I align myself as being aromantic. Most definitions describe aromanticism as “an individual that experiences very little to no romantic attraction.” So why do I rank Lost Stars as my favorite new novel in the Star Wars canon? A young adult novel that tells the story of two “star-crossed lovers” on opposite sides of the Galactic Civil War? What about the countless numbers of romance webtoons I subscribe to on Tapastic and Line Webtoons? In what world does this make sense?
Something about these stories appeals to me. In Lost Stars the two main characters, Thane Kyrell and Ciena Ree, are so very well written. While reading it you feel for them. You understand their actions and reactions. Their acceptance. Their experiences are things that could happen to us in our lives, you know – besides the whole spaceships and superweapons thing obviously. For me, using their story to live out what it would feel like to be completely devoted, to truly love another, makes sense and doesn’t make sense at the same time. There are many factors in our world that enable us to connect with others on a romantic level. For some it comes naturally, others it takes more time to develop, and for others like me, that “thing” just isn’t there.
When looking at the abstract view of a romantic relationship, deep down I don’t feel I could do it. Not only does that relationship require the ability to give away part of yourself to accept in a part of someone else, it calls for the highest level of understanding of one’s own self. I don’t believe in myself, self-doubt and self-worth issues have always been constants for me. Sometimes they are there, sometimes they’ll go hide under the bed for a while. Dealing with these things makes the idea of trying to connect on a level like Thane and Ciena nearly impossible.
Sharing details like this is incredibly hard, especially so with friends and family. How is one supposed to explain that they don’t ever feel the need to be with a partner romantically? Things like settling down and starting a family are so ingrained into human culture that it’s hard to comprehend the other side. The conversation has never come up specifically for me with family or relatives and I still don’t know how I will come around to explaining it. Many of my best friends are married, engaged, or in long-term relationships. I’m extremely happy for each of them while still not finding the need to be in any of those constitutions myself.
Recently I’ve started reading a lot of romance webtoons. While these stories may not be as deep as the story in Lost Stars, I still find myself enjoying them immensely. One of the benefits of these comics is that the storytelling aspects are able to portray many different kinds of relationships. Especially in an inviting visual format. Whether it be a story about a university student finding himself, a twenty-something woman who meets this stranger in her dreams, or a Victorian-era RomCom. Reading stories like this scratch that itch of what it would be like to have these feelings in real-time. They allow me to live out what it would be like to be in a relationship or what it feels like to have a crush on someone.
The way our culture forms its views on relationships has been harvested for generations. People have been writing stories about romance for centuries. It’s something that resonates with us on an instinctual level. Well, most of us at least. I’m one of the weird ones. Inside I don’t have the need to be with someone else in the standard sense. I value my friendships and will protect them with my last dying breath. All of that doesn’t mean that reading something like Lost Stars will not break my heart every time. Love takes many different forms.
Michael Audette is a guy and a giant Star Wars fan. After seeing A New Hope on the big screen at seven years old, his life wouldn’t be the same again. Besides his love for Star Wars, Mike is an avid listener of Heavy Metal and can often be spotted at concerts. He’s also a huge Boston sports fan and loves the Bruins over all others. He is a washed up athlete who still goes to the gym to keep up appearances.