Personal Update

As you may (or more likely may have not) noticed is I haven’t been posting *at all* the last couple of months, not even for Carnival of Aces which normally I manage to at least squeeze out a hot mess of personal thoughts. Part of the problem is the pandemic has cut me off from my usual free wifi hotspots. There’s also a global pandemic happening and I work part-time at a pharmacy and I picked up a 2nd job as substitute teacher so I’m just overwhelmed by *everything*.

I was able to get my first dose Covid vaccine right before Christmas only to find out the *next day* that my boss tested positive on a rapid test so I could already be infected before the first vaccine has a chance to do anything much less before I’m scheduled to get my 2nd dose and it’s still *two weeks after that* I would have the benefit of the full effect of the vaccine. I am losing my mind right now. We had a small potluck *at work* and gift exchange right before the holiday that was just the folks on shift that day and only 3-4 people in the break area at a time. We are so, so freaking careful because it’s a *Pharmacy*. We don’t have the option to work from home or fill scripts remotely and some jackass doctor had the nerve to tell my boss that we “weren’t healthcare providers” so we shouldn’t have gotten our vaccines first. Don’t bite the hand that immunizes you, dude, or schedules your appointment.

At this moment. I feel fine. …Fine-ish, my anxiety symptoms get a free pass or don’t count or whatever. After the shot my arm hurt (zero surprise there) and I was *exhausted* the next day to the point that I thought I would need to chug an energy drink to finish doing my laundry. Today I worked a ten hour shift no problem with my usual (if some what ridiculous) caffeine intake. I have a mild stress/caffeine induced caffeine headache which is typical after a ten hour shift. Even if I’m not showing symptoms I still want to get tested on Monday.

Before this latest “holy shit” moment I’ve just been doing as much as I could to keep my stress to manageable levels. I splurged on some essential oils to add to my laundry because cuddling up in cozy smells is amazing and if there’s a chance I could lose that I want to enjoy it as much as possible now. Similarly with food I’ve given myself permission to be as picky or free as I want. When I get like *overwhelming super stressed* my face starts to tingle and lose feels and I’m definitely touching that point today. The last time that happened it literally felt like I had been given a shot of novocain and my immediate circle of medical professionals (pharmacist, dentist, nurse practitioner) didn’t have an answer for me other than “are you sure it’s not bells palsy?” The fuck if I know, I’m not the one with a medical degree. Google says tingling lips and fingers is a physical symptom of anxiety (and definitely preferable to nausea which is my coworker’s usual symptom) and it’s not on the “if you have these symptoms go to the hospital now” list.

In light of that awkward tangent, I guess it safe to segue to how it’s so weird that being a “writer” and writing was something that was important to me and part of my core identity for *years*, like I literally wanted to be a writer when I grew up, and it’s one of the first things I had to cut for my mental health. I love writing, but I also find it ridiculous draining. It’s not even a case that I’m reading more to make up for it because I barely sit down to read a couple times a week and it’s mostly rereading because that’s, once again, less draining that trying to find and commit to a new book.

Currently my free time adventures consist of watching reaction channels on YouTube to supplement some human connection and binge watching M*A*S*H while doing yarn based crafts. I spent a month knitting a scarf for my work’s Secret Santa and now I’m teaching myself needle binding, the neolithic precursor to knitting that is apparently all the rage with reenactors. I spent something like four hours trying to carve my own wooden needles; one got eaten by my dog, one split when I was drilling the eye, and the last one is chilling in a junk drawer because I decided “fuck it” and just ordered some bone and horn needles off etsy. Under normal conditions these activities would be really, really boring but now I *need* boring-while-keeping-hands-occupied because it helps with the anxiety symptoms and feelings of being overwhelmed.

There’s no pretty way to end this. I’m just dealing with a lot right now and trying to stay sane. I’m still a little sad that writing didn’t make the cut, but it is what it is and I totally count just surviving 2020 as a huge accomplishment. I’ll knock on some wood on my way out.

Edit: Sunday makes the 2nd time I’ve been called in to come and work this week. They should just make me fulltime already

Edit: On monday I stood in line for two hours to do the city’s free asymptomatic testing and the test came back negative, thankfully, so I can focus on the stress of while I was in line to get a covid test my supervisor asked if I could come into work [facepalm emoji] which means that I was asked to come into work every. single. day. I wasn’t already scheduled this week. Seriously guys. Just make me fulltime.

