More Personal Comments on the Coronavirus Crisis

I want to avoid discussing the coronavirus crisis in my regular weekly blog posts (at least while the crisis is ongoing) – so I’m going to say some things now.

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During shelter-at-home, I’m learning things I never knew about my parents before. Such as this:

Dad: I haven’t told your mother, but I think I have a cataract in my left eye.
Me: Uh… [I was thinking that this came totally out of the blue]
Dad: It’s like looking out a really dirty pane of glass.
Me: Oh.
Dad: The last time I went to the DMV to get my driver’s license renewed, they made me look at that eye chart on the wall, and I had no problem reading the letters with my right eye. But with my left eye, I couldn’t tell what the letters were.
Me: [trying to remember when my dad last went to the DMV] Wait, this has been going on for that long??!!
Dad: [sheepishly] I was in denial.
Me: I don’t think you can get treatment for that now.
Dad: No, I probably can’t.

Hopefully, both of my parents will survive the current crisis, and thus live long enough for my mother to go all $#!@%$^$%$# on my dad when she finds out that he’s been keeping a visual impairment a secret for years. (If my dad is clever enough, he’ll imply that the cataract started during the coronavirus crisis, and that he didn’t want to stress her out about it during the crisis when there was little possibility of treatment). (No, my mother doesn’t read this blog). (Though if she is reading this blog after all, I’m probably going to find out very soon).

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I am glad that I currently live in a household with other people right now, though I am keeping on eye on possible opportunities to physically isolate within the household. That’s mainly because I’m at low risk, and do things like run to the hardware store to get a replacement for the plumbing part that wears out NOW of all times, whereas my parents are at high risk. It would be safer if I could go outside for necessary tasks like ‘get plumbing thingy from hardware store’, and then be isolated from them in case I somehow got infected in the hardware store. But it is hard to isolate when there is only one bathroom, which makes other efforts to physically isolate myself within the household seem potentially pointless.

(Is okay that I was secretly pleased that the thingy wore out so that I had a really good reason to enter the hardware store, where I got a few things other than the plumbing thingy? Maybe if I lived in physical isolation, I’d feel comfortable with going to the hardware store for errands less important than an urgent plumbing problem.)
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What Does It Mean to Leave an Ace Community?

This is for the March 2020 Carnival of Aces “Leaving”

When I first saw the theme for this month’s Carnival of Aces, I wondered whether I had anything to say about the theme of ‘Leaving’.

Well, now I do, because I am no longer a contributer to The Asexual Agenda. Since I want to keep the reason I chose to leave private, I’m not going to discuss that specifically. But it did focus my mind on what it means to leave an ace community.

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There are now so many online communities that, if someone wants to leave one online ace community and join another, it is often possible. For example, if someone wants to leave the ace community on Tumblr or Twitter because they want to get away from the ace flame wars (a.k.a. “The Discourse”), they might be able to join Pillowfort, or Dreamwidth, or somewhere else online with other aces and better moderation. If they are able and willing to put in the effort, they can even try to create a new online ace community.

And the reason one might leave an ace community may not be negative. Someone could be so excited about a new online ace community that they may leave an old one so that they may more fully throw themselves into the new community.

Then some people choose to leave an ace community without joining another. It happens all the time, and for many reasons. If you’ve spent much time in any ace community, you’re probably aware of people who have dropped out of the ace scene altogether (as far as we know).

Not all people have the same range of options. Someone who is not comfortable with using English on the internet, or at least in an online ace community, has fewer options than someone who is. Someone who needs specific accommodations to use a website may find that some online ace communities do not offer those accommodations. Et cetera, et cetera.

***

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An Adventure with Calorie Restriction (Part 3)

Continued from Part 2

Reminder: I am NOT advocating that anyone reading this relate to their own body weight in any particular way.

If you have met me face to face, you have probably noticed that I am a physically energetic person. If you’ve only known me in recent years, you may not believe that I am cooling down because you may not be able to imagine that I once used to be even more energetic. If you knew me as a teenager, then you know that was particularly hyperactive compared to other teenagers, and if you met with me in person today, you would probably be able to confirm that, yes, I have cooled down. (For a while, my mother had a theory that I was so energetic because I was ace – i.e. since I put no energy into sexual activity I had more energy for everything else). So yes, I am gradually becoming less energetic as I become older, and I accept that.

