Boxes

15 Oct

Lately I’ve been having a lot of thoughts about my presentation, as it relates to my gender. My gender is neutrois, as I’ve talked about before, and I consider myself neutral-gendered. Masculine and feminine presentation don’t make me masculine or feminine, they’re just what I found striking while getting dressed. When I’m able, I want top surgery to make it possible for my body to be more neutral.

But there’s always going to be the issue of clothes. Lately I’ve been trying to figure out how to comfortably incorporate the feminine details I enjoy in clothes into my wardrobe. I’m in the awkward situation now of almost never being able to go to the store; if I buy clothes within the next year, it’s going to have to be online. (Look at the confidence I hold in my ability to learn how to drive!)

Some things would be easy to buy. T-shirts, which already comprise 85% of my closet. I either measure myself, probably already own a t-shirt from the company, or can measure a t-shirt that fits comfortably to figure out what size to buy. Unisex t-shirts are also easy to find with masculine, feminine, and neutral designs and details.

When I wear my binder, I can wear men’s shirts without them gapping in the front. But I don’t want to wear my binder every day. I worry about long-term binding and I don’t like to bind for more than five hours at a time, although that might be partly because my binder isn’t broken in yet.

So while I’m working and until I have surgery, I’ll need women’s shirts. I understand this. In some situations, I prefer the women’s shirt. (For example, the other day I wanted a warm long-sleeved shirt to wear around the house in the winter. I ruled out the men’s because they didn’t have the pink flannel I liked best.) The surgery will just give me more options, and I’ll be able to buy women’s shirts because I like the design, not because I need the cut.

Obligatory momentary pause while I go all starry-eyed imagining never buying a bra again.

But then there’s … dresses. And skirts. I don’t know how to feel about these.

I used to hate them. I haven’t bought a dress since middle school — my grandma made me wear one to my uncle’s wedding. I’ve donated all my old Sunday dresses. I can’t remember if I wore skirts as a child or not. In undergrad, I never bought them, but I rarely bought clothes at all, and I blanched at the idea that I was expected to wear them. Now that I’m more comfortable in my gender, and at asserting control over what I wear, I … don’t know. And since I don’t own any anymore, I can just try one on for a day and see how I am.

It’s been causing me a bit of anxiety lately, not having any idea of how to express myself in clothing. I don’t want to be stuck in the men’s section of the store any more than I want to be stuck in the women’s section. I like things people consider masculine and I like things people consider feminine.

At the end of posts I like to come to some kind of resolution, but I don’t have one here. I don’t know how to fix this feeling I have, this anxiety that I’m going to get trapped into another box that I don’t want to be stuck in.

I don’t identify with masculinity any more than I identify with femininity. I just pick and choose the things I like, and I’m not in a position now where I can go and things on. So I’m just stuck … wondering, and fretting. I don’t know what my wardrobe will look like over the years, or whether skirts or dresses would help me feel better, help me feel less boxed in. I don’t know how I’m going to pick out clothes or makeup or accessories that let me look the way I feel when I wake up not wanting to be very masculine or very feminine.

Probably, I’m lucky that overall I don’t really care about fashion: if I could wear sweatpants and unisex t-shirts every day I’d probably be fine. But I can’t do that. So I have to … I don’t know. I have to wait, and see. And waiting is hard.

But I know that I don’t want to be trapped in another box.

Writing porn while asexual

9 Sep

One of the things about being in a small fandom where there’s often opportunities to say “prompt me” is that I get a fair amount of prompts, which my guilt superpower then makes me feel compelled to write.

Note: this post discusses writing porn, although in general terms instead of anatomical ones. But because people scrolling through this blog are more likely to be repulsed than in other areas of the Internet, I’m putting the rest of it under a cut.

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Carnival of Aces 5: Round-Up Post

1 Sep

Hey everyone! The fifth edition of A Carnival of Aces turned out pretty well, I think. We’ve got a lot of pondering about trends in media, specific characters, and even a couple of original fiction pieces.

Overall, it seems like there’s a long way to go and a lot to be desired from the media in terms of ace umbrella representation. But people are also thinking about it a lot — and that makes me think that the future media landscape will be a lot better for all of us.

You can still submit! I’ll add things to the round-up as long as you give me the link.

eowynjedi unearthed an original piece of writing about the character Silfren Aesculeus, who reflects on not falling in romantic love.

Carmilla DeWinter wrote about the concerns involved in writing H, an asexual aromantic character. Also in German/Deutsche here. (TW for instance of ableist language.)

Sciatrix laments how the creators of characters perceived as asexual react badly to others talking about the character being asexual.

veerserif discusses asexual fandom (not asexual_fandom, the DW community), interpreting characters, and awareness. (TW for instance of ableist language.)

Norah talks about the Dragon Age games, interpreting ace characters, and regrettably automatically-sexual romances.

nami_roland wants media that lets aromantics in from out of the cold, and esteems non-romantic love and non-romantic relationships.

pippin wrote Love and Punch, an aromantic retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

Emily rewatches and muses on Fruits Basket, and thinks there’s room in it to easily see a queerplatonic relationship or two. (TW for animated icon.)

psyche2332 wrote about aromantic media representation and the question, “Why is it not okay to not want romance?”

Elizabeth talks about asexuals in non-fiction, specifically creative non-fiction, and the beginning of a memoir.

And I picked apart a plot device (which involved glowing based on your sexual/romantic orientation) and its many unanswered questions.

Overthinking fanfic devices

21 Aug

I’m using the Carnival of Aces as an excuse to post this odd thing I’ve had written up forever but always thought was too ridiculous to post. *cough*

Recently I read a fanfic where people start to glow blue if they like men, pink if they like women, and purple if they’re bi or pan. The plot device made me think for a far longer time than was probably intended.

