The beginning of the end (but not in an ominous way)

I am currently 227,500 words into Incarnations, the first book in a series I am working on (the second book of which I had already partially written before I realized it would be part of this series). For a while, what really slowed me down with writing Incarnations was that I knew how the book would end, I knew everything that happened thousands and hundreds and singular years before the book started, but what happened in the book itself and specifically how it should lead to the ending of the book was something I was determining as I wrote. Because the plot is pretty complicated or at least layered.

Then, finally, I had a breakthrough and figured out how to plot out the steps from the chapter I was on, right through to the end of the book.

“This is amazing!” I thought at that time. “This is what stalled me before! Surely it will be much faster writing the rest of the book now!”

And yet, I find myself stalling again.

First, I stalled in figuring out how to write the chapter I had to write before it started the plotted parts. But I got through that chapter on Friday. So this past weekend I should, theoretically, have been gung ho about running forward into what I had plotted next.

Except I wasn’t.

Except, every night I am faced with the possibility of writing and I pause for lack of inspiration, even knowing what I should write. I had thought that lack of inspiration was a lack of plotting, but it wasn’t.

I realized that it’s actually because this next chapter will start the last arc of the book, and that’s… intimidating. A little scary. A bit worrisome.

I’ve always been the sort of person who gets a bit intimidated when I realized I can finish something. This will be explained better if I ever share some of the stories I have with my struggles with anorexia over the years. But it also comes up in a lot of parts of my life.

Thing is, I’d written stories, even really long stories, before–but a lot of times I didn’t finish them, or I did finish them but then I started a sequel I never wrote or finished. ICoS was the first time I wrote a really long story with a potentially solid ending, and even then I co-wrote it. I had someone else with me the whole way.

Incarnations is pretty meaningful to me for my life. Why? Because this and other reasons.

What’s interesting is I’m not worried about if other people will like it, because I know everyone has different opinions and that’s cool. I’m not worried that I will do a terrible job and it won’t live up to my standards, because I was able to release a lot of that hold for perfection over my writing over the years and now I can look at it as having fun and this just being one of many steps on a learning curve going forward. I’m not worried about a lot of things, and yet I stall.

I think it’s for two reasons:

  1. Once I start this last arc, there will be no going back. I’ll be ending this story, like an end of an era for me, even though it will also open up an entire series. It will be a weird sense of closure and intrigue for the future. But it also is a change.
  2. I really want to go strong into this last arc; make sure I write it well. I can tell the difference between when I’m into writing something and when I don’t feel like writing and I’m forcing myself. I get a lot more poetic when I’m inspired; I get really redundant when I’m not. And the thing is, I’ve been looking forward to writing a number of those chapters for months or years, so I do have expectations but mostly the expectations are I hope I can enjoy it and write it well.

But you know, I’m still going to write it. I may hit pause for a few days, let myself kind of refocus and rewind, but I’m going to finish it because I’m looking forward to it, even though I stalled before doing so.

I’m encouraging myself with, I suppose appropriately enough, a quote from narration I wrote for Boyd in Fade; a quote I put up on my wall to remind myself to keep going.

But that was the way it went any time a person was on the precipice of change. The fear of the future mixed with the loss of the past. At those times, all a person could do was step forward.

I don’t think I did a good job explaining my thought process in this, but at the same time, right now I don’t know how else to explain it. Or rather, to explain it in more detail would mean going on a number of tangents that would lead to even more tangents, and it could turn into the neverending story.

I guess what was most interesting to me is that I don’t stall because I’m afraid of failure–instead, I tend to sabotage myself because I’m afraid of success.

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A true story (maybe a series of them?)

When I was 14, I became Wiccan. I think that’s also the year I became vegetarian. There are a lot of stories that stem from those two turning points in my life, but this is the one I want to tell you now:

Maybe it was my willingness to believe in magick and foresight, or maybe it was something else. But I remember knowing with certainty after I became Wiccan for sure, but maybe even since before then, that I wasn’t going to live past 18.

I knew it deeper than I’ve ever known anything in my life. And I knew how I was going to die, too. A car accident. I didn’t know if I would cause it or if it would be out of my control, I only knew that was what would happen. I felt the vibrations of the violence of it in my dreams at night; not as nightmares but as a dread conviction.

