My poem “Even Robots Learn” is up at Strange Horizons (as well as their fund drive for the next year)! It’s about aromanticism, representation, amatonormativity, and robots. I’m overwhelmed that the poem found such a lovely home; it’s an important subject to me.
When I was growing up, amatonormativity and representation of non-alloromanticism and non-allosexuality led to me thinking I wasn’t right, I couldn’t be normal: I was a rock, an awful inhuman malfunction. I’ve talked about this before (and so have others) but it’s something that profoundly fucked up my headspace as a teenager, something that still haunts me. And it’s the thing that drives me to write asexual and aromantic characters.
When I was growing up, the only characters like me were aliens, psychopaths, broken, dangerous (or silly young women who said they weren’t interested but really they just hadn’t been claimed by the right guy yet). They were fixable. And I was surrounded by friends–people who genuinely cared for me–who trusted that some day I too would be fixed, who told me that one day a boy would come and change me and fix me (and make me want to be fixed and glad to be fixed) and make me understand and feel love. Real love, of course. After all, I wasn’t properly human. Rocks are incapable of loving their friends.
And to me, that idea was terrifying. Some person is just going to come along, know how I feel better than I do, and change how my brain works because they like me really a lot and it would super suck if I didn’t like them a lot too?? That is literally the plot of a bad hypnotism story. That is literally a power that evil characters have, to make you like them against your will. And my friends thought it’d be a good thing, a romantic thing, because the only people like me they’d seen on the TV or in books were inhuman or in need of fixing. I was lucky in some ways–oblivious and unpopular, and at the time the people who had a crush on me were too shy/clumsy to act–and I never had to stumble through dating and all the horrors I’ve seen aros talk about related to that. Imagine if I had, everyone so happy for me, my confusion and distress continuing, and everyone thinking it’s okay, she’s fixed now.
In other news: everything literally sounds like robots to me at the moment due to ear infections.