“All the birds have begun nests except me and you, what are we still waiting for?”

Well, if you know anything about birds, it might have taken a looong way to get there. Several bird species are known to migrate.

One thing about growing up in a small town that I thought was super weird was people who went to the same elementary school, same middle school, and eventually the same high school would hook up and marry young. Like, ew? There’s a major city with a population of 1.5 million just 35 minutes down the road. Seriously, ya’ll could have shopped around a little. My elementary school only had 300 students when I went there.

Both of my parents “migrated”, so to speak. They met in Denver. My mom had always dreamed of living in Denver, so she packed up herself, her few processions, and her dog into a car and drove there from Indiana. My dad moved to Denver almost by accident as he and his cousin were passing through with the intention of looking for work in Montana, but he found a job in Denver instead that hired him on the spot. It always seemed odd to me when people don’t have a “migration” aspect to their love story like “met while away at college” or “Met at comic-con” or something.

I attempted my own migration of sorts. I lived out of state for two years and traveled all up and down the West coast and the Pacific Northwest coast. Noth’n, natta. It wasn’t until a few months after I came back to Texas that I found out asexuality was even a thing. You’d think it would have come up sooner in my travels at least.

I’m not really sure what I’m going to do. I can’t exactly date other people because whenever somebody asks I get super twitchy and uncomfortable. I don’t want aro-ace to be a deal breaker, but having to explain ace/aro/agender to people before I’m ready definitely is.

The last time somebody asked me out it turned into a mess and I was very uncomfortable. It pissed me off that he just assumed I was straight and I didn’t know him well enough to come out as ace because he didn’t give me enough time to build up any trust. I don’t understand the whole “dating to get to know them” concept. I would need somebody to know before hand that I’m asexual, aromantic, and agender before I would be comfortable enough to even try to be emotionally close to another person. That’s what I’m missing in my life right now; somebody willing to understand and accept all three. Not even my family can do that.

I’ve tried using ace apps and websites to meet more aces, but there somehow always seems to be a snag. “But, you’re biologically female right?” was a memorable one from Acebook. Ugh, *shivers*.

So, I wouldn’t say I’m “waiting” for anything, but rather I’m still in the “migration” phase of my life. I guess some people (like my former kinder classmates) are like blue grouses and their nesting spot is right next door while others, like me perhaps, are more like Arctic terns.

arctic terns in a migration flight

We gotta looooooong way to go yet.

Rats (Again).

The drama with the guy at my work is continuing to unfold.  I texted him back clarifying that what I meant by “formal” response was I wanted to give a polite answer in person and outside my department. The only time I see him (outside of the total three times I’ve hung out at his place for game nights with other coworkers) is at work. While I’m working. For me it’s strictly a manners thing. I didn’t want to say “No, because I’m not straight like you obviously think I am” over a text message.

So, in response he texts me saying “okay, will tomorrow work?” and uh, no, because “tomorrow” was Easter Sunday and I had family stuff to do. Common sense?

Also, because of this whole thing I’m no longer comfortable being alone with him. It’s not that I think he’ll do anything, I’m just no longer comfortable because I feel cornered. I realized that I can’t “be polite” about it anymore because that’s leading to some very serious miscommunication.

Continue reading “Rats (Again).”

Rats.

So, I mentioned a while back that somebody at my work asked me out and I thought the matter had resolved itself because I said, “no” and it wasn’t mentioned again for two weeks.

The matter is not resolved.

At the time I asked if he wanted a “formal reply” because he had asked me out over a text message ON THE DAY FROM HELL. Dude has no sense of timing. Serious, don’t ask people out on Daylight Savings day. Common sense, people, go get some. Also, that day I did NOT get enough sleep, I had an anxiety attack for unrelated reasons and was late for work, so if I could just block that day from my memory forever that would be just great. …And I’m off track.

So, I get a text at 1:33 AM saying, “Hey, been thinking about when you said no to a date and asked if I wanted a formal answer. I want to be able to set the record straight for myself so there’s no confusion form my end.” W. T. F. I said “no”. Where is the confusion.

Fortunately, there are places I can turn to and people I can ask when I’m having a miniature freak out. I’m going to go do that now.

Okay, I’m back and I’m much calmer than I was. 1) I found a really good PDF called “10 Steps to Becoming an Effective Ally to the LGBT Community” that I’m going to print out and take with me just in case. I’m not “out” per se, but I don’t consider my asexuality a secret. It’s just not something I like to talk about because it becomes “Asexuality 101” and I hate doing that. 3) I’m not going to respond to the text until I’ve had at least six hours of sleep and a half a pot of coffee. Lastly, 4) I’m going to be polite about it. Just like I can’t force myself to magically feel attraction towards somebody, he can’t just magically switch off his attraction. He’s only responsible for how he responds to those feelings and impulses (but the aro in me is still squicked out just a teeny-tiny bit, just saying).

That’s my game plan. I’m also working with my supervisor tomorrow so I can hide behind him in a corner if I need to.