Pride as Therapy for Shame

This is my contribution for the June 2020 Carnival of Aces, hosted by aspecofdest, the topic being pride. 

Sometimes I really hate being asexual. Yes, I’m aware that’s a depressing way to start a post on pride in one’s orientation.

Just when I start to think I’m totally comfortable with how I identify, something unearths my heaps of internalized shame and feelings of inadequacy related to my romantic and sexual orientations.                                                                                                     I recently met another awesome ace through a queer dating app, and, as a part of my ongoing attempt to be more authentically myself, I gushed about her to my mother almost immediately. She ended up walking in on one of our Instagram video chats, got to talk to her briefly, really liked her, and is now shipping us hard as a couple.                     This unexpected turn of events has yielded a new crop of uncomfortable questions, such as, “I know some asexuals masturbate, can they get off?” and, on an even more cringey note, “What exactly would you want in a relationship, physically? Hugging? Hand holding? Kissing? I understand asexuality’s a spectrum, would you want any genital contact or groping?”

My 18 self would have been thrilled that she took my identity seriously enough to ask such questions. Yet here I am, just uncomfortable as hell.                                        The day after this uncomfortable turn of interrogation took place, I realized that a good portion of my discomfort was shame. This was solidified when, a couple nights later, my mother reported a revision of my identity to our neighbor, Angela. If you’ve been with me for a while and have the patience of a god (seriously, whhyyyyyyy didn’t you break this post into 2 parts, past self????) you may remember Angela from Being Openly Asexual, Openly Gay, and Equally Proud.

After some pestering from Angela about attractive German men, I essentially outed myself as gay, leaving out my asexuality because 1. I didn’t think it was relevant and 2. Coming out as gay is aaaaaaalways easier than coming out as asexual.

So, my mother had gone over to Angela’s for a drink, they began talking, and I came up. I’m going to be moving out of my parents’ home (hallelujuah) in under a month, and Angela inquired if I knew anyone in the region I’m going to be moving to. My mom told her about a potential love interest who I met online, going on to explain that I’m asexual and so is she. She gave her a brief – and pretty terrible – explanation of asexuality, and then left because it was getting late.                                                                                      Maybe it was the explanation of asexuality as a lack of a sex drive that my mother provided that had me cringing, but I think that it has more to do with internalized aphobia. A recent doctor’s visit drives this theory home.

I mentioned the presumed need for STI vaccinations in my last post Virginity is Not Immaturity and my awkward, shrill declaration that they wouldn’t be necessary killed the topic during that particular appointment, but I didn’t see any guarantees for the follow up.  I saw essentially two options for explanation: out myself as ace, either with or without explicitly using the label, but definitely say that I did not desire intercourse with anyone of any gender, or out myself as a lesbian by saying I wasn’t sexually attracted to men (true) and if she pushed the question about women, say that if I were to have sex with anyone, it would be a woman – which is true, if I were to engage in intercourse, it would be with a woman, likely in an attempt to make a relationship with an allosexual work.  None of my explanations would have been a lie, but the degree to which I was leaning toward lesbianism as an explanation for my not needing STI vaccines was a bright red shame flag in hindsight. (Fun fact, I did some research on vaccines, and the most common one is for HPV it appears, which can be transmitted through non-penetrative sex acts. My small fib wouldn’t have gotten me out of vaccine talk.)                     Every time I imagined outing myself as ace to my doctor, I felt a sinking feeling in my stomach distinct from the usual nerves. I felt that same sinking when my mother told me she outed me as ace to Angela. I had been happy with imagining me as just your typical lesbian, and once she saw the whole picture, some sexless freak who can’t experience love the way everyone else does, I felt ashamed.                                             I keep reminding myself that asexuals are so constantly bombarded with the message that we don’t fit, be it lack of representation (or terrible representation) in media, the highly sexual nature of advertising, or, for romantic aces, how sex is taken for granted as a part of healthy, mature relationships, that it makes perfect sense to have so much shame about this aspect of myself.                                                                                                 Even the definition of asexuality as a lack, a gaping hole, opens people up to shame. I think a better way of defining asexuality would be to characterize it as a difference in desired connection – emotional rather than genital.

When I first realized my romanticism, there was quite a bit of fear and shame, but also a feeling of relief. I had the hope that someday I would have a relationship to talk about, something to fill the hole of an identity characterized by lack, something that, on the surface, to the outside eye, would make me look just a little more normal.

