Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Genius Loci Returns!

I have no excuse...while I have a Tumblr (Tumblog?), I rarely update it.  When I do, the main thing I post is pictures of vegan food that I make; I only do the occasional ace-related reblog.  For a couple of reasons, I haven't felt very creative lately, including in the kitchen.  But today while I was taking a walk, a couple of things gelled together in my head (don't you just love it when that happens)?  So, here you have it...another continuation of the thoughts from this post.  I also have a "place" tag here, although it's not very populous yet.

A couple of days ago, I was talking to a woman who's training as a psychologist.  She mentioned that sharing novel experiences with your partner is one of the main ways we get a "falling in love" feeling.  When you associate a certain place or activity only with your partner, they start to become more special to you.

Randomly enough, this made me start thinking about my love of London.  In London, I had many novel experiences, and I think this is part of what caused me to love it so much.  I had a lot of new realizations about my life, including that I was asexual.  The concept of unique associations also holds true.  Immediately after returning from London in 2005, I had an episode of major depression for the first time.  So I came to associate London with a "simpler time" when I was unburdened by serious mental health issues.  As you're seeing, none of this has anything to do with the city itself.  Maybe this can shed some light on why so many people fall in love with folks who seem "wrong for them" or just completely random.

But that's not to say there's any formula for love, either of people or of place.  I had plenty of novel and meaningful experiences in Walla Walla, Washington, but I disliked it for three years, only coming to feel positively about it in my fourth and last year of living there.

In a couple of weeks, I'm going back to London, for the first time since 2005.  I have no idea whether I'll love it as much as I once did, or whether it'll just seem like another place, albeit a very interesting one.  There are definitely pros and cons to each outcome.  I've been meaning to go back for years, but World Pride finally got me off my butt.  I'm looking forward to meeting many, many asexuals.  And since I might actually have internet access, maybe there will be some reports from the field!

This is also much longer than any trip I've ever taken by myself, but traveling alone is a single-person skill that I want to develop.  So, we'll see how that goes.  After 3 weeks of travel, hopefully I'll have some tips for any other folks embarking on similar journeys.

(Thanks for the comments, Ally!  I meant to respond but time got the better of me.  I remember you mentioning that you also love London, so hey!)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The HAP: Summer Edition!

It's starting to feel like summer here in the Bay Area, which makes young women's minds turn to...leg hair.  Of course.  The Hobbit Acceptance Project, by the way, is almost a year old now.  I can finally say that my leg and armpit hair look normal to me...like part of my body, rather than some hideous alien invader.  But this did take quite a while--at least six months.

I don't feel comfortable being hairy at work...maybe there are some jobs where it would be seen as okay, but mine wouldn't be counted among those.  The past couple of weekends, I did have hairy legs on display, to no incident.  That said though, if you can't have hairy legs at an Occupy picnic, a feminist meeting, or a vegan-cheese-buying expedition, where can you have them?  Being hairy does require more thought for me.  Some days I struggle with more anxiety than others, and can feel like everyone is staring at me.  I have to check in with myself about how much I want to stand out or blend in, based on my emotional state and the nature of the day's activities.

And here's a post about someone doing a similar project, although theirs is called "The Experiment".  Like this person, I was also told by a well-meaning relative to delay shaving my legs, since "once you start, you can't stop!"  Free choice, eh?  I think I was around 13.  Maybe for the next generation, we can move into, "Well, if you don't want kids to make fun of you, you might want to shave, but once you're an adult, it'll be easier to do what you want."  It's probably a good thing that I shaved as a teen, since the last thing I needed was one more reason to be bullied.

Elsewhere on the 'net, I heard a woman mention that reading stories from genderqueer people helped her to accept her body hair.  To that I can say: Indeed.  Reading the blog My Gender is Kittens, where the writer documents what they call a "femme beard", helped me move towards accepting my own.  Believe it or not, I don't have any kind of mustache.  But if you do...Majestic Legay.  Style icon right there.

"It feels like the most femme thing for me...it's like resistance to the shame that I was made to feel because I had hair on my face...this mustache for me is a form of resistance...It's been a process of healing."
 --Majestic Legay