ysabetwordsmith: (Schrodinger's Heroes)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem was written for the Asexy Valentines Fest over on [community profile] asexual_fandom. It also fills the "fake relationship" box on my card for the [community profile] trope_bingo fest.

The following story belongs to Schrodinger's Heroes, featuring an apocryphal television show supported by an imaginary fandom. It's science fiction about quantum physics and saving the world from alternate dimensions. It features a very mixed cast in terms of ethnicity and sexual orientation. This project developed with input from multiple people, and it's open for everyone to play in. You can read more about the background, the characters, and a bunch of assorted content on the menu page.

Fandom: Schrodinger's Heroes
Characters: Ash, Alex, Bailey, Quinn, Skan
Medium: Poetry
Warnings: No standard warnings apply.
Summary: Ash explores her sexuality over time, coming to understand that she is aromantic asexual and choosing not to hide that any longer. She is, however, tractive and interested in forming long-term bonds in platonic ways.
Notes: Flangst. Teen issues. Self-discovery. Family of choice. Two-spirits. Also, this is a gift for [personal profile] cantarina who wanted something aromantic.


The Traction Factor


Ash knows what it's like
to pretend, to fake something
because that's easier
than trying to explain the truth
to every idiot passing through her life.

There was one summer in her teens that
she spent with her Lakota cousins-by-marriage
during which she met a neighbor
who at the time was pretending to be a boy
in accordance with the body's shape.

Ash, at the time, was frustrated by how
all the other teenagers were pairing up,
and how it made her feel left out
because she didn't want to
do that with anyone.

So Ash and Skan pretended
to be boyfriend and girlfriend.
The other teenagers accepted them then
on the trail rides and fishing trips
and visits to the ice cream stand.
It was nice to be accepted.

Still, something itched about it,
something out of place,
something as uncomfortable
as a wrinkle in a saddle blanket,
unseen but always felt just the same.

So they parted company at the end of summer,
parted as friends and went their separate ways.

Ash explored her feelings
and discovered that she was asexual,
not desiring the clutch of anyone's body;
and aromantic as well,
not inclined to fall in love with anyone.

This did not mean, Ash also discovered,
that she felt no love for other people.
It did not mean that she felt no desire
for permanent, even intimate relationships --
merely that she wanted those
to be based on something other than
sex and romance.
She was still tractive,
and the urge to connect was strong.

So when Ash met Alex --
who had a brilliant mind
and a tendency to collect people --
it was a source of mutual delight.
Here was someone Ash could wrap her life around
like a bean vine climbing a cornstalk,
and there was Bailey spreading himself about them both
like a squash plant covering the hill with cool shade.

Ash and Alex spent long hours together,
poring over computer programs.
Their heads bent close over the keyboard,
Ash's long dark braid against Alex's golden curls.
Often as not, Bailey crouched at their feet,
adding or removing or repairing some piece of hardware.
These people were comfortable with things
that had nothing to do with sex, Ash realized.
It was curiously liberating.

Others, too, came later,
twining themselves into Ash's life,
coworkers who became friends who became family.
There was no need to be alone
unless she wished to be by herself for a little while.

It was not the same culture Ash had grown up with
but it was, also, not identical to the mainstream
for each of them contributed bits of what they loved best
and together they became something
very like a little tribe.

Ash knows what it's like to pretend,
and to choose not to pretend anymore,
so when Quinn seems a bit lonely for people
who are neither male nor female, both male and female,
she coaxes him to come with her to the Waxahachie powwow.

Skan is there too, living as a woman now,
with her tall handsome husband
and a badge for the fancy shawl dance.
She looks askance at Quinn, for a moment,
until Ash explains that he's part of her family
and longing for the company of other two-spirits.

Then Skan grins, and tells them about
the Oglala brave-woman who has just taken a wife
and the Hopi katsina dancer who is asexual, and oh,
some medicine person from north of the Canadian border
whom Skan has not met yet but is surely some sort of two-spirit.

It's nice to have a place
where you can just be yourself
and let the tribe-song swirl around you
like the water of a deep clear river.

Ash is not surprised when
Quinn comes home with a souvenir,
a man's choker necklace made of horn pipe-beads
with a silver concho in front from which dangle two bone feathers,
one tipped in turquoise and the other tipped in coral,
a silent, subtle hint of a hidden iteration.

Ash would not trade her family
for all the mainstream acceptance in the world.
 
* * * 

Notes: 

Ash has intertribal heritage, primarily Wichita/Navajo.  Like many Native American folks, that comes with a large sprawling family.  One of her relatives married a Lakota person, which is where that branch of cousins connects.

Tractive is an adjective meaning that someone wishes to form close, long-term bonds with other people.  Most do; a few don't.  A person can be aromantic and/or asexual, yet still be tractive, desiring a tight connection based on something other than sex and romance.  The opposite of tractive is nontractive.

Corn, Squash, and Beans are the "Three Sisters" of Native American lore, a permaculture guild in which each plant gives and gains benefits in an interdependent relationship.  They are considered sacred; different tribes have their own legends about these plants.  They symbolize loving relationships and ties of family and community.  See planting instructions.

The fancy shawl dance is a women's dance performed at many powwows.  See an indoor video and an outdoor one.

Two-spirit is an intertribal term for homosexual and/or genderqueer people.  Brave-woman is a term some tribes use for a woman who lives as a man.

Hopi katsina dancers represent powerful spirits.  In English it's usually written as "kachina."

Medicine person is an intertribal term for those who intercede between the ordinary world and the spirit world.  Another term is "shaman" but some people prefer to restrict that to its culture of origin, the Tungusian tribes in Siberia.

Turquoise and coral appear in much Native American jewelry.  Turquoise (like other blue stones) represents water, the sky, and masculine energy.  Coral (like pipestone and other red stones) stands for soil, the earth, and feminine energy.  Some jewelry has only one or the other, but it's not rare to find items that include both for balance.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-02-11 01:27 pm (UTC)
meridian_rose: pen on letter background  with text  saying 'writer' (Default)
From: [personal profile] meridian_rose
This is lovely and "It's nice to have a place
where you can just be yourself" really stood to me.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-02-21 09:06 pm (UTC)
brushwolf: Icon created by ScaperDeage on DeviantArt (Default)
From: [personal profile] brushwolf
Corn, squash, beans and tobacco I thought. I think I remember hearing that Changing Woman made her body into those four and four's a sacred number which might be why it sticks in my head that way.

What I've heard is that a nadleehi (I dunno if Dene still prefer the term to two-spirits, I actually don't have any Dene friends) is supposed to be good luck, and that they're good with accounts.

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