Even though my romanticism has been a muuuuuuuch easier thing than my asexuality, there definitely still is some shame there. My local Barnes and Noble recently opened, and whilst browsing for the first time in a long while, I noticed they had set up a display for pride month. I quickly became aware that I was self conscious about looking at it and trying my best to appear like I was just looking in the general direction of the display and not directly at it – I say I’m proud of being homoromantic, and yet I don’t want to be “caught” looking at a pride display. How far does the internalized homophobia go? That’s a good question.

I bought a rainbow Barnes and Noble book bag and forced myself to walk with it clearly in view, not at all hidden by my purse. On my way out to my car, I realized this display of pride merch was a kind of “fake it till you make it”, somehow I’ve been doing with my ace ring for a loooong time. It’s been so long, I’ve gotten used to the weight of a ring on my right hand. It’s been so long, become such a routine accessory, I’ve forgotten why I initially started wearing it. I realized recently that bought the vast majority of my pride jewelry – ace and gay – just after my two coming outs to myself, long before I felt any kind of bold, active pride. It seems I have long used pride jewelry as a “fake it till you make it”.

In honor of pride month, I bought myself myself a new ace pride ring – not a traditional plain black band, but a heart with the ace flag. The plain black band became just another piece of jewelry to me as the years passed and my shame ebbed and flowed, but this one is loud – a reminder to myself that my wearing this ring is an act of self love, a shove against my self directed aphobia, and a clear beacon to other aces that they are not alone. It is becoming more and more clear to me that I am not the proud ace role model I wish to be, and I’m hoping that having an image of pride clear on my right hand will serve as the gentle shove I need to be the activist I once dreamed of being.

 

Until next time,

keep on Aceing It.

 

 

Virginity is Not Immaturity

I am a 23 year old asexual virgin. I am not celibate, I am not “saving myself” for marriage, I masturbate on a fairly regular basis, and know myself well enough to know that I do not desire intercourse with another human being and that I likely would not enjoy it. Whenever I am in awkward situations where revealing my lack of sexual experience and sometimes lack of desire is necessary, the information is always met with a furrowed brow and subsequent jumpy behavior and sometimes even a demanding, disbelieving, “Never?” A similar situation occurred roughly two weeks ago. I started seeing a new doctor recently for issues completely unrelated to anything gynecological or sex related yet, to my displeasure, at the end of my last visit she insisted I needed to have a pelvic exam – I was supposed to have one at 21 but, not being active and not desiring one, past doctors never pushed it – when the dreaded question came, “Have you ever been active?” I answered no, and to my surprise, her face didn’t register any signs of surprise or disbelief. I attribute this to her being from a generation for was much bigger on “saving yourself for marriage” – the cross around her neck backed up my suspicion that she assumed I was “saving” myself. She immediately launched her next heteronormative attack, saying that even if I didn’t get a pap smear, I should be vaccinated (I assume for STIs). Not having prepared myself for coming out and potentially giving asexuality 101 to my doctor, I simply replied, my voice a dozen nervous octaves above my natural tone, “That really isn’t necessary.” It was only after my soprano denial that her attitude shifted. Not just slightly – there were no furrowed brows, now, “Are you sure?” Her discomfort at dealing with an adult who hadn’t – and presumably didn’t want – to have intercourse was palpable. Being nearly three times my age, she dropped an occasional “sweetie” and it was after my reveal of my desire for perpetual virginity that her sweeties and honeys became softer and almost pitying. Perhaps she assumed that I didn’t want to get the vaccines because I didn’t think that anyone would find me attractive, hence her pity. Perhaps I was being too sensitive, but I doubt it.
The fact of the matter is, once a person reaches 21 or so, being a virgin is considered shameful and an indicator of immaturity. I wasn’t aware of just how much I had internalized this message until I (finally) hosted a successful ace meetup right before the pandemic hit.                                                                                                                                          It was me, a 45 year old woman, and a woman in her mid to late thirties. It didn’t take long for the conversation to get deep, and it was revealed we were all virgins. Despite myself, I just couldn’t belief that the two grown women in front of me had never done any experimenting – and I was quickly disgusted with myself. I have always been one to say that you don’t need to experiment to know who you are and are not attracted to, and yet I had the same kind of attitude I hated toward two of my fellow aces.                          This post is for myself as well as anyone else who needs the reassurance/ reminder: virginity is not an indicator of immaturity. For those who have needed to experiment to come to terms with how they identify, you are completely valid and I in no way, shape or form mean to shame you. For anyone who just wants to be sure their first time is with someone special, don’t let anyone get in your head and make you do something you don’t truly want to do. For all of those who have been made to feel childish or less than for being a virgin or for simply not banging every single person they’re attracted to, there is absolutely nothing wrong with you. Not everyone feels the need to go to grad school, or run a marathon, or get married and/or have children for that matter, just like not everyone feels the need to experiment and/or have copious amount of intercourse. Everyone has different life paths, and it’s about time we stop shaming people for not doing things they don’t want to simply because that activity brings other people satisfaction.                                                                                                                                         Sex is not one-size- fits- all.                                                                                                                 To all the virgins out there: THERE. IS. ABSOLUTLEY. NOTHING. WRONG. WITH. YOU. Society needs to shut the hell up with it’s compulsory intercourse.

