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Emerald Cheetah

College isn't Any Better

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Hello! It's been a long time since I've been around Arocalypse mainly because I started college, and I've been really busy. But ever since I got to college, I've started to realize something. I thought that college would be better. There was a club called Asexual Aromantic Alliance, and I thought that must mean people knew of our existence. Upon starting college, it certainly seemed like a more open minded place, and it is, but I guess that open mindedness stopped when it got to Aromanticism. I was finally glad to be away from my parents. I even have an Aro pride flag hanging in my dorm room. But that's about as far as it goes. In everyday life I feel like I'm being invalidated despite the fact that I can be openly aromantic and asexual.The amatonormativity is just everywhere! 

 

Here's some examples. My Spanish class is the worst example. I really like my Spanish teacher. She is very animated and nice. But then we have these speaking exercises where we talk to a partner answering questions on the projector screen. I can't tell you how many times I've seen a question that goes along the lines of "What is your ideal boyfriend/girlfriend?" Or "What's your ideal husband/wife?". I usually just tell my partner that I'm not going to answer the question and instead let them answer it. But I feel terrible when I see that question. It's like a slap in the face. 

 

The second example just came up today in my philosophy class. My professor whom I also enjoy very much was trying to demonstrate something with an example. And all of sudden he went to the example of heartbreak. He said something like "I'm sure by now all of you have experienced heartbreak And he also said "If you haven't, well, I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing." And throughout that little part I was just cringing internally. Surely a philosophy professor would be open minded enough to not jump to such conclusions!!!! BUT AMATONORMATIVITY!

 

I wish I could speak up and say something to my professors when they invalidate me, but I just can't. I hardly feel comfortable coming out at times because I dread the vocabulary speech that I'll have to give and I never know how someone will react. Some people are like "I don't understand how this is possible. I need more explanation." Others are like "WOW SO COOL. YOU'RE AMAZING." Then you have the worst response of "Lol no I don't believe you." And then some are like "um ok." Sometimes it's easier just not to say anything until you're backed into a corner and have no choice but to come out.

 

Does anybody else who is in college experience something like this a lot inside and outside of class? 

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I took a Spanish class last semester. Romantic stuff wasn't discussed a whole lot, but I remember, on Valentine's Day, there was a group activity where you had to write a love letter to a person, whose picture was on the letter. All I did was say things I'd like in a good friend!

 

Also, recently, in my Independent Living Seminar, there was a sex education lecture. During this lecture, there was not only talk of what you'd want in a specific person, but pictures of private parts. Mind you, these were all students with disabilities of some sort, so I wasn't alone in my feeling of discomfort.

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When people talk about heartbreak I tend to think about ways that past friends have broken my heart. I don't think that it has to be romantic for it to be heartbreak.

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What kind of college is this? I go to a public state university (SUNY Cortland) and I feel accepted by pretty much everyone I know there. I went to a community college before, where I was given stress questionnaires in a couple of my classes that seemed biased in favor of alloromantics, and this was in my first semester when I wasn't quite as open with my identity as I am now. Have you taken a sociology class? I found sociology class to be what really helped me as this class talked about all kinds of social issues including the pressure to be in a romantic relationship. I would definitely recommend taking a sociology class if you haven't already. 

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16 hours ago, John Rohman said:

I took a Spanish class last semester. Romantic stuff wasn't discussed a whole lot, but I remember, on Valentine's Day, there was a group activity where you had to write a love letter to a person, whose picture was on the letter. All I did was say things I'd like in a good friend!

 

Also, recently, in my Independent Living Seminar, there was a sex education lecture. During this lecture, there was not only talk of what you'd want in a specific person, but pictures of private parts. Mind you, these were all students with disabilities of some sort, so I wasn't alone in my feeling of discomfort.

If I had to write a love letter, I would probably have just gone all out over tope super dramatic with it. I actually think I had to write one in high school to a character in a show we were watching. I made the love letter really stalker-ish because then I could at least humor myself while writing it. Though I did this before I learned I was aromantic. It would probably be more painful if I were given a love letter assignment now that I know I'm aromantic. Why is Valentine's day even a holiday? Someone enlighten me. Please. 

 

I went through sex education in middle school. It saddens me that the college equivalent still has a ways to go as well. And this doesn't help! Even in a sex education lecture, I would feel uncomfortable about my identity when I shouldn't. I wouldn't be able to speak up because then I'd essentially be correcting the lecturer and telling them "hey you're wrong." and then again. Vocabulary lesson. And that gets very tiring real fast. It's also really uncomfortab to do it in front of people you don't really know.

I think once when I answered a question about my ideal person, I said to my Spanish partner that my boyfriend (because Spanish can't be gender neutral) would have red eyes. And they were like..."Wait that's not possible????" And I was like "EXACTLY" (To clarify, red eyes do exist. But are super super rare. And they're not actually red. They are the lack of color and you just see the blood vessels in the eye. However I added after the red eyes that the person would also need black hair. And most red eye people are albinos and therefore they would not have black hair. SO THERE YOU GO. MY IDEAL PERSON IS OFFICIALLY IMPOSSIBLE). Sorry I rambled. But yeah, I had a little fun when I answered the ideal boyfriend/girlfriend question in my Spanish class once. The other person probably didn't get the memo though. 

