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Everything posted by UncommonNonsense

  1. I have heavy scarring on my left arm from a burn. It runs from my wrist almost to my shoulder. It's blotchy, has an odd texture, and is a mix of reddened, vascular surface scarring and thick, white, stiff patches of much deeper scarring that pull and wrinkle oddly when I move my arm. I usually wear shirts with longish, loose sleeves in order to conceal it somewhat, but my work uniform shirt is short sleeved and I often catch people staring. The burn took 3 months to fully heal, and after it healed, I was *very* conscious of it and of other peoples' reaction to it. Because it was new scarring, it was very obvious. For years, I wore only long-sleeved shirts and only uncovered it to bathe and change clothing. Now, about 9 years after the burn, I'm so much more at ease about it. Of course, 9 years on, it has faded somewhat, not quite as red, and some of the thick white scarring has receded and looks a bit closer to normal skin. I no longer really care if people stare or ask questions (I'd rather they ask questions than jump to some ill-informed conclusion). I used to self-injure.... and I agree with you about how incredibly vulnerable and uncomfortable it is to reveal those wounds to another person, especially someone who doesn't know/understand self-injury.
  2. I'm barely comfortable with being naked in my own bathroom, alone, with the door locked. I have never been at ease unclothed, even when I was younger and at least kind of cute. Now, I'm the kind of person who looks far, far better clothed!
  3. Hey! Welcome aboard! This is a pretty great place.
  4. I've always imagined it as someone laughing so hard that their eyes involuntarily squint closed - a guffaw. It also has a sort of "Ha!" feel to it - vaguely sarcastic.
  5. Lucky. My workplace is literally surrounded by university student residence and condo buildings. The students are even allowed to use our back parking lot to park their cars (how the fucking hell are university students affording fucking luxury cars?!? I didn't own a car 'til I was 25, and it was a 3rd-hand Chrysler Concorde I kept until it was 15 years old and the transmission died!). My workplace has an extensive CCTV system that I am there to monitor (among other things), so I am very often 'treated' to events that squick me out on many levels... goofy joined-at-the-hip couple behaviour, PDA, exhibitionist couples going at it right in front of the camera, worse. For the really egregious crap, my instruction from my boss is "Call the cops on them!". I'm glad I don't have to be the one going back there into a poorly-lit back-40 parking lot at night to break up gross behaviour.
  6. Here's a question, folks. Let's say you have a best friend who you do not/cannot date (for whatever reason - maybe they're not attracted to people of your gender). You want the best for this person because you care about them an awful lot. You're aro. You accept yourself and your identity, and you're not overly conflicted about being aro. Your best friend meets another aro person and is interested in this person. You don't know the person your friend is pursuing. Would you advise your friend that they should date an aromantic person, knowing that your friend is romantically-oriented? Or would you tell your friend to give up on this particular relationship? Would the gender and orientation of your friend make a difference? Would it make a difference to you if the aromantic person your friend likes is asexual or allosexual?
  7. I'm not American.... and atm, I'm very glad of that. I'm sick with worry for people I've come to care about here and on AVEN whose lives will be made so much more difficult - perhaps even endangered or ended because of the dismal, bleak, heartbreaking results of this infernal election. We always hope that good will somehow manage to conquer evil, no matter the odds. So many of our favourite books, movies, and games follow that theme. Good always wins. It *has* to, right? Right? Only this time, evil won. Evil won. And it has turned our lives upside-down. We feel betrayed, forsaken, abandoned. Our ideals (and idealism) have been trampled. This should never happen! This isn't how the story is supposed to go! But it has... and I guess all we can do is loudly, publicly object to every ignorant comment he and his repugnant running-mate make and *fight*, legally, all hateful policies they try to implement. We can do this by volunteering our time and donating money/goods to groups like the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union - going to be *very* important in the coming years!), Planned Parenthood, HRC (Human Rights Campaign), and many others. We can do this by boldly confronting friends and family who make ignorant comments, in person or online. We can do this by pushing back against ignorance by studying hard and learning all we can so we have the verbal ammunition to counter the ugly propaganda that the republicans spew. If you can't fight openly, for whatever reason, you can still do your part. Scrape together your pocket change and have a sympathetic friend donate it to a liberal cause you support. Befriend a bullied gay/lesbian/bi/queer/NB/trans/etc. person at your school or workplace. Help a friend find safe resources to fight parents who are looking into putting that friend into discredited 'therapies'. Even if it isn't safe for you to fight out loud, you can be an undercover resistance fighter on the side of Good. After all, Good needs all the help it can get right now!
