May Carnival of Aros (DIY)

A Carnival of Aros Call for Submissions went out on May 15th centered around “DIY” [Do It Yourself]. {A tumblr crosspost will go up after the deadline to prevent link confusion.}

What I had penciled in to write about: Knitting.

What I got sidetracked by: Digital flags appear to be created without considering how difficult, if not impossible, the colors used are to find in physical materials like yarn. (Mentioned in a Pillowfort post about flag culture.)

What I inevitably wound up contemplating: The global SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, how not everyone accepts an event as trauma, and how quarantine may provide the push to question certain aspects of amatonormativity or one’s identity.

What I wrote: “Thoughts On Aro Diversity & Trauma”.

tl;dr Trying to research the history and usage of a so-called uncommon identity (per AUREA glossary organization) is difficult. I don’t actually know that anyone will question amatonormativity or their identity during quarantine and/or this pandemic in any way that may relate to the aro community, and I don’t know if they’ll actually find any terms from the aro community useful. Despite speculating on a term that I wish I could’ve found when I was questioning, I don’t think creating a new label is necessary because the underlying desire could be addressed with exposure to a range of aro narratives outside of a static ‘I’ve  always been aro’ perspective.

What felt relevant, but I couldn’t really think of a way to naturally work into my already long and rambling post: A Pillowfort post about glossaries. There’s some interesting comments, but I particularly pulled out this to quote from the post itself, “There’s really something to be said about glossaries […] and how they obscure the internal development, debates, diversity, and complexity around particular identities, in favor of quick sound-bite definitions”.

What I still have not written: Anything about knitting.

Thoughts On Aro Diversity & Trauma

This is going to be a long post, so I’m sharing the headings and a summary before placing most of this post under a cut. Headings: Defining Caedromantic, Caedromantic Usage, Relevance of Caedromantic Usage, and A Proposal To Those Still Reading.

The definition of caedromantic has been split from the section on usage precisely because of the impression that there are additional usages that may affect how people explain and think of caedromantic outside of copying the definition. The section on relevance ties in the element of the coronavirus pandemic as a global trauma that may (or may not) lead to questioning amatonormativity and aspects of identity, while being an example of something that someone may not specifically say is a trauma or result in thinking of themselves as a trauma survivor. The final section returns to caedromanticism, thoughts about a word for ‘used to experience romantic attraction but no longer does, yet does not explicitly require tying that to trauma’ from the prior ending, and has a new ending.

Please note: The original ending with questions regarding feedback and whether this would be useful to the community has not been included in full. Instead, I stripped the questions down to explain how I shifted from thinking a different (potentially new) term would be useful to thinking that the core issue was a matter of lack of diverse narratives.

Continue reading “Thoughts On Aro Diversity & Trauma”

Let’s Be Alone Together

As of this writing (May 5th), I have not seen anything about a Carnival of Aros theme for May, but I’m using the Carnival of Ace “Quarantine” questions to pre-write something vaguely aro-ish.

Regarding personal lifestyle changes and ‘sheltering in place’ with particular people (in my case, family):

I’ve done #coronablogging, have various posts across accounts, have vented to close friends, and have a private document for the truly private venting. In some ways, I was already living a rather housebound life before everyone needed to follow a Stay at Home Order, but it’s been difficult dealing with a very particular relative who was used to leaving the house multiple times a week to socialize (and now comes up with unnecessary reasons to go to the store). No, this is not a request for anyone to comment about this, joke about hiding her car keys, or whatever.

For those who don’t regularly read my content: At this point, I’m tired of explaining how I might be vulnerable to Covid-19 complications. I’m tired of being reminded that there’s ‘a lot we don’t know’ about Covid-19, so I might be exaggerating the danger I face. I know it’s not your fault that I’ve had to hear X from news stories, deal with Z offline, and all that, but quite frankly, there are some details that I don’t want to rush to post in a public online space right now.

On to actual questions.

