All the birds but us… – April Carnival of Aces Call for Submissions

Hail, brave content creators, welcome to the April edition of the Carnival of Aces. With the spring equinox behind us, Passover and Easter upon us and April Fool’s day tomorrow and everything around us blooming and reproducing… Well, no time like the present to feel melancholy. Or cheerful. One of the two.

This month’s theme’s inspired by a medieval Flemish-Dutch sentence:

Hebban olla vogala nestas hagunnan hinase hic enda thu[,] wat unbidan we nu[?]

All the birds have begun nests except me and you, what are we still waiting for?

Penned in the 1100 by a monk, probably to test his quill, it’s the oldest sample of my native language. It’s always struck a chord.

Rarely does a shift in orientation work out in a person’s life according to expectations. We wander into such wildly unexpected and unknown futures.

I think we need those stories.

So the question for this month:

How did your (a)sexual and (a)romantic orientations impact your (expected or imagined) future?

Prompts to help the creative juices flow (feel free to deviate):

  • All the (other) birds:
        • Was there a clear or typical path in life that you decided to diverge from, when others didn’t?
  • My nest:
        • What life have you begun to build since your (a)sexual and (a)romantic orientations changed?
  • Except me and you:
        • If you had to sketch a potential life or partner or relationship or family, what are some of the ingredients that make it a good, safe, peaceful and/or joyful prospect?
        • You’ve decided you do not wish for a partner and may find fulfilment in your life through alternative means, please share!
  • Still waiting
        • What expectations for your life are you uncertain about or struggling with after having discovered your (a)sexual and/or (a)romantic orientations?

To submit:

  • Leave a link to your contribution, be it post or vlog or art piece, in the comments.
  • Send your contribution to my email: demiandproud@gmail.com so I can host it on my blog.
  • Leave your thoughts on one of the prompts in the comments.

Please do let me know if you’ve contributed somehow, I do wish to honour all the awesomeness. If you have specific preferences for pronouns and/or descriptions for your submission, let me know those as well, please. Late submissions added throughout May.

Associated posts, links to be added as they appear:

 

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Wishing Well

My contribution to June’s Carnival of Aces, hosted by dating while ace.

If you’ve ever heard a person talk about their faith in roughly the following format: “I had something going on, then God happened, then stuff changed for the better,” then you’ve run into a testimony. These word-of-mouth stories are the single most prolific and accessible method for Christians to talk about their lives and their beliefs.

I bring them up because the latest issue of the Asexual had me think about representation, even while I failed to write something clever on time. In my fantasy land, Christians happily bring up how their sexuality and their faith interacted and maybe took them through some hard times and maybe taught them something about themselves or the world and maybe meant their lives changed. For the better, because this is fantasy land.

In short, if I dream of representation, I dream of hearing testimonies from LGBTQIA folks, preferably asexual folks and, for the almond-whipped-cream-on-top-of-a-salted-caramel-cheesecake, demisexual or gray-ace folks.

All the more because these stories are meant as examples and as teaching tools. Testimonies are meant to tell others how to live. While I know, intellectually, there are plenty Christians with another sexuality out there, these are not stories easily found. They are not people likely to speak up, with how controversial a topic sexual orientation is, in the church around the world. Other voices dominate.

So I ache at the near-silence and I keep seeking it out, the person-like-me, both Christian and othered in their sexuality and yet managing to unite these two. I keep kneading my own faith into shapes that I think might be good and hoping someone else has a similar heap of dough already made into a nice cake.

That somewhere, someday, it might not be strange to suddenly hear a person talk about their sexuality and faith: “I discovered I was/struggled with being/came out as (not-cisgender-and-heterosexual (asexual (demisexual))) and then God happened, then my life got a bit better.”

Until it stops feeling like I’m yelling into a wishing well and only hearing my own voice coming back.

Ride that Rollercoaster!

This post was written for the May Carnival of Aces hosted at Prismatic Entanglements, on Nuance and Complexity…

I

For months I’ve been at this point, dipping my toe into dating sites only to pull it back out quickly.