  8. I'm Canadian, and even I had to rant and rage and holler for a while. Thank the fates that I'm alone in an empty office building. I have so little faith in humanity remaining, and things like this continue to carve huge chunks of it away. I'm very worried for friends in the US who are young, queer, non-white, and/or non-religious... especially if they're female/female-bodied. How seriously are womens' issues and LGBT issues going to be taken with that creep in charge?
  9. Isn't it amazing how different we can be while still sharing some of the same issues/diagnoses? I'm sound sensitive too, and mine are a mix of biological and mechanical sounds. For me, my worst triggers are barking dogs (esp. smaller dogs - that shrill, sharp, penetrating, repetitive yapping! Just hateful, that is!), thumping bass music, unusually loud engine noises (think transport trucks using engine brakes and glasspack mufflers), vacuum cleaners and other similar equipment (leaf blowers, etc.), the hum produced by fluorescent lighting and, to a lesser extent, the hum produced by electricity in general, the general din produced by a lot of people talking in a confined space (I am not good at large meetings, conventions, and dealing with crowds), and the noises some people make while eating. There's a reason that despite me thinking that I'm starting to experience some hearing loss (decades of using headphones and loving my music LOUD are catching up to me), I have not sought to do anything about it. If anything, the fact that I'm getting a bit hard of hearing has been beneficial for me, since it has made my auditory sensitivity issues a lot more tolerable.
  10. My sympathies... one of my very favourite stories is a very romantic one, after all.. but it's a distinct minority - I usually hate romantic fiction. The only thing I can say is that the story caught in me for reasons entirely unrelated to the romantic plot. In my case, it's because one of the main characters is a 'person' I think I could be very good friends with, if he were not fictional. He's a character that a meddlesome ol' 'fixer' like me would want to help, because I feel bad for him and think he deserved better than he got in his fictional world. So, when people ask me why I love that story despite being a romance-indifferent/somewhat romance-avoidant aromantic ace, I just tell them that my love of the story has nothing to do with the romance - that there are other plotlines to the story, and those are strong enough to hold my interest despite the focus being mostly on the romantic plot. Even romance stories (or shows, or games) aren't 100% romance 100% of the time. There are always non-romantic subplots in even the most romantic of tales. So just tell them about those sublots and why they interest you
  11. I second "Leave Early". Second option, locate the other singles who were roped into the event (there will be at least a few and they're apt to group up together) and party with them!
  12. You know, there's something sadistic and perverse about expecting the people who have the most difficulty with conformity, fitting in, and change to do *all* the conforming, learning foreign (to us!) ways of socializing, and changing our behaviours. If life were fair, the NTs would have to meet us at least half-way and learn how to avoid eye contact, learn to stim, and be forced to pick up an intense, life-dominating special interest (er.. one that isn't sex and romance - NTs already have that one!) so they can fit in with *us* better! I'm tired of always having to be on the side that's putting forth all the effort!
  13. Whoa.... am I ever out of the loop! Of course, I haven't read kids' books since I was a kid, and that was 25+ years ago. Maybe I ought to go replace my card for the local library (I lost it about 10 years ago) and see what kind of cool new (to me anyway) titles there are out there. And yeah, the flappy, spinny, tiptoe-ey, rocky, jumpy, flicky stimmy dance really should be a thing. It would make me laugh like mad if such an autistic dance actually became honestly popular with NTs. We'd actually be able to go dancing and not stick out like a sore thumb like we usually do!