I knew it so completely that I came to simply accept it. I woke up in the morning, I breathed, I knew my time was limited. It became something that was comforting, in a way.

And because I knew I would die by the time I was 18, I knew I had to write at least one of the stories that wouldn’t leave my mind. So I started what is now Incarnations, but back then was called Calling of the Onyx. I started it when I was around 12/13, around there, and wrote about 150 pages before I had to stop and start over because it wasn’t right. It wasn’t right. And this was my only chance, really, to write the right story before I would die.

Time passed, high school continued, my attempts to write my story marched on.

I don’t remember how old I was on that day. I was in high school still, definitely younger than 18. Was I 16? 17? I hadn’t yet had my 18th birthday, I’m sure.

Back then, my older brother drove us to and from school, and he also picked up or dropped off friends of mine along the way when it was convenient. This day would have been like any other day, except it wasn’t.

When school was out, my brother said he’d drop my friend Tara off at her house. The plan was to drop her off and then I’d go home with my brother. But for some reason that day, Tara asked me last minute as she was stepping out of the car if I wanted to come inside and hang out–study for a math test that was coming up the next day.

Was it a surprise test we’d only just learned of that day? I don’t remember.

What I remember is there was a moment where I hesitated, sitting in the passenger seat. I kind of didn’t want to go to her house, because I wanted to go home and watch TV and roleplay online and just chill. And in that hesitation she urged me to come inside, it’d be fun, and I said I wasn’t sure, and she said come on just come in, so I asked my brother if that’d be okay and he said he didn’t care.

I went inside and my brother drove off.

Tara and I spent the next hour half studying, half goofing off. Until her phone rang and she picked it up, and said it was for me. I answered the phone, heard my mom’s voice and figured she was about to ask when I wanted to be picked up, but that wasn’t at all what she was calling to say.

My brother had been in a really bad car accident, she told me. His car was totaled, she said.

Within blocks of Tara’s house, he had gone through an intersection properly but an SUV hadn’t paid attention to the stop sign and had sped through the intersection. It slammed into the passenger side of the car, T-boned it. Destroyed the car.

My brother was okay.

But if I had been in that passenger seat like I was supposed to be, I wouldn’t have been.

I felt that that was the car accident I had felt all these years. That was what had been weighing on me for years, knowing it was coming, thinking I had no choice. But at the same time I thought, surely that can’t be the accident I expected? Because I somehow missed it, by pure luck and Tara’s insistence.

I think that happened around the time I was 16, because I think I remember there being years after that where I still anticipated that vehicular death even as I no longer felt the certainty as I had before that day at Tara’s.

I wondered for a long time after that why I hadn’t died like I’d expected. When I turned 18, and then 19, and then beyond, I didn’t know what to do with this life I’d never expected to have. I didn’t understand why I had been spared something that had been written in stone for so long.

When I got into fanfic writing and saw the community that came from fandoms, when I had to come up with a reason for why I was alive, I thought that a dream for this unexpected time I had on Earth was for there to someday be something I could write that could be meaningful in whatever way possible to even just one other person. I thought that if I could have anything, if I could find meaning in a dream, then my dream was for something I was involved in writing to have a fandom, no matter how small it may be.

Just one fanfic, one fanart, one anything, would be incredible. Anything beyond that would be astounding, and would fulfill that dream I didn’t dare breathe aloud.

ICoS ended up accidentally fulfilling that dream of mine, which left me feeling free to go back to that story I started all those years ago. Back when I thought I’d have only a few years before I was gone. Now I named it Incarnations, and now I’m trying to finish writing it this year.

Because of ICoS, because of the amazing readers for that story, because at least one person found it meaningful, because at least one person made fanfic or fanart or anything else, because of that community, I’ve been able to dare to have another dream.