But since having lots of energy is my normal, a rapid decrease in my physical energy that doesn’t have an obvious explanation (such as an unusually high amount of physical exertion) is often a sign that I am sick. When I caught whooping cough as a teenager, my physical energy levels collapsed, and my demeanor became unrecognizable, especially to myself. (Now I started thinking about whooping cough, and looked up articles like this one, and it occurs to me that I almost certainly wasn’t included in the official statistics of who caught whopping cough in the United States because I never got tested or even officially diagnosed; we consulted a doctor by phone, and after hearing about my symptoms he was so certain that I had whopping cough that he didn’t think a formal examination was necessary. Thus, I strongly suspect the official statistics are under-counting whopping cough in the United States).

In the beginning of my 1800-calories-per-day-more-or-less-usually-more regimen, I didn’t notice any change in my energy levels. However, shortly after I figured out that eating more protein banished the pangs of hunger, I noticed a drastic dip in my energy levels. And by far the most plausible explanation for my new lack of energy was the calorie restriction. Continue reading

An Adventure with Calorie Restriction (Part 2)

Continued from Part 1.

Reminder: I am NOT advocating that anyone reading this relate to their own body weight in any particular way.

So there I was, in October 2019, finding that I weighed more than I would have guessed. (And I am deliberately avoiding giving numbers here; I don’t want to play the game where readers compare their numbers with my numbers).

I suppose I could get into a nuanced discussion about whether or not losing weight would bring me any health benefits, and cite sources, and all that … but it would be irrelevant, because that wasn’t affecting my decision-making. I was confident that, as long as I avoided extreme weight-loss methods, that trying to lose weight wouldn’t have a negative effect on my health, and that I could drop it at any time if a weight-loss method did seem to be harming my body. But the difference between ‘has no effect on health’ and ‘has a positive effect on health’ wasn’t going to sway me. Health wasn’t my motivation.

So if I wasn’t necessarily trying to improve my health, what did motivate me to try to lose weight restrict calories? First of all, I did want to know if I could regain a sense of control over my body weight. I also wanted to see if I could prevent this from being a trend towards weight gain. I believe I could have eventually learned to be content with the my weight in October 2019 if it stayed the same for the rest of my life, but learning to be content with rising weight would be more difficult, so I was especially motivated to make sure that my weight did not rise above what I measured in October 2019.

The other motivation was sheer curiosity of what it would be like to restrict my calorie intake over a long period of time. There is a reason I call this an ‘adventure’. After wondering for years how people manage to eat only 2000 calories a day (or less), well, here was a chance for me to learn first-hand. Continue reading

An Adventure with Calorie Restriction (Part 1)

Because of the culture I live in, I’m going to start by saying…

I am opposed to body-shaming, sizeism, and moral healthism. Those issues concern the way people treat other people based on their bodies and lifestyle choices. When it comes to how individuals relate to THEIR OWN bodies (as opposed to how they treat other people based on other people’s bodies), I try to be neutral. Whether people decide for themselves to try to lose weight, gain weight, embrace fat positivity, embrace healthism other than moral healthism, or not give a damn about any of this, I try to avoid making judgements. In this blog post series, I discuss some of my decisions and experiences. I am NOT advocating that anyone reading this relate to their own body weight in any particular way.

As you may know, I went on a nine-day hike in September 2019 (I wrote a little about it in this blog post). About a week after the hike, I weighed myself on a whim. I hadn’t weighed myself in years. At first, I simply did not believe the number. Then it sank in that, yeah, that number might be real, and when I weighed myself later on a different scale, I got a similar result. I was especially surprised because I had just finished a nine-day hike with limited food supply, I must have had calorie deficits on that hike, so did that mean that before the hike my weight was even higher?

First, I was surprised that I weighed so much more than I thought I did. Then I felt bad about it. Then I felt bad about feeling bad about it. If I was feeling bad about weighing more than I expected, did that mean I had internalized fatphobia, and that I was really prejudiced against fat people in spite of my ideals?

But before I continue, I’ll give you my backstory… Continue reading

Why I Don’t Do Crossposts with This Blog

During my years as a blogger, I’ve written posts for other blogs in addition to this blog, yet I’ve never, ever cross-posted. Sometimes, cross-posting is not an option – for example, my agreement with Hacking Chinese was that anything I wrote which was published there would not be published elsewhere unless the Hacking Chinese website permanently shut down or became paywalled.

But even if I had the option of crossposting my contributions to Hacking Chinese to this blog, I wouldn’t do it (unless it was the only way to make those posts available on the internet).

Most of the contributors to the The Asexual Agenda (TAA) who also have independent blogs crosspost most (or all) of their contributions to TAA to their personal blogs as well. I’m the glaring exception.

Why?
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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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