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Everything posted by FaerySilverwings

  1. I'm the eldest of two; as far as I know my brother isn't any sort of GSRM. As far as biological family members, while I suspect that I inherited some of my aromantic traits from my mother, there are no confirmed GSRM relatives that I'm aware of.
  2. I've heard "GSM" for "Gender and Sexual Minority" recently, too. (Which seems to be pretty all-inclusive as a term for the greater community.) [although personally I'd add in an "R" for "romantic minorities" as well]
  3. Yeah, if it comes up again I may do that with them. The other piece of the story here is that I've been running this campaign for the same group of people for three years now, and most of the awkward romance-toned stuff happened a lot earlier on... and I've only been fully aware of the words for my identity for a month. [but I do want them to know eventually because I want to be openly me to the world, if that makes sense?] I think one of my favorite parts of being DM is that I can set the standards for "this is a safe space for us to have fun, if something is pushing your real-life buttons, tell me and we'll adjust accordingly". Granted, I had a couple of... uncomfortable experiences? with the group I was with when I first started playing, so I'm probably a bit more sensitive about that than a lot of people? And you're right, any time a game gets focused around one player's romance for an extended period of time, it's really alienating. I was a player in a different game with some of the same people for a while and I'm pretty sure my characters in that were the only ones who didn't have a love interest plot going on... and I never did understand why all of the other players were so keen on the romance aspect of it. (... yeah, that's definitely an "Aro sign", isn't it?)
  4. Greetings, Adventurers! I realized when I was reading through the Aromantic Moments thread (and posting one of my stories) that this might be a nice thread to have, and I couldn't find one that already existed. There seem to be a good number of other people who play around here, and I'm interested in hearing how people's aromantic/aspec/etc identity affects their game and characters. As for me, I'm aro and ace and I've realized recently that it definitely affects how I run the game, especially in the light of handling some of my players. I DM for a pretty allo party, and among the characters at my table I have a Swashbuckler that might as well be a stereotypical bard and a Barbarian who came with "lecherous" as one of her flaws (although thankfully that almost never gets activated, because the player doesn't bring it up and neither do I). I used to have a Sorcerer whose player had the stated goal of acquiring a girlfriend as part of his character arc, which was weird for a number of reasons but... irl stuff happened and I removed him from my game and brought Barbarian in from the group I used to play with instead. When I'm a player, which isn't often, I never go for flirty/seductive characters... I mean, seriously, the first character I really got into playing was a Shardmind. And since then everything I make tends to turn into a tree/bird that just wants friends and adventures, regardless of the system. [I'm starting to think I need to actually come out to my players, but since I'm running everything online now because... well, obvious reasons plus I moved and now live on the other side of an ocean from most of them... I haven't found a good moment or reason to do it.]