Are there people you’ve lost contact with? Relationships you’ve maintained over distance?

Let me see . . . The last time I interacted with a friend face-to-face in the same physical location had to be sometime in May of 2017 (approximately 3 years ago). For some friends, the last interaction would’ve been August of 2016 (3 years and 9 months ago). If not earlier in 2016. So, I think I can say that I’ve probably lost contact with a lot of IRL people before the quarantine, and I’ve had to grow accustomed to non-IRL interaction already.

Honestly, some friends that I text, IM, email, and otherwise have communicated with online for the past few years would probably not realize the degree to which I self-isolated myself before now. In an effort to not sound too depressing, I have been checking in on some friends with a little more regularity since I wasn’t sure how well they were holding up with losing jobs at the start of this. (For the non-regular readers, that would be jobs in the theatre industry.)

Not everyone’s been laid off. Some people from undergrad went into different careers (including nursing), have side hustles, or are (un)lucky enough to have day jobs that have now been deemed essential. Understandably, they’re too busy to chat, but I mostly liked their FB posts as interaction anyways. So, it’s not terribly different during the quarantine. I will admit that I haven’t been that great at checking in on strictly online friends, but that’s mostly around not feeling close enough to ask about how they’re doing.

Are there any projects you’ve been motivated to work on? Or projects that you can’t motivate yourself to work on?

A post about how wording is not happening. A post that touches on the fickleness of stress-researching but being unable to write one fic and unexpectedly writing another. I can point to drafts of to-do lists from January where I really wanted to make progress in certain fics that have been percolating on the ‘haven’t updated’ backburner for about 2 years, but yeah, that’s not happening right now. “Spinning in Squircles” touches on not being able to write in situations outside of fanfic and how I started following new solarpunk blogs (back around the situation with 45 and Iran in early January), which deal heavily with mutual aid efforts. (A coincidence IRL, but if I were to write that in something, that would probably be called heavy-handed foreshadowing.)

I have a half-written WP post on how I put too much time and energy into certain efforts at the end of March and beginning of April leading to a corresponding downswing (maybe not severe enough to be a burnout) sitting in my drafts. I have done a few things during quarantine, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I’m making progress on a project. I hit one of those potentially hypomanic periods in the first week of March right after the Daylight Savings Time change, though, so I have ideas. I just have to find the realistic and achievable ones.

What would you like to see from aro communities and activists right now?

No offense, but after realizing there wasn’t a Carnival theme for April, I sort of didn’t think about the aro community until I started looking to see if there was a May theme. Aro bloggers are still blogging, communities are still doing their thing, and activists are doing activism. That’s great. Keep doing your thing.

I’m just doing my best to survive a global pandemic and to remember to add posts to my tumblr queues before they run out. I don’t expect the aro community to wait for me to be ready to engage with it again. Have I thought of linking to something about polyamory and communication during quarantine for an aro perspective? Have I thought about personally returning to old Carnival themes within the context of quarantine (f’ex, Aloneness)? Sure, but I’ve also had to deal with a variety of trauma responses, maladaptive coping mechanisms resurfacing, and some particular quirks of my mentally ill brain.

On the one hand, I know some people find it helpful to share what they’re going through, and that may extend to wanting to meet certain emotional release needs with a community. On the other hand, I know well enough to say that I’m not comfortable with being that messy in public. I’ve been having issues with having a shorter fuse and rediscovering anger, I’ve been lowkey dissociating, and I’m very tired of the alcohol jokes/reactions. If it weren’t for the fact that I would need to exchange money I don’t have with someone, I would’ve probably done something incredibly reckless and impulsive already. (Btw: “Safer Drinking During Desperate Times” has some tips if you want to keep drinking, but you’re a bit worried about how your drinking habits have changed during quarantine.)

Keep doing your thing, aro community, and I’ll catch up when I can.