  14. Yep, you never want to assume art class is going to be quiet, orderly, or even bloodless (long story I won't go into here for brevity's sake). I can remember a few similar classes of my own that involved not only bizarre class subjects but also bizarre teachers! One of those latter ended up making me feel totally alienated from my own style and causing me to become totally disillusioned with art for years, leading me to pursue computer science courses a lot more, choose an IT job after university, and stop drawing for years after having her as my prof... she was an absolute train wreck of an instructor who believed that all art had to be some formless abstract mess for it to have any artistic value at all - and as my style has always leaned more to the side of photorealism, you can imagine how well my work was received (and marked!) by that particular prof! Musical instruments... ye gods, what a sensory nightmare in itself! Having to add power tools (and the ear-shattering din they make when combined with metal!) is just adding insult to injury! Yes, that 4th grade teacher was awful. The forced eye contact was just one of his ways of abusing the five of us he picked on that year (he choose a handful of kids out of every years class, always misfit or special needs kids, to abuse and bully). He also used yard sticks to hit us across the back and buttocks, used rulers to hit our hands, he slapped, shoved, hit, and punched us, verbally abused us, encouraged classmates to bully us, and I fully believe that the only reason the abuse didn't become sexual was that we 5 banded together and never allowed any one of our number to be alone with him - if one of us got in trouble and got detention, another of us would intentionally get in trouble to also be given detention just so no one kid would ever be left to deal with him alone. We had no idea what sexual abuse was at that point - we were 9, and it was the 1980s - that stuff wasn't talked about! - but we all had a bad feeling that something terrible would happen to any kid left alone with him. We tried to protect each other. It isn't easy when the people who should be the most accepting and supportive of you are trying to force you to change into something you're just *not*... I look at it this way... There's this dog lover. He loves dogs. Loves their behaviours and their social nature. But this guy is given a cat. His cat is typical of cats. The cat is much less social than dogs, and he socializes like a cat. Instead of jumping all over the guy, slobbering all over him, and following him around all the time, the cat occasionally rubs up against his shins, waits to be pet, and purrs. So the guy starts trying to train his cat to act like a dog. He rewards 'dog' behaviours and punishes the cat for acting like a cat. Do you think he's going to actually get a dog out of all that? Nope. He's going to get a massively psychologically damaged, neurotic, depressed cat who no longer knows what exact kind of creature it really is. Autistic people are like cats. Non-autistics are akin to dogs. We socialize like cats. No amount of pressure, training, 'intervention', ABA, shock 'therapy', medication, psychotherapy, family demands, or punishment will ever make us into non-autistics. All it will do is damage us in terrible, lasting ways, ways that have driven far too many of us into suicide. I believe that the focus should be on helping us be the best autistic people we can be, not in trying to forcibly remake us into non-autistics. Er... sorry about climbing up on my soapbox there! Rant over!
  15. I fake eye contact! I learned this trick way back in grade 4, when I had (an abusive) 'teacher' (not worth a spit into a waterfall at actually teaching, but incredibly good at playing local politics). He used to physically grab my head and restrain me in order to force eye contact on me if I did not meet and hold his gaze of my own accord. He would shove his face right up to mine and use his eyes to cause me distress. I find eye contact terribly invasive and overpowering. He knew this and used forced eye contact as another way to abuse me. So I began focusing my eyes on a spot between his eyes just above the bridge of his nose or on one of his eyebrows when he demanded eye contact. He could never tell that I wasn't actually looking in his eyes - and believe me, if he could have noticed that, he'd have gone into an absolute rage... so no rage = no way of telling I wasn't actually making eye contact! It's even more convincing when there is some space between me and the other person. I've been doing it ever since. The only people I actually make real, authentic eye contact with are those who are very close to me, who I trust completely.
  16. Yeah! I'd love a topic that acts as a repository for links/recommendations for books/ebooks/essays/etc. for free (or very low priced) with queer themes or characters. I've been looking for fiction with canon ace, agender, or aromantic characters... and I'm looking for something a bit more challenging than YA stuff, which is sadly one of the very few places you can actually find canon ace, agender, or aromantic characters. I have a great love for Victorian and Edwardian literature and the prolixity with which these types of books are written, and I'm not finding that in the YA arena, so the usual source of queer characters has been leaving me a bit cold. Also, I am *really* not into anime, which seems to be the only other category that has embraced queer characters, So yeah, a thread where people post their free/dirt cheap book, essay, ebook,, article, play script, etc recommendations is an awesome idea!
  17. To be honest, 99.99999% of the popular music produced in the last 15 or so years absolutely flummoxes me as to how it became popular... but yes, that song, and others like it, songs that glamourize what really ought to be seen as the darkest, scariest side of romance, really bother me. Case in point, an oldie but a perfect example Police - Every Breath You Take When I hear that song on the radio, the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. There really seems to be a trend, in the last 10 or so years especially, towards normalizing some very abnormal, bizarre, and abusive behaviour in relationships. Books like '50 Shades of Grey', songs like 'Jealous', and the themes of jealous possessiveness and abusive control being desirable in a relationship (it proves he looooooves you!'), the idea that people have to ditch the friends and hobbies they loved before the relationship began once they become a couple, the idea that couples must be together constantly for all their non-workplace hours have all been really 'on the radar' recently... and they seem to be seen as much more normal and expected among younger people than my generation or my parents'. My married friends all have friends that were made before they were a pair, and friends they made individually after they were hitched, as did my parents. My married friends also have time to themselves, away from their partner, as did my folks (although, since we were an introvert family with some autistic traits - my HFA is absolutely genetic! - my folks may be less typical there... but often, Dad would be in the family room watching a car race while Mum was up in her study watching the Golden Girls and reading a book). Maybe that's just the lack of life experiences and maturity in many young people, maybe it's our culture pushing toxic ideas of what constitutes romance on the most impressionable group, or maybe it's something even darker... but I do find it worrisome.