This one may never happen, and if it doesn’t I’m honestly completely okay with it. The fact that my first dream was met is more than enough for me. I hardly dare hope for more. But if I could have it, it would be this:

I would love, someday, to be able to quit my job and write a book that gets published. I would like to make just enough money to be able to scrape by as a writer (I don’t expect to ever be rich or well-known). But mostly, even if I can’t do those things, what I would really love is to even just change jobs so I could do what I’ve really wanted to do for years:

I would love to be able to meet people in person. I would love to be able to go to a convention. I would feel incredibly lucky if I could ever be on a panel in a convention, or be a main speaker or the only speaker in one of those panels. I would love to be able to do a book signing sometime in my life. I would love to be able to sit in an Artist’s Alley with books and draw little Ais’ Terrible Art cartoons for anyone who is interested and who was kind enough to stop by. And I would love, someday, to be able to somehow incorporate charities into what I do, like somehow make just a bit more than enough money to scrape by so that extra bit could go to one of my favorite charities, so the people who want to donate know it’s going to a good cause.

I would love any and all of these things, but I also know it’s entirely likely none of this will happen. And I know that even if I were lucky enough to be able to go to a convention as Ais, no one would probably know who I am or care. If I were ever on a panel, particularly if I were the only speaker, or if I ever did some book signing, I would worry that no one would care and no one would show up.

I would have to convince some friends to come so I wouldn’t be sitting there alone in silence. But at least with friends we could hang out and talk, so it’d still be great.

But as much as I would love for any or all of that to happen, I also know it doesn’t have to happen because I was lucky enough for one dream to already have been met, and that alone is more than enough. That alone is more than I’d ever hoped to have.

For every person who ever wrote to us about ICoS, who ever cared about the series or a character, who ever drew anything or made an edit or wrote anything or made music or anything else–to each and every one of you, I can never thank you enough because I don’t have the words to explain to you how incredible and important that is to me.

I wondered why it was that day after school Tara was so insistent, and why I went against my nature to unexpectedly stay at her house. I wondered why I lived when I was set to die.

A few years ago I realized, was it so ICoS could happen? That life-changing event that also wasn’t planned, that also happened accidentally, but that also had positive repercussions in my life going forward? Was ICoS important to someone who needed it at that moment in their life, for whatever reason? Was that why I was spared, so that accidental event could happen for them?

I don’t know, really. Maybe I was also spared so I could rescue my dog. Maybe there’s something I don’t know of yet. I don’t believe in fate, exactly, nor do I think everything has to happen for a reason. I think a lot of things just sort of happen and we roll with them and it’s our reactions to them that affects our options in the future.

That’s how I generally feel, but I can’t feel that way about that accident, because that accident was something I felt the repercussions of years before it happened. That accident was something I knew would happen. That accident is something that so very nearly did happen to me. So the fact that it didn’t is what makes me curious the reason why.

And most days, lately, I feel like the existence of ICoS maybe is that reason.

A series?

There are some true stories I’ve considered sharing, or things I struggle with sometimes, in the event they are helpful for anyone else or even just interesting to read.

In particular that’s been on my mind the most has been my struggles over the years with anorexia and ways I’ve dealt with it or tried to get over it, as much as can be done. For example, lately I’ve been struggling with how a person loses weight when they don’t know if they should be losing that weight and are afraid of triggering right back to where they started on anorexia.

Would that be useful and/or of interest for anyone? Let me know if so.

I don’t understand why love and inclusivity aren’t the norm

This is something I posted on tumblr just now, that I am posting here as well in case I ever need to access it again. I included my tumblr tags at the bottom.


 

I legit do not understand the pushback against het aces, any more than I understand the pushback against aces in general. But then, there’s a lot I don’t understand about the pushback on basically anyone.

I think what I don’t get the most is why anyone at all (but especially anyone whose gender identity, sexual orientation, nationality, ancestry or ethnicity, etc, is something that is not the “default” or “universally accepted” in their context or culture) build their little boxes and tell other people NO YOU AREN’T ALLOWED TO FEEL THE THINGS! YOU DON’T HAVE AS MANY BAD THINGS AS I HAVE SO ONLY I CAN FEEL THE THINGS!

It’s mind boggling to me. We are human beings. We are complex. We have life experiences and opinions and hopes and dreams and situations and environments and illnesses and disabilities and mental illnesses and mental challenges and socioeconomic situations and nationalities and ancestries and religions and so many other things, that all build together to make us who we are as individuals.

