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 they 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, 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. Its 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 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.

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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.

 

 

My Mom and I Had a Fight so She Offered to Pay for Therapy

[TW: Anxiety]

This past week was Spring Break. It. Sucked.

Normally my family has different schedules so even though we all live in the same house, we actually get a decent amount of time to ourselves and manage our own schedules. This week was the exception because everyone was home we were stomping all over each other’s routines.

Sunday I had an anxiety attack and was late for work because of it and the same thing happened again on Monday and my parents are really not helpful with that kind of thing. Fortunately my training took over (see previous post) and I was able to look up a breathing video on YouTube to calm me down the first time. The second time my mom was fighting with me in the middle of my anxiety attack and all I can remember was the argument wasn’t going anywhere and I just. couldn’t. think. Finally, my mom left and I was able to talk my dad through the process of calming me down. Afterwards I realized because of my anxious state thinking clearly just wasn’t a thing that was going to happen at that point in time and the worst part was my mom took my anxiety attack personally. Seriously.

So, later that day she sends me a link to a therapist and offered to pay for the first session. Thanks mom. -_-

I was considering taking her up on it, but then I remembered, “Oh, fuck. I’m asexual“. Good luck finding an LGBTQ+ friendly shrink in Texas, so how the hell am I supposed to find an ace friendly one? My own freaking family refuses to listen to me when it comes to asexuality and I’m supposed to trust an “objective” outsider.

A good chunk of my stress this week is also attributed to the event that someone at my work asked me out. I could kind-of tell that he was making “gooey” eyes me, but I was really, really hoping I was wrong. I saw him at a board game event three days afterwards. I was wearing my ace ring and the dude freaked out thinking it was a wedding ring. Sigh~ seriously, I don’t even know. First of, it’s on the wrong hand and it’s on the wrong finger. My brother (who was also there) joked saying it was a “promise ring” (“She promises to be my sister forever, and ever,” like that’s supposed to be funny) so the guy freaked out again.

“It’s a cheap ring off of amazon.com dude. Seriously, calm down. You’ve worked at a freaking grocery store for 8 years. Me being aro-ace is only like the fifth reason I’m shooting you down. The first being, I don’t like you. #asexualproblems” (Yeah, there’s no way to say that politely). I didn’t out myself as ace, but I did tell him to stop freaking out about my “just pay for shipping” ring.

Sigh~ I should have done the trial of the riddles. The last time somebody was all “please, please, give me a chance” I had them try to answer three riddles. The last one is a trick question of course “I fly three flags, what are they and what are their colors”. Honestly, me being aro-ace is not a total deal breaker, but I would need/want a QPP. At the very least I would need somebody to realize that I’m wearing freaking pride-flags on my arms.

So, yes, I would totally be willing to take my mom up on her offer for a therapy session. Hell, I ain’t even mad that she offered, but I am absolutely terrified about facing rejection and/or disbelief because of my orientation. I get enough of that on a daily basis, thanks.

I’ll just tell my mom I’m not ready to go shrink shopping just yet, but clearly I need more obvious and showy pride merch. Maybe Etsy.com will have a deal on personalized neon signs.

Sensual Attraction (Is Really Freaking Weird When You’re Aro-Ace)

I’m definitely aro-ace. Since puberty hit I’ve never felt sexual attraction towards anyone and I’ve only felt romantic attraction once. So, on an average day there’s zero blips on that radar. Sensual attraction is another story.

According to the AVEN website, sensual attraction is a “desire to engage in sensual acts with a certain individual (kissing, cuddling, hugging, hand holding, etc)” and I’d say this is pretty on par with what I’ve felt. The only problem is I feel that magnetic pull to kiss/hug/cuddle/etc without romantic or sexual attraction to provide context. It was hella weird in middle school and it’s still hella weird now.

I distinctly remember feeling sensual attraction for the first time in (I think) the 7th grade because it was such a weird and random feeling. I was in science class and I just got this really, super strong urge to kiss one of my classmates on the cheek. I was naturally freaked out as hell by this because 1) I didn’t know this student very well, 2) certainly didn’t even like this student in any capacity (romantic, sexual, friendship or otherwise), and 3) I don’t actually like people touching me randomly without warning. I’m relieved that I have a label for it now.

I would say the most common sensual attraction urge I get is to hug or cuddle people I’m sensually attracted to, but occasionally I’ll feel the urge to randomly kiss someone. I don’t get these kind of sensual urges with my closest friends or with my family, but I’ll sometimes feel sensual attraction towards coworkers or acquaintances. It’s just a weird feeling I get sometimes and I don’t really want to go through the mess of trying to explain it to people in RL, but I felt I should at least elaborate on it a little bit since I do hint at it on my bio pages. I feel sensual attraction towards other people and it just feels weird to me. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

 

My “Weird” Taste in Music

Yesterday work was a little chaotic. We had two call-ins and a coworker was injured and had to be sent home. It was “fun”. For the last hour since we were closed and there weren’t any families with young ears shopping near by I turned on my phone’s play list. My taste in music is a little “unusual” since most of my tastes lean towards the 100-200 year old range because there are oldies and then there are oldies.

A perfect example is “Finnegan’s Wake” which is an Irish ballad that was the inspiration for a novel by James Joyce by the same name. For me that’s a “fun fact” for most other people it’s “what the hell/why should I care?”. It also freaks people out when I say that I’m indifferent about music in general. I don’t have a favorite song. The music I listen to tends to be narrative. For me it’s more of a case of I don’t have time to read a short story or novel on my break, but I can listen to a two-three minute song/ballad and I’m generally not going to find these songs on the radio.