  18. I'm usually pretty romance-indifferent. What bugs me is PDA and being around a couple who are almost constantly hanging all over each other, using cloying, saccharine, baby-talking pet-names to refer to each other. That just sets my teeth on edge! The saccharine baby-talking bullshit really gets me repelled. Awful. Another thing that gets me - an addition to my dislike of PDA - is the sounds people produce when they're making out, all the grossly moist lip-smackings and weird moan-y little vocalizations they make. Cannot stand it. That will send me running to get away from their odious company. I also hate the possessiveness that seems to be a huge factor in romance. Any time one person tells another 'You're mine", I shudder involuntarily. Especially when it comes alongside an uneven power dynamic between the pair, which it all too often does. If anything romantic is aimed in my direction, especially if the person inflicting the romance on me is a heterosexual male (unfortunately, I've had some very terrible, terrifying, physically and emotionally scarring experiences with hetero guys who were seeking romance or sex and would not tolerate my saying no), my usual indifference goes from 1 to right off the scale, mixed with a certain amount of worry and even fear. I will avoid that person totally until that romantic/sexual interest has been extinguished.
  19. I'm frequently told that I often come across as somewhat dismissive of romantic/sexual relationships when I try to insist that purely platonic friendships can be just as strong and important. To this, I'm like "huh?". I have not said that the romantic/sexual relationships are less valuable or that friendships are better than romantic/sexual relationships, but that's the way people seem to take it. I'm the same way. When I get a squish, it is an entirely intellectual thing... meaning that there's something about that person's mind/talent/personality that I am awed by, and I want to listen to this person as they talk forever, be this person's friend so I can be around that amazing mind/talent/personality as much as possible, you likely know what I'm talking about. I am not sexually attracted to them (obviously), and their appearance doesn't matter to me at all. I'm not the sort who gets sensual attraction, so obviously that isn't a factor. I'm not a touchy-feely type of critter... to be honest, the only person I feel comfortable cuddling on the sofa with is my mother!
  20. I second this I always wondered why my friends always came to me, the resolutely single one in our little group, for dating advice, until I realized it was because I was able to see through all the romantic BS, did not experience the emotions that were clouding their minds (I suspect that the neurochemicals that create the feeling of limerance are just as mind-altering as any illegal drug), and was able to help them figure out how to get through the various relationship crises. I was also not afraid to tell friends whose relationships I believed were starting to go toxic that they should bail out. I believe that we are less likely to fall victim to catfishing and other romance scams. We tend to look at romance with an analytical, critical eye, so when someone tries to quickly get very close to us using romantically coded means, we will invariably back off and examine the situation skeptically. Strip away the romance, and the scam is revealed.
  21. I'm a solitary critter, but emotionally, I function better when I live with a relative or close platonic friend (or small group of family/platonic friends). My depression is not as pronounced, my energy level is higher, I feel physically safer, my tendency toward self-injury diminishes almost to the point of no longer being there, and I am not as effected by autistic inertia when I live in that kind of household. For me, my aromanticism is very tied up with my asexuality, my sex-repulsion, my autism, and my singleness. It is kind of hard for me to see any one of these things as a separate, distinct entity. They're all muddled up together, effected profoundly by each other.
  22. Well, I'm ace, aro, and sex-repulsed, so yeah, I no longer date, but this was very much the way it was when I was in HS and Uni, and the few times I've given dating a try in the last decade, that's the way it's been in my experience. The activities for romance-coded interactions are strangely limited. Granted, there seem to be a lot more options for daters who want to break free of the script now, and that is awesome! Young people seem to be more in favour of the 'Just Hanging Out Together' date, which I think is pretty great - it costs nothing and seems like a good way to really get to know the person you're dating. There are now businesses offering things like pottery instruction dates, roller skating dates, brewery tour dates, and other less-typical options for couples, but these are still rare and it takes much more effort to set them up than your standard movie date. I suspect this is why the typical, standard, scripted dating options still thrive. They're strongly romance-coded, but they don't take a lot of thought to set up and do right, and they have an easily followed pattern of escalation - coffee date, then movie date, then dinner-and-movie date, then fancier restaurant date, etc. Plus, the first few of these dating options are less expensive, appealing to someone who would rather not sink a lot of cash into a relationship until they get some idea of whether that relationship has the potential to be long-lasting... or at least go in the direction they want it to.
