It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme currently hosted byThe Book Date. It’s a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week, and add to that ever-growing TBR stack.
I WATCHED BLACK PANTHER AND IT WAS EVEN BETTER THAN I THOUGHT IT WAS GOING TO BE. PLEASE GO WATCH IT IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY. SHURI, NAKIA, AND OKOYE ARE THE LITERAL BEST I’M GONNA NEED MORE SCREEN-TIME AND PRINT TIME AND ALL KINDS OF FORMAT-TIME ABOUT THEM.
Okay, I know that wasn’t necessarily book related (unless you haven’t already read theBlack PantherandWorld of Wakandacomics in which case, please read them), but I had to put it out there.
Back to our regularly scheduled programming- books! I read some. Let’s see, quite a bit of romance in the last couple of weeks. First, The Lust Diariesseries by Tasha L. Harrison (I liked the first book, had some issues with the second and third. Iffy consent, and cis men who think they can make decisions for women “because they know what’s best for them” is a trope that makes me want to smash things), and the first two books of the Cyclone series by Courtney Milan,Trade MeandHold Me(both of which I loved).
Backlist: I finally finishedPachinkoby Min Jin Lee (absolutely phenomenal, I really think it got swept under the radar during awards season) and Blue Nightsby Joan Didion (thoughtful written and so cathartic).
On audio: I listened toBright Linesby Tanwi Nandini Islam (character-led plot, well-rounded, engrossing story) and Heart Berriesby Terese Marie Mailhot (brutal account of an Indigenous writer on motherhood, mental illness, loss, among other things).
I am going to take a moment to acknowledge that on Saturday night, for a whole ten minutes, my Goodreads “Currently Reading” shelf was empty because I didn’t have any partially-read books left in it. *insert GIF of shedding a single tear*
That of course, did not last long, so let me show you what I plan to read this week:
If you are trying to recover from the shock of only seeing three titles on this week’s TBR instead of the usual obnoxious number, it’s because I’ve actually got things I need to get done this week, which includes watching Black Panther again tomorrow.
These past two weeks have been a little hazy because of a general spike in my anxiety as well as not feeling great physically. Here’s hoping for a more productive week.
Also, Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week starts today! I’m hoping to write a post about it for this week, but I’ll definitely be talking about it over on Twitter. Feel free to direct your questions there, in public or private. I’m happy to talk about this stuff with you.
This post is inspired by my twitter pal Painter McSomething, as well as recent events in the ace and aro communities. My original intention was to do a Twitter thread, but I wanted to go into details and doing that on twitter feels scarier. Plus, this post may be TMI for a lot of folks, and this way the only way to be exposed to the information is to click on it, which is a choice my followers can make actively without being forced to interact with it on twitter.
So, this is going to get personal. If you’ve had a chance to read Painter McSomething’s thread, they did a great job sharing how their identity as a grey-ace panromantic person works for them. I know there’s been a lot of talk among people both in and out of the ace and aro communities about wanting to learn more, especially in the last few months. Now, there’s quite a few resources for people to check out online (I’ll link some at the end of the post), but I figured it’s also helpful to hear how people ID as ace and aro and what that means to them.
Disclaimer:This is not an educational post on aromantic and asexual 101. I’m going to be only talking about myself. Remember that not everyone’s experiences will perfectly match up to mine, and my experiences don’t probably reflect everything you’ve read online. This doesn’t invalidate either mine or other people’s IDs as aces or aros in any way, shape, or form.
I’m grey-asexual, meaning I fall somewhere on the asexual spectrum. I don’t fall in one particular place, my feelings of sexual attraction and my libido vary all the time, so grey-ace works best for me. I’m mostly uninterested in sex and that works for me. Even as a teenager, I was interested in sex, but not interested in *having* sex with other people. This has not changed thus far. Here’s where the term autochorrisexualcomes in. This means I engage in certain sexual activities (choosing to keep the details to myself here), but none of them involve other people. I occasionally do find other people attractive, mostly aesthetically, almost never sexually. I read a crap ton of erotica novels and genuinely enjoy them, and I’m not averse to visual representations of sex in movies and such. Libido is a whole other factor to consider. Again, I’d like to point you towards another thread by Painter McSomething. My libido goes up sometimes, and mostly (but not always) correlates with my reading of erotica. I’m also kinky, but it is a completely non-sexual experience for me. It has more to do with the power dynamics, and helps a great deal with my anxiety. I don’t feel qualified enough to discuss more about BDSM, but this is the extent of my experience with it.
I’m grey-romantic, which means I fall somewhere on the romance spectrum. To be honest, I’m ninety-nine percent “no thanks romance”, but I have commitment issues, so I prefer ID-ing as grey-romantic. I have no interest in a singular or multiple romantic partners, and definitely prefer the idea of queerplatonic relationships. I have had crushes in the past, but have had no interest in any sort of romantic or sexual involvement with them. I value friendships deeply, and have a small number of extremely close friends. I have one or two people in my life with whom the relationship goes a lot deeper than traditional friendship, but is still strictly platonic and (so far) has no labels, and I like it that way. Even if I were to ever be in a defined QPR, I don’t think monogamy is my jam, and that’s okay. My (hypothetical) queerplatonic partner’s gender does not factor into this, in that I’m not strictly queerplatonically attracted to a specific gender. I value close emotional commitments. My feelings about physical behaviors like hugging, kissing, hand-holding, spooning, etc. really depend on the person. I don’t identify as touch-averse, but I definitely have a preference about whom I engage in these behaviors with.
I’m going to talk about gender identity for a second here. After a lot of hemming and hawing, I’ve landed on identifying as demigirl. “Cis” has not felt comfortable to me for a long time, but neither did going with nonbinary or trans. Some days I feel femme, somedays nonbinary. This reflects in my emotional responding, how I connect with people, how I want people to see me, my hair, my clothes, my makeup, my everything; the lines are very blurry. I’m still working out how this works with my aroace-ness, and some days feel very conflicted. I am not comfortable with female-specific words like “woman”, “lady”, “queen”, etc. My pronouns are she/her.
This is all I have for now. Again, this is all just me, and how I identify as a grey-ace, grey-aro demigirl. These might reflect other people who share these identities, or they might not at all, and that’s okay. None of this also means that I’ve figured everything out about myself. I’m comfortable with evolving IDs and values, and I’ll just keep checking in with myself from time to time. This does not mean I don’t have days where I’m wondering if I’ve just all this up about myself, or days that I don’t feel like an imposter. I absolutely do. But that’s when I reach out to some lovely hearts for validation, and work through it.
So, I hope this helps you some, whoever is reading this. Whatever I know about the ace and aro spectrums I know from my own experiences and my research when I was contemplating these IDs. I’m always willing to share, and always open to chatting with anyone, or answering any questions you may have. I also don’t have all the answers, and I will be honest with you when that’s the case. I’m also linking some resources below, but these are not exhaustive at all. The best way to learn more is by talking to people within the community, especially those who are constantly advocating, but please remember not to demand anyone’s time and emotional labor.
Thanks so much for making it to the end of this. This was not easy to write. Being this open and vulnerable here is terrifying, but I also know this was necessary. I hope this helps anyone out there, and I apologize if I inadvertently hurt anyone with anything I’ve written in this post.
P. S. I’m still not out to a lot of people that I know in real life, and I don’t feel comfortable being out to most people outside of the internet for now. So, if you’re reading this and you happen to know me outside of the interwebz, please check-in before discussing any of this with me in-person. I am not in a place where I can or want to be accidentally outted. I appreciate the support.