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