  5. Continuing on from what you and @Oatpunk said: Both of you sound like the kind of bards I would be thrilled to have as players. Being the DM and being aromantic is a weird combination sometimes. As a player, you only have the one character that may or may not be flirted with... as the DM, any time one of my players tries to flirt with an NPC it's me that's on the other side of that interaction. And I am terrible at trying to role-play flirting. And since I don't think of it by default, unless one of my players instigates it or I'm planning to use the flirty NPC to kill/betray them later for plot reasons I just forget to include it in the game. Luckily I have a group that doesn't push me too far most of the time, but there is so much potential for awkwardness... and for the most part I tend to just steer my game away from romance/seduction type interactions. Come to think of it, in my current campaign for the most part the only time my players bring up either thing is to laugh at the tropes or because of some running joke or other we've acquired over the three years I've been running it. [Sidenote: As far as I know, all of my players are allo of some kind, and I'm not sure how aware any of them are about my aroace-ness (since I didn't have the words until recently but they've known me for 3+years now...).] Funnily enough, though, the only bard I've ever had in my game is more of the "mischief maker" than the "seducer". Our swashbuckler, on the other hand... well, "bisexual tomcat" is an accurate description. He literally tried to seduce Tiamat once. At 2nd level. It didn't work out. (His dice were on my side, he ended up cursed... Long story.) The running joke with my party is that he's going to try again at the final confrontation they're bound to have with her, but seriously... Tiamat does not find you attractive, swashbuckler! There are not enough dice in the multiverse to roll high enough to change that. I think my most highly aromantic DM moment was the time I turned a pair of monsters into recurring characters to deal with the problem of having to awkwardly role-play flirting with two of my players: Swashbuckler keeps trying to romance all of my NPCs on this never-ending caravan escort module. (And Sorcerer-I-later-kicked-out-of-game has openly said that one of his character's goals is to acquire a girlfriend even though his IRL girlfriend plays with us too and it's so weird because he wasn't interested in relationship-ing her character.) Swashbuckler also has a thing for elves but knows better than to flirt with the elf paladin in the party. Okay, module says two "buxom" elf-form doppelgängers are going to show up and try to seduce/kill members of the party. I can work with this. Let doppelgängers infiltrate according to text, and specifically let them awkwardly reciprocate interest from Swashbuckler and Sorcerer. (Initially plan for them to turn on the party according to text, and then have different, brilliant idea to make them part of the actual plot) Have one doppelgänger declare herself Swashbuckler's girlfriend. Swashbuckler takes the bait. Excellent. Now I can just hand wave that he's off with her in the evenings instead of sleeping near the rest of the party and just occasionally reference that she's affectionate towards him. Other stuff happens in caravan and someone tries to murder Swashbuckler in his sleep (and technically succeeds, but then he's possessed and then he gets better later... long story.) Dice cooperate with me when his girlfriend deals with the assassin. Nat 20. She kills them in one round, unarmed, and unclothed, by slamming them into the ground in one hit. Swashbuckler no longer tries to flirt with my NPCs, he's pretty sure his girlfriend wouldn't like that.
  6. I haven't been aware of my aro-ness long enough to really get into conversations around it with my irl friends. Particularly because I'm still under almost complete social isolation outside of the internet for health/safety reasons. (although granted, I have had the "well, I'm not into relationships/dating" sort of half-conversations with them occasionally before, but I didn't have words for what I was describing at the time) Weirdly, I have had quite a few "well, aro..." sort of conversations with my mother lately? I've not had a full definition conversation with her, but since I get at least some of my aro traits from her and we've always been close, whenever the baffling topics of romance (and sex, since I'm ace too) come up it just ends up happening.
  7. I've only experienced squishes a handful of times, but this is what I can answer of your questions. How did I know it was a squish and not just another friendship? > For me, it's kind of a more urgent draw to be friends with the person. I guess the feeling is best described as "This person is wonderful and it matters to me that they want to be friends with me too"? (And with this, a sensation of "if this person tried to initiate hand-holding or cuddles, I would happily accept") Did I ever feel jealous? >Not really? I get sad if said squish doesn't have time for me and hurt if they end up being closer friends with someone who's mean/aggressive towards me, but I'm not really jealous by nature. Did I want to get over it? >Um... well, back when I initially mistook these feels for crushes? YES. Because it hurt and I didn't understand why and the people in question barely even acknowledged me as existing. Once I found out that "squish" was a thing? It kind of made it okay that the feels I have don't really go away, they just diminish once the person stops being around me and then are stored in the back of my brain for reference. Granted, I have never been in a position where I told someone that I had acquired squish-feels for them, because for the longest time I assumed it was crush-feels (and I'm really romance repulsed and couldn't risk the possibility of ending up in a relationship with them)... and then because I'd rather have them as a friend that I consider special than to potentially mess things up or encourage them to acquire crush-feels for me. Another note: I sort of imprint like a duckling on people (especially teachers/professionals in my field) who validate my existence or abilities in general. Like "wait, you're being genuinely encouraging and validating and nice? I will live up to your approval if it's the last thing I do and follow you to the ends of the earth as your squire." Kind of squish-adjacent, I guess? I have no idea if any of that was helpful for you, but that's what I've figured out of my own experience.
