Poetry Collection: Aro and Loveless

Handdrawn illustration of a green meadow foreground with green and yellow pine trees growing against a mint-hued sky. Scene is overlaid with the dark green/light green/white/grey/black stripes of the aromantic pride flag. The text Aro Worlds Poetry sits across the image in a black, antique handdrawn type, separated by two ornate Victorian-style black dividers.

In my current queue and drafts for Tumblr, it feels like the majority of fiction and poetry is centred on promoting, celebrating and valuing the non-romantic ways aros still love. As much as I respect and support the need for other aros to tell their stories about love, I have to admit to feeling alienated. I’m struggling to find an equal number of depictions of aro identity and self-expression that don’t focus on an aro’s love.

So here’s a collection of reblogged aro poetry more welcoming for loveless aros and aros with complicated relationships to love. These pieces still reference love and discuss love, romance and amatonormativity. They’re not, however, focused on presenting or showcasing the author or narrator’s platonic or familial love. In other words, an aro narrator’s need to love or have their love seen and valued by others is not what these poems are about.

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Aro-Spec Artist Profile: Sebastian

Handdrawn watercolour-style image of a sparse forest of redwood trees growing among grassy hills, with a white and orange fox sitting in the grass at the base of a tree on the viewer's right-hand side of the image. Scene is overlaid with the dark green/light green/white/grey/black stripes of the aro pride flag. The text Aro Worlds Artist Profiles sits across the image in a black, antique handdrawn type, separated by two ornate Victorian-style black dividers.

Our next aro-spec creator is Sebastian, better known on Tumblr as @gloriousmonsters and @mangledmouth!

Sebastian is a bisexual, autistic, aromantic trans man who is single-handedly covering many literary bases in producing original aro and queer short stories, novels and poetry. Aside from his Tumblr blogs, you can find and support more of his work at his Patreon. If you have a dollar or two you’re wanting to invest in worthy aro-spec talent on a less-regular basis, please take a look at Sebastian’s Ko-Fi!

With us Sebastian talks about identifying with the role of villainy in narrative as an aro creative, aromantic characters and grand emotional gesture, the divide between representation and self-expression, and some spectacular-sounding work-in-progress book titles! His investment in aromantic characters and characterisation shapes every word, so please let’s give him all our love, encouragement, gratitude, kudos and follows for taking the time to explore what it is to be aromantic and creative.

Can you share with us your story in being aro-spec?

It took me a while to realize I was aromantic, but it was one of the things that made me go ‘oh, that makes … a lot of sense’ when I looked back at my childhood. I was a weird, isolated kid, so I didn’t learn from bouncing off other children; I learned through stories.

One of my strongest early memories is of watching a poorly made Red Riding Hood film over and over again, belting out the lyrics to the (poorly written) villain’s song, called ‘Man Without A Heart’. Cut to a year or so later, watching the Rodgers and Hammerstein Cinderella (still the best Cinderella, IMO), I was utterly fascinated by the villainess singing: ‘Falling in love with love is falling for make-believe…’

I didn’t know, that early, that I didn’t feel romantic love. Not consciously. But there was something utterly, obsessively interesting about villains that sneered at love, who were called heartless, who challenged the narrative that there must always be a love story and it must come out right no matter what. I felt, on a deep level, that these people were like me somehow. The additional queercoding and common side-helping of mental illness helped – or didn’t help, depending on your perspective. I grew up knowing, deep down, what my part in life was: I was the villain.

When I hit my rebellious age, it first came out by my saying, ‘But being a villain doesn’t mean you have to be wrong or unhappy’. I began collecting villains like nobody’s business, and writing stories that more and more often centered people whose character types I’d only ever seen as villains. And from there we arrive at today!

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Aro-Spec Artist Profile: Neir

Handdrawn watercolour-style image of a sparse forest of redwood trees growing among grassy hills, with a white and orange fox sitting in the grass at the base of a tree on the viewer's right-hand side of the image. Scene is overlaid with the dark green/light green/white/grey/black stripes of the aro pride flag. The text Aro Worlds Artist Profiles sits across the image in a black, antique handdrawn type, separated by two ornate Victorian-style black dividers.

Our next aro-spec creator is Neir, introducing eir work to the world as R. Tally, better known here on Tumblr as @tallyrunning​.

Neir is an asexual, aroflux and genderqueer person demonstrating the diversity of talent amongst aro-specs in poetry, fiction and musical composition. You can find eir classical and ambient music on Soundcloud and eir writing on Wattpad and Booksie, encompassing an eclectic mix of literary fiction, autobiography, LGBTQ+ fiction and short stories. If you have a dollar or two you’re wanting to invest in worthy aro-spec talent, please investigate eir Ko-fi!

With us Neir talks about identity and connection to other people, composing non-romantic musical pieces, the fear of misinterpretation by alloromantics and the challenge of finding an audience for non-romantic works. Eir words encapsulate a passion for challenging alloromantic norms and celebrating unique creativity, so please let’s give em all our love, encouragement, gratitude, kudos and follows for taking the time to explore what it is to be aroflux and creative.

Can you share with us your story in being aro-spec?

My aro realization was fairly quiet, and it came much later than I think I logically would have expected it to, had I known it would. It was easy to figure out that I was asexual; sex has always made me very uncomfortable, and as I grew older I realized that it wasn’t immaturity that was causing my repulsion, but just lack of attraction. It didn’t make sense to engage in something I didn’t want to do with someone I didn’t want to do it with. I also had an ace friend at the time, so the vocabulary came easily to me.

My aro realization came much later, around halfway through university (not more than two years ago). A friend of mine whose feelings with regards romance I strongly shared got a boyfriend, and I became confused because if even she could feel romantic attraction, and we were so similar, why couldn’t I?

I am a touchy-feely person who loves hand-holding and hugs, so for the longest time I thought my strong love for my friends (and potential friends – notorious feelings called ‘squishes’ I couldn’t name at the time) had to be romantic. I honestly just did a lot of internet research and stirring in my own head until I woke up one day and just went, “romance is a sham, I don’t understand it and I don’t want it.” The -flux part of my identity is something I recently started using to label my vastly differing moods and feelings day-to-day regarding platonic attraction. Some days I love people and being close to others; other days I want nothing to do with anyone and am cold as ice.

Continue reading “Aro-Spec Artist Profile: Neir”