Sometimes an older song sneaks into pop culture. I had a lot of fun telling my coworker that “Whiskey in the Jar” is an old Irish song, not a Metallica original. I have a whole CD of modern artists covering pirate and sea songs in their own style and it’s one of my favorites. I can’t listen to it at work because some of the songs are NOT family friendly and it’s not labeled as such, but I guess they expect people to know that pirate songs will contain some sailor worthy expletives.

My taste in music actually makes a lot sense when you consider that I’m an aromantic-asexual. The Top 100 Billboard songs will generally stick to a classic, yet very profitable theme. There’s nothing wrong with having love as a theme. I just prefer my love songs to have fermented for a couple of decades first. I’ll also lean more towards Celtic traditional songs as a nod to my ancestry. Why listen to a big label driven love song when I can listen to songs about battles, shipwrecks, smuggler stills, and history.

One song I stumbled upon recently is called “Viva La Quinte Brigada” by Christy Moore. It’s about a group of Irish volunteers who fought in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) which was something I didn’t know about until I looked up the song’s history. I like learning little bits of history like that. My dream job is a historical fiction screenwriter and those bits of history would be my focus. I crack myself up thinking about how the big trend right now is shared universe movies like what Marvel did and what DC and Star Wars is trying to do. Historical fiction is naturally a shared universe without even trying. 

I took one screen writing class as treat to myself and my classmates were very enthusiastic about my ideas and were like “Why isn’t this a movie yet?”. Well, I still have to make a living and pay rent so that’s why I haven’t written it. Then there’s the whole mess of Hollywood and TV being very tight-knit businesses to the point that unless you know somebody who knows somebody you’re not going to get anywhere. Producers get hundreds of scrips a day and while I might think a historical film about an obscure history reference is the coolest thing ever, the underpaid script monkey that has to read all the crap that comes in might not think so.

Another struggle is research. Personally, I don’t like doing research. It’s one thing to hear a “new” song I like and type the lyrics into Google or look at a wikipedia page, but actual historical research is super boring and difficult because you have to find first and second sources, look up historical documents, read diaries, and if your historical documents aren’t in English then you have to hire a translator and it just gets time consuming and expensive really fast. Once I take all that into consideration I usually just decide the world doesn’t need a movie; Somebody already when to the trouble of recording a song so why mess with perfection?

Carnival of Aces June 2017: Here’s Why I Don’t Do “Asexuality 101”

The short answer is because I live in Texas. Texas still does “abstinence only” for sex ed and that stupid “Bathroom Bill” is still making headlines. I don’t generally talk about asexuality in my everyday life. I’m proud to be asexual. I have ace art on my walls, collect ace patches and stickers, and 90% of my wardrobe is ace colors. But I don’t talk about it because it’s exhausting when every conversation I have about asexuality turns into “Asexuality 101”

Since last March almost all of my weekends I’ve been doing what my job calls “demo”. Basically I put on glittery make-up (yuck), flutter my eyelashes for all their worth and try to talk people into buying  really expensive imported cheeses. Unfortunately for me I’m very good at it. It’s that communication’s degree finally working for me. One of my coworkers has complained that he’s bought cheese every weekend since I’ve started doing it (mwahaha). My job is to convince people that a) this not only the best cheese they’ve ever had in their life, but b) it’s definitely worth the sixteen-seventeen dollars per pound they’re about to spend on it only to let it sit in the refrigerator until it goes bad, and then I get to do it all over again next week. My coworker says he still has three different cheeses sitting in his freezer that he’s bought from me. ;-]

What makes me so good at my job is I know I’m not going to be able convince everyone to buy this cheese. I’m not even going to be able to convince half of the people who take a sample to buy this cheese. I would say a good 90-99% of the time by the time someone reaches my station they’ve already made up their mind that they’re either a) Not going to buy the cheese and they just want the free sample or b) They already buy cheese every week regardless whether or not I’m giving out samples. There’s no way I’m going to change these peoples minds and it’s not even my job to change these people’s minds. My job is to persuade the tiny number of less than 10% of people who haven’t made up their mind yet. Sometimes they buy cheese, sometimes they don’t, but my boss says I’m the one most qualified, experienced, and skilled to convince them.

Whenever I end up talking about asexuality it’s the same thing; I’m either already talking to someone who already knows about asexuality and they’re talking about their personal experience or I’m talking to someone who just wants everyone to be happy and in love like a Disney princess. Both of these groups have already made up their mind/opinion and it’s going take an act of heaven to get them to change their minds either way. It’s very rarely that I’ll find someone on the fence about any topic actually. The flat-Earth theorist coworker has already made up his mind. The peta-propaganda-peddling vegan that also works at my deli has already made up his mind. They are going to pick and choose the facts that support their preexisting biases and ignore facts and circumstances that might disprove those biases. This nasty habit of ignoring facts is called, “confirmation bias” and once again all that college is finally paying off.

My Best Example of Confirmation Bias: I have Never. Dated. Anyone. Ever. in my 27 years of living. My parents are still somehow convinced that I “just haven’t found the right one” yet. Obviously they just want all their children to be happy and healthy even if that means ignoring facts and circumstances that might suggest that happiness might not look the same for everyone. My version of “happiness” isn’t going to be featured in a Disney and/or Hollywood movie anytime soon.

When it comes to spreading awareness and asexual education, the individual level just isn’t very effective. Advocacy groups are going to have more power. By banning together, showing strength in numbers, and reaching out to ally groups, that’s how change is going to happen. I hate to say it, but we need to find a way to “normalize” asexuality if we want to spread awareness. Instead of having one or two shows with a token ace character, we need ten shows with multiple ace characters. We need books, articles, news stories. But to do that we need more organizations. AVEN is the one everybody knows, but we need more than that and we need them to be as equally well known. We need groups and we need people willing to lead those groups and be willing to sacrifice personal time and their personal lives to the cause. The individual ace isn’t enough.