  8. I feel like I need to apologize for starting off with the "QPRs confuse me" statement... What I'd initially meant was more that in some of the Aro circles I've found myself in now, there seems to be this pressure that oh, I'm supposed to want to be in one and be seeking that. (Because a lot of people in those circles seem to be obsessed with finding one, and it hits a lot of the same points that the amatonormative relationship-seeking pressure hits for me personally.) But I'm not sure that I do want that for myself, or that I ever will. commitment of any kind to a single person terrifies me, though... I think it's great that other people have them or find them or can use that label for their situation! I love the fact that people can be however they want to be with their particular person and still say "This is not a romantic relationship" and have it be valid. Because it is. Another way I sometimes feel like a "bad aro": I'm a writer, and I don't actively impose identities on my characters, they just sort of tell me over time who they are and who they like/don't... and I have a ton of them that are deeply romantic creatures (thankfully, that are involved in healthy relationships).
  9. Hello fellow aroace peeps! Out of curiosity, did anyone else here have trouble realizing their identity because they just... didn't get into situations where it would come into play? (For example, I was never around other people my age until I was in uni, so a lot of the "wait, I don't experience what other teenagers seem obsessed about" moments I've heard other aro and ace people describe just didn't happen to me at all.)
  10. I have a whole collection of "wait, this song has always resonated with me and now I know why" things I need to put into a playlist. This is one of the aro type ones I still really like. Any song that starts off with "I will never love you" is a strong aromantic contender for me, really.
  11. Am I doing it wrong if I get a bit weirded out by the (apparent) emphasis on "finding a QPP" in some sections of the aro community? I just want... how do I put this... close friends who'd let me cuddle with them without any serious commitment outside of friendship? and friends in general? (Granted, I've not been aware of my aro-ness long enough to know much about what the community is like)
  12. I'm 29! (... although I think this year shouldn't count, really, for any of us)
  13. I'm originally from Texas! It is a big place. I grew up on a farm in the flat mostly-empty part in the northwestern end of the state (as in "flat enough you can see thunderstorms from almost a hundred miles away"). 78 miles to the nearest actual "big city" (Lubbock, slightly more than that to Amarillo) and 15 to the nearest "town"... so pretty much the middle of nowhere? It's the part of Texas where a lot of the big ranches were back in the day, and there weren't enough people in the county for it to even be considered "rural" (In my childhood geography textbook, there was a map with all the counties color coded so you could see whether they were "urban" or "rural" or whatever... and the one I lived in was genuinely listed as "frontier". And the population has decreased considerably since I lived there...) [and yes, I do introduce myself as being "from Texas" rather than "American" most of the time. 🤠] And then I lived in the UK for the last three years, which was lovely. And now I'm back in the USA in Tennessee, which is where my mother's family was from to begin with (although I'm on the other end of the state from them at the moment)
  14. I'm 29... learned about aromanticism around the same time I finally figured out "for real" that I was asexual. Which... was last month. 🤯 (Granted, I'd first been introduced to asexuality as a concept about five years ago, but for some reason it didn't click that it was a thing and that this was genuinely who and what I was until I had to spend five months alone with my thoughts because of lockdown/quarantine.)