Drift across the kitchen, cooking, my mind still there, browser window still open.

Oh, god, to do something mostly new, where I feel too old. Where others start as kids, teens, adolescents.

Can I be small again? Bumbling?

Can I take the rejection, when it comes, again and again and again?

Can I allow it not to matter? How do others even do this? Where is the manual?

Not tonight, I decide. Wooden spoon clenched between ring and middle finger, I swipe the window away with my thumb. Cheeks burning, I stir the pasta.

Coward.

Hungry coward, though.

“Dinner!” I smile at the people I do have, try to focus, to forget a longing for family I carry in my heart.

II

“Verlangen” is the more visceral desire, craving and the more cerebral longing, missing.

“Koesteren” is to cradle or hold carefully, used figuratively, speaking of tenderness and cherishing.

“Houden van” is literally “(have) hold of” and is the most common translation of “to love” but I like “liefhebben” better, which is more properly “to hold dear”.

“Verkeren” is oldfashioned as a verb, “verkering” is the relationship between the acknowledgement that there is anything more than a meeting or a hook-up, and (optional) the engagement.

Centuries of “verkering”: 13th, to turn around, a change. 15th, to associate with, 17th, to associate with a person with the intention to get engaged, 20th century, to be in a romantic relationship.

These are the words in my head, when I think and lurk and procrastinate.

III

These words are absent:

“Begeren” to desire, usually sexually. The noun: lust.

“Vrijen” is both being glued together in public and having sex.

IV

To say you wish without taking action is to make the dream a wistful lie instead of a hopeful truth.

I have trawled through calendars of events.

I have made known to a dozen people how hard it is to start on something.

I have nitpicked dating sites and types of events to find objections, based in pop culture, based in insecurity.

I have yet to start.

V

Finally I sit down and write and write until I’ve peeled the onion to the core.

I do not have dating friends I can ask to tag along.

I do not have places I go out regularly.

I do not have a time in my week where romantic interest is likely to happen.

I do not have the experience I would wish even to say what is normal and what is not.

I do not have clever words or social smoothness to make flirting come easily or at all.

I am so dreadfully scared of all the firsts, the immediacy of emotion that comes with new experiences combining with going into a foreign domain alone where the contact is personal.

“Eelt op je ziel” translates to calluses on the soul, a buffer between you and the world, being inured.

I go into this nearly new.

Bare. Naked. Tender.

VI

I sit with my phone in my hands. I appear as the rest do, just waiting for my bus, spending time.

In truth, I am staring at a black screen, suspenseful soundtrack thumping in my head.

I put my head in my hands and scold myself.

VII

“Just do it.”

“You have to start somewhere.”

“It starts with simply meeting people.”

“Don’t give it so much weight.”

“Be less harsh with yourself.”

Grace.

Mercy, not elegance.

Letting go and being alright with feeling foolish.

VIII

Let’s start with one, just one.

I download the app.

I find out about the wonderful world that is verifying through Facebook you exist.

I delete the app.

Facebook and privacy. Speak of antonyms.

I have an old account with which I did a lot. I learned, through others’ bad experiences, not to let apps access such information.

I’m in luck. An acquaintance suggests a solution over coffee.

I make an empty facebook account with just my name and picture. Only needs an alternate email address.

I download the app again.

IX

Filling out the profile goes smoothly.

Months’ hesitation means I already have a profile picture.

I fill out the questions like it’s a psychology test, just go with the first impulse.

First drafts can be edited.

I hit the questions about my preferred partner and pause, thumbs hovering over the keyboard on my screen.

I sit down and sigh.

I am demisexual.

I have no idea what my romantic orientation is.

X

I have a post half drafted entitled “An Elusive Romantic Orientation”. I love the title. I dislike the post. Too whiny, too incoherent.

I have been able to figure out I see relationships as growing, organic. Trees and perennials and bulbs that flower for a month and seeds that may never come up.