No matter how a person was born, it does not mean they have no right to feelings nor that they suddenly stop being a human being nor that their life experiences couldn’t have included trauma which manifests in a variety of ways nor that they couldn’t have lived a life free of trauma. No single piece of them being something unexpected or something that someone else doesn’t understand doesn’t invalidate anything about them.

Complexity is not something to fear, it’s something to embrace.

And measuring a person solely on the negative experiences makes no sense to me. YOU DIDN’T HAVE ALL THE TRAUMA IN YOUR BACKGROUND? THEN YOU CAN’T HAVE ANY FEELS. ONLY PEOPLE WHO ARE TRAUMATIZED CAN HAVE HUMAN EMOTIONS! That thought process is so bizarre to me. Telling someone they can’t feel bad because someone else had it worse is like telling someone they can’t be happy because someone else might be happier. Really? So we can only exist in a constant flux of comparisons relative to those around us? Is there a finite amount of human emotion allowed in this world and we’re supposed to divvy it up based on what other people assume about each other and not based on our natural human reactions to our natural human lives?

Trying to tell another person they aren’t allowed to feel a certain way or identify a certain way or react a certain way makes absolutely no sense to me. How do you know what their life experiences were? How do you know the context of their situation? How do you know all the reasons, big and small, that led to them being where they are, and identifying how they identify, and believing what they believe? How can you be so certain that your experience is so much more valid than theirs, by judging them based on one or two aspects of their holistic self?

Does skin tone alone, across the entire world, mean every single person with that skin tone is going to live the exact same life and have the exact same experiences and know the exact same people and have the exact same thoughts and follow the exact same belief system and like the exact same people and things? Of course not. Same with sexual orientations, gender identities, and so much more beyond that.

I just don’t understand. And I especially don’t understand why people feel the need to do to others what they say has been done to them. Isn’t that all the more reason to show empathy and compassion? Isn’t that all the more reason to be inclusive? And yet I feel like the places that are designed to be “most inclusive” tend to be the most exclusive of them all, with the little boxes some communities build and defend as if their identity is threatened by the very idea of something that doesn’t quite jive.

But to me, that is akin to the people who say they’re against gay marriage because they think it threatens marriage as an institution. If your marriage is so fragile that someone else’s happiness, completely and totally unrelated to your own, could somehow break it apart, then perhaps your marriage needs attention on its own because that is very worrisome.

And if your identity is so threatened by other people identifying in a way that is separate from your own, then that is also very worrisome, and I hope you have time to do some soul-searching and come to terms with who you are and find confidence in it, because trying to tell other people how to feel or how to act or how to identify won’t help you in determining those answers for yourself. So please stop trying to project your insecurities on others; it’s unhealthy for you and I worry for you, and it’s upsetting for the recipients and I worry for them. Everyone is wonderful as-is and no one should feel unsettled or insecure or unwanted or unaccepted simply by being who they are. Simply by becoming the person they were born to be.

I wish people would love each other and themselves more, and stop finding reasons to disengage. This world is beautiful and so are its people in all their complexity. And one of the most rewarding parts of being a human being is our ability to connect with other human beings; to overcome barriers in order to find common understanding, and to work together to make the world a better place than how we found it. Negativity and exclusivity are never the answer; people shouldn’t be demonized for displaying them because they have their own life experiences that led to them reacting that way, but ultimately that negativity and exclusivity is simply a hurdle on the journey to a more holistic, inclusive life. It isn’t the end of a story; it’s only the beginning. And the more we can all work a little harder to remember that the person on the other side of that conversation, or insult, or difficult topic, or screen, is another human being just like us, then the more we can work collectively toward a day where people aren’t told they aren’t allowed to feel a certain way or exist a certain way simply because somebody else doesn’t understand it.

 

Asexuality + crushes — Tell us a story – can be real, or fictional, about queer romance

See an explanation for the context of this post here.

Tell us a story – can be real, or fictional, about queer romance

One time someone asked me, “How does it work to be asexual? Do you never have crushes?” and this is the story I told them as the best personal example I could give.

If I were to have a type, for whatever reason it seems to be baristas. Even if I meet a girl completely unrelated to a coffee shop, if I like her and then talk to her I end up finding out she is or was a barista. Everything else about my crushes changes: from body shape, race, style, age, personality, interests, etc.