  15. Hello! I'm here lurking... but I'm still learning to be active in online communities. (Sort of constantly fighting with the anxiety regarding conflict and the potential to say something that's taken the wrong way and having people yell at me, if that makes any sense? Or of "I don't know what to say that would be productive or helpful, so I'll just be quiet and observe the dialogue in process")
  16. It's really hard for me to figure out what I think of this---partially because I usually don't think of characters in terms of their sexual/romantic identities unless the plot is connected to that. If a plot has nothing to do with the character finding a mate/romantic partner/whatever, then it generally doesn't register with me who they're attracted to because I'm interested in what they're doing in the story. I'm not the sort of person who ships things, either, so unless a romance/relationship is explicitly stated or somehow alluded to, I don't really pick up on subtext aside from "gee, they have a healthy friendship and I can relate to them on that level!". (My brain doesn't default to "everyone is straight until proven otherwise", though, it seems to default to either "everyone is too busy in this story to have time for romance" or I guess... "the character's orientations only exist once they act in a way that indicates sex/romance is part of their story"? because I won't notice or think about it until one of those things happens.) If there's an implied nonspecific representation going on in a story where the character's orientations aren't crucial to the plot, to some extent I like that I can identify with a character one way and other people can identify with them in different ways. (Granted, I generally find myself resonating with the "other" or "strange" or "alien" character in the story regardless of their orientation?) I like the idea of specific representation, and I think there should be more of it! And I think that creators of mainstream media should be able to explicitly say or show those aspects of their characters without being forced to "vague represent" to avoid uproar. (There will be uproar regardless. People like yelling about things.) ... and at the same time I genuinely have a hard time understanding or relating to why people seem to be obsessed with knowing what a character's orientations are, because that doesn't register with me as being a high importance to know unless the character is doing something with/about their orientations. Now, gender identities? Ethnicities? I know I want to see more variety and representation and to have it be part of who the characters are. Those things are a much bigger aspect of a character to my eyes, and it's something that needs to be openly shown as a normal part of who they are. What I know bothers me is when the "representation" in a story boils down to "this character is x!" and that is their entire existence and personality and the only thing that's ever talked about in connection with them. It's kind of the equivalent to me of the thing in a lot of the kids media I grew up with where there was "the girl" in the group whose job was to be "a girl" and was either the "pink-loving-boy-crazy" stereotype or the "not-like-other-girls" one. I like characters that are fully developed characters; I want their orientation to be one aspect of their existence, not the whole thing. (granted, all of this is just my opinion? And I'm the sort of aroace who just... doesn't really notice or seek out information about other people's orientations in real life unless it's something that's a big part of how they present themselves to the world or it's somehow directed at me? It took me forever to figure out my own identity because I didn't know there were words for it and don't relate to the world in a sexual/romantic way at all...) I hope some of that made sense and it wasn't just me rambling...
  17. This. A big part of my "wait, I am aromantic and asexual" realization was looking back at my main characters from my first book and my outright horror at the thought of anyone thinking they needed a love interest (I mean, it's a young woman who never seemed to have romantic desires and a tomcat who are supposed to be saving the multiverse. Why would that need romance??? The girl and the cat are friends and it's part of their protecting-the-world gig that they don't have other attachments getting in the way) ... as well the characters from the world I write with my very-allo-cowriter that I've had the most influence on... who are by majority very clearly hanging out under the aro or ace umbrellas, or both (I mean, seriously, one of the species we have in that series takes a lot of characteristics from how I thought I was in high school and they're by nature demi-romantic/sexual and I didn't even know what that was at the time, and another species seems to have a majority aromantic culture?) ... and then there's the more recent thing I'm working on where my main character is obviously aroace, a lot of the secondary characters are one or the other, and I have yet another species that came out biologically asexual and doesn't have a culture that would lead to romantic stuff in the first place (and features members of that species choosing human "companions" for plot/setting reasons which I have recently figured out could be read as a sort of coworker/QPR kind of thing) My characters knew long before I did. I'm honestly a bit annoyed that they took so long to point it out to me where they were getting all of those traits.