I have been able to figure out I wish for a romantic or platonic context, so I know what to cultivate about relationships that are otherwise very diverse.

I have been able to figure out I regard platonic as the default, easiest and safest and most known.

I have been able to figure out that defining something as romantic is like installing extra features and permissions, to my mind. Go for the thrill of flirting. Exercise a greater measure of territoriality and physical affection. Dropping more masks and showing more weak spots and thinking more tender thoughts.

In secret, tend a little flame which burns with hopes for a year from now, sharing time, sharing lives, sharing homes, sharing needs, sharing families and friends, sharing nights and days.

Just a small flame, that appears in idle thoughts before falling asleep and in a belly full of mellow warmth when watching a romantic movie or another couple walking down the street.

“Waakvlam” is a pilot light, the single flame that keeps watch, always on in case something needs to be heated.

I have figured out that, yes, I am romantic. Even that I lean strongly towards monogamy.

I still haven’t figured out the prefix.

XI

The prefix to romantic – when it is something other than “a” – is tied to the partner.

The gender of the prospective partner I need to fill out.

If asked, I would say I primarily, even perhaps only, want to interact on the romantic level. Well, and intellectual and emotional and social and… but.

So much else about a partner is more in the foreground, when I try to think of it, in memory or fantasy.

What do you put before -romantic if partner gender is simply less relevant?

XII

The lack of a word for the thing my brain’s settled on drives me to distraction for a few days.

However, this time the quandary cannot be left to languish unresolved.

I have a profile to complete.

I consider all the gender-neutral words I’ve been using and decide follow the same line here. Simply leave the option for gender open to all of it, and scroll on.

XIII

When it comes to personal information, I have another decision to make. Do I say I’m asexual up front?

I do not even consider demisexual. That is a word for the in-group.

I struggled with disclosure when it came to my new church, feeling I had to represent asexuality because of the potential for controversy.

Yet the fact that I feel compelled to be public about such a personal fact makes me want to keep it private all the more.

“Be open if you have nothing to hide” is an attitude that makes me want to close off.

If I am not trusted for what is hidden about me, I am not trusted.

If I am not free to keep myself hidden, I am not free to entrust myself to others.

I do not put my sexuality on my profile.

XIV

I click to complete it.

I consider taking the initiative in getting in touch and chicken out.

It’s alright, I tell myself. Let’s see what happens.

“Laat het over me heenkomen” feels to me like stepping into the surf to let the waves play around my legs or drown me, depending on how rough the sea is.

XV

After the first day I stuff my face into my pillow and laugh until I cry.

I have plenty experience with online communities.

The non-commital likes.

The awkwardness of having a chat conversation with a complete stranger.

The sudden absence of the other person.

I have feared this so much and yet it feels so familiar, so easy.

I decide to set a time to check it, like other communities, and put my phone down.

Time to write about this.

XVI

Much dawdling and a harrowing ride ended in an anticlimactic stop.

This is only the beginning, but I hope the end of the emotional rollercoaster.

Time for some unhealthy snacking and people watching at this fair.

April Carnival of Aces – All the birds but us… the posts

Note: I can discern the gender of some, but not others. So you’re all neutral “they”, because the poor guy personifying politeness in my head is pacing in indecision and waving a book at me with “21st century etiquette” on the cover. If you wish this changed, leave a comment and I’ll edit.

Note 2: Thanks to conscientious commenters. List should now be complete and link correct.

Before I started reading all of the submissions I received for this month, I was bouncing around in glee because of the idea of a multitude of perspectives on something I wanted to really read more about. Now I’m just humbled by the different thoughts, great stories and awesome people I have been allowed to host in this month’s Carnival of Aces.

The theme was to write about the relationship between (a)sexual and (a)romantic orientations and the future, based on the oldest Dutch sentence in existence, “Hebban olla vogala nestas hagunnan hinase hic enda tu, wat unbidan we nu?” That was taken in a lot of different directions.

Controlled Abandon was first out of the gate with a post considering both a future alone or together with a partner equally, and sketching how both would ideally work out. Read what they wrote in their April 2018 Carnival of Aces post.

