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.

Tired as Hell, but Here’s Why Being Aro/Ace has (sorta) Put Me Ahead

[OMG! I finally have a post Idea]

So, classes have been out for three weeks now. I feel like I’ve complained about this before, but I’m taking the Summer “off” just to work and it is KICKING MY BUTT. The week before finals I ended up working 11 hours overtime, I took my final exams off so I could just take my exams and then crawl back into bed, and then my summer hell began.

After finals I was scheduled to work eight days in a row. The schedule is made weekly so I don’t think this was malicious at all and more of my boss going “F*ck, I’m ten people under-staff and the redhead is the only employee I trust”. At first I was like, “It’s cool, It’s cool. I just had finals off. I’m well rested.” So I worked my eight days, the last of which was a special catering event that was really fun to work. Eight days in a row is actually pretty normal because that usually leads up to a three-day weekend! Boom! Three days of solid videogames and no homework. Yes!

Then the next week schedule came out and I was working seven days in a row. This was much harder. Plus we had a major thunderstorm on the sixth day that knocked out the power for at least 5 hours. I work at a grocery store. Losss of power is REALLY, REALLY bad. We had to close the store and customers were like “don’t you have a generator?” and I’m like, “Yes, we do. That’s why we still have emergency lights and the bathrooms still work.” Seriously? This kind of storm only happens once a year so why would be have a super-mega generator that we don’t even NEED 364 days a year? Fuel? Upkeep? Matenence? No thank you, we’ll take the loss of profit. It’s cheaper.

So because we lost power we loss refigeration and ALL perishables had to go into crates and on to refrigerated trucks. All employees on staff lined up and we just went department by department by department. It was actually kind of fun because we got to (briefly) see what some of the other departments had. All the “I didn’t know we had X” reactions were amusing. Before we went home for the night my boss asked for volunteers to come in at 4AM to put everything back with the promise of overtime and I was like “No, thank you. I’m good.” But the folks who did come in did a fantastic job because they got everything back on the shelves by 6AM when the store opened and then they went home for a few hours and then CAME BACK to close. Since none of us were running on all cylinders that day we didn’t get out until midnight.

So, I’m very tired, but here’s why being aro/ace is extreamly advantatious. All my coworkers in my same age bracket are tired AND married. I can’t even imagine having to do all this nonsense and then having to go home to someone at the end of the day and work my schedule around them. One of my coworkers is married to a nurse and she works three twelve hour shifts a week. They have schedule clashes. He works weekends, plus school, and she doesn’t. My schedule is so tight right now I don’t even have time to write a grocery list. If I need to pick up something I’ll write it on my arm and pick it up after work.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m debt free. I paid off all my school loans in two years because of the AmeriCorps programs, but another reason I got to do that was I was single at the time. I could take off at the drop of the hat and work in a new state for a while and come back. I remember some of the other Corps members at the time trying to keep up their relationships at the time and it really didn’t work. There were sooo many breakups including some broken engagements. I never had to worry about that. I didn’t know I was aro/ace at the time, but in retrospect it really was a blessing.

Being single is kind of lonely especially with all the romantic media thrown in my face all the time, but without relationships causing complications I’m really much further in life than I would be other wise. I have a college degree and I have a good job that pays above minimum wage and gives me discounts on groceries. I was able to do the AmeriCorps programs without worrying about how it would affect my relationships and get out of my student debt.

Relatively speaking, I’ve got it made. I probably have a skewed view on relationships because I usually just hear the complaints without the perks, but right now being able to put myself first is a huge plus. Right now I would rather have the flexibility of being single with the option of changing my mind later on.

A “Catch Up” Post

I haven’t posted for a while because of internet constraints, but I sat out of the Carnival of Aces for last month and this month because I couldn’t really make a whole post out of the topics. I believe last month’s topic was children and I have zero plans to ever have children. I’m not overly comfortable with children in general because they’re usually loud and full of energy, two things that are not with in my comfort zone. This month’s topic (I think)* was about level of comfort with PDA and such which is another thing I’m not really comfortable with in general and wouldn’t be able to expand into a whole post.

“I’m not comfortable with children and I’m not comfortable with most displays of affection; that doesn’t make me weird, broken, or heartless. That’s just how I am.” Boom. Done. There’s really no deep analysis there. My family is the exact same way. Only one of siblings is even remotely interested in having kids and we’re all awkward with displays of affection in any form. It’s a little weird, but in my family we display “affection” by/with proximity. Actively choosing to occupy space with another person for a given length of time is how we display affection. It’s weird, but it’s not an aro/ace weird thing so I can’t write a whole post about it.

