Cinderella by Default: Queering the Narrative

I’m taking an American Sign Language class right now. I’ve always thought it would be cool to learn ASL, but in the past several years it has become especially pertinent, because I now have a family member who uses some ASL, due to being autistic and mostly non-verbal. I’ve also found it helpful to use basic signs to communicate with my partner at night, since (without getting into medical details) both of us have some issues that can make it painful to speak that tend to flare up at night. There are a lot of benefits to learning a gestural language, and I’ve been enjoying it a lot.

We had a group assignment recently to perform a funny short skit. We could do whatever we wanted as long as it wasn’t inappropriate or anything, but the teacher strongly suggested fairy tales as something that would likely be the easiest.

“Let’s do Cinderella!” one of my group members said.

“Yeah! I’ll be one of the stepsisters!” She pointed to me. “Elizabeth can be Cinderella!”

“Huh? Wait, why me?”

“You’d be perfect for it! You’re blonde,” she reasoned. Continue reading

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Body Baggage: Chronic Pain, Trauma, Aging, and Asexuality

This post is for the March 2018 Carnival of Aces on the topic of “Physical Health and/or Our Bodies.”

I don’t talk about my body much. I tend to think that people don’t want to hear it, and that the world needs more body positivity rather than contagious insecurity, especially coming from someone of average weight and relative privilege. But not talking about these things doesn’t make them go away, so for this one little post, since it’s on-topic, I’m going to try to stop ignoring my discomfort and examine it for a little while.

Fair warning: it’s mostly trauma and aging-related stuff, with some mention of racism. I’m not getting into weight or diets or anything like that, though.

Feel free to tune out now, but listen in if you want. Maybe a few people will find this relatable. Continue reading

Components of Resilience: Creativity and Adaptability

This is part four of a series of posts dedicated to breaking down components of resilience. The series is an elaboration on a post I made in 2015, continued now as part of the June 2016 Carnival of Aces on Resiliency. In part one of this series, I covered tenacity. In part two, I covered affect management and positive frameworks. In part three, I covered support network and discernment.

In this final post, I will cover creativity and adaptability. Compared to most of the other items, these two are fairly self-explanatory. Since I don’t have to focus on giving an overview, I’ll be focusing more on my own experiences this time. Warning: I will discuss parental abuse, including some major privacy violations, and invalidation/gaslighting. I allude to but do not mention other kinds of abuse, but mostly it’s just general trauma/recovery talk. Continue reading

Blog Rants: The Early Ace Blogosphere

This post is part of a series and cross-posted to The Asexual Agenda; you can view the masterpost here. It also fits the theme of the July Carnival of Aces on Asexual History, although it’s slightly late!

Previously, I contextualized my personal history with both blogging and the asexual community leading up to my decision to join WordPress. Now, I want to talk about the formation and history of the Ace Blogosphere proper. Continue reading

A Blogger’s Guide to Links and Fancy Footnotes

My goal for this series of posts was to try to post something related to blogging once a month, but obviously things have gotten a little bit hectic, and I’ve had to push back my planned post on the early ace blogosphere. In the meantime, I’m just going to write up a quick (because I already have had parts of this written for a while now) technical guide to links, including how to make links from one part of a post to another.

You may have noticed that recently we’ve (as in, everyone using WordPress) started running into an issue where, when someone pastes a URL from Tumblr into a comment, the entire post is imported into the comment (that’s also true for posts, btw). This is an irritating new “feature” of WordPress that, for now, we apparently can’t turn off. All we can do is edit the comment to either change the URL into a proper link, or break up the link. The latter solution is familiar to Tumblr users, since the bare-bones options for communicating there do not allow links, but I think everyone would agree that it’s annoying to have to copy, paste, and then fix every link before you can visit it!

So here is the other option: a little bit of HTML. Continue reading

Writing About Asexuality in a Classroom Setting

Cross-posted to the The Asexual Agenda.

Earlier this month, I wrote about some of the trouble I encountered in creative writing classes here [tw: verbal abuse by teachers, domestic violence mentions]. Consider this post a sort of follow-up to that one. It is also my official submission for the March Carnival of Aces, although I think most of what I wrote about this month is on-topic enough to include even though it wasn’t specifically for the carnival.