Lib considers with dry wit on A3 that they might be a migratory bird that takes a while to settle down in “My Unexpected Future“.

Blue Ice Tea on Ace Film Reviews shares a beautiful and hopeful story about finding a satisfying friendship in “Growing Up Platoniromantic: Happy Endings“.

Queenie of Aces writes in the Asexual Agenda about queer futurity (which is my new word for the day) and building a road for others where there isn’t yet one to walk on in “To build an unimaginable future“.

Between Worlds Unknown is the gorgeous name of Varian’s blog, whose accepting of their asexual orientation lead to other questions and realisations, read it in “Stepping Stones“.

An Ace from Appalachia had me groaning and then grinning in sympathy at the pressure they faced over their wedding. If you want to join me in the crowd that wants to take down the entire wedding industry and its PR, go read “My Story Of Failing At Doing The Straight Thing“.

In From Fandom to Family, Luvtheheaven speaks about coming of age with a lot of doubts and a shaky future and finding strength in picking their way through that. It convinced me that this slow-built nest will turn out very interesting in “I Can’t Just Let The Future Pass Me By“.

Sennkestra slides a post through the closing doors of April on Next Step: Cake in which they shed some light on the differences between general and specific life goals and how that can really change the answers. Go read “Milestones and Priorities“.

Laura, on their blog [Purr]ple [L]ace, reflects on their big masterplan to build a single-parent household and how not being single throws a wrench in that, and the bittersweetness that is adaptation in “Nesting and… Re-nesting?“.

Elizabeth in Prismatic Entanglements also discusses her less than usual path to a less than usual domestic situation and mixed bag of blessings, friction and thoughts that brings along with it in “Building a mosaic from a Shattered Future“.

And… I wrote “A [hu]man of good character“.

Now on, on to the next month:

 

Carnival of Aces: Further Recommendations

Round-up post coming soon, but I’ll be wanting to read everything as I link to it, I just know it. And plus, then I can immediately include anything posted on May 1st (but mostly I’m just too eager to read what feels like extra special contributions because I hosted this month).

So, immediate recommendations for more writerly fun.

  • Host for the May parade of the Carnival of Aces will be Elizabeth over on Prismatic Entanglements, so keep an eye on that blog for the next call of submissions (link added).
  • Head over to the Carnival of Aces Masterpost to host a month yourself! We’re set for two months, but it’d be great to have more folks involved. The work is:
    • Think of a theme. I recommend an indulgent drink to go with it. Ask fellow bloggers the thing you’ve been wondering about (and yes, themes re-occur).
    • Write a post at the start and end of the month with theme and submissions respectively.
    • Write your own submission.
    • That’s it! And I can tell you it’s quite a good amount of fun for not much effort.
  • Write or draw or compose about asexuality and representation for the next volume of “The Asexual” and get published! The submission deadline for their next journal is June 18th (so you’ve got about six weeks), more information is over here on their website.
  • Get a place in the spotlight and tell a little about yourself in an interview over on asexualartists.com. Here’s their call for interviewees.

If you’ve got more recommendations, feel free to add them in the comments.

Reading now! (Edit: read, round-up post coming soon)

 

A [hu]man of good character

I was going to write “man person”, but no strikethroughs in titles allowed on wordpress. So, scholarly brackets it is. I’ll worry about being inclusive to aliens when we meet some. This is my contribution for the April – Carnival of Aces.

I

My friend tells her unlikely love story, and concludes, “I had a list, so I knew who to date. He just fulfilled every item on it. I knew he was the one.”

“I… can’t even imagine.”

“What’s on your list?”

“I don’t have one. I suppose I’d like to just… see what develops when I meet someone.”

“No list? C’mon, what’s your type, what’d you put on there?”

I’m quiet for a few minutes. Her sharing at least obligates me to give it serious thought. “Really wouldn’t know what to put on it,” I admit in the end.