The thing with me is I instantly know if I like someone or not. It’s like love at first sight, I guess, except without any expectations.

There was this girl in her 20’s who was a barista at a coffee shop I frequented. I freaking loved her. She was funny, smart, beautiful, super talented in a variety of ways, and I loved how her personality came out in her clothing style. I can chat with anyone on any stupid topic but when it came to her, I wanted to talk more and more. And as my infatuation with her grew in those conversations with every new piece I learned about her, I came to have what I felt to be embarrassingly obvious reactions. I would start to blush, and then kind of stutter a bit, maybe ramble, and definitely joke even more than normal.

I always think I’m being ridiculously obvious in these rare crush cases but then later find out I wasn’t obvious at all. I guess it’s because I’m so rarely interested in anyone that, to me, having that interest is already monumental. It makes me feel like surely everyone else must know from a mile away. With her, I wasn’t sure if she knew I liked her and I was afraid to be overt.

Thing is, I have shit for gaydar. Like seriously, I rarely know if someone’s gay and it’s even worse with ladies. Which is a real pain as a lesbian. If someone isn’t wearing a shirt that says, “WHY HELLO I AM A LESBIAN AND I AM INTERESTED IN YOU OHOHO :D” then I basically have no clue. So after a while of going to that coffee shop once or twice a day to get a chai or iced tea, talking to her every chance I got and utterly failing at figuring out her sexual orientation but utterly succeeding in becoming more smitten with her, I finally started doing that dorky thing where I whispered to friends about this barista I liked but I didn’t know if she was gay.

My straight female friend, hilariously enough, has fantastic gaydar. So I brought her with me one day and asked her afterward. She said her gaydar was a little mixed on the woman. So then I asked all my lesbian friends, and convinced one of them to stop by the coffee shop one day and see. She also tried, and came back and said she wasn’t sure.

This went on for some time, with me getting increasingly giddy when I saw the woman. I mean, I felt my cheeks heat, I felt butterflies in my stomach, I didn’t want to stop talking to her even if it was the most inane of conversations. I found myself thinking about her even when I wasn’t at the cafe. I wanted to know more about her, I thought about how cool it would be if I could go out with her, or how awesome it would be if we could move in together eventually because I could also meet the pets she talked about. I thought about whether she liked to travel and if she would ever want to travel with me, and all the places we could go. I wondered if she could teach me how to customize clothes like she did for herself.

Things like that. It didn’t even matter if we talked. I just liked the idea of being able to spend any time with her.

I wanted to know whatever she was comfortable telling me because I liked everything I knew about her, even the things she might have expected people not to accept, like when she mentioned she had depression and ADHD. To me, they were simply facets of her beauty. It only made me want to know more.

This makes me sound like a stalker, but I swear I wasn’t. It was simply that I had such strong admiration for her that I felt like she was a story I could read every day for the rest of my life, and still find something new and exciting on the next page.

After weeks of this, and at the height of my giddiness, one day I stopped by again. In the process of talking to her about some topic I don’t even remember, she gave me her Facebook name. I had tried searching for her on google and Facebook already, hoping I could at least solve the question of whether she was gay or not, but I hadn’t gotten anywhere in my initial search and I wasn’t interested in becoming a total creeper so I stopped and figured I’d see if she ever was open to telling me, herself. So when she gave me her Facebook information, I was ecstatic. Finally! I would know if she was even gay, because so many women I had liked in the past weren’t.

When I pulled up her Facebook page, I was really excited to know a little more about her, like the sorts of things that interested her enough for her to post, or if she had any funny pictures of her and her friends, or if I could see her pets, or–

The first thing I saw stopped all the questions.

She was gay, definitely. I knew this because she was married to another woman. Their wedding pictures were all over her Facebook, and they were beautiful. Her wife looked really nice, and they seemed really happy.

Instantly, all that giddiness, that interest, that heat I’d had before– vanished. Completely disappeared. It’s like someone dropped a wall between me and it, and every piece of it was gone. There was literally no transition. I went from, “OMG SO EXCITED TO KNOW MORE ABOUT HER I KEEP THINKING ABOUT HER CAN’T STOP” to “What? I know her?” in a second.

