Letter to My 12 Year Old Self

I just watched the most amazing video by Stef Sanjati, a Youtuber who vlogs about a variety of things, including make-up, trans issues and education, and self acceptance, just to name a few topics. Her latest video was a letter to her 12 year old self, before she realized she was trans and pansexual, when she lived in a small, suffocating, intolerant town and was horribly bullied. I found the video to be very touching and inspiring, and I apologize about this being only loosely related to asexuality, but I find that most aces – most people, actually- at some point have had a hard time accepting themselves, and this is very much related to that. I apologize if this is a bit TMI, but . . . oh well, I hope you can gain something out of reading this, or perhaps writing something similar for your own reflection. ūüôā

(feel like I should include a trigger warning, as there are mentions of self harm)

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Without further ado: 12 year old Danielle, it is okay to be quiet. The world is a beacon of chaos and noise, and your quiet, calm energy will be appreciated by the right people. Don’t stop until you find them. 12 year old Danielle, your metabolism is rather poor right now, but you are not morbidly obese, or what most people would consider fat, even. YOU DO NOT WANT TO STARVE YOURSELF TO BE THIN LIKE THE GIRLS YOU SEE ON T.V. Learn to love your strong, muscular legs. Yes, all the other girls your age are incredibly slender and not as far along in the developmental process as you are, but that doesn’t mean that your body is wrong. That girl who said you were gross for starting your period when you were ten, screw her. That way of thinking is immature and toxic. Everyone develops at their own times, and menstruating is a perfectly natural thing that you had no control over. Look on the bright side and try to be happy you got the hellish first cycles done with early. Start exercising and learn to appreciate yourself, damn it! You should not hate your body because it is curvier than all the other girls your age. Those creepy forty year olds who you sometimes see blatantly checking you out, yeah, give them the stink eye. Or maybe even the finger, depending on the situation. That creepy dude who was twenty seven and told you were sexy, he should not have been saying that to you and you had every right to say, “I’m twelve, I may look fourteen or fifteen, but your comment is still incredibly inappropriate, and you should learn to control your perverted mouth.” Yes, the unwanted attention will always make you uncomfortable, and you will discover the reason why you hate being looked at that way so intensely later on. It is perfectly fine to say no to guys who ask you to do things that you’re uncomfortable with. YOU DO NOT OWE ANYONE ANYTHING, AND TALKING TO A GUY UNACCOMPANIED IS NOT LEADING HIM ON. If he won’t take no for an answer, tell him you have a girlfriend. It won’t always make him go away, but sometimes it will, and the facial expressions that sentence causes will be incredibly entertaining. Oh, that’s another thing. You’re asexual and on the aromantic spectrum, meaning you actually aren’t attracted to anyone sexually, even if you are interested in it scientifically. It is a spectrum, and not all aces are sex repulsed, so keep that in mind when you’re seventeen and beginning to seriously question just what the heck your orientation is. When you’re fifteen, you will force yourself to read erotica in an attempt to force yourself to be straight, and your mother will discover this habit and tell you that she doesn’t know you anymore. This will be the most mortifying experience of your teenage years, but it could have been avoided if you had been more accepting of your true nature and not been so hell bent on being like everyone else. At twelve, you are currently forcing yourself to have a crush on someone whose initials are J. R. You don’t actually have a crush on him, just like you will not actually have crushes M.F., C.S., or L.B. J.R., C.S. and L.B. or something called squishes, meaning you basically have a really, really strong desire to be friends with them. However, you will have feelings for a girl who you meet on a mission trip to an exotic land in the southern hemisphere, and you will be mortified at this because you feel it is inappropriate on many levels. DO NOT FEEL GUILTY. You did not choose to have feelings for her, what you feel is very innocent and God does not hate you for it. She is going to make you question many things you thought you had figured out about yourself, and THAT’S OKAY. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO HAVE EVERYTHING FIGURED OUT, especially in regards to how you label yourself. Labels can be freeing, but also frustrating and limiting, and you don’t have to identify with one if you don’t feel like anything you’ve encountered properly fits you, or if you simply don’t know exactly how you feel yet. Be unapologetically who you are, that is my number one advice. You are weird, and that is good. Normal is boring. What is normal, anyway? Oh, by the way, KEEP WRITING. You will enter many contests none of which you will win, and this does not mean that you are a bad writer. Art is subjective, but for heaven’s sake, don’t be so defensive when people critic you. They’re trying to help. Listen to people’s advice, but know that the criticism of people who don’t read your genre of writing should be taken with a grain of salt. Don’t just write because you believe it is the only thing that you do well, write because it was your first love, and because you can’t bear not writing for prolonged periods of time. Don’t define yourself by your writing, though, or your grades. You are worth more than a mark on a piece of paper, truly. You will come to find that you are adequate, and you do not need straight A’s to prove that. So,  in the future, you and your mother will disagree on many things, and that is perfectly okay, even good. You love her, but there will come a time when you will be so hurt by her that it will pain you to hug her. Know that she did the best she could when you were battling depression and self harm. She was scared out of her mind, and yes, she was harsh, but she did care. She had no idea what to do, and she will come to realize how badly she hurt you and will be so very sorry. You will be angry at your father for how his meth addiction affected you for about five more years, before your counselor will tell you that you need to forgive him in order to move on. You will think that things can go back to how they were before, but they never will. Once you knew about his addiction, your child’s innocence was gone. You supported your mother when she should have been supporting you , and that made you grow up too quickly. Don’t resent her or your father. It will be like drinking poison and expecting them to die. Your parents are deeply flawed, but they truly do love you, and they do have their attributes. CUTTING IS NOT AN AFFECTIVE WAY TO PROCESS YOUR EMOTIONS. It is okay to cry, and be what others would call “over emotional” or “weak.” You feel how you feel, and the only way to change your negative feelings is to feel them, analyze them, and then address their roots. The people in your life will be awful at emotionally caring for you in your teen years, so you will have to emotionally care for yourself, and that will make you strong.  Just for the record, people are going to give you crap about being asexual, but that does not make your orientation any less valid. You know yourself better than anyone else. Finally, you want what you want, and you are who you are. Be true to yourself, always.