II

There’s a list in my head. It’s for me, not any partner:

  • Be at peace with loneliness, so company is joy, not necessity
  • Have a good circle of friends, then worry about romance
  • Have a stable income, so you can support a household
  • Meet in real life for dates, online contact hurts too much

III

“D’you want me to set you up?”

“Er… are they nice?”

“Really?”

“Yeah.” How else do I ever meet anyone?

A month later, I’ve still heard nothing.

IV

What I want: a list of ways asexual people identify partners in life, so I can try things, and support from friends when I admit to seeking a partner.

What I have: a list of expectations people have for how a good, normal, healthy woman finds a partner, and all the ways they joke about helping, and won’t, because it’s too unusual.

V

“God, I hate being single.”

“We all deal with some level of loneliness, in or outside a relationship.” The later in the evening, the more philosophical, though not necessarily wiser, my brain.

“I guess, but, I’d really like some company, y’know?”

“Depends on the company,” I mutter.

VI

I forget my own advice, gradually.

Out of my own fantasy, the things I did like about being in a relationship, pop culture and idle conversations I build a new, false image I wish to chase.

I start living in fantasy land.

It’s an excellent image to fall asleep with, but a bad thing to believe in the waking world.

VII

“Well, it’s a blessing, really, for your life, if you don’t desire anyone.”

“Why?”

“So you can focus on other things. On God.”

“What do you mean?”

Well, like Paul said, if you lust after others, you must marry. If you don’t, you’re more blessed because you can focus on serving the Lord, like him. Feel happy.”

VIII

Even as someone who actually does ministry, this made me balk.

I feel this is going to become the asexual equivalent of the scenario where gay people are accenpted so long as they are celibate and “they focus on God’s love.”

Sex is for heterosexual people, right? Bleh.

Oh, I desire another. Just very, very rarely sexually.

I don’t know how, but I know I do.

IX

“I can’t seem to actually start. I remain this… armchair philosopher.”

“Why?”

“Scared? Lazy? Ignorant?”

“Just… start.”

I tell her of all my insecurities.

“Stop thinking so far into the future. Meet people. Give them space to become your acquaintance or friend or significant other, whatever develops. All you can do is create the opportunities and invest the time to grow new relationships. The rest is not yours to control.

X

Okay, helpful list.

To do:

  • Meet people
  • Stop worrying
  • Enjoy the meeting of minds
  • Be conscious of but not stopped by my sexuality.

XI

I am spending a lot of time with someone in a relationship that is… not going well. Mostly, I’m in charge of making sure she eats and has enough fun, someone else is playing the part of confidant.

They pose for a picture. “Wait. I need to unlock my phone for you. It’s secured with my thumbprint. No one else can access it.”

“Oh wow, that seems handy, in case it gets stolen.”

I get one of those glances, one of the heavy, unsmiling ones. “Yeah, well, I got tired of his spying, y’know? My messages are none of his business.”

He messages her daily. He reads her email. He upsets her, over and over.

Yet, she loves him, he loves her. They’re trying.

XII

The realisation comes gradually that I have been idealising realtionships.

Living in fantasy land is safe and easy.

There are things, being single, that I’ve been taking for granted.

Independence.

My own space, respected.

Being on an even keel with others.

I realise I do have a list.

XIII

List (to be specified):

  • Adult of similar age
  • High integrity
  • Similar ideals
  • Compatible life goals
  • Kind
  • Equally affectionate
  • Does not discriminate
  • Comfortable with who I am

Seeking: a person of good character.

Huh, reality.

Dare to volunteer as a host for Carnival of Aces, and that is inevitably the month you will get swamped, or so it seems. I tried to find the actual quiet month, too.

Several weeks of being a supportive person, and catching up on things after, didn’t leave much room to write. As reward, I’ve received a much-needed reality check about relationships. More about that in my own contribution to April’s Carnival.

This is also to say I’m sorry for my late responses to all, I really do appreciate everyone who’s contributed. I started this month so absolutely stoked to be able to play a host to a festival that’s provided me with a lot of writing inspiration.