  23. I suck at sensing chemistry between people... real people or fictional characters. When others speak of people having chemistry, I'm always like "What?!? How? What do you mean?". I am chemistry clueless, folks! That may be due to a lot of things... I'm autistic, so I'm very socially inept and socially detached, as well as being unable to interpret facial expressions, body language, and vocal tone. I'm asexual and sex-repulsed, so I'm quite blind to sexual cues. I'm aromantic, so romantic cues don't interest me enough to observe them. With all of that combined, it's no wonder that I can't sense sexual/romantic chemistry.
  24. I guess I always thought that if I ever truly fell in love, I'd suddenly understand and desire romance. This was encouraged by my mother, who said "I know you! When you fall in love, you'll fall **hard**!" (I suppose she based that on the fact that I became obsessive about topics that interested me - common autistic trait - and thought that my obsessive love for topics/shows/books/etc would carry over into obsessive love for a romantic partner. Sorry Mum, autistic, not romantic!). I also thought I just had higher standards than most people. I saw friends pairing off with partners who had (IMHO) *major* character defects and problematic bad habits and just shuddered! I was told that falling in love made a person blind to all that was negative about their partner. To me, that seemed very illogical. After all, if you married that person, you'd be stuck living with his/her/their character defects and bad habits for the vast majority of your life! To me, going into a relationship with both eyes relentlessly peeled open in regards to aspects of their personality and traits that you could not tolerate long-term felt much more logical. My parents also called me a 'late bloomer', which I never understood. After all, the changes to my body wrought by puberty happened exactly when they were expected to, so I wasn't late to start puberty. So that never made much sense either. I considered myself straight-by-default until I was about 17. That's when I began university. I had not dated much in HS (I actively avoided any guy I was told liked me that way!). I gave a lot of thought to why I wasn't interested in boys, and wondered if that meant I was a lesbian (For some reason, I never really gave any thought to my lack of interest in girls). I dated a lesbian woman who was a few years older than I was for a few weeks, but that went nowhere just like dating hetero boys had. That left me very much at sea again, and I ended up dating a guy again... bad move on my part, since he was the one who coerced/nagged/wheedled/whined/demanded/kind-of forced me into sex. After that, I ended up dating another guy who tried to rape me (thankfully, the unexpected arrival back home of my parents prevented that). And after that, I just decided that I'd had just about enough of dating and men for a while. I decided to stop trying to date. That worked for me. I still had no idea I was ace or aro at that point. But I just had to protect myself and my emotions, and dating was just putting both in danger. So I just quit dating. A few years later, I discovered there was a word that described me well - asexual - and some of the puzzle pieces slotted into place. Then. my parents finally told me I'd been diagnosed autistic at three years old. I was re-diagnosed as being HFA later that year and lots more puzzle pieces fit themselves in. Later, I realized that agender was also a term that fit me. Much later, after identifying as hetero-romantic ace for quite a long time, I realized that the term aromantic fit me far, far better. The rest of the puzzle pieces fit in. I'm an autistic, agender, aromantic asexual. And those labels feel right to me.
  25. I'm indifferent to romance, generally. I do find it difficult to understand (which may be more an autistic thing than an aro thing), and some of it's tropes bother me because so many are anti-feminist, abusive, or unhealthy (ie. possessiveness, pursuing a person after they have expressed disinterest, the happy ending being that the woman is so exhausted by the man's relentless pursuit and unwanted 'romantic' gestures that she gives in and agrees to date/have sex with him) , but I'm not repulsed by it in the way that I'm repulsed by sex. Maybe more that I find certain specific romantic behaviours repulsive rather than the entire... er.. genre? Theme? Don't know what exactly to call it. I don't mind reading some romantic stories (hell, one of my most favourite stories is a romantic/gothic one that has a few of the tropes that usually bother me, but they don't in this story) if it is done well, and I can see the point of romantic subplots in many stories. The ones that bother me are the type where it's very overblown (Most romance novels), the romantic subplot is just kind of shoehorned in without purpose beyond giving fan service (thanks for that term, anime), or the romantic tropes used offend me (anti-feminist, violent, possessive, coercive, etc). IRL, well, I avoid relationships, so it doesn't come up often. But so much of romantic dating seems scripted and almost... impersonal. You kiss by x date, you buy/get roses by y date, you have sex by z date. And the things you do on dates are also scripted, and seem to happen regardless of the interests/personalities of the people involved. It's coffee, then a movie. then dinner at a fancy place, etc. Maybe the people would rather do something else... but certain activities are more romantically coded, so that's what they do. So, while I don't find this stuff repulsive, I do find it boring. Totally Yawnsville, man.
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