And now for my excuses of why I haven’t been postings lately. School just finished for the summer (yay!), but I worked 51 hours the week before finals and I wanted to take some time “off” for myself just to play video games and relax between my job hours. I’m still working 40ish hours even though I’m technically still only part-time, but we’re REALLY understaffed at the moment. “Part-time” just means I can work anywhere between 16 hours to however-much-overtime-I-want-to-work-that-week, where as “full-time” means I would have to work 40 hours every week and overtime is harder to approve. Right now the flexibility of part-time is more desirable than working full-time since part-timers still get pretty good benefits and the pay is VERY good. The only down sides are I’ll usually end up working 7-8 days in a row before my days off and I have to deal with idiots on both sides of the counter.

I swear I will find the moron who doesn’t know how cling-wrap works and I’m going to do a physical demonstration on their person and toss them in the walk-in cooler. (Not really, but I can dream.) The new hires are driving me crazier than the customers. Then there was the customer two days ago:

So this older, huskier man woke up one day, got dressed, drove to the grocery store, pulled a number at the deli-counter were I worked and timed how long it took to get served. There were five people ahead of him and when it’s his turn he says he wants to speak to the manager. This guy stood in line for 10 minutes of his life just to complain to the manager how long the wait was. He didn’t even order anything. Who does that?! If you’re going to waste ten minutes of your life, at least order something for the road. I mean, come on. There’s another deli 20 minutes down the road. It’s smaller, no numbers, no line, no waiting and I don’t have to deal with anybody who goes there. Everybody wins.

So, last week after working 8 days in a row I got a three day weekend (praise the gods) and I spend those three days playing videogames and drinking tea nonstop. I imagine once I finish working the next 7 days in a row I’ll be doing something similar. However, if at any point in time I think of anything relating to asexuality, aromanticism, or agender I’ll be sure to post it. Until then, I’ll be mostly be dealing with stress, idiots, and leveling up. My life as an aromantic agender asexual everyone. Ta-da.

*Edit: Oops, I lied. This month’s topic was about “Kissing, Hand Holding, and Bedsharing” but I didn’t want to do a whole post of “Things I do not do for non-ace/aro reasons”. It is a cool topic though and I look forward to the round up and what other folks had to say about it.

Carnival of Aces February 2017: Resistance, Activism, & Self-Care

Carnival of Aces February 2017: Resistance, Activism, & Self-Care
[This is my submission for the Carnival of Aces February 2017 on the topic of “Resistance, Activism, & Self-Care” hosted this month by The Asexual Agenda (click link for more info on what a “blogging carnival” is and to see previous topics)]

Frustrated by recent political actions and inspired by the Women’s March, a wonderful group of folks came together to hold an 8 hour conference this past weekend called the Rise Up – Texas Action Event in Austin, TX to talk about current issues, ways to take action, and to exchanged some ideas and best practices for resistance and activism. I was able to attend this event so I’ll be sharing my 6 take-aways from this conference for my Carnival of Aces submission.

Continue reading “Carnival of Aces February 2017: Resistance, Activism, & Self-Care”

Documentary Recommendation

When I told my mother about my all time favorite film she thought I might like a PBS Nova episode from 2007 called Judgment Day: Intelligent Design On Trial which had some very similar themes to the film. She was right. I loved watching Nova whenever I could catch an episode and this episode was a nice companion to the film.

The episode is about a small town divided by the belief that evolution should or shouldn’t be taught in public school. When a creationist gets elected to the school board he triggers events that snowball into what I can only describe as a fiasco. The school board latches on to a theory called “Intelligent Design” and try to have it be taught in schools alongside evolution. The thing is I remember this incident because I was a freshmen in high-school when the court case happened and I remember my parents talking about it.

The case itself is interesting. For the episode Nova did dramatic reenactments based off of the court transcripts and spliced interviews from the residents in between the court clips. The sound bite that left the deepest impression on me was a local woman saying that because she believed that God created everything she didn’t need to know anything else. I logically understand that she has the right to believe whatever she wants, but she and the other creationists do not have the right to impose that belief on everyone else. The court case came about when 11 parents sued the school district saying that teaching intelligent design violated the separation of church and state.

As the case took place in the U.S. the burden of proof is on the accusers. The parents assembled a team of experts to prove that a) Intelligent Design was not a science or scientific theory and therefore was no appropriate to be taught in public school; and b) that the purpose behind Intelligent Design was to promote a religious agenda. The defense argued that Intelligent Design was a scientific theory and that evolution, which they argued was flawed, shouldn’t have a monopoly in education and that students should be given access to alternative theories.

My interest in both the film Denial (2016) and Judgment Day: Intelligent Design On Trial (2007) leans more towards the idea of free speech and what both cases mean for the right of free speech. If I ever wanted to do a collage paper on them I would pick that at my topic.