I’m really looking forward to reading everything.

On Virginity, the label

I live in a progressive society.

I am ‘not sexually active’, rather than a virgin (maagd).

I

Virgin and maiden and damsel (in distress) are the same word in Dutch.

Everyone is the hero of their own narrative.

I was a child in the nineties.

We were never told we should be the damsel.

Thus, it remained a word for other people.

II

…Born from the Virgin Mary… (geboren uit de maagd Maria)

Except that was not the Mary I liked or pictured.

My Mary was the respected wife of a middle-class carpenter with half a dozen children, who had been exiled to Egypt and returned to Israel only to move to a completely different town and build a new life there succesful enough to afford a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and the only woman on the planet to have raised God the Son with reasonable succes and saw him go off to do inexplicable things and then had to bury her eldest child.

The woman who went and asked that same Jesus for a miracle because her friends’ wedding was about to go off the rails.

The Virgin was a blue and white robed statue in old chapels.

Thus, it remained a word for other believers.

III

I was never asked if I was a virgin.

Society never impressed this word on me, but went out of its way to reject it as oldfashioned.

I was always asked if I was sexually active.

So, I was ‘not sexually active’.

Thus it remained a label for other cultures.

IV

I never needed the word to describe or defend the fact I did not have sex.

It was rather taboo to ask if someone had ever had sex.

If you had it, presumably you boasted.

If you did not speak of it, it was assumed you simply did not have it recently.

I moved too much so I did not grow up in one place.

I did not have a family that considered my sexual activity its businesss.

I had no people come on to me uninvited or presuming they could have sex.

Thus, it remained a line of defense for other people.

V

I did have talks with friends, of course I did.

It is really easy to turn the conversation to other aspects of a relationships.

People really love to talk about their own experiences, if they talk about it at all.

I also had kind enough friends that they simply respected my being single as a choice.

When I had a relationship, it felt so utterly personal, tender, vulnerable, I was circumspect.

In talking to my partner, the past seemed so much less relevant to discuss than us, now, until it didn’t exist anymore.

Thus, it remained a discussion I never had.

VI

Every single doctor I have ever had.

Every form.

Are you sexually active.

Yes. No.

I answer.

I get, perhaps, a look.

Thus, it remained a question I was never asked.

VII

The only time the issue of virginity was raised, was in a religious context.

It came dripping with bad and worse associations. Submission. Purity culture. Patriarchy.

I felt revolted at the mere idea of identifying with it.

I like having my judgment respected when it comes to my sexual activities.

I like having the freedom to discuss what I did and did not do without immediate censure.

I like having no law or rule dictate or limit my activities so long as I do not harm or harrass anyone.

I like the sense of safety and respect and responsibility that awards.

I like the idea that I answer to God, and God alone, when it comes to whatever consensual sexual activity I engage in.

The idea that I make choices to follow what I believe is right freely, in my own time and without outside pressure.

I like it a lot.

I like sexual freedom.

Thus, it remained a discussion I tried to avoid.

VIII

I am not a virgin.

I have never had occasion to identify with the word.

I have never much discussed it and when I did, disliked it.

I do not apply this label to myself.

IX

Ironically, people will apply the label if I am ever very clear about the limits to which I have been sexually active.

I cannot even make sense of where that line is drawn.

Is there one?

X

I do not wish to be a virgin, with all that that entails.

I am simply ‘not sexually active’.

On Virginity, the hymen

Lady bits will be discussed in this post.

I live in a progressive society.

I am ‘not sexually active’, rather than a virgin (maagd).

There are reasons for this. I want to illustrate that.

It’s always felt so… natural (vanzelfsprekend).

Privilege alert.

I

With great glee, teen magazines and sexual education revelled in one fact when I grew up.

Only one percent of girls would have their hymen intact and bleed when they had sex.

Hymen. In Dutch, literally virgin seal (maagdenvlies).

The accuracy of the statistic wasn’t important.

Its repetition was.

Scientific fact or fiction as a mantra, a talisman.