Corona-Blogging 2

April: ‘I will carefully allocate my time, energy, and attention so I will not burnout’, I say while doing the exact opposite and being unable to focus longer than it takes to reblog a tumblr post.

Also: A minor, easily manageable thing that needed repaired that could wait until the Stay at Home Order eased was discovered by my grandmother, who promptly turned it into a shitshow (and no less than four unnecessary trips to the store), which was why I didn’t tell her in the first place.

No, I will not be taking questions about this. She already makes unnecessary trips for groceries (sometimes multiple times a week), recently revealed that she hasn’t worn a mask on any prior trip (“because no one else in the store wears them”), and in all likelihood, she will be the one who introduces the coronavirus into our household. (Unless she repeats any of the insults from that one yelling match with Mom. Then Mom will probably snap and drive Grandma to “her favorite child” to shelter in place with him.)

In other news, I made an attempt at compiling information about the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction (DRC) and the DRC’s response to coronavirus/Covid-19 for a separate organization. I tried to keep up with updating a Google doc shared with the person in charge of the volunteer email, but I ran out of steam (last updated in mid-April). I’m not sure if they were already getting Ohio info, have a backlog of prison info to go through, are running short on their volunteers to go through multiple states worth of info, or had something else come up, but I’m not sure if compiling info, well, helped.

I shared a portion of it in this tumblr post (minus the longest portion with contact info for the regional directors and each prison). Contains: Where to call and links to go to for keeping up to date (including the static link to the pdf with daily prison testing updates), a list of Covid-19 changes (ex. when visitation was stopped), ACLU email hotline (covid19@acluohio.org), and the official Communication with Next of Kin policy regarding sharing medical info (you don’t have to be related, but you have to be on the form as their next of kin).

Apparently, there was a phone zap in April [tweet]. Apparently, there was this whole ‘Action April’ effort that started out with a tweet storm in the first part of April [public Google doc]. Apparently, Twitter is where things are at. If you’re lucky, maybe Facebook (ex. upcoming webinar on 19th).

Summary of April: I guess I tried?

One Spark.

“This is the one thing we should remember through all of this. We may have been comfortable and happy with the way things were, but upheaval was always just around the corner. The sheer amount of shit that we’ve been slogging through for years was the reminder we needed that this was bound to happen, even if we wanted to pretend it wouldn’t. The warning signs were all around us, we just needed to see them even if we didn’t want to.

Have a crisis of faith; have a meltdown; have a good or shitty cry; do it up. And once you’ve finished with all of that, maybe you’ll go back to your religious or spiritual tradition with a renewed fervor or maybe you’ll say fuck it and move on. Whatever the case may be, you are the spark of your own faith and only you can light, relight, or blow it out.

Just have patience. Just remember that the shit is far from over. Just remember that there will be more lulls where religion is easy and more slogs where it gets harder. Just remember that you are the only one who can definitively say what does and doesn’t work for you.

And maybe, when all of this is over and things are moving forward again, you’ll take out your faith and see the cracks where it weathered out this storm and marvel at the little light you had with you this whole time.”

Mystical Bewilderment

As a kid, I had a host of strange ideas about God and faith. I don’t rightly know where most of them came from. They certainly didn’t sound like anything mentioned at the pulpit or in Sunday school. But they were mine and I wore them secretly like a cloak around my throat that could choke me if the strings were drawn too tightly.

I believed that God was a cloud. He lived there too because that’s where Heaven was. Not in space or in another dimension, but in the soft pale blue sky of a beautiful spring day. And He, Himself, was a shapeless cloud that lived in the sky, peering down upon His creation. Sometimes I worried that dark gray clouds and slate colored thunderhead meant he was angry just like the sky looked.

Prayers could only be heard in church. You could supplement your desires with prayers…

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Why post a placeholder chapter?

I am aware that ao3 has a Fannish Next of Kin policy and private arrangements have been made between fans before that policy came into place, but the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic of 2020 and the potential for dying from COVID-19 complications (potentially incredibly quickly) has prompted a temporary measure on my part – a placeholder chapter for a WIP.