For bi and pan people, there was no indication that people would be a redder or bluer purple if they leaned more heavily in one direction, especially if that direction was nonbinary. Could you be a purpler purple? If you were solely attracted to nonbinary individuals, or agender/genderless people, would you glow an entirely different color?

But, aside from that, I wondered mostly about how asexual spectrum people and/or aromantics would glow.

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Adventures in Binding Pt. 2

10 Aug

While Girlfriend visited we went shopping, and in several stores we were shopping, in essence, for the invisible man. The sales people would ask us things like “What does this guy look like?” and “Do you think this is too wild for him?” and we would glance at each other and I would try not to burst out laughing, because, of course, we were shopping for me. (And yes, that tie was far too wild.)

Honestly I didn’t mind being the invisible man. Though I’m absolutely positive that not everybody identified me as straight, it was smoother to shop for somebody who wasn’t there than to tell them that tie was for me. (One guy was clearly thinking “Look at the baby gays!” when trying to get me to open a store credit card account, though.)

Read more. (For review, it’s an Underworks’ 998 XL in white)

Carnival of Aces Call for Submissions

2 Aug

Hello there!

Welcome to the fifth edition of A Carnival of Aces! This is actually being published on a queue because I’m going to have limited time with the Internet until Sunday the 7th. So hopefully it works.

For the unfamiliar, a blog carnival is an event which collects blog posts (or, in this case, other types of submissions) centered on a specific theme. Carnivals can be one-time events or can continue on a periodic basis, like this one, which has been going on a once-a-month schedule. The Carnival of Aces focuses on material related to asexuality, demisexuality, and grey-asexuality. Your submissions need to deal with these in some way, as well as the current theme.

Betraying my book geek origins (my superhero identity was born in a library), the theme for this month is literature and media representation. I’ll post the round-up of submissions on or just after September 1st.

Submitting

You can submit things in the following ways:

– Leave a link in a comment on this post, in my Tumblr askbox, or PM me at my Dreamwidth.
– E-mail me a link to your submission at aceeccentric@gmail.com
– If you have nowhere to post, contact me through e-mail and we’ll see where we can put it. I will not host guest posts on Tumblr or YouTube/Vimeo, but I could do the WordPress site or my Dreamwidth.

Rules

– Submissions must in some way relate to the theme and asexuality/demisexuality/gray-asexuality/something under the ace umbrella.
– I’ll accept submissions at any time. The deadline for getting onto the first draft of the round-up post is September 1st, which is when most people will see it, but I’ll keep adding things to the post if you submit after that date.
– Your submissions need to have been created before September 1st (sorry for the typo earlier).
– I’ll accept pretty much any form of communication. Read the accessibility concerns if you’re submitting or linking to non-text items.
– Let me know if you want to remain anonymous.
– Please provide trigger warnings in your submission if you discuss or feature potentially triggering materials.

Accessibility Concerns

– If you’re submitting or linking to an image, include an image description. If you’re hosting your image somewhere that doesn’t allow image descriptions, or linking to an image without one, put the image description in the comment/e-mail you send to me, or elsewhere in the text of your submission.
– If you’re submitting a video, provide a useful description or transcript of the video contents. Captions or the option to use auto-captioning is nice as well, but auto-captioning is not always successful, and even with captions video is still inaccessible to some people.
– If you submit a song, submit the text of the lyrics as well.

Ideas for posts include (I use “ace continuum” to refer to asexual, demisexual, and grey-asexual people):

– What kind of media you want to see the ace continuum in
– Things you find to be anti-ace continuum in current media
– Where you’ve seen good representations before (so, yes, I’ll accept rec lists of fanfic, or book reviews)
– Your head canons for characters you like to interpret as being on the ace continuum
– A wish list of what you want to see in ace continuum characters (as I’ve asked Sciatrix already)
– Specific concerns you have about people portraying the ace continuum or characters within it
– What thoughts and troubles you have when writing ace continuum characters (ex. my posts on being concerned about how to talk about asexuality and my own experience in writing)
– Fanfic and fanart
– Original stories or artwork
– Why media representation is important to you

Adventures in Binding

1 Aug

Note: If you’re interested in binding and haven’t read anything on it, I recommend Hudson’s Guide and this article from TransGuys as basic primers. They both describe binding options and where to buy or find binders.

Binding is something I’ve been thinking about, I guess, for around a year. Until now I’ve held off on it because I’m already pretty indecisive about buying clothes, and because I have a few assorted worries about it. I haven’t worn the binder much but since in my search for one I realized there are extremely few reviews from bigger people in the plus size range, I want to chronicle it in case someone needs the resource.

The reasons I held back were that I worry maybe excessively about hurting my ribs after all the reading I’ve done. Also, it’s hot where I live, and I don’t imagine heat making binding easier. It’s averaging 94 Fahrenheit (34.4 Celsius) during most of the day right now, about to crank up a few degrees this week, and typically it doesn’t cool down until October. Sometimes it’s still hot by Halloween. A couple of years ago I wore shorts on Christmas. You get the picture.

After a lot of discussion with Girlfriend (and being talked out of a last-minute reversal on the decision of getting one), I ordered a binder off Underworks a week or so ago. It took a lot of review-reading and deliberating but I settled on a 988 XL in white. A coupon saved me a few dollars (I Googled ‘Underworks coupon’). ETA: It cost $38.24 with shipping and the coupon, promo code under10, saved me $3.50.

Under the cut: description of the binder and its effects, and also some brief description of my size, which probably not everyone wants to read about.

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