Last time, my focus was on trouble with teachers, and how as a survivor (and secondarily, as an ace) sometimes creative writing classes are especially difficult. This time, I want to focus on reception of different types of work about asexuality specifically, and mostly from peers rather than teachers.

Essays

I first started writing about asexuality in essays, for your basic English 101 class—the slightly advanced version, I guess. This was in 2005, which was well before our movement had gained most of the momentum we now have. It was a basic 101 class, and a basic 101 essay. Continue reading

Tentative Revisions

[TW: corrective rape implications, compulsory sexuality, mentions of violent search terms & comments]

A few of you may have noticed that I revised the introduction to How to Have Sex with an Asexual Person. I haven’t touched the rest of it yet, although I do plan to once I get more time to focus on it properly.

Before we continue, some context about that post for people who may not know, just in case this gets picked up on tumblr:

  • The title is the exact wording of a SEARCH TERM that led someone to this blog. I didn’t just make it up.
  • I know the title is triggering—it was for me too when I first read it. I was directly addressing the creepy people who got here by searching that. I’m sorry that I had to use the search term as the title, but otherwise, I wouldn’t reach those people.
  • I am a survivor too, but back then I wasn’t open about it. Please don’t forget that.
  • We are in a pretty different place in ace discourse now than we were three years ago.
  • This is a strategy of harm reduction. In a better world, I wouldn’t have to say this.
  • The intended audience of the post is limited, although the script being offered can be applied in many other contexts—and it is being applied in a much wider context than originally intended.
  • I tried to reach those people who are already determined enough to try to get an asexual person to have sex with them that they’re researching how to do that. Saying “don’t try to have sex with asexuals” is not going to work with them, so my goal was to at least provide an alternative model they could use to be better (as in, more decent towards aces, not better at being horrible).
  • If that search space wasn’t taken up by me, something much worse would fill it instead.
  • This article attracts perpetrators (as intended), and I regularly get people trying to tell me how awful and “self-centered” I am to dare suggest that they not rape whatever asexual person they are trying to “have sex with.” This is a bare minimum, yet they can’t stand it. I do not publish those comments. Some of these people will never listen, and will do everything in their power to twist my words to support their own compulsory sexuality.
  • At the same time, there are a lot of people who DO change their approach after reading! And it’s not perfect or 100% pressure-free, but at least it’s less bad. (I tried to encourage people to aim higher than not bad, but there is not much space for it—still, that’s about the 3rd most clicked outside link on this blog.)
  • Originally, I had planned to write a series of additional articles to reduce pressure. More needs to be written; it just doesn’t all fit in this one article.
  • But the response to that article was so overwhelming that my blog became an unsafe place for me. That is the biggest reason this re-examination of that post has been so long delayed.

That said, let’s move on. Continue reading

The Trouble with Creative Writing Programs

[TW: domestic violence mentions, normalization of child abuse, marginalization of survivors.]

I’m a writer. I’ve dedicated years to learning my craft, and continue to practice daily. Eventually, I’d like to be able to subsist solely off of royalties, but I know that isn’t likely to happen in the next decade. I’ll probably linger in relative obscurity forever. I have a fairly realistic view of my situation, I’d like to think.

When I was in school, I waffled about trying to decide on a major. Computer science? Sociology? Linguistics? Women’s Studies? Japanese? I had many interests, but none of the above captured my attention quite as much as creative writing. When my school developed an undergraduate English program focused on creative writing, I switched over.

And for the most part, it was wonderful. I learned a lot about writing, especially the importance of revision. It was great to meet other writers and be part of a critique circle. Some of them in particular were so good, their work was a real joy to read. I felt honored to be able to do so. The creative writing program’s teachers were knowledgeable and quite genuinely very nice, and for the most part perfectly willing to accommodate me when I (inevitably) succumbed to symptoms of PTSD. Some of them didn’t even need to hear a reason for my absences or late assignments; they just worked with me.

Except one. Continue reading