I don’t want to call it CSA

I don’t even want to write about this, but I want it to be written, and maybe, if I peel back the layers slow enough, I can explain why.

[content notes: graphic description]

I don’t like reading posts like this.  Not always.  That’s layer one.  Sometimes I get something out of them, and sometimes I don’t.  It’s hard to gauge what ratio of comfort to discomfort I’ll get from them — what will work as reassurance and what will just make me feel sick.  And I think that’s mostly a matter of how it’s all framed.  I guess I need a window into what’s happening as it’s being written, some kind of clue into what the author is experiencing as they’re sharing it, something to orient me, because otherwise, I tend to get sucked into the story itself, experiencing that and that only, stuck inside it without a context to step out into, and come away feeling worse.  I want to put up some kind of barrier there.  I want you to hear the author, me, thinking this through, as a sort of overlay, holding the subject at arm’s length.  I don’t know how to do this otherwise.


the trauma i never knew i had: navigating childhood trauma 29 years after the fact

This post is by Vesper, reposted here with the permission of the author.  You can read the original post here.

content warning: explicit talk of childhood sexual abuse & religous trauma without going into detail; explicit mentions of acephobia, biphobia, homophobia

this is one of two posts that i’m going to (hopefully) post on the topic of sexual abuse / violence and consent issues. this specific post is a submission to @resourcesforacesurvivors‘ series on Intersectional Ace Survivor Stories and pertains to navigating childhood trauma and religious family as a not-so-young-anymore black, non-binary, bi / pan asexual. while i have talked briefly about the topic of this post in a video, for the most part the experiences discussed in both posts are ones that i’m only just now sitting down and thinking about. please bear with me as i try to put things into words.

i’ll be honest with you. i’m extremely hesitant about posting this or drawing any kind of connection between myself and sexual abuse. why? well, for one, my online presence isn’t exactly anonymous. on top of that, i don’t actually view myself as a survivor. even identifying as a victim at all is something that i’m still coming to terms with.

regardless of how i view myself, you, dear reader, might view me as a survivor and/or a victim after reading this (or the upcoming) post and quite frankly, i’m not sure how i feel about that. it almost feels like posting this is a calculated risk of sorts that i’m taking.

the goal: to put a story that seems to be uncommon out there for those who might benefit from hearing it.

the risk: being viewed as or associated with something that i don’t don’t even view myself as or associate myself with. having people attribute who i am to this trauma.

…well, enough with the stalling. here goes nothing.

when your (a)sexuality and/or gender is blamed on childhood trauma that you didn’t even know happened to you, how do you even begin dealing with it? and where do you even go from there?


Spanish translation of Info Sheet for Health Professionals now available

Resources for Ace Survivors is proud to present a new Spanish translation of our Basics of Asexuality for Health Professionals printable information sheet. You can download and print the translation from your home printer. We encourage you to consider distributing it where you can!

Resources for Ace Survivors se enorgullece en presentar la traducción al español de nuestra hoja explicativa con Información Básica sobre Asexualidad para Profesionales de la Salud. Puedes descargar e imprimir la traducción aquí (tamaño 8×11″ o A4). ¡Te alentamos a distribuirla donde puedas!


Components of Resilience: Creativity & Adaptability

This is part four of a series of posts dedicated to breaking down components of resilience. The series is an elaboration on a post I made in 2015, continued now as part of the June 2016 Carnival of Aces on Resiliency. In part one of this series, I covered tenacity. In part two, I covered affect management and positive frameworks. In part three, I covered support network and discernment.

In this final post, I will cover creativity and adaptability. Compared to most of the other items, these two are fairly self-explanatory. Since I don’t have to focus on giving an overview, I’ll be focusing more on my own experiences this time. Warning: I will discuss parental abuse, including some major privacy violations, and invalidation/gaslighting. I allude to but do not mention other kinds of abuse, but mostly it’s just general trauma/recovery talk.


Components of Resilience: Support Network & Discernment

Support networks are a crucial part of resilience, and may even perhaps be the most important factor. It’s not hard to find evidence of the health impacts of isolation or the protective effects of having supportive community. Those with strong support networks are less likely to develop PTSD and among those who still do, good support is likely to significantly reduce symptom severity.

In order to have a healthy support network, you need to be able to recognize what healthy relationships look like. If you can’t recognize when a relationship is becoming unhealthy, you can’t take steps to keep yourself safe.

Discernment is the skill of perceiving, understanding, and exercising good judgment. A person with “discerning tastes” is someone who has strong preferences about aesthetic quality, like a gourmand. The psychological use of the term is much broader—it is more related to perception and decision-making in general.


Intersections: Being a Disabled, Non-Binary, Autistic, & Ace Survivor

When I was 14, I thought I was normal. Now, come the age of 20, I know that I had PTSD by then, caused by parental abuse, as well as an autistic spectrum disorder, as well as both dyslexia and dyscalculia. The last three I’ve had all my life, but were not diagnosed until I left home. The PTSD, as far as the therapist and I can track, started somewhere around the age of 8, about the same time as a dissociative disorder also came about. […]

In terms of other support… Being non-binary makes things really hard. Almost all of the help for victims of sexual assault — and everything bar criminal prosecutions in my area — are gendered. I don’t identify as a woman, so going to somewhere advertised for women is a big no for me, but I don’t identify as a man either. The general mental health care professionals are fine with my asexuality at first — but as soon as I bring up what happened it becomes something to be cured. And, well, my physical disabilities mean I can’t actually get to things such as group support for victims, or even most of the places where counselling is offered. The only ones who will come to places I can get to to meet with me are those referenced above, who want to use the therapy to make me a normal, straight girl (in their words), not to help me live my life.


Components of Resilience: Affect Management & Positive Frameworks

This is part two of a series of posts dedicated to breaking down components of resilience. The series is an elaboration on a post I made in 2015, and is continued now as part of the June 2016 Carnival of Aces on Resiliency. In part one, I introduced the series and covered tenacity. In this post, I will cover affect management and positive frameworks.


Components of Resilience: Tenacity

Have you ever gone through a time where things just keep coming? Where you keep getting knocked down, over and over and over again, every time you try to stand back up and start over? That’s me this past year.

I don’t really feel tenacious. I feel more like I’m under-leveled. And the only way to level up is just by grinding. Boring, frustrating grinding.

Here’s the thing that I think people are apt to misunderstand about tenacity: It’s not about never falling, or about how long you stay on the ground after you fall. That doesn’t matter. It’s just about getting back up, and trying again.


Resilience through fiction, or that time I wrote a vampire novel that was secretly about trauma

This post is for the June 2016 Carnival of Aces, which is on the topic of “Resiliency.”

Content warnings: discussion of trauma and violence (sexual and not), mentions of substance abuse and suicidality and self-harm, all in the context of talking about a work of fiction

Between 2008 and 2011 I wrote the longest piece of writing (fiction or non-fiction) I’ve ever produced–a 133,472 word, 251 page (single-spaced) vampire novel.  I poured most of my creative energy into it for 3 years and then just hid it away in my hard drive.  I returned to it recently, when I mentioned in a conversation to a friend and suddenly became intensely curious whether it held up or not.  For the terminally curious, I liveblogged my reread, but this is not really a post about the vampire novel I wrote (thank goodness–no one wants to read about that).  Instead, it’s a post about resilience, how the vampire novel I wrote helped me process a lot of the things going on in my life, and the extent to which I can gauge how much I have grown and changed by looking back on it.