Tuesday, 20 September 2011

I don't think my brain likes tranquility.

Good news! I think I have the lapse under control at long last.

Bad news! My brain's being an overanalytical gitwizard instead.

It thinks I need to question my sexuality again. It thinks I need to question my sexuality because, well, people are always saying that depression and low self-esteem can cause sexual repression, and I have a background in both those things. It thinks I need to question my sexuality because, y'know, can I be so certain that the feelings I had during my relationship weren't really just because Adam was the wrong person for me? It thinks I need to question my sexuality because there's, like, some bloke on the internet who identified as ace at my age but suddenly developed sexual feelings at 21, and ohmigosh, what if I turn out to be the same?

It's fucking ridiculous.

Maybe this is fairly standard with asexuality. It is, after all, characterised by an absence of something, and therefore that little bit harder to nail down. There's a lot more misinformation around it, too. For one thing, the popular definition of asexuality is generally speaking a lot narrower than the asexual definition of asexuality, and it's sometimes hard not to let that have an effect. No matter how much you know it's OK to be asexual and want a relationship, if just as many people around you are telling you it's not, it can be difficult not to start calling things into question. It's also a lot harder to brush off 'you're just a late bloomer' type comments because logically, there's no real way you can be certain that's not the case. There are people in this world who feel nothing until their late teens or early twenties. Can you be sure identifying as ace before your eighteenth birthday isn't jumping the gun?

Mostly though, I think my worries are down to me. I know my mind. It attaches to the slightest uncertainty like a pitbull terrier and not let go until every microscopic shred of doubt is erased completely. Letting things alone to sort themselves out in time isn't something I've ever been very good at, and if I have any reason to doubt my sexuality, I'll triple and quadruple and octuple check, trying to bully myself into feeling sexual attraction in order to prove, yet again, that I don't have it.

I think my background is the big issue here. I have been bullied in my life, and from the age of about ten, some of the boys decided that the best way to bully me would be by sarcastically asking me out and feeling me up, the intention being making the idea that anyone could possibly be attracted to me completely ludicrous. In my mid teens, I got what I now strongly believe to be depression, which lowers sex drive.

Sometimes I wonder whether I internalised the bullying so much I walled up my sexual attraction as a response, and then had it depleted further by depression. All this depite the fact that:

A) Although it's never talked about, sexual bullying is more or less the go-to method for boys to bully girls. Every girl I know who has been bullied has been bullied in this manner at some stage, and none of them are asexual. They're all straight, or bi.

B) the bullying wasn't fun, but iit wasn't anywhere near serious enough to cause me to wall up parts of myself. I never got anything worse than a grope, and they were more annoying than anything else. I had a grand total of one legitimately horrible moment when I was around thirteen, but I think I was already questioning my sexuality by then.

C) I did internalise the bullying and begin to feel that I was a repulsive human being who would never have a relationship or sex. I panicked over this when I was around fifteen, seriously. But when I took a step backwards, I realised that the only reason for my panic was that I, in my depressive state, had managed to conflate 'having a boyfriend' and 'having sex' with 'being an adult'. I saw sex and relationships as rites of passage I had to go through in order to truly grow up. Once I realised this, I reassessed my motives, and realised that my screwed up associations were the only reason I had ever wanted sex in the first place. Without those associations, the appeal was... a minor curiosity to see what the fuss was about at some stage, but no more. I didn't want it. I had no desire for it. For the first time in a couple of years, I began to consider asexuality.

D) I haven't stopped considering asexuality since. In fact, it's been default.

E) If the bullying and depression made me wall up my sexual attraction... why do I still have romantic attraction? And why didn't I start to feel attracted to people again after getting into a serious relationship, proving the bullies wrong?

F) In mid year eleven, my depression decreased a lot, and since then most of my life has been either free or almost free of depression. And guess what? I have not, at any point, spontaneously developed sexual attraction.

Then, if you add to that:

G) I first came across the term 'asexual' when I was about twelve, and applied it to myself almost straight away. How I knew I don't know, as I wasn't even through puberty then, but I did. Before anything that could cause sexual repression had happened, I was questioning and leaning towards ace.

H) I dropped the 'asexual' label for a few years, but came back to it when I realised how much i didn't do and didn't want. I didn't have crushes. I had never searched for porn. Anything involving swapping body fluids seemed more awkward and yuck than anything else. If I hadn't known the word 'asexual', I would have been very confused from here on in.

I) As a child, I remember hearing my friends talk about boys they fancied. I, who didn't do this, told myself that it was OK to have crushes, and tried to force some. I latched onto any feeling, from mild affection for a person to hero-worship to actual romantic attraction (although I didn't know the word for it then) and called it a crush, honestly believing I was feeling the same as other people did. On reflection... it really wasn't.

J) Speaking of romantic attraction, the concept of it always existed in my mind. I knew romantic love and sexual attraction weren't the same, and I still sometimes struggle to understand why so many people are unable to mentally separate the two. The concept of physical attraction as separate also makes perfect sense to me, and in my experience that's something many sexual people get confused about.

K) 'Those' months with 'those' associations aside, when I imagined myself in a relationship, I didn't imagine sex. That hasn't changed.