You do you, don’t do anything you don’t want to.

Until next time,

happy pride, keep on Aceing It.

Fears and Failures

This is my submission for the October Carnival of Aces, the subject being “reaching out, reaching in”. 

If you told me even twelve months ago what I was embarking to do last Sunday at 1p.m., I would have raised my eyebrows and stared in awed, polite unbelief.

I hosted an ace meetup.

Well, I tried to. I moved the location to a Starbucks across the street at the last minute due to the previous venue being unbelievably, claustrophobically crowded and unexpectedly pricy, and no one showed.

I doubt it was due to the venue change. I had been trying to enthuse members of the Facebook ace group I started late last year to meet in person for at least a month, querying for the best times for people, and three comments on my posts was outstanding engagement.

The only ace meetup listed for all of Northern California on meetup.com went AWOL last year and, utterly disappointed, I did what I could. I first tried to subtly guilt the members into sharing the annual fees with me so we could keep the meetup going (uncharacteristic, but I was broke and the thought of the only ace meetup in my region dying was unbearable) and when that failed, I created a Facebook group and captured as many members from the meetup group as I could. Several friended me on Facebook, and it’s amazing how encouraging it is to see posts from people (even ones unrelated to ace issues) who share this small part of me. Just the hope of future in person connection was uplifting.

I was predictably nervous as I drove to a mostly unfamiliar city to meet mostly unfamiliar people and do something that is completely unfamiliar to me – lead a social event. Well, that’s not completely true. I was the president of high school’s poetry club – and it was under my leadership that it fizzled out and died. Yeah. Not real confidant in my leadership abilities.

Getting out of bed Sunday morning, I prayed profusely and repeated what is becoming my motto – don’t regret not doing it later, do it scared now. I donned cat ears that I found in a costume store that, miraculously, were ace pride colors, posted and identifying picture to the Facebook group and said that if anyone were to come to the venue of the meetup and see a weirdo in cat ears to please come keep her company.

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The thirty minute drive, I repeated my positive attributes over and over, and reminded myself that I am capable and a likeable person – something I learned from a self-help book for social anxiety that is proving to be more effective than years of talking to a counselor.

Even after struggling to find the first venue and quickly discerning that it wasn’t as nearly the spacious, casual place that Google had led me to belief and moving the meetup to across the street ten minutes before it was scheduled to begin, I was hopeful. But as three stretched to three thirty and finally four, I had to face the music. No one was coming.

I had had a gut feeling all morning that the meetup was going to be an epic failure, something I dismissed as my standard state of perpetual anxiety, but it had turned out that my constant inner critic had judged correctly. As I departed the Starbucks, unable to sit alone any longer and made to find another café to settle down in and study, the dejection really started to set in. I had put myself waaaaaaay out there, and no one had put in the effort to show. Logically, I knew that wasn’t the case for everyone. Two people had said they were going to be out of town, several others had to work or had previous engagements with family, etc. I had known this first meet up was going to be small, perhaps one or two people, and I was totally prepared for that.

And of course I had considered the possibility that no one would show – but I wasn’t prepared for the reality of sitting alone at a table, watching as Starbucks filled with midafternoon students and socializers, making cheerful, awkward eye contact with every stranger who walked in the door and hoping that they would see the purple dragon badge on my backpack, smile as they remembered the posts saying to look for a dragon badge and cat ears on the Facebook page they had joined for a sense of belonging when the world made them feel constantly alienated, and come sit by me. I was not prepared for the disappointment of loneliness not being filled, but that loneliness, that sitting in a crowded space where I was 99 percent sure that I was the only asexual present (possibly the only queer person period) reminded me why I had set out that day in the first place.