II

Your hymen will 99% likely not be intact.

It meant, do not fear sex.

It meant, it won’t hurt, try it.

It meant, you are safe, don’t worry.

It meant, there is no magic.

It meant, there is no unforgivable sin.

It meant, you will still be the same person.

III

There is no magic.

Your body cannot be a sacrifice.

Your blood does not have special powers.

You will not be targeted by evil sorcerers or monsters or bogeymen.

IV

There is no unforgivable sin.

You are not more virtuous for having had less or more sex.

You are not more holy before you have sex.

You do not have to be an angel.

You will not be a slut.

You do not need to be ‘kept safe’ for your own good.

V

You are safe, do not worry.

You are not in danger because you are innocent or beautiful.

Others’ lust is not on you.

Sexual harrassment is a crime.

We make laws, we bring justice.

If you are in danger, we are on your side.

We will teach you how to speak up.

We will teach you how to fight.

We will teach you how to be prudent.

We will teach you how to wield our laws.

VI

Do not fear sex.

You will still be the same person.

Your body is yours to do with as you please.

We have enshrined this in the declaration of human rights.

We are dedicated to bringing this freedom to everyone around the world.

This freedom is your inalienable right.

VII

Try it, it won’t hurt.

Here comes the sticking point.

What if I don’t want to try sex?

Then I don’t, I suppose.

VIII

They said, your hymen will likely not be intact.

You may not have a detectable hymen in the first place.

It may break when you ride a bike or a horse.

It may break when you insert a tampon, fingers or a device.

It may break with rigorous physical activity.

They said, be careful with the vagina, that may be narrow.

IX

The vagina may be narrow.

I have discovered the truth of this last part.

It is a flexible channel with muscles around it.

Go figure what inactivity does.

X

Relevant: bikes.

The Dutch ride bikes regularly from age four.

I have always wondered if other nations had a higher percentage of intact hymen.

XI

Relevant: tampons.

I preferred tampons.

We swim a lot, in Holland.

Hobby, outing with friends, day out in summer, exotic vacation.

Imagine having a 25% chance of not being able to do that.

XII

Relevant: fingers.

It’s hard to bend over and see, easier to touch lady parts.

We were informed it’s good to clean and be familiar with those lady parts.

We were told about a terrifying host of things that can be wrong .

Mostly, I remembered it was good to inform a doctor if anything seemed off.

That means knowing how my genitals looks when they’re alright.

XIII

Relevant: stimulating devices.

I explored enough to know parts were functional.

I found that it worked differently for me, however.

It took me a while to figure out, hey, other sexuality.

XIV

Upon the stage of public opinion, the Dutch don’t really have conservative evangelicals.

We have conservative Muslims.

They are not considered white, so they are ridiculed more openly.

Thus, Christian girls worry a lot less about being a virgin, at least in a clear physical sense.

Muslim girls, well-informed, do worry about not being virgin in any discernable physical way.

I have overheard several serious discussions of the wonders of goat’s blood packets in the marriage bed while on the train, over the years.

XV

An intact hymen is for other cultures and other times.

Physical inspection was for horrible quack-doctors among Victorians.

Physical mutilation is for horrible witch-doctors on other continents.

Here, just sign a petition, send a card.

XVI

Except, not really.

I read about sexual education going out the window.

I read about girls not knowing about or being scared of their own genitals.

I read about women feeling scared about not having an intact hymen.

I read about people getting sick, of STDs spreading again.

I speak to fellow Christians honestly believing this is all a good development.

I am speechless.

XVII

Your hymen is likely not intact.

It’s just a little fold of tissue.

It’s okay.

I find I am holding a talisman.

Hello, Sweetie

Image and official rules over on The Global Aussie.

So, this is taken me two weeks, but I loved the idea of this 🙂

Thanks to janitorqueer for tagging me into the Liebster Award.

Rules of the game, in the tag-post:

1. Acknowledge the blogger who nominated you and display the award logo.

2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger gives you.

