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.