Carnival of Aces August 2020 Round Up: What are you Hoping to get out of the Ace Community?

[If I’m missing anyone’s submission please post a link or a note in the comments or send me an email at lettredemarque(at)outlook(dot)com. I’ve been checking my spam box but life happens. Speaking of life happens if anyone has a late submission they want me to retroactively add I’m okay doing that too]

Greetings! This takes us to the end of this month’s Carnival of Aces and I’m happy to present our five fabulous submissions based on this month’s topic of “What are you hoping to get out of the Ace community?”

First of up we have Coyote, the author behind The Ace Theist here on WordPress, with “Directions for Ace Community Advocacy”; It’s a quick read that brings up several advocacy points the community needs to be thinking more about and individuals should probably be incorporating into their advocacy plans:

…I see mental healthcare as a key issue for the ace community for a number of reasons — because it can be psychologically damaging to be trapped in a sexnormative culture, because it can be difficult to access treatment for other mental health issues when anti-ace narratives stand in the way, and because “low sexual desire” is officially pathologized as a disorder in the DSM. For all these reasons and more, I think ace advocacy should be prioritizing therapy as an important area of concern…

Up next we have redbeardace’s post “Get Out Of It” about wanting to step back as an activist but not willing to leave the community floundering to repeat past mistakes or without a clear direction forward:

…For years, the primary drive has been visibility.  Shouting “WE EXIST!” as loud as we can until someone hears us. Okay.  They’ve heard us. What now? How about fighting singlism, pushing for better mental and physical healthcare, tearing down compulsory sexuality, inclusion in anti-discrimination policies, more and better media representation, sociological research that’s not mind-numbingly out of touch…more and stronger advocacy groups and closer ties/direct involvement with general queer groups, reaching all the people who are long past high school and feel lost and broken and confused because they haven’t heard of asexuality yet, and that’s just the beginning

Moving right along Henry sent me a submission via email; “A Disconnected Past, and A Curious Present” brings the perspective of feeling unwelcome and disconnected to the ace community. This post actually reminded me of when Vivek Shraya (a Canadian trans activist) visited my college and mentioned that community spaces were some of the loneliest places she had ever been in and it was in the art community that she found love and acceptance. Henry had a similar experience and reminds that while there’s a lot of shared experience among aces, not everyone’s asexual journey is going to look the same:

…I had instead followed my fantastic side to a very different community. This other community is all about self-discovery and self-expression, and both is very open about sexuality and extremely non-heteronormative. Their art was the perfect thing to feed my imagination and my fiction writer’s pen. The friends I made were just who I needed. Not only could I talk to them about my imagination, but I could write very NSFW stories from it they would eagerly lap up…

lokiofjotunheim’s post simply titled “Carnival of Aces – August 2020” talks about being relatively new to the ace community, how they discovered asexuality, learning community history and what they’re hoping for in the future:

…I want other 15, 16-year-olds, 40, 70, 90-year-olds who’ve never quite had a word that fit to find that for themselves. I want people to not have to be resigned to (and I was resigned, heavily) living life as “straight by default.” I’m not active in the sense that I’ve done activism. I have my Tumblr, sure, where I reblog ace posts and sometimes add a comment or two on the occasional post. I’m in several ace discords, and I have my ring, and my flag but…that’s about it…

Lastly we have my own submission for this topic, “I am not an Activist” which is basically just me venting about acephobia for three paragraphs and listing things I appreciate about the ace community; namely it’s nice not to feel alone in my experiences as an asexual even if I don’t have the skills to necessary to carry the community forward.

Edit: Not your professor, I accept late submissions! Drop a link below and I’ll add it to the round up. Here are the posts that were added after Aug 31st:

Elisabeth talks about “Virtual Meetups” (click here to read part one of “Increasingly Accessibility” series). Your asexual movement isn’t inclusive unless it’s accessible. With the world in the middle of a global pandemic the logical thing seems to move meetups online, but that doesn’t automatically mean online meetups are fully accessible to everyone:

My biggest problem with the state of virtual meetups in asexual communities right now, though, is just the sheer amount of effort it takes to even find out about them. Most groups are set to private, so you have to already be a member to know what they’re up to

The Call for Submissions for September is already up with the exciting topic of “Manifestos”

Please help us keep the conversation going by volunteering to become a future host!