  18. I don't think I've ever experienced anything but squishes, because the "romantic" and/or "sexual" connotations of the crush are just never there for me. Squishes, the few times I've had them, are either a mild "this person is nice and I like being around them and I hope they'll continue to allow me to be friends with them" sort of feeling or a more intense thing like this: This person is wonderful and I find them fascinating I feel valued and safe when I'm with this person I want this person to be my friend so that I can continue being around them I want to spend as much time as I possibly can with this person because I like who I am when I'm around them If this person initiated cuddles or hand-holding I would be very happy to accept I am somewhat terrified of having this person disappear from my life But there's never a sensation of "I want to be in a relationship with this person" and I've never been open with one of my squishes about how I feel about them because I'm terrified they'll see it as a romance-coded thing and that on the off chance they have some sort of more-than-just-friends feeling towards me they'd want to be "in a relationship" with me... (or, y'know, there's that whole "I is an asexual creature" thing, and my squishes thus far have been on allosexual people, so even if I could get myself to the point of being okay with "romantic-coded relationship" things... I know I wouldn't be an appropriate choice of mate for them) ah, the joys of being aroace and occasionally having alterous attractions... I really wish "friends who cuddle" was more generally acceptable, it would make my life much easier.
  19. I think this sounds like it'll be a compelling novel once you start writing it! I'd love to hear more about your actual plot, too. Defeating a nasty queen sounds like an adventure! It also strikes me that this story is more about the journey of self-discovery your character is going through than you realize. There's a difference between the plot of a story and its themes/message, after all. My first suggestion is pretty simple: yes, labels may not be a thing in your setting, but your character doesn't exist in a vacuum. When she makes those realizations, who is she around that she's realizing she's different from? Even if you're not explicitly using the labels, you can describe things she's observing in other people and how that does or does not relate to her experience. She may be coming to the understanding for herself, but why and how she comes to that understanding are an important part of her journey. Likewise, having her feel alone and invalid is going to be an important part of her story, but does the story end with her still feeling like the only person in the world who is aro, ace, or both? As far as not feeling able to include aro allo or allo ace characters to "explain and balance", my suggestion would be that you don't have to have anyone explain to her extensively, but it could be useful towards the end of the story (once she's become more aware of herself) to have her meet or hear about people who could sympathize with her experiences. To be honest, I actually really like the idea of having the note at the end of the book talking about asexuality, aromanticism, and the intersections between them. That could be incredibly empowering for a reader who finds themself deeply sympathizing with this character throughout her journey, especially if you're wanting to avoid actually labeling things in the course of the novel. (It's actually something I might have to borrow for some of my own writing, considering that so many of my characters end up either aro, ace, or both, but their stories aren't about sexuality or romance in theme or plot, so the subject doesn't really come up naturally in the text itself.) I hope some of that helps?
  20. We've been leaving signs and breadcrumbs for ourselves all along, and never knew until everything clicked into place that they were there!
  21. Ooh, I can certainly sympathize with this one... although for me it was "wait, I've had a purple streak dyed into my hair for a year" and just came to terms with my Ace-and-Aro-ness being a thing incredibly recently. And then everywhere I look I have signs from the universe like that. (I mean, seriously, so much green-grayscale-purple stuff I've been making, just... everywhere. I even have a quilt I'm working on, that is just made with fabric I randomly dyed to test a method, and it's all green and purple and white and I was going to put it on a black background???) I'm so glad I'm not the only person that's experienced this.
  22. I think this is one of the few places where I already get to count myself as one of the "older folks", and I'm only 29? (And at the same time... I have more in common with y'all than with most of the "people my own age" I know. Isn't the internet fun?)
  23. I have distinct memories from early elementary school of whenever the other kids were playing "house" and all of the girls were arguing over who got to be the parents... I always asked to be the cat. Another early sign for me was the almost stereotypical adamant statements that I never wanted to get married (or have kids, for that matter) from whatever age I first figured out what marriage was onward. Also, sitting through a writing class at uni where we ended up watching 500 days of Summer and the entire time I was just thinking the main (male) character was annoying for soooo many reasons, mainly because he seemed to be trying to guilt/trap the woman into being in love with him... and absolutely hating the ending that was written for the main (female) character. Granted, I overanalyze and critique most romance plots.
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