As I drove around the city, determined to find an interesting café or restaurant so as not to have wasted a trip, the thought why the hell did you think you could do it? crept in. People aren’t your thing, of course you were going to miserably f up at this. I immediately recognized the voice as anxiety and not my rational mind, and I told it that I did not fail. I did exactly as I had set out to do that day – I had done my best to find a time that worked for as many people, told them a location, and I went there. Yes, I should have checked out the location before hand, but it wasn’t exactly in my backyard, and the new location was very accessible – nothing that would be burdensome if anyone was already at the previous venue. I had alerted the group as to my reasoning for changing, apologized profusely, and waited patiently. I had tried. I had done everything in my power to make the day a success. I had done what I had set out to do, even though I had been scared to do it, and several people had posted saying that they regretted not being able to come that day and to have fun. They had put in the effort that they could to make a connection, and that effort could very likely translate to the physical world in the future. I had done all I could, and hopefully I had made some online strangers excited about the future – maybe even someone at Starbucks recognized the colors on my badge for what they are.

Something I’ve come to realize in the past couple years is that I crave connection, truly, truly crave it, but connection takes effort – effort that I wasn’t mentally healthy enough to put in until very recently. My recent efforts to make connections with people I encounter in my day-to-day life have proved surprisingly successful, and I refuse to let this minor setback detour me – I’m sure there are people who need this support system for asexuality way more than I do, and I refuse to let them down. I will continue to do it scared.  

 

Happy Ace Week!

Until next time,

Keep oooooon Aceing It!

Then, Now, Tomorrow Part 1 – Gains and losses

This is part 1 of my contribution to the June Carnival of Aces, the topic being Then, Now, Tomorrow, focusing on personal growth, growth factors, set backs, and where you see yourself in the future.

I rode the bus nearly every day I was trapped in the hell colloquially referred to as high school in the U.S., and most days were the same. I blasted my music to preposterous levels to tune out the raunchy chaos of conversation around me and would take a twenty five minute nap before getting off at my stop – yes, I missed said stop more than once because of my napping habit. The last day of my freshman year I rode the bus home as usual, but that trip began quite atypically. My driver that year was a gentle, white haired woman nearing retirement, and before we set out that day, she asked us all to visualize ourselves five years in the future. Five years from then, I would be nineteen. I pictured myself attending Washington State University, confident, outgoing, and a published novelist – I turned twenty two just over three weeks ago, and none of those things have yet to occur. I am living in the same house, in the same tiny, rural town, and yet little to nothing is the same about me.

My most recent birthday was a difficult one. Three days prior, I wrapped up my fourth year of attending community college, having earned an associate’s degree in double the amount of time it is “supposed” to take. Since April, I have been bombarded with pictures of my friends graduating from their dream colleges, and I have been fighting a self destructive voice asking, “What the hell’s wrong with you?! You’re half way to where you should be!” I combat it by telling it how much money I’ve saved by going to community college and living with my parents – the average university in the U.S. is easily two to three times more expensive than the tiny college I’ve attended since graduating secondary school – and by reminding myself of all the personal growth I’ve undergone and all the personal demons I’ve battled. I may not have earned a bachelor’s degree, but in the past four years I have:

  • Discovered I’m asexual
  • Gone half way around the world
  •  Admitted my romantic attraction to women and fallen in love – twice
  • Experienced my first real romantic heartbreak
  • Started a blog
  • Finished the second draft of the book that I’ve been writing for roughly a third of my life at this point.
  • Gone from a highly confused Christian to a Christian passionate about the queer community and confident of her God’s love for everyone in it
  • Come out as not straight to my parents on multiple levels
  • Admitted to myself that I wasn’t just shy, I had social anxiety
  • Realized I was depressed, and that depression is far more than just feelings of sadness
  • Finally ignored the heavy stigma society and my family places around medication and started undergoing treatment for mental illness.