Capture the Flag (Part 2)

I need everyone to take a deep breath because this is going to be a trip. In a previous post I mentioned that flag discourse on Twitter was making me nervous because of the misinformation that came with it. Since then I’ve been keeping an ear to the ground because drama in other communities tends to leak over.

So, there’s been some pan flag discourse again.

Twitter screenshot: pansexual flag was stolen from a South Indian flag

The person who wrote that tweet deleted it a while ago time ago and apologized, but the screenshot has resurfaced on Instagram and things blew up. I searched high and low for anything related to this topic. Exact phrasing, nothing. Not even a tumblr hit and there’s always a tumblr hit on discourse. It was unbelievable. When I did a keyword search I got ONE hit.

Screenshot: fandom.com wiki pansexuality

So I did a less strict search and I just have a couple of questions…

Nothing major, just…where…

Screenshot blog post

…are all…

…the primary sources?!

My next question is how easy is it to make magenta dye before 1949, but we’re going to put a pin in that because I forgot to mention that there’s a exclusionist/separatist group running around on Twitter and I forgot the rest of the internet doesn’t know that.

Twitter screenshot

If you would kindly note the twitter ribbon in asshole #1’s profile pic, that is one of the “eclipse” flags. And I’m just going to let them explain it:

That sums up today’s Twitter drama.

Mini Rant: Exclusionist “Sources”

A personal pet-peeve of mine, but here I am banging my head against freaking paywalls trying to find actual evidence that the Wissenschaftlich-humanitäres Komitee (the first LGBT organization according to Wikipedia) was asexual inclusive, meanwhile this (see image below) is what passes for “sources” among exclusionists:

screenshot “source list”
Twitter Screenshot

Exclusionsts will grab whatever quotes from whatever pops up in their Google search they think might support their argument without actually checking if they read the material correctly or if it even supports the argument they are trying to make. Nothing in that linktree mentions asexuals. But that’s what somebody sent me when I asked for their sources on their post on asexuals. It’s like they think my nerdy ass isn’t going to check.

Anywho, a gay activist named Carl Schlegel was asexual inclusive in 1907 and I’m trying to figure out figure out if that was a him thing or if he adopted it from the WhK. Unfortunately, I don’t read German and there was that rise of the Nazi thing that destroyed a crap ton of priceless LGBT history. But sure, a instagram linktree is a “source”.

John Oliver headdesk reaction image because words cannot fully express my frustration right now

ANYWHO, self-care today is putting a pin in the WhK thing (for now) and watching my all time favorite film, Denial (2016), to remind myself that it is not my job to debate people on Twitter and I don’t have a crack team of researchers who can pour over everything my “opponent” ever wrote. ALL that considered, I’m doing fine…..

(minus, you know, global pandemic and upcoming US election. “Fine” might be relative)

What are you hoping to get out of the ace community?

This Carnival is already closed and you can find the Roundup Post Here

Greetings! This is the call for submissions for the Carnival of aces for August 2020. A blogging carnival is where a bunch of blogs will get together and post about the same topic and a host will select the topic and gather all the links in a round up post at the end. Future host spots are open!!! To see past round ups or volunteer to be a host check out the Masterpost on the Asexual Agenda. The topic I’ve selected is “What are you hoping to get out of the ace community?” To see July’s roundup on the topic of “Renaissance-people’s experience with ace culture and how they have seen it change.” hosted by the Ace Initiative Center (AIC) the link will be HERE when it becomes available.

What are you hoping to get out of the ace community? This is intentionally a broad topic, but here some suggested ideas to get you started:

  • How did you find the ace community and why did you decide to join? If you’re not an active community member, why not?
  • How is your experiences in the ace community different from the larger LGBTQIA+ or other communities (ethnic, religious, ect..) you belong to?
  • What are new activists doing that you think is working or not working? Who are your favorite activists and why? What have activists done in the past that you’d like to see make a comeback or you’re glad people are no longer doing?
  • What would you like to see more of in the ace community or is there something lacking?

Submissions can be blog posts, videos, Twitter threads, poems, whatever, as long as it relates to the topic. Just drop a link in the comments below or send an email to lettredemarque(at)outlook.com. I will be posting the round up on September the 1st so please have the submissions in to my by then. Happy blogging!