 

14 hours ago, lonelyace said:

When people talk about heartbreak I tend to think about ways that past friends have broken my heart. I don't think that it has to be romantic for it to be heartbreak.

I think my problem with the term heartbreak is that it is implied that it is romantic. If someone talks about heartbreak you can almost be certain they are referring to it in a romantic way unless they specify otherwise and that is why is gets on my nerves. Yes, I have experienced friendship heartbreak most certainly, but I feel like when people hear heartbreak,Almost nobody will think platonically unless of course they are on the aro spectrum which in that case you would have no choice. And even then, I almost feel we need another word altogether to differentiate between (romantic) heartbreak and friendship heartbreak because romance has taken over the word completely as far as I can see.

 

12 hours ago, DavidMS703 said:

What kind of college is this? I go to a public state university (SUNY Cortland) and I feel accepted by pretty much everyone I know there. I went to a community college before, where I was given stress questionnaires in a couple of my classes that seemed biased in favor of alloromantics, and this was in my first semester when I wasn't quite as open with my identity as I am now. Have you taken a sociology class? I found sociology class to be what really helped me as this class talked about all kinds of social issues including the pressure to be in a romantic relationship. I would definitely recommend taking a sociology class if you haven't already. 

I go to Iowa State University. So it is a public college which is also why I am very surprised to be hearing some of these things. Of course, these examples are kind of small in comparison but they still hurt. No, I've never taken a sociology class. To be honest, I haven't taken one because I just don't really understand what sociology is all about. However, with this recommendation, I might consider it as an elective. Sadly, I already signed up for classes for next semester 😅 But I'm kind of interested now. 

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I go to a university/college in germany, so it's different in terms of system but there's no sex ed here that all happened in my previous school when we were about 13. It was really uncomfortable but at least we were split females/males (there's another can of worms that I won't go into rn) but they didn't talk about sexualities. I know I learned about those from YouTube videos and creators that came out, no word in the class that's supposes to teach you these things.

As for now, I'm open to two people in my semester bc one of them is also ace but the general opinion is amatonormativity sadly. There's also no clubs or stuff to educate people and if people don't go in my face with that stuff I generally don't care. I'm just too stressed out with my projects to educate other people 😂

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I’m starting to think that my tendency to hide in a music practice room for 80% of my undergrad basically insulated me from the BS. :P 

 

Your story of the Spanish class does remind of me an awkward experience in back Business School though, as a brainstorming activity in one of the classes involved attempting to reinvent speed dating with a group, and the two of us who were queer-identified in one way or another were not comfortable outing ourselves to some dudebro cishet business students, so the whole exchange was hella awkward. I also used to say that music was the love of my life, and that I’d love to marry my job, and people always reacted with pity, saying “that’s so sad!” I don’t get what’s sad about loving your craft, or what’s sad about not seeking a romantic partner, so those interactions were mostly just confusing.

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On 11/17/2019 at 11:30 AM, Mezzo Forte said:

I also used to say that music was the love of my life, and that I’d love to marry my job, and people always reacted with pity, saying “that’s so sad!” I don’t get what’s sad about loving your craft, or what’s sad about not seeking a romantic partner, so those interactions were mostly just confusing.

i think that's an artist thing; i'm in fashion design and i feel the same way.  i was born for this, i've always known, and i can't imagine my life without it.  the thing i'm most upset about missing due to not getting married is designing and wearing my dress.  i also find it sad when people choose their career just for money, stability, etc. and say "work isn't something you're supposed to like"--yes it is, wtf!

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On 11/17/2019 at 5:30 PM, Mezzo Forte said:

I’m starting to think that my tendency to hide in a music practice room for 80% of my undergrad basically insulated me from the BS. :P 

 

Your story of the Spanish class does remind of me an awkward experience in back Business School though, as a brainstorming activity in one of the classes involved attempting to reinvent speed dating with a group, and the two of us who were queer-identified in one way or another were not comfortable outing ourselves to some dudebro cishet business students, so the whole exchange was hella awkward. I also used to say that music was the love of my life, and that I’d love to marry my job, and people always reacted with pity, saying “that’s so sad!” I don’t get what’s sad about loving your craft, or what’s sad about not seeking a romantic partner, so those interactions were mostly just confusing.

 

With these brodudes, you never know when they start bullying you. Even when they are 30, the imp is still there and sometimes breaks free. Recently a co-worker, an unsuccessful footballer in his mid 30s, found it very funny that my best friend is a woman, and kept teasing me for some weeks with questions like "do you get it off with her?".

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On 11/25/2019 at 1:15 AM, aro_elise said:

i think that's an artist thing; i'm in fashion design and i feel the same way.  i was born for this, i've always known, and i can't imagine my life without it.  the thing i'm most upset about missing due to not getting married is designing and wearing my dress.  i also find it sad when people choose their career just for money, stability, etc. and say "work isn't something you're supposed to like"--yes it is, wtf!