It often feelings as if these past four years have been an exodus of beloved people and things, sometimes as if I was even destined to lose everything, but when I look at all my new experiences, all I’ve gained, the amazing people I’ve met and how I’ve grown, the idea seems ridiculous. This last year in particular was one of extreme gain. In the past twelve month alone, I

  • took a chance and explored a dating app – where I met an amazing woman, completely unbothered by my lack of desire to have intercourse with her. I feel confident in saying that I love her.
  •  Spent six weeks on my own in a foreign country
  •  Finished the second draft of the book I’ve been working on for seven years
  •  Got all As for the first time in my life
  •  Had my longest lasting job
  •  Moved out of my parents’ house

I remember thinking at some point the summer before last when I was battling the fiercest bout of depression I had ever faced that if I was a phoenix, I had been in the burning phase for most of my life. Every time I started to rise from the ashes, the flames would start up again. The last four years have been fiery ones full of loss, but in the past year the ashes have been shifting, and feathers have been growing more quickly than flames could consume them. While I may not be where I want to be academically, the amount of personal growth I have undergone in these past four years is worth more than a bachelor’s degree. My inner critic is a vocal and nasty one, and lately I’ve been shutting it up by focusing on all the things I have done. Yes, my fifteen-year-old self would likely be cringing at the fact that I’m not at my “final destination” yet, but she would also be amazed at all I’ve learned about myself and the person I’m becoming – more on that in part two. She would be dumbfounded that hard times are still not over, not yet being able to fully comprehend that stars are only visible in darkness – hard times make bright spots all that more radiant, illuminating things and people often taken for granted. Everything is temporary, the good and bad.

 

Thanks for reading!

Until next time,

Keep on Aceing It

 

 

Heartbreak Part 2: A Letter to My Father

I feel like the title of this post is pretty self explanatory. Forgive me for the break in (semi) regular programming of LBGTQIA+ topics, my brain is absorbed by family drama at the moment.