Capture the Flag (Why I’m Concerned about Flag Discourse on Twitter)

Before we get started we’re going to need some context. It began (to my knowledge) when the creator of the pan flag came out and said that they supported bi-lesbians and pan-lesbians. Bi/pan-lesbian discourse is THE divisive discourse right now. Basically two kinds of people might call themselves a bi lesbian or pan lesbian; a) someone describing their romantic and sexual orientation (like aces and aros do) or more commonly it’s b) a nonbinary person who doesn’t feel like either label by itself is an accurate enough label so they’ll use the double label in community spaces.

Nobody is ready for the conversation on how terms like “SGA” and “het” get really complicated really fast when you actually account for nonbinary gender diversity. Regardless a lot of people believe that double labeling is invalidating for lesbians and discussions tend to get heated.

In response to the pan flag creator supporting bi/pan lesbians, a lesbian (as the Twitter rumor mill claims) created a “new pan flag”

In what I would consider an impressive counter tactic, pan-lesbians reclaimed the new flag and dubbed it the pan-lesbian flag:

It was at this point that I had a good laugh at the situation and assumed the issue would be self-contained.

It was not self-contained.

Soon newflagitis started spreading to other communities:

screen shot: “new bi flag”
“New bi flag” with stripe meaning

The idea of creating a new flag for bisexuality after BiNet’s “copyright” stunt and the resulting backlash is purely nonsensical and I would have been willing to dismiss the trend as merely teen boredom from Covid restrictions-

But then it spread to the ace community:

Screenshot: “new ace flag”

What was alarming about “new ace flag” posts was the misinformation that proceeded it. Once the word got out established ace accounts mobilized quickly to target the misinformation, namely that David Jay didn’t create the ace flag (see my previous post about how acephobes can’t get over a forum post from 2003). The AVEN threads showing the flag’s creation and unveiling were shared and boosted and the countering short hand narrative became “the ace flag was a community project”. It was noted that changing the purple to a gradient made the flag unfriendly for commercial production and artists. The flag itself was deemed mostly harmless and a fad that would likely die out quickly.

Shortly there after infighting broke out between aroace activist Yasmin Benoit and Rose from FYA. The flag situation was set aside in favor of what was seen as a bigger crisis that needed to be dealt with.

But then it happened again:

Once again someone posted a “new ace flag” proceeded by misinformation. I’m not sure if this is becoming a thing yet since the “antisemitic roots” mentioned in regards to the original flag is that AVEN’s symbol IS A TRIANGLE. That’s one hell of a reach, but he went for it and doubled down. Once again ace twitter mobilized to tackle the misinformation and point out that the “new flag” was too similar to other flags like the demi boy flag and the freysexual/romantic flag. As BiNet showed us, if you’re going to start flag discourse you better be squeaky clean. Similarly, when this flag maker was confronted by community members he started spouting exclusionary rhetoric like “allo is a slur” and “cis het aces aren’t LGBT” and eventually deactivated.

Our concern in the ace twitter community isn’t that people are making new flags. New flags appear all the time. The aroace flag, for example, has grown on me despite my initial rejection when I first saw it and it’s now one of my favorites for merchandise and swag. What made the “new ace flag” posts different from the pan and bi flag posts is that the ace flag posts contained misinformation directly lifted from anti-ace tumblr blogs like “David Jay is a misogynist homophobe” and “the AVEN triangle is a nazi symbol” and when confronted they used tumblr screenshots as “evidence”.

We’re not worried, per say, but we are getting a little nervous because we don’t know if this is just the latest teen fad as a result of being lonely and stuck inside during the Covid pandemic or if this is a symptom of larger issue that could negatively impact the community. We don’t know yet, but we’re keeping an eye on it.

Apologies for Being MIA

I haven’t been able to keep up with my blog the last couple of months; the main reason is I don’t have internet at home and I’ve been too busy and tired to go to coffee shops and the like to use their wifi. The main reason I’m tired is because of work. Work is very stressful right now for what are frankly BS reasons that I have no control over. I don’t want to turn this into a work bashing post, but that unfortunately plays a huge role in why I haven’t had the energy to write.

In my defense, there were maggots. Labor Day weekend was especially difficult and I ended up lashing out in a note to another employee, my manager found the note and I got in trouble. It’s purely coincidental that the same day I got chewed out for my note we do a deep clean of the department at closing time (at my urging, since it’s what was stressing me out) and we find maggots in the wooden shelf that our register sits on.