I still thought she was an awesome person, I still thought she was talented, but any and every bit of romantic interest in her vanished because I knew it would never happen. She was with someone else. That was all I needed to know. I was no longer interested or intrigued.

The next day I walked into the coffee shop, curious to see if I would still blush and maybe ramble. I was a little worried that I would have to lay off the coffee shop for a while so I wouldn’t bug her while I transitioned. But to my relief, that feeling didn’t resurface at all, not even when I saw her. I felt toward her the same way I felt toward all the other baristas: I liked her as a person, I joked around with her about stupid things, but when I got my chai and we were done chatting I said goodbye and left without looking back.

I never once thought of her after seeing her Facebook, except the way I would with any other barista there. After that, when I went in and saw someone else working I didn’t find a way to squeeze in casually asking if she was there/when she’d work next. Because it no longer mattered. It was cool if I saw her, but totally cool if I didn’t.

From what I understand from other people, or at least the way things seem to be represented in a lot of media, that is perhaps the difference between at least the way I am as an asexual, and the way other people might function who aren’t asexual. I’ve always gotten the impression that it’s much more difficult for others to turn off their feelings.

It seems like there’s a trope where people can’t turn off their love even when finding out someone is otherwise engaged, and they fantasize about stealing them. For me, there is no way I would have interest in interfering. Even assuming I still had feelings, why would I ever try to break up someone else’s happiness for something as selfish as my own? Especially since I would never be happy if she wasn’t happy. It just feels completely illogical and pointless to me. Which is probably what’s at the heart of it: I may feel the emotions deeply, but ultimately they are still immutably tied into logic in my mind.

But if she hadn’t been married/with someone else, and if she had been interested in me, I would have devoted myself to her for as long as she wanted me. I would have developed a loyalty that would mean I would never have any interest in straying or betraying her, because she was all I wanted and all I needed.

For me, it’s like a switch. I can’t control if it’s turned on, and I can’t control if it’s turned off, but that stark dichotomy between being supremely interested and utterly disinterested definitely exists. And if something occurs where I realize it’s not to be between us, that switch is thrown and every extra feeling I had is completely gone. I couldn’t recreate that same heated giddiness with her if I tried. Any more than I could make myself be romantically interested in someone I didn’t have an instant connection with the first time I met them.

Maybe it actually is exactly this same way with everyone else, at which point this isn’t a very good story to use as an example. But if this is not the way it works for you when you are romantically interested in someone, and if you wondered what it means to be asexual– then, for me, the story of the barista I adored until I found out she was married is the best way I can explain.

Never regret you

I received this anonymous post on tumblr, and since I wrote a long answer I thought I may want to reference it later. To make it easier to find, or in case it helps anyone else to see this who would miss it on tumblr, I’m posting it here.


 

lovedieanon

I feel that way a lot too, anon. I can understand that feeling well. Since I’ve always felt like some sort of weird outlier to life at large, I’ve struggled a lot of my life with refusing to be anyone other than myself, while constantly having to recognize how being “myself” meant that a lot of who I am will not be understood. It’s been getting better over time but that feeling still remains, even though I’m lucky with having some great friends and family.

Actually I wrote an article along these lines for Queer Romance Month if it helps at all: The Equality of Differences.

Anyway, because of all that, and compounding the issue with me being asexual and a lesbian, I have always felt like no one I could ever come to love will ever love me, and I’ll end up dying alone. I still feel that way now. I’ve kind of resigned myself to that inevitability, in all honesty. I just don’t feel like there’s a reason anyone should bother with me, and even if they did then the trouble is with me being an asexual lesbian I have a VERY small subsection of people who I may even be attracted to in the first place who also would be okay with who I am, without one or both of us having to seriously compromise on what is important for us just so we can be together.

