Some Further Reflections on Love

I recently served as a host for the Carnival of Aros and chose the theme “Love” (here is the round-up post). I’ve been pondering the submissions, and thus, I now have some further reflections on love.

A theme in many of the submissions is that love (especially but not just romantic love) is given an unduly exalted position in our culture. A few quotes in this vein:

“Love has such an inflated meaning / That it’s become meaningless to me;” from “Love Is Just a Feeling” by Magni

“Multiple people express a desire to not cheapen love. Allow me express an opposite desire: love should be cheap enough that I feel comfortable ever claiming it.” from “Those Magic Words” by Siggy

“Call me a faker, call me a fraud / But I think you’re all mistaking romance for god” from “Obsessed With Love” by Chara C.

“Even those who decry one species covert others, romantic traded for platonic, the flower pot placed on a pedestal just the same.” from “Love is a Flower” by Briar

I recommend that you remember the idea behind these quotes – that the value of love is overblown in our culture – because I’m going to reference it in the conclusion to this post.
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Round-Up for the Carnival of Aros December 2019 Edition: “Love”

First of all, I heartily thank everyone who submitted to this carnival.

I am making TWO lists. The first list is purely links for people who want to access the submissions in a compact form. The second list contains descriptions and quotes. All submissions are represented in both lists, I’m just trying to accommodate different reading styles. Both lists are in the order that I received the submissions.

SHORT FORM LIST

I Ramble About Love. by Sara K.
“Those Magic Words ‘I Love You'” by Siggy
“Obsessed With Love” by Chara C.
“Love vs. Radical Kindness” by techno
“My Experiences Feeling Demiplatonic” by Magni
“Love is Just a Feeling” by Magni
Carnival of Aros – Love by Neir
“On ‘I Love You'” by Lokiana
“What about love?” by Scoop
“My experience with “love” being aromantic” by Isaac
“Love Is a Flower” by Ax
“The Baggage of Love” by Briar
“Growing Up Platoniromantic: Colours of Love” by Blue Ice-Tea
“Thoughts and Quotes about Love” by Soulriser
“Some Thoughts on Love” by raavenb2619
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I Ramble About Love (and why this blog post title makes me cringe)

This is for the December 2019 Carnival of Aros: Love.

I often use the word ‘love’ in a casual way. For example, in my everyday life I might say something like ‘I love persimmons’ in the sense that I strongly like eating persimmons. However, when the concept of love is being discussed at a less casual level than ‘I love [to eat] persimmons’ I might not automatically roll my eyes, but I will be wary. My default expectation that either such discussions will not be meaningful (and thus a waste of time), or that it will conflate romance and love and/or ignore the lived experiences of aromantic people and/or shame people for ‘failing’ to feel/express certain emotions, and thus be a net negative. Sometimes discussions of ‘love’ do not fall into these pitfalls, but until proven otherwise, I expect that they will. Maybe that explains why I cringed a bit when I chose the blog post title ‘I Ramble About Love’.

Given all of this, why did I choose the theme ‘love’ for this month’s Carnival of Aros? I chose the theme because I do think ‘love’ is very worthy of discussion, and if there is one group I expect to (mostly) avoid those pitfalls and discuss love in a way that is meaningful to people with my lived experiences, it’s people who, like me, are under the aro umbrella. Well, I suppose aro people also sometimes say meaningless (to me) things about love too, but I think the odds that they will something that is meaningful (to me) are much higher. Continue reading

Carnival of Aros December 2019 Call for Submission: Love

The Carnival of Aros is an aromantic / aro-spectrum blogging festival. This is my first time hosting the carnival, and I chose the theme “Love”.

Submissions do not need to be in response to any particular prompt, but here are some prompts for people who want a little inspiration:

– you may react to the misconception that ‘aromantic people cannot feel love’
– you may comment on the conflation of romance with love from an aro perspective
– how does you position under the aro umbrella (quoiromantic/greyromantic/aromantic/etc.) affect the way you experience love?
– are there any specifically ‘aro’ forms of love?
– does your position under the aro umbrella affect the way you react to generalized comments about love, such as ‘the world needs more love’ even when those comments are not specifically pointing to romance?

If you do not have your own platform, or if you wish to be anonymous, I can accept guest posts and host them on this blog. You may send submissions by commenting on this post or sending them to DecemberCarnivalofAros@thenotes.e4ward.com (this email address has been deactivated because the December 2019 carnival is over). If you comment or send me an email, and I do not respond within three days, assume that I did not receive the comment/email and try again.

I will post the roundup post on January 2, 2020. I will accept submissions until January 7, and retroactively add them to the roundup post.

I look forward to your submissions!

UPDATE: The round-up is here!

Aloneness & (In)Security

This is a submission to the October 2019 Carnival of Aros: “Aromanticism and Aloneness”

In this post, I am going to use a very specific definition of ‘aloneness’. The definition of ‘aloneness’ specifically for this post is: you think it’s unlikely that there is another living human being within a twenty minute walk of your current location.

Obviously, this is different from how the word ‘aloneness’ is generally used, which is why I needed to spell out right at the beginning what I mean by ‘aloneness’ in this post. In my experience, ‘you do not think there is another living human being within a twenty minute walk, within five miles, etc.’ brings a very different feeling of aloneness than anything which I experience within physical proximity to other people.