L) My romantic attraction has no relation to the appearance of the person.

M) My relationship. Being in a relationship with a straight guy tends to make you realise just how ace you are.

N) I could easily go the rest of my life without sex. In fact, right now it's what I'd prefer.

O) Oh, and sexual attraction? I don't have it. I do seem to have little flickers of physical attraction, though, which I think is where some of the confusion stems from. I think I keep worrying if what I think is physical attraction is actually sexual, and using it to back up my insecurities. The more I think about it, the more I realise it's a load of bollocks.

Most importantly, though, is that I'm not willing to be an incomplete person until I'm twenty-five, refusing to give my orientation a name just on the offchance I one day turn out to have been wrong about it. Some people can postpone things like that, I can't. If in ten years time I find myself straight, or bi, or whatever... well, I'll cross that bridge then. Right now, and in all honesty most likely for good, I'm asexual, and that's all that has to matter.

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Day 9 – What genre of music do you dislike?: 

Country: Rap: Rn'B: Bubblegum pop. Yeah, stereotypical, I know. Mind you, outside that, I'm fairly versatile and listen to stuff from many different genres. I'm not one of those people who glues herself to one sub-subgenre of music and looks down on anyone who dares listen to to anything else. Oh, and I do also have a dislike for screamo, and that particular brand of Death Metal where it's just cookie monster vocals for five minutes. Cookie Monster vocals are fine in small doses, but if they're going throughout a whole song, I find it a bit annoying. 

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Upcoming Autistic Speaking Day and Surpise competitions.

Good news! I've been a responsible human being and ordered a nice shiny copy of Undoing Depression, which is meant to be one of the best self help books on the subject around. So I'm not intending to just sit and let this mood go where I'm 99.9% sure it's going. I'm in the arena with this one.

Unfortunately, my resolve of getting my arse in gear hasn't been going to well, as you can see. In all fairness though, I'm blaming college for this one.

Finding things to talk about is also proving slightly tricky. You see, I want to include a lot of non-ranty posts, but that isn't easy as my life's a bit uneventful at the moment and I don't have much I can witter about. So, for today, I thought I'd fall briefly back on Neurodiversity, and specifically, Autistics Speaking Day, which is coming up this October.

The day itself is a way away yet, but I, not wanting to get caught short, started thinking about what to write almost immediately. That wasn't an easy task, either. I've already written about several of the bigger issues, and I didn't really want to just shove an old blog post in their direction with a "Here you go, take this". I considered writing about my childhood. I considered filming myself stimming and portraying it in a positive light, until I realised you need a decent camera for that, and I don't have one.

In the end, I decided to go back to basics. I will be writing about why I support neurodiversity in the first place. This isn't as lazy as it sounds. In fact, I think it sort of has to be done. A lot of people view ND supporters as kooks, and I've seen the ND movement as a collective compared to all sorts- The Flat Earth Society, Indigo Children champions, people who want to give plants the vote... you name it, somebody thinks ND's worse than it. Now, obviously this is ridiculous and needs to change, and taking steps to convey just how important ND is and what it's real goals are is therefore something that needs to be done. In detail. Which I have every intention of doing. Yeah... I won't holding back on this one, people.

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Day 8: What are your worst and best experiences with non-Goths?

Best: I can't think of anything in particular, but my boots seem to get positive reactions, sometimes Oh-wow-those-are-epic very positive reactions, more often than not. I've had people compliment my hair pretty frequently, too. Plus one friend 

Worst: OK, this experience isn't so much bad as it is confusing, but it's more interesting than people shouting 'Emo!' at me from the other side of the road, so here we go:

Dress as you please day. Year 10. Most people who had been into alt clothing in year nine were, by this stage, returning to mainstream fashions, leaving me one of just two Babybats in the year. Needless to say, we stood out a bit more than we had done in previous years. Now, this other Babybat found his feet with Goth quicker than I did, and on this particular day, he was in Steampunk goggles and a full trenchcoat, while I was wearing a Marilyn Manson T shirt, brand name trousers, and... probably just one striped armwarmer (This is something that's never changed- I'll never wear a pair of gloves if I can just wear one). Mind you, l also had my New Rocks and beloved leather jacket, so swings and roundabouts.

So, to summarise the general situation; One fifteen year old was already well acquainted enough with Goth to take large amounts of inspiration from it; another wasn't quite so certain, and was still experimenting with the slightly more mainstream rock and metal subcultures. Not a newsworthy circumstance, really. Or so you'd think.

At Lunchtime, as I was going up the library steps, one of my friends caught up with me and this happened:

Him: (solemnly) I'm sorry, Louise, but Matt's won." 
Me: (pretending to not have guessed what he was on about) Won what?
Him: "You know, the Goth thing. Matt's better dressed up than you. 

Whether the other Goth ever got informed that, Congratulations, he'd won a Goth-off he'd had no idea he was involved in, and was 'dressed up', I don't know. But for me... I had no idea how to respond. I vaguely remember doing a lot of walking away in bafflement and not saying what I wanted to due to a feeling that it would only get me shunted into the position of 'sore loser'. The whole thing was also a bit of a BLAM- my friend made a couple of comments like this throughout the day (in fact, I've sandwiched two together up there), but once that day was over nothing... ever got mentioned again.