The meeting I had with my boss earlier that day basically amounted to me being chewed out for being unprofessional, but in retrospect I have no regrets. We’re a food establishment. It’s not enough to only be spotless when the health inspector comes around. We need to be safe and sanitary. It’s my job to keep the place safe and sanitary and when I literally can’t do my job because we’re understaffed, don’t have enough labor hours, and the place was built incorrectly to begin with and nobody knows how to follow up on problems. I was just stressing about how dirty the floor was after we’d “finished” closing duties, but in the meeting my boss was like, “Oh, but we have all these other problems you’ve obviously overlooked because you’re focusing on the negative. You need to look on the bright side.” Bad paraphrasing I know, but no, I don’t have to look at the positive of anything. It’s been ten days since we found the maggots under the wood and nothing has been done other than us, the employees, dousing the floor with heavy duty cleaning chemicals so the best case scenario is there’s a bunch of dead maggots under the register. I am literally disgusted and going out of my mind with stress.

My boss is on vacation this week and I’m supposed to have a follow up meeting with him and his boss eventually, but I’m just so done with everything. I applied to another position in the same company and it’s looking promising. I’ve already done the interview, background check, and drug test. My mom wasn’t exactly supportive of me applying for a new job. She said I was being emotional and acting rashly and I should have waited until I had a cooler head and honestly all that really hurt my feelings. She was throwing Stoicism in my face. Her view is I should have kept a stiff upper lip and rode out the bad stuff at work; My view is I saw my chance and I took it and I’ll be fine whatever the results are. If I get the new job, great, a change will be healthy for me. If not I’m not going to be any worse off than I currently am and my boss will know that I’m not playing games.

My saving grace is twice a week I have my one calculus class. That’s right, I go to calculus class to decompress and just have a moment that’s all about me and what I think. My boss gave me an info card with the company’s mental health services on it and I haven’t contacted them because my queer status automatically makes me very leery of corporate sponsored mental health care and I’m terrified that they actually can’t help me because I might not actually be the problem. We’re very understaffed because working at my job sucks. People who have been there for years finally go fed up and left. New people coming in just wait the 90 days and then transfer out. The corporate office doesn’t care at best and at worst is stupidly incompetent. It’s been ten days and nothing has been done about the maggots.

So, that’s the gist of it. Happy belated Labor Day everyone. I can’t promise to write more consistently since all of my writing projects are currently on hold until the work situation stabilizes, but I did want to at least give an update on why I’ve been absent for a few months. I really miss doing the Carnivals, but I couldn’t even find the energy to do that and decided to focus on my mental health which is complicated right now, but overall getting better compared to ten days ago so I’m very happy about that at least. I hope to get back into writing soon, but I won’t be too hard on myself if I need a little extra time to pull myself back together. I really am enjoying my calculus class and look forward to hopefully passing this time and finally start calc 2.

Personal Updates

I literally have no bandwidth left and I still have 10 days before it rolls over. It makes school work interesting since I’m currently sitting in a Starbucks at 8PM downloading what I need for my ONLINE classes.

I saw a couple tweets about this week being Asexual Awareness Week, which awesome! But I can’t find any daily writing prompts like I usually do so I’ll have to come up with something. This month’s Carnival of Aces is about fandom which I have become less involved in because of my internet situation or rather my lack of internet situation.

So, when I’m not bemoaning my lack of internet I’m playing with my 10 month old puppy who is FEAKING HUGE. He’s not Clifford size, but he’s a BIG puppy. His shoulder comes up to my knee and he’s not even a year old. He’s at least 50% boarder collie so he’s a hyper cuss. I’ve been doing three different training classes with him including agility. I’m freaking amazed at how fast he picks up on things. He’s so food driven that he’ll do anything for a dog treat. I think I’ve mentioned before that he’s a rescued puppy; a family friends found him and nobody came forward to claim him so I ended up keeping him.

border collie wearing a tie
My puppy the last day of his Circus tricks class

Seriously, who would abandon that face? Who?!

Since I have no regular internet access I’ve been stocking up on audio books. When I’m done with school I’ll probably drop my home internet service completely and look at mobile only options. It’s just really hard to blog over a phone, but I’ll give it a shot. My goal is to post more regularly with actually substance, but school comes first (after all my other procrastination methods of course) so I’ll just have to wait and see.

Here’s one more puppy pic for the road:

boarder collie in a pumpkin patch