Forgiveness does not mean allowing toxic people to continually complicate your life. I forgave you for years of absenteeism in my life and for your addition driving my mother and I away from our home, but the fact remains – my depression and anxiety undoubtedly stem from that, from your mistakes. Every friend I made at that horrible school I was dropped in when we moved ended up stabbing me in the back, and just when I’d met someone good, someone I could have a lasting friendship with, it was time to go home. I was forced to build a new life just to have it torn away. It took me years to learn how to be truly happy again. You have never, ever made me feel safe. Sometimes I wonder if you quit meth when we left because you wanted us back, or because your parents wouldn’t include you in their will if you didn’t. It has always disgusted me how you shameless depend on my grandparents for income. I let go off all this anger long ago, but when you treat my mother this poorly and spit in both of our faces by bringing up divorce, long healed wounds are ripped wide open and you leave me a furious, bloody mess. It would be so, so easy to hate you. I didn’t learn how to ride a bike because you didn’t have time to teach me and my codependent mother insisted it was a father’s job to teach his daughter how to ride a bike. People would have thought my mother was single if she hadn’t worn her farcical wedding ring because you never went anywhere with her – you were either sweating to feed your habit, getting high in the garage, or sitting on your ass in front of the t.v. after a day off nonstop meth earning. You were high when I was born. You were high at my christening. You were high when you spoke at my grandfather’s funeral. We almost lost the house because of your screw ups. You almost missed my eighth grade graduation because you were playing tennis. My mother had zero tolerance for anything but perfection in my behavior as a small child because she felt she had to do the job of two parents. When you would try to quit and camp out in front of the trustee idiot box while riding out with drawl symptoms, she was even more short tempered than usual – and that is to say, if I moved wrong, I got screamed at. To this day, every time you drink you pick a fight with my mother. There is so, so much more, but I don’t want to dwell in this place of fury. It would be all too easy to hate you, but I can’t find it in me to do that. You may be the most selfish, insensitive person I know, but you still feed the cat goat kefir and rub her belly whilst she lounges by the heater. When the fluffy beast delivers us birds, you always try to save them. You adore every small child you come into contact with, and they automatically adore you. My earliest memory is of you with a giant, curved cushion on your back pretending to be a turtle and giving me rides on your back. One of the only reasons I started playing softball was because I knew it would catch your interest, and the first time in my life that I felt like I had your full attention was when you were teaching me to pitch. Practicing at the park with you and H. on an overcast spring Saturday is one of my fondest memories. I love that you love my passion for books and the Russian language;  that you’ve never refused to take me to a bookstore. I love that you are constantly making random chicken noises and comically remixing songs. I love that you admire me for being a vegetarian and have never interrogated me about dating or argued with me about not wanting children. You soothed a deep, dark fear in me when I finally came out to you as asexual and homoromantic. I told you I thought I had been a coward for avoiding coming out to you for so long, you said you didn’t think I was cowardly at all – on the contrary, you told me that you had absolutely nothing negative to say about me. When I caught my cousins gossiping about me, saying I was doing nothing with my life and that my parents should be ashamed of me, you sent a letter defending me and telling them that you could never, ever be ashamed. I asked you to wait until I had sent text messages confronting them, and you were so amped up you could hardly restrain yourself. You taught me that rubbing the stomach of a Blue Belly lizard puts it to sleep, that documentaries are entirely underrated, and that pancakes are best cooked in a pan. As hard as I try not to need you, I do. I have always needed you, and you’ve never been able to give me enough. I don’t know if it’s because your first wife destroyed you or if it’s because your own father was away traveling for much of your childhood, but I don’t think you’re capable of the love that parenthood requires. I know you’re not capable of the love that a healthy marriage requires – and even as I type this, I remember the moments scattered across years that you were, and hope that I’m lying. Your good is heaven, and your bad is hell. I can’t handle the whiplash anymore, and I don’t even want to imagine how my mother feels – my mother, who, for all her faults, loves more deeply than anyone I know. My mother who, for reasons beyond me, is still hopelessly in love with you. If I know one single thing for certain, it is that you do not deserve her.                                                              You haven’t used meth in ten years – true. You are not an addict – false. The facts or the facts, and addict is not a dirty word, simply a description – in your case, a description of someone for whom reality is determined by their needs. If you are tired, then the world must be quite so you can sleep – if there is the slightest noise, the world is out of balance. Never mind that you sleep in the living room every night, and there are other people in the house who need to eat in the morning. If it’s eleven in the morning and you’re still tired, it’s abominable of my mother to make breakfast because you’re sleeping. When you’re watching a football game and the dog needs to be taken out, you ask your daughter – who is in the middle of doing her math homework – to do it for you. Perfectly logically. And if she has a bit of an attitude while she does it, she is being completely unfair, because you were watching a game! And when sports are on t.v. , nothing else in the world matters. You start the day by drinking two energy drinks, don’t eat lunch, go play tennis, and then expect everyone in the house to wait on you when you return home because you’re exhausted, yet you refuse to eat better, and you love the caffeine rush too much to avoid the crash. That’s just it. The drugs are out, but nothing’s really changed. Meth has been replaced by energy drinks and wine on the weekends, the house hold activities still revolve around you, my mother still brings you dinner in your chair nearly every night, and you still blow a gasket whenever someone says something you don’t like or when you have to do something you don’t want to, such as paying bills or being put on hold on the phone. Sure, you rearrange the pillows on the couch when you get up everyday, but you seldom show my mother any affection, and you only hug me when you’re drunk. I remember telling a counselor about a fight you and mom had years ago and the subsequent fit you threw – the details are muddy now, but she responded with a disbelieving, “Wow. That is such addict behavior.” I think that was the first time I realized it – you aren’t using, but you’re still and addict. You quit on your own, which in and of itself is a bit impressive, but programs exist to break the patterns and mindset that addiction leaves people with, and you should have swallowed your pride and enrolled in one.                                                                                                                                        I love you, and think I’m always going to, as much as it would be easier just to rip you out of my heart and forget you. But I can’t stay on this rollercoaster. My God calls me to forgive, but he does not call me to embrace toxicity – and you are a toxic person, especially when you are behaving as cruelly and childishly as you have been this past week. I remember telling my counselor years ago that I was finally realizing you weren’t capable of change – that the dad I had was the dad I was stuck with. Change is what I want. You make yourself capable if you truly love me. You treat my mother with respect, act like an adult, and go to marriage counseling with her, swallow your pride, and admit that you are an addict. Admit that you put her through twelve years of hell when you were using, that you continue to torment her with your selfishness, and you work  at seeing the world beyond yourself and your needs. If your incapable of doing that, I’m done. I can only take so much. My heart did not heal simply for you to rip it, still beating, out of my chest. My wounds did not heal for you to leave deeper scars. The tragic thing is, I know I’m lying. The pain you’ve stirred up in me these past few days is going to take months to subside. I should face the future with absolutely no fear because nothing – absolutely nothing – can hurt like loving you has.

 

I apologize for the lack luster post, I was sobbing as I was writing this, and while it was rather therapeutic, it is far from my best writing. I am sure I’ll be in a better place soon, and I am determined to raise the bar for the next post.

That being said, I hope this mediocre letter that I will never have the guts to send makes someone feel less alone.

 

Community is Vital: Why I Started Blogging

Community (noun) – 1. a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common  2. a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.