But the thing is, I’ve spent many years watching other people cycle through all these relationship hurdles and roller coasters and becoming co-dependent or being too afraid to exist on their own and always jumping into relationships because they can’t love themselves individually. I’ve watched people in relationships spanning years, decades, split up later because they grew apart or maybe they never should have actually been together in the first place but they thought they had to be because that was what they thought love was. (I wrote about this in January 2015 on my blog as well which maybe you would find interesting if you want to see that thought process in more detail: An Asexual’s View of Love)

The conclusion I’ve reached over time is that it isn’t bad to be alone. Honestly, it isn’t. There is a lot of freedom in being alone; you can dictate your time much more efficiently, you can explore ideas or hobbies or adventures at your leisure, and you can take all the time you need to recognize, really realize, how important you are as yourself. I’ve always been really big on people being themselves, whether or not that happens to fit mainstream.

For me, in any group of people I’m in, there’s almost always some pretty big part of me that is pretty fucking weird to the people in that group. So there’s a part of me that always feels like it doesn’t belong, like I stand out, and that has created dual reactions over time for me.

Continue reading

The Equality of Differences – QRM post

Hey all — my blog post for Queer Romance Month is out and I wanted to mention it here because I think people might be interested in it. I called it The Equality of Differences and I don’t think I can totally copy the whole post over here (since that wouldn’t be fair to QRM) so instead I’m showing you just the beginning of it below.

Follow the link at the end to read the rest.


I have spent most of my life feeling like an alien on Earth. The main reason for this is because it has often felt like, at every step of the way, I was different than what society expected.

My earliest memory is of being at recess in elementary school and running up to a teacher to ask, “What’s a lesbian?” I know I asked that question because somebody called me one, but I don’t remember exactly what they said, nor what the teacher’s response was. All I know is whatever the teacher said gave me the impression it was something very bad, because I remember running back and yelling at the other kid that I wasn’t a lesbian at all.

I was too young back then to know I actually was a lesbian, and way too young to know I was asexual as well. Maybe if I’d known I wouldn’t have denied it to that kid, because later I would grow up to realize how important it is to be myself. Even when that means I feel like I don’t belong.

For anyone who’s interested, I wrote a blog post earlier this year called An Asexual’s View of Love which talks about how, to me, romance can seem like a fetishization of love. I don’t want to be repetitive so I focus on different topics in this post than I did in that one.

The topic of having romance be accessible to everyone is something very dear to me, as a woman who is definitely a romantic at heart but who also happens to be both asexual and a lesbian. I’ve often felt that the things that are expected of human beings, and especially female human beings in the US, are things that are utterly foreign to me.

There are different ways of feeling alienated or consistently “not normal.” For me, it’s always been a whole lot of little things that added up to me feeling like a freak of nature as far as mainstream is concerned. Stereotypes shouldn’t be expectations, but in aggregate they are.

Women are overtly sexualized in the US (which creeps me out as an asexual), with the expectation that men should get the most out of her and have some control of, or accessibility to, her beauty (which creeps me out as a lesbian), and with the further assumption that her end goal in life must be to have children, marry and settle down (which creeps me out as someone who didn’t like kids as a kid and doesn’t want to be around them any more as an adult).

In short, if you imagine what is assumed to be “normal,” I was almost always the opposite.

CONTINUE READING: http://www.queerromancemonth.com/ais-lin-2015

NerdCon: Stories (NerdCon 2015)

I made the trip to NerdCon: Stories, the first year of this new convention originally created by Hank Green and then done with Patrick Rothfuss and a whole lot of other authors. As they put it:

Nerds like us are allowed to be unironically enthusiastic about stuff. When people call people nerds, mostly what they’re saying is ‘you like stuff.’ Which is just not a good insult at all.  — John Green

NerdCon is here to celebrate the enthusiasm of the Nerd! We want to capture some of the most important and exciting cultural institutions in physical spaces. We started on this goal in 2010 when we launched VidCon, but it just wasn’t enough for us. Now, NerdCons celebrating all sorts of important, fascinating, and vital things will arise. We are starting with NerdCon: Stories.

Story-telling is as old as humans. In fact, it might be one of the things that helped us become humans. NerdCon: Stories is here to honor that institution with a diverse gathering of story tellers.

I heavily debated whether I would go when I heard about it, because it was expensive ($100 for tickets) and I wasn’t sure. But my friend and I were both interested, and I thought it would be cool to be there the first year of something that might take off in the future, so we went.

I am so incredibly glad we did. It was amazing. Amazing. Seriously, it was my favorite convention I’ve been to in… as long as I can remember, actually.

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