I’ve spent a night sleeping a ten minute walk away from the nearest human being (that I knew about), and I didn’t feel alone (at least not in the specific sense I’m discussing in this post), which is why I decided to set the limit at ‘twenty minute walk away’.

I’ve discussed the experience of being alone before in the post “Something about Bedsharing”. When I wrote that post, I still felt fairly insecure about sleeping alone. Not as insecure as that first night at Walami Cabin, but still somewhat insecure.

Since I wrote that post, I’ve had a lot more experience with sleeping alone, and I feel a lot more relaxed about it. I think it is because I’ve spent so many nights alone where nothing bad happened, so my subconscious figured out that sleeping alone does not mean I will be harmed in the night. Continue reading

My Plot Bunnies Run Loose

This is a submission for the September 2019 Carnival of Aros “Aromanticism and Fiction”.

I’ve written about aromanticism and fiction multiple times on this blog before. Here are some examples (with the caveat that these posts are 2-7 years old and may not reflect my current views):

“WHAT THE HELL: An Aromantic (Moi) Thinks There Aren’t Enough (Villainous) Alloromantic Characters in Fiction”
The Valley of Life and Death: An Wuxia Novel with a Female Protagonist who May Be Aro-Ace
An Aromantic Reads Wuxia
Female Characters – Without the Romance
An Aromantic Reader and Fictional Romances
Aces Become Sex Gurus; Aromantics Become Romance Gurus; (& Bonus Mini-Linkspam)

Almost all of the above posts – and any other posts I’ve written about aromanticism in fiction – have been written as a reader/critic. I suppose that since I have written fanfic with aromantic themes, I could write from that perspective instead, but I don’t feel like it right now.

Therefore, for this post, I am going to RELEASE SOME PLOT BUNNIES! Continue reading

Experiencing Neither Romance Nor Spirituality

This is for the Carnival of Aros: “The Intersection of Religion and Aromanticism”. I somehow ended up discussing spirituality rather than religion.

The words ‘romance’ and ‘spirituality’ have something in common: they are very difficult to define.

‘Religion’ is also difficult to define, but I think it is easier to grasp than ‘romance’ and ‘spirituality’ (but maybe it is more difficult for other people). I can observe the organized sets of behaviors and ideas which English speakers label as ‘religion’ and I think I know what it means. ‘Culture’ is similarly difficult to define, yet I also think I have a firm grasp on what ‘culture’ means.

I think one difference between words such as ‘romance’ and ‘spirituality’ vs. words such as ‘religion’ and ‘culture’ is that, when you ask someone what is ‘religion’ or ‘culture’, there is a good chance they will point at specific and external examples of ‘religion’ and ‘culture’. They are less likely to require that the person asking the question examine their own feelings. By contrast, when you ask someone to define ‘romance’ or ‘spirituality’, a common response is ‘you will know it when you feel it’. There is a widespread assumption that all (healthy) adults will feel these things. So what if you are an adult who does not feel these things? Continue reading

Coming Out as Aro Usually Takes More Effort than I Want to Give

This is for the April 2019 Carnival of Aros: “Coming Out and/ or Being Out as Aromantic Spectrum

The hardest thing about coming out as aromantic is that the vast majority of people don’t know what that means, and it is difficult to explain it quickly in a way that makes sense to someone who has never heard of aromanticism before. Asexuality is easier because a lot more people have heard of asexuality as a sexual orientation. Even if they have not heard of asexuality as a sexual orientation, they probably know what a sexual orientation is, which makes explanations easier. There is no widely-known framework like that which aromanticism fits into. Thus, I rarely bother to come out as aromantic.

I find it easiest by far to ‘come out’ as aromantic when I am in ace spaces, either online or offline (so far, I have not had much contact with specifically aro spaces, but my guess is that coming out as aro in an aro space would be even easier). Many of the aces I am in contact with are also arospec, and even if they are not, they generally already know enough about aromanticism that I do not need to go into a long explanation. I would go as far as to say that I am ‘out’ as aro whenever I am among aces. (By the way, since this blog has so many ‘asexuality’ posts, it counts as an ‘ace space’ for this purpose). Continue reading

Knowing That I’m Aro Helps Me Get On with My Life

This is a submission to the March 2019 Carnival of Aros: “It’s great to be aro!”

I would describe being aromantic as being ‘okay’ rather than ‘great’.

That said, knowing that I am aromantic is great.

I was luckier than many of my aro peers. To the extent that my high school years were difficult, it was mostly for reasons unrelated to being aro.

When I first entered high school, I had figured that I would develop a romantic crush on someone (who I expected to be male), and would at least try to get romantic with them. After my first year of high school I thought it was odd that it did not happen. It was even more odd that by the time I graduated from high school I had to interpret my feelings through some pretty contorted lenses to consider myself to have had any romantic crushes at all, and even if those crushes were romantic (which, at this point, I don’t believe they were), I clearly had not responded the way my peers would to such feelings.

In high school, I was able to deflect a lot of pressure with the idea that I was a ‘late bloomer’. I could also tell myself that I was too busy to deal with romance. And I loved some specific examples of romantic poetry, so I obviously could experience romance, right?

In my first couple years of college, I was just so busy, I did not even have time to think about whether or not I had romantic feelings, let alone actually pursue a romance.

(Though really, in the deep recesses of my mind, I did wonder. But because these were the deep recesses of my mind, I was not really processing my intuitive observations of myself). Continue reading