I recently discovered a new ace blogger, Alice Ajisai, and was inspired by her post, “Home on an Alien Planet” in which she shares her experiences growing up in a small town, feeling like the odd one out for her love of Japanese language and Asian pop culture, to moving to San Francisco where her interests were considerably more mainstream, but still feeling like an outsider, to discovering her asexuality and the ace community. The post is heart warming and well written, if you would like to check it out, here is the link: https://lifethroughthelookingglass.home.blog/

If someone ten years ago told me how much comfort the internet would bring me, I would tell them they were insane.  Ten years ago, I only used the internet to occasionally Google a topic and to access Webkinz – today, it is where I find the reassurance that I am not alone in the world – that I am not the only asexual pescatarian progressive feminist Christian that lives on planet earth. I shutter to think of how lonely I would feel without my various online communities – if not for the internet, I would definitely think I was zedsexual, would possibly still think I was straight, and undoubtedly would have a much narrower world view.                                                                                                                            The first mentions I heard of asexuality were in person, but my process of discovering the nuances of the word and where I fit happened on the internet – not literally, I was lounging on my couch while I did the majority of my early asexuality research, but I think what I mean is understood. Even if I somehow did identify as asexual without the use of the internet to lead me to my conclusion, and more importantly to the online ace community, discovering why identifying as straight never quite fit wouldn’t have been a freeing experience. It would have been an isolating experience full of mourning.                 I have yet to go to an in person ace meetup – the nearest one to where I live is an hour and twenty minute drive and it is in danger of shutting down – but the online community I have found has provided me with irreplaceable joy and comfort, allowing me a place to rejoice in this part of myself and celebrate others in the process. It is often gut wrenchingly terrifying not only to come out to non-asexuals, but simply talking about asexuality can illicit cricket chirping. Never mind actually celebrating it. I suppose the reason I started blogging in the first place was to add on to the ace community – to add my own shade of purple to the flag, so to speak. Also, I suppose starting the blog was motivated by frustration that the majority of the time my experiences as an asexual were immediately shot down by those close to me (excluding my best friend, who miraculously came out as asexual a year after I did) and wanted to create a place where I could safely share, and where others might even appreciate my sharing, find comfort in knowing that they are not alone. Thank you to all the ace bloggers I follow for sharing your experiences – I hope you can find some comfort in mine and the knowledge that you are in no way broken or alone.

Fun fact: did you know a community of meerkats is often called a mob or a gang?

cutest gang ever

Happy Ace Week! Are you doing anything special to celebrate/ anything to spread awareness? Would love to hear in the comments. 🙂

Until next time,

Keep ooooooon Aceing It!

 

Valid: A Poem

Happy Asexual Awareness Week! This is my submission for October’s Carnival of Aces, hosted by Constance004. 

 

You just haven’t found “the one”,

Go out and mingle in the sun, you’re young, they say, have fun.

It would be such a waste not to give away your pretty face,

your appealing exterior.

It’s what grown ups do – feel inferior.

Maybe something horrible in your youth keeps you from seeing the truth –

if not damaged, you’re an alien,

frigid.

Sub human.

The undeniable urge to physically merge is so engrained in all living things,

go check your pulse, you can’t know until you try.

You don’t want to die – gasp – a virgin!

It’s all a lie,

You are not less, do not stress.

The haters just can’t give aces their spaces.

Beware the enticing trap of heteronormative conformity,

dare to stand tall and wave your flag.

You will not die a bitter hag, and virgin is far from a dirty word.

Under no circumstances should you follow the earth-bound, dismal herd.

Chisel away your fears.

They were right about one thing, but no, wait, dry yours tears!

You are not normal.

Spot your majestic kind soaring in the sky,

You are a dragon,

and only your reservations, your anxieties keep at bay your ability to fly.

 

Thank you for reading this horrendously cheesy poem! I had so many things I wanted to write about that just weren’t coming out poetically, and so I decided to take a humorous turn with it. In all seriousness my fellow aces, don’t listen to the ignorant haters, you are valid and beautiful.

 

Until next time,

Keep ooooooon Aceing It!

 

 

 

 

Mental Health Awareness Day: 7 Things I Wish I Had Known 7 Years Ago About Mental Health

October 10 is Mental Health Awareness Day, a cause that is close to my heart. Mental Health is so, so often written off, and though mental health is slowly coming to be recognized as a serious thing, those suffering from invisible diseases are still being told to “snap out of it”. With the hectic pace and isolation of modern life, it seems that diseases of the mind are becoming more and more common. My mental helath drastically worsened 7 years ago, around the time I was fourteen, and I want to share 7 things my own struggles have taught me.