The case is also interesting to me because I’m not Christian. I wasn’t raised Christian because my parents stopped going to church for the same reason I still don’t; Organized religion is too political for me. I’m a agender. I can’t find a local religious group that will accept this. Gender roles play a part in many religions and I don’t fit into those gender roles. I’m missing out on the community aspect of  religious gatherings, but I would rather be my own intelligent person, not someone else’s design.

I won’t go into too many details about the court case, but the Nova episode was really interesting to watch and there are full versions of it available on Youtube.

 

Just for Fun: TEA!

I’ve been an avid tea drinker since giving up soda pop and my latest obsession is blooming tea. I got a random batch of tea balls from China so it was a surprise what kind I would get. They were mostly a green and jasmine mix, but very good and well made. I had hoped to get a video of the blooming in action but I don’t have a good enough set up for it, but I did get some pictures of the final product.

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I ordered some more tea, but there was a mix up and I was sent a phone charger instead! The vendor said they would resend the tea, but it might take a few weeks.

My Favorite Movie of All Time

The holiday season is finally over and classes will be starting up soon, but as a gift to myself I preordered a copy of my all time favorite movie which incidentally just came out last fall and was released on DVD earlier this month. I was so shocked by how much I loved the movie that I went through a mini-identity crisis for a week asking everybody I knew what their favorite movie was and why.

The movie is a British film and I had seen the trailer for it on Youtube. It was one of the trailers that popped up before the actual video I wanted to see so my first reaction was to roll my eyes and think, “Great. Here’s another movie I’m never going to see,” but the trailer turned out to be different. It was a “behind the scenes” trailer where they had clips of the actual woman the film was based on talking about the film and the actors talking about making the film and I realized I recognized most of the cast. My dad has a weird thing about actors that I’ve kind of picked up on; he won’t recognize any big name folks, but he’ll recognize all the “character actors”, he calls them. He says it comes from being a cop. He’ll recognize one of the background characters and list off other movies they’ve appeared in. He says the best actors are character actors because they can play any role.So I knew as soon as I saw these^ folks, I just HAD to see the film even if it meant driving all the way across town. Fortunately my brother had seen the same trailer so we went and saw the movie together. The name of the film is Denial (2016).

The story is about Dr. Deborah E. Lipstadt (portrayed by Weisz), a Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies at Emory University in Atlanta and author of Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory. Dr. Lipstadt comes under fire when she is sued by the well known David Irving, a British “Hitler historian” and well known Holocaust denier, for libel when her book describes him as a “Hitler partisan” who “…distorted evidence, manipulated documents, and misrepresented data to reach historically untenable conclusions”. However, in the British legal system at the time the burden of proof fell on the defense (unlike in the U.S. legal system) so it was up to Dr. Lipstadt and her legal team to prove that Irving was indeed a Holocaust denier.


(Rachel Weisz and Dr. Lipstadt)

I liked the film because it’s a court room drama (meaning the screen writer had to pour over four weeks worth of court transcripts, YIKES!) and it’s structurally different from what a classic Hollywood film would be. I like that it’s different from what I’m used to. Instead of the protagonist rising up, becoming stronger and more articulate we already have a strong, articulate female protagonist finding the strength to step back and letting teamwork prevail. As part of the defense strategy her legal team had ordered that there would be no witness testimony and that Dr. Lipstadt would not do any interviews or take the stand. For Dr. Lipstadt’s character staying silent was the hardest thing she ever had to do, but it was an act of “self denial” (which I think is the actual meaning behind the title) for the greater good and winning the case. It’s exactly a “how-to” guide when it comes to facing prejudice, but it brings up some really good points.

There’s also a lot of subtle blink-and-you-miss-it references to important things going on at the time, but the point is this case was a BIG win for historians and freedom of speech in the U.K. I like the movie’s point that we’re living in what the film calls a “post-fact society” where politicians or public figures can say whatever they want, even blatantly LIE, and then when they get called out on distorting the truth they shrug it off as “well, it’s just my opinion.”

The message of the movie for me is that while everyone has the right to their own opinion, not all opinions are equal. For three weeks my coworker was buying into flat-earth theory. In his opinion, the earth was flat. I believe the earth is round. In fact I love watching the live stream from the NASA ISS space station. My “opinion” is based on fact. My coworker’s is not. I don’t believe that this is the greatest film every made, however, like any good story it doesn’t just tell us that deniers exist, but that they can be beaten.

The film is based off of Dr. Lipstadt’s book, History on Trial: My day in Court with a Holocaust Denier (which I’m currently reading) if anyone is looking for more information about the case or information that isn’t apparent in the film.