Until now, of course.

Sorry, Old Wyvern Friend, on the off chance you're reading this and recognise yourself. You have my full permission to extract revenge and tell the world about something silly I did as a fourteen year old. Fair's fair, after all.

I also have a best worst experience: I was walking to the hairdressers, dressed down a bit because hair dye and shampoo are best kept away from jewellery and favourite clothes. On  the way, I passed a group of kids on the way home from school. They took one look at me and started debating, loudly, as to whether or not I was, like, totally emo, innit. Part of the exchange went thus: 
"God, look, emo!" 
"What are you on about, she's not emo!"
"Yeah she is, she's walking fire, mate!" 

Now... I have no idea what the lad meant by 'Walking Fire', but it's definitely the single most awesome insult on the face of the earth. I couldn't help but smile. 

Tuesday, 6 September 2011


I'm well aware that I haven't updated for... too long. It's a mixture of me being busy; me leaving it too late in the day, getting tired and deciding to go to bed rather than inflict several paragraphs of half-asleep gibberish on the world; and me being in a bit of a funny mood. Out of those three, the first is likely to become a bigger problem as college starts again. The second... well, my bad time management is certainly something I'd like to get under control, and probably something I'll have to get under control if I want to get into a decent uni. And the third? Um... let's just say I'm back with Auntie Moodgym for the foreseeable and leave it at that.

So, yeah, it's half within my control and half outside it. I'll do my best to stop slacking, but getting an entry in every day might not be doable. I'll see.

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Day 7: List ten of your favourite Goth bands: 

Now, I know just how subjective 'what counts as Goth' can be, and as a result I've decided not to worry too much about keeping within the boundaries. I'm aware that I'll never please everyone unless I play it extremely safe, so I'm going to trust my personal judgement and take a couple of risks. Meaning there may be artists on this list that you personally wouldn't consider Goth.

So, in no particular order...

1: Faith and the Muse: 
- Classic Gothic rock with a celtic edge.
- I've never found a song by them I didn't like.
- They have political songs. Considering how rare that is among Goth bands, this earns them points.
 - Favourite song: Sovereign.

2: Silver Ash: 
- Visual Kei/Gothic rock. Probably the biggest shoe-in on the list.
- They were China's first Visual Kei band, and are one of the best in the scene overall. (In my opinion, anyway)
- They really are horrendously underrated, especially considering the sacrifices they had to make and problems they had to face during their career.
- Favourite song: Lunar Eclipse

3: Sopor Aeturnus and the Ensemble of Shadows:
- Darkwave/Neoclassical/Gothic Rock
- Most of her songs contain incredibly bleak or disturbing subject matter, which is depicted graphically enough to have a real emotional impact.
- Many songs are autobiographical, which gives them a highly personal edge.
- Favourite song: The Goat

4: The Cruxshadows:
- Gothic Rock/Darkwave/ Synthpop
- I haven't explored this band much yet- because I keep getting obsessed with every other song by them I hear. It's hard to get through someone's back catalogue when all you want to do is play every new song again... and again... and again...
- Contrary to Sopor, it's the Cruxshadows' energy that sets them apart in my eyes.
- Favourite song: Winterborn

5: Bauhaus: 
- Classic Gothic Rock
- I know. Predictable. Is there even any point describing this band? Their awesomeness almost goes without saying.
- Well, I'll say something general: Peter Murphy's vocal style. I'm so glad it became a staple of Goth music.
- Favourite song: Who Killed Mr. Moonlight

6: The Dresden Dolls: 
- Dark Cabaret/Alternative rock
- I've never found a song I disliked here either.
- These guys are lyrical genii. Seriously. The vast majority of songs manage to be both multi-layered and emotionally charged.
- Favourite song: Delilah

7: Velvet Eden: 
- Darkwave/Visual Kei
- I looked up these guys on a whim. They turned out to be one of the best finds of my life. Their music is just... wonderful. And perfect.
- They are very unique and have a strong signature style, making them one of the best VK bands... ever, really.
- Favourite song: Tsuki Kumo Nocturne

8: Eve of Destiny: 
- Goth/Darkwave
- How these guys weren't more successful is beyond me. The members, Kozi and Haruhiko Ash, were both established and successful musicians, and the quality of the music reflected that.
- Their stuff is notoriously hard to find. Look into them anyway. You won't regret it.
- Favourite song: Nervous and Innocence. (Which is currently my ringtone)

9: Emilie Autumn: 
- Victorian Industrial
- What I really love about EA's music is how raw it is. She doesn't pull punches lyrically or musically. Even the instrumentals tell a story.
- From what I've gathered, the stage shows are great fun. Just watching Emilie and the Bloody Crumpets bounce off each other cracks me up.
- Favourite song: Marry Me

10: Blam Honey: 
- Industrial/Visual Kei
- I love how creative they are with their music, and how detailed their pieces are.
- They're also underrated. Even by me. I... neglect them far too much.
- Favourite song: Enlarge Disorder