Believe in yourself, even when others don’t.

Danielle, 20 years old.

Ace app 

Howdy! A page that I follow on Facebook posted the following, and I just thought that I’d repost this here. Something I’m interested in, refreshing to see it’s not only for dating, but a safe place to make ace friends as well. 

Hope you enjoy, until next time! Keep on aceing it. ūüėä‚ô†ÔłŹ

Danielle 

Edit: not yet in existence, coming to App Store June 2017 

QIA

Feeling rather victorious today. I have been spending the last four months writing a 22 page paper for my essay class, my topic being the lesser known, lesser focused on identities within the LGBTQIA spectrum, specifically queer, intersex, and asexual. I’ll admit, the ace section of the paper is just a bit longer than the other sections, but I restrained myself and didn’t let it go over eight pages. While doing research for my paper, I dived into two great books, The Riddle of Gender by Deborah Rudicille and Bodies in Doubt: An American History of Intersex by Elizabeth Reis. While interesting, neither book fully sated my curiosity¬†about genderqueer issues or actual accounts of what everyday life as¬†an intersex person is like. One day while I was just walking through my¬†college’s library, I happened across the LGBTQIA section, which I was surprised was even in existence, considering I live in a small, relatively conservative¬†town. Upon further inspection, I discovered that the section could more accurately be described as the LG section. I spotted¬†one book on transgenderism, one book on gender non-conformity, nothing on asexuality, and nothing on¬†intersex. This is something I see so¬†often in¬†queer spaces that it is almost expected,¬†and that is rather sad. I’m extremely happy that gays and lesbians¬†are finally getting the chance to have a voice in society, it’s just disappointing that other identities are¬†so often swept under the rug,¬†particularly the people in the QIA that so often gets cut off.¬†That day, after leaving the library and going home to work on my paper that would only be¬†seen by¬†the eyes of my teacher and perhaps two other classmates, I decided I wanted to write the book that I didn’t see in the library. My hope is to expand my¬†humble paper into that book.

The final project was due today, and during Monday’s class we read each other’s¬†projects and gave each other feedback. The girl I work-shopped with had read¬†an earlier version of my project and had told me that her friend was asexual, and she had no idea the kinds of discrimination and erasure that aces face, but my paper made her aware. Not only did I love that I had been able to help her better empathize with her friend, but it was also really neat hearing about another ace person existing. Rationally, I know there are roughly 75,000,000 asexuals on the planet, if the 1% statistic can be believed, but still something inside does an excited little hop every time¬†I meet another ace, find out a friend is ace (it has happened twice), or hear someone talk about a loved one that identifies as asexual. Anyhow, back to the topic at hand. The same girl read my latest draft and actually thanked me for letting her read it. She was intrigued reading about how one agender person came to realize their gender identity, and she was somewhat appalled to hear what some people say about asexuals. Reading the paper, her posture was that of someone reading a good book, and that gives me immense hope. While I am just at the beginning of a long journey with little to no idea about what I’m doing, I find myself excited to see what’s in store. If anyone has any tips about nonfiction writing, something they would like to see featured in the project in the distant future, or if you would like to share any experiences related to orientation or gender identity¬†and would be okay with me writing about it and potentially publishing it, please comment below.

Thanks so much for reading! Until next time, remember you are ultra rad (can’t believe I just typed that, but it’s past midnight and I’m slightly looping from stress and lack of sleep), and keep on aceing it!

Danielle

I’m back!

Sorry for the long absence, college and life and such has kept me quite occupied, but I have returned with new inspiration and determination. I am going to post much more frequently in the future, and my next post is going to be a lengthy one. These last three months have definitely been a period of self discovery and reflection.

Excited for¬†what’s ahead, thank you anyone¬†who is reading this!

Until next time (which will be relatively soon), keep on aceing it!

Surviving the Holidays

This time of year is paradoxical. You have children filled with excitement, adults filled with equal parts stress and sentimental feelings, and some are simply sad or anxious. Besides being a time of joy and giving, the holidays can be a time of grieving for lost loved ones, or even relationships with family. That has been the case for me personally. My mother has been, by far, the least accepting person out of the seven people I’ve come out to. She spent roughly the first eight months after I came out to her telling me I hadn’t found the right person yet, saying I couldn’t be asexual because I expressed aesthetic appreciation of a select few guys, even going as far as to insinuate that I had chosen to be asexual. It was only in the past year that she had finally decided to take me at my word about my orientation, but she still refused to adress it by its name. Perhaps one of the most hurtful things she has ever said to me regarding my orientation occurred after we had eaten lunch with my grandparents and the topic of gay marriage had popped up. Surprisingly, my eighty seven year old, extremely Catholic grandfather didn’t oppose it. I’m getting a bit off topic, forgive me. Anyway, as my mom and I were leaving their home, she thanked me for not coming out to my grandparents, as if my orientation , this significant fraction of who I am, was something embarrassing or shameful. I love my mother, I honestly do, but I will admit that her behavior regarding my asexual has deeply hurt me, and Ivdon’t feel as safe around her as I used to. Family is great, but gathering together this time of year can be difficult, particularly if you aren’t straight. So, here is an artical that I hope will be helpful, whatever your situation is.  https://www.queertheology.com/8-queer-holiday-tips-coping-surviving/ 

Until next time! Merry Christmas, happy holidays, keep on aceing it! 

Danielle