As of writing this [May 6 – 8], I’ve only been 26 for a few months now, and that’s still considered relatively young to be concerned with ‘estate’ planning. Most people I’ve done a soft inquiry with don’t really consider making some sort of will until certain life milestones I have not reached (having children, owning a house, having enough money for descendants to squabble over, etc.). Honestly, I don’t have very much in the way of tangible, physical items to bequeath to someone, and I don’t have the money for an official will and testament. Even if I did, I’m honestly having trouble picturing myself explaining to my biological family that I’ve got a Drarry longfic, Severus Fix-It, etc. that I didn’t finish updating while alive, and I’d like someone to post a summary of how the fic ends.

Due to the speed at which a COVID-19 death can occur, and the inherent reliance upon in-person people notifying others, I cannot guarantee that friends I communicate with online will find out about my death unless they’re a long-distance Facebook friend. I can’t guarantee that any fannish in-person friends would be able to access my laptop or successfully access my Google docs during this pandemic quarantine. I can’t guarantee that my family will have the patience to abide by a fannish request list that may involve giving out passwords to apparent strangers, for starters. Be that as it may, I do have the current ability to upload a placeholder chapter.

In the event that I’m lucky enough to not have COVID-19 or I don’t have complications (a mild case that doesn’t involve death), I fully intend to write out the end of my fics, which may deviate from the placeholder summaries. In the event that I’m not lucky, I have backdated posts that summarize the endings for the following:

I may add links to additional summaries if I think it may be necessary. All summary posts and this explanation post will be backdated to prevent spamming followers with notification emails.

Placeholder Chapter (Serpent-Bearer)

While I don’t have anything uploaded for the rest of the parts in the Darkling series to require summarized endings, I would like to give enough of an idea for anyone who’s curious about where the other sections of Darkling were planned to go that the series doesn’t feel entirely incomplete. In the event that I do get to write them out and upload them at a later date, I may not strictly adhere to what’s written.

Part Four: “Serpent-Bearer”

Continue reading “Placeholder Chapter (Serpent-Bearer)”

Placeholder Chapter (Scutum: The Shield)

While I don’t have anything uploaded for the rest of the parts in the Darkling series to require summarized endings, I would like to give enough of an idea for anyone who’s curious about where the other sections of Darkling were planned to go that the series doesn’t feel entirely incomplete. In the event that I do get to write them out and upload them at a later date, I may not strictly adhere to what’s written.

I’m not really sure that anyone is enthusiastically wanting to know how I sometimes have scenes written in my notes, but I’m including my notes about Harry’s death as is (I don’t know if it’s the playwriting experience, but I do have scenes where the majority of the notes are just dialogue).

Part Three: “Scutum: The Shield”

Continue reading “Placeholder Chapter (Scutum: The Shield)”

Placeholder Chapter (Summer/Start of Part Three?)

While I don’t have anything uploaded for the rest of the parts in the Darkling series to require summarized endings, I would like to give enough of an idea for anyone who’s curious about where the other sections of Darkling were planned to go that the series doesn’t feel entirely incomplete. In the event that I do get to write them out and upload them at a later date, I may not strictly adhere to what’s written. Due to the length of the post for Part Two, the notes about the summer holiday have been separated.

Continue reading “Placeholder Chapter (Summer/Start of Part Three?)”

Placeholder Chapter (Ysgyfarnog: The Hare)

While I don’t have anything uploaded for the rest of the parts in the Darkling series to require summarized endings, I would like to give enough of an idea for anyone who’s curious about where the other sections of Darkling were planned to go that the series doesn’t feel entirely incomplete. In the event that I do get to write them out and upload them at a later date, I may not strictly adhere to what’s written.

Part Two: “Ysgyfarnog: The Hare”

Continue reading “Placeholder Chapter (Ysgyfarnog: The Hare)”