3. Nominate bloggers who you think are deserving of the award but also help promote newer bloggers with less followers.

4. Tell the bloggers you nominated them, in a comment on their blog.

5. Give them 11 questions of your own.

The first few questions…

  1. What inspires you most when writing/blogging?  A creative outlet for demisexuality and all it brought with it, especially at the start, with the two-fold goal of finding a sense of community and hopefully providing some informative posts for people similarly redefining their identities and lives.
  2. Are you religious?  Yes… and Christianity is definitely significant in my writing, I think most of all because faith and sexuality both feel like fundamental parts of my self.
  3. Did you enjoy your education?  (high school, university, etc.) Yes and no. I love learning stuff, but secondary school was a gauntlet due to a lot of uncertainties. University I adored because I studied something I loved. Graduate studies was a whole other ball-game again, that… no.
  4. What is your dream job? private tutoring in what I studied, with someone else doing the admin and client acquisition.
  5. Boxers or briefs?  yeah… on that subject I mostly appreciate it that my roommates have different preferences when it’s my turn to do laundry. Easier to tell apart.
  6. What important values do you live by?  Love others as you love yourself… and that can be split up into
    • a) Each person should know they are invaluable;
    • b) I am fascinated with every interesting mind I encounter;
    • c) It is essential that everyone recognise that everyone else is incalculably precious and not to be wasted, and that this is embedded in everything from international law to household rules;
    • d) Everyone has agency, needs and unique talents and worldview, so satisfaction of basic needs, freedom of choice, freedom of information, accountability, equality and a healthy support network are essential for each human being to function.

…since that leaves me with five questions, here goes, pulled from other sources.

  1. What would people be surprised to know about you? I was a scout and know three ways to build a camp fire.
  2. What is your greatest joy in life? Succesfully getting an idea I’m very enthusiastic about from inception to final execution. There is no bigger high.
  3. What is the favourite country you’ve visited? Ireland. It managed to combine an idyllic countryside with an inexhaustible source of culture and some of the best music and loveliest accents I’ve had the pleasure to hear.
  4. Craziest idea you ever got in the shower? Top five non-humanoid aliens I’d want to meet. Especially the part where I was speculating on safe methods of preserving my body while communing with noncorporeal entities consisting of thought.
  5. One sentence that sums up your 2017. The advance of human commodification is horrifying, enraging and inspiring (to write about).

Questions for the tagged ones:

  1. What was the catalyst for you to start blogging, and what keeps you writing now?
  2. What do you consider the best part of yourself?
  3. What stranger, friend or family has continued to be an example throughout your life (describe what they mean to you, if you want to keep it general)?
  4. What is the most important choice you ever made, to you personally?
  5. If you had to describe yourself in a movie tagline, e.g. the callous reporter or the down-to-earth jazz musician or the calm old soul, what phrase would you use?
  6. Congratulations, you are now the President of the United States. What’s your first executive order?
  7. Earth has been destroyed and you flee the planet. Describe the space ship you’re on.
  8. What is your favourite superpower?
  9. What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
  10. You get one freebie to smack a person in the face without consequences. Who will it be?
  11. What polysyllabic (big-ass) word has become a common word in your vocabulary?

Tagged ones (which are just plain good blogs, and didn’t already get tagged, go read):

Dating While Ace

A^3

Ace Film Reviews

Prismatic Entanglements

The Ace Theist

From Fandom To Family

The Notes Which Do Not Fit

P.S. “Liebster” is something like “sweetie” in German, and River Song was one of my favourite characters. So, that.

Aut of Spoons

A Self Advocate Fights Oppression

Controlled Abandon

an apartment full of books, a heart full of dancing, a mind full of math, a life full of queerness

Asexual, Aromantic, Agender

Ace Film Reviews

Asexuality goes to the movies

Prismatic Entanglements

dew-covered spider web of condensed thoughts

Genderweird

An autistic, asexual, gender neutral person exploring life beyond the gender binary.

Reflective Ace

Reflections on identity and other stuff