 

The funny part is I had fellow musicians call “marrying my craft” sad, even though they’re dedicating themselves to their music as well. But yeah, I definitely see where it’s an artist thing in general.

 

In recent years, I’ve been a bit more understanding of folks who have careers they aren’t passionate in, since it allows them the financial security to pursue their passions in more of an amateur way. I love what I do as a scholar/educator, but the combination of paltry pay and your work following you home for every waking moment during most the year, it gets tiring. I see my family doing career stuff they’re meh about, but really enjoying themselves in their spare time, and I understand why that life works for so many folks. Now, when people get Judgy of an artist’s life, and claim things like “work isn’t something you’re supposed to like,” that is 100% a toxic attitude that I find sad. If nothing else, I can say that I love what I do, and that I find my work rewarding and fulfilling.

 

3 hours ago, Blazkovitz said:

 

With these brodudes, you never know when they start bullying you. Even when they are 30, the imp is still there and sometimes breaks free. Recently a co-worker, an unsuccessful footballer in his mid 30s, found it very funny that my best friend is a woman, and kept teasing me for some weeks with questions like "do you get it off with her?".

 

Christ, I’m so sorry you’ve had to deal with that. That inappropriate of a question sounds like borderline sexual harassment to me, not to mention that it sounds like an asenine attempt at gender policing with hints of “men and women can’t be friends” sorts of heteronormative bullshit too. 

 

Funny thing for me is that before I transitioned, folks assumed I was a woman with male best friends. Apparently some folks used to read me as a lesbian before I came out as trans, so folks didn’t think much of it. Weirdly enough though, people tend to read me as a gay man now, so folks start to absolutely *insist* that I’m in love with one of my best friends. I think folks get insecure when they see strong platonic bonds that don’t have any romantic or sexual implications attached and I think people try to placate themselves by insisting that there is a romantic/sexual component where there is none.

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On 11/25/2019 at 8:15 AM, aro_elise said:

i think that's an artist thing; i'm in fashion design and i feel the same way.  i was born for this, i've always known, and i can't imagine my life without it.  the thing i'm most upset about missing due to not getting married is designing and wearing my dress.  i also find it sad when people choose their career just for money, stability, etc. and say "work isn't something you're supposed to like"--yes it is, wtf!

 

I think it was very popular for Missionary Generation people (born in late 19th century) to devote themselves to a job and see it in a very idealistic way. BTW many of them never married, saying they don't have time for that because idealism and work were so important to them.

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My, I really don't understand why American scholar system is so obsessed with exercise all about romance. I don't know if I was Lucky or not, but here in France, no teacher gives us any questions like that. We only have sexual education in biology class, which is about teaching about how AIDS, how to protect from that and other STDs, what to do to not be pregnant, why sex can worry and why you should not pressure your girlfriend to have sex (because apparently this is only a boy thing). Though it was centered on the idea that teens want to have sex in a hetero way, I thought it was a good thing to have. Also I heard they are trying to be more inclusive now (not about aro and aces though I think).

 

Anyway, did you try to speak about it with your teachers? Not on your own, but as you say there was an aro and ace group in your college, maybe they can speak in name of aros to say how much this is disrespectful for them? And even other LGBT groups. I don't know, but people don't necessarily wants to come out in front of people they barely know, nor lie...

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On 11/29/2019 at 9:19 AM, Mezzo Forte said:

 

not to mention that it sounds like an asenine attempt at gender policing with hints of “men and women can’t be friends” sorts of heteronormative bullshit too. 

 

This kind of belief drives me crazy! It's part of the reason why I'm always so wary around other guys that I start to form a friendship with because I always fear that they'll begin to see me in a romantic way due to that idea that we can't solely be friends. I demand that we dismantle this harmful belief! I would very much so appreciate more guy friends.

 

14 hours ago, nonmerci said:

Anyway, did you try to speak about it with your teachers? Not on your own, but as you say there was an aro and ace group in your college, maybe they can speak in name of aros to say how much this is disrespectful for them? And even other LGBT groups. I don't know, but people don't necessarily wants to come out in front of people they barely know, nor lie...

😞 No I unfortunately did not bring it up to any of my professors, with or without the support of my club. Whenever I have problems, I have this tendency to keep them to myself, especially when another person(s) is the problem. I guess I'm a bit of a people pleaser in that respect because I don't want other people to feel as bad as I do. So I never bring up the problem to the person causing it since I don't want the other person to feel bad and therefore I never solve the problem. The reasoning is very flawed but I can't help it. I just despise confrontation. And, despite the fact that I've told you all of my problem, I'm not sure I could do the same with my club. I feel more comfortable online than in person. Even though I know my club members better than anybody on Arocalypse, I still think I would trust Arocalypse with my problems more than my club. My club only meets on the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month so I haven't really gotten extremely close with them. I usually just go to the aroace club meetings to forget about my problems tbh. It's a place where I can be myself and forget the amatonormativity exists! Just for an hour.

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