Loveless by Alice Oseman
I saw people recommending Loveless on the asexuality subreddit, and I was hoping it would make me feel better. I was excited because I didn't know of any aroace material and I wanted to have stuff to relate to. As I was reading, it reminded me of books like Normal People and Yes No Maybe So where I was racing to the next romantic bit because the subplots were boring, but at the end reflecting that the book wasn't that good.
Loveless was good and having representation is great, but the feeling of disappointment after reading it feels more salient. I thought it would be more in-depth, personal, and see more into the character's head. Most of the book was about the main character going through experiences that made her realize she was aromantic, asexual, and sex-replused. It read like the author was trying to explain what aroace is by dropping in common experiences of aroaces at regular intervals throughout the book with wise monologues and scenarios that felt off.
I would have wanted the book to talk more about what happens after you find out you're aroace and how do you live with that realization. Most of my struggles were from after finding out and feeling like you're broken and isolated from other people's experiences. And not from when I didn't understand people talking about romance and sex in the past, or having an 'oh no' moment when I connected the dots. From the way the book was described, I expected the book to be more about how friendships and platonic love are amazing and have positive examples of how you can still feel better about being aroace. I wish there was a guide to how relationships work for aroace people.
I saw a reddit comment by SwordfishBrillant40 saying:
You can't make yourself allo in the same way a gay person can't make themselves hetero, I'm sorry. Romantic attraction like sexuality is fluid so you might one day feel it but maybe not and I don't think is healthy to live hoping that one day it might happen.
and it hit me that I'll probably never feel romantic attraction ever.
I feel worse about being aromantic than being asexual. Breaking it down, not feeling sexual attraction means I'll probably not have sex and fine, I'm not gonna feel some good feeling. But not feeling romantic attraction is like I'm missing some bigger life arc. Like those stories where the characters get to know each other and their relationship builds up and it's amazing. I think I'm bothered by this because I care about relating to people and having a diverse range and depth of feelings and experiences, and not being able to feel romantic attraction when everyone else can feels like there's something wrong with me.
There are literally no rules
Two aroace people have told me that there are literally no rules, and I can just make up whatever kind of relationship you want. I think this is hard because I'm literally coming up with something I can't even conceptualize from nothing. I think the main problem is there's a distinction between a close friend and a close partner, and you kind of need another person to be in this relationship you just made up lol.
I feel really embarrassed to reach out to aroace people I know. I want to reframe this, but being aroace still feels like a moral failing. /this is the last section I stopped writing at. I want to say more, but I'm tired, so I'm gonna publish anyway. defensive writing lol/
Links that popped up as I wrote this:
demons by CJ Q, with a framing that I like about not experiencing what other people experience.
you can start a blog today by Valerie Zhang, for saying that you can write substacks while naked, which was amusing enough to keep me typing.
This quote I read in The Atlantic about the feeling of missing something. The sociologist Zygmunt Bauman wrote that in modern life,
there is always a suspicion … that one is living a lie or a mistake; that something crucially important has been overlooked, missed, neglected, left untried and unexplored; that a vital obligation to one’s own authentic self has not been met, or that some chances of unknown happiness completely different from any happiness experienced before have not been taken up in time and are bound to be lost forever.
This tweet from Visa about doing anything and that there are literally no rules:
when i look back on my youth, the thing that often startles me is how arbitrarily constrained i was by inertia and default options. like, theoretically, i could have done anything. gone anywhere. talked to anyone. yet for the most part i pretty much remained where i was, as I was
This post generated some stuff I could collect more thoughts on:
- a dream relationship
- something about missing stuff
- something something Failing with Abandon?
The next stuff in my backlog I feel ready to write about:
Posts I want to write that I need to collect more thoughts on:
- comparing my favorite posts about money
- Is reading even worth it?
- happiness quiz