  1. When you are a young person experiencing health problems of any kind, particularly invisible ones, you must fight to be taken seriously. People over forty seem to, for the most part, have an incredibly romanticized view of what the teenage years and early twenties are like. 2017 tied with 2012 for the most difficult year of my life, and I was reminded yet again of the fact that the struggles of young people are all too often covered by a gossamer netting. I was dog sitting for an 75 year old acquaintance of mine, and before she was going to leave, we met up and talked for a bit. It was typical small talk, how’s school, to you have any plans for the summer, etc. The semester had just ended and my twentieth birthday was in about a week, I told her. “Oh, these are the best years of your life!” she exclaimed. My father had just been diagnosed with cancer, all of my friends had moved away for college, my social anxiety was worsening by the day, and sometimes I felt like my loneliness was going to suffocate me. Unbeknownst to me, my circumstances were only going to get worse that year. I almost literally had to bite my tongue to keep, “If these are the best years of my life, someone please shoot me now,” from spilling out.  Depression in teenagers is so, soooo often just written off as typical moodiness, and this is incredibly dangerous. It pains me to think of how many teens are suffering because authority figures refuse to take them seriously. For me, it took revealing that I was cutting myself to even be able to get access to therapy. For the love of everything good in this world, if you see a sad, moody teenager, do not ignore them, and do not simply tell them, “Oh, it won’t always be this way.” We all know adulthood just makes things harder. Sit down with the suffering young people in your life parents, teachers, guidance counselors, and truly listen to them and find them effective coping mechanisms.
  2. Depression isn’t Just Sadness  Perhaps the most profound form of depression is the inability to feel anything at all, and though numbness is preferable to crippling sadness, walking through life like a zombie is no way to live. Numbness is sometimes due to a build of emotions, and if you can’t find the motivation to journal, simply talking to a camera about what’s going on in your life currently – or about thing’s that have happened in the past that you’d rather not think about – can break the dam keeping you emotionally constipated. If you can’t find the root of your numbness or your mind simply refuses to form coherent thoughts, so for a walk, surround yourself with nature, go to a new restaurant, do something that reminds you of the beauty in the world. Yet another symptom of depression often written off in young people which can make the aforementioned tricks for numbness impossible is lack of motivation, and having no energy can make the black hold of depression seem that much deeper, which leads to point three that I wish I had known seven years ago.
  3. Going to Therapy Does Not Make You Certifiably Insane! It Only Makes You Crazy Smart and Crazy Brave! It is an incredibly good idea to talk to someone about your feelings or lack thereof, but family isn’t always the best choice. They may be supportive to a point, but there are simply certain things that are best dealt with by professionals. Family, parents in particular, are going to take your depression personally. Am I doing something to make them feel this way? I am a great provider to my child, a great friend. They’re just being ungrateful. Comments like these are born of fear and self-centeredness, and are clear signs that you need to talk to an outsider. This is not weakness, but strength. You are going to a stranger and essentially saying that you are stranded in a dark forest full of wolves are being eaten alive, yet all you are asking for is a stick to ward them off with. This will to fight is the definition of bravery, and once someone else is there fighting off the wolves with you, you have double the chance of making it out alive. And for heaven’s sake, make the most of therapy by not hiding problems from your therapist. Never leave a session early. Negative emotions are incredibly healthy, they are alerting you to something that is wrong; do not push them down, talk about them when they are annoying flies, not when they are hawks trying to maim you.
  4. There is a big difference between mere shyness and social anxiety. Shyness is apprehension, social anxiety is people induced terror that you can’t just “shake off” or “power through”, and it can’t be cured by making yourself socialize more. If you isolate yourself from the outside world completely, of course it will worsen, and you can’t let it keep you from doing things you truly enjoy, but it is unrealistic to expect that exposure will make it disappear, which connects to number 5.
  5. It is okay to take medication. Some people’s brains are wired differently, and in order to life the best possible life,  a little assistance is needed. Like going to therapy, this does not make you weak. It is you asking for another stick when your brain is assisting the wolves in devouring you alive. Getting help at a biological level is wise, but do your research as to what medications are incredibly addictive, take the lowest effective dosage, and don’t expect your life to magically be perfect.
  6. Take Care of Your Body. We hear it so often we automatically tune out, “Exercise and eat your vegetables!” Seriously, though. A body in motion helps a burdened mind, and sacrificing fast food can only be beneficial. It is so, so easy convince yourself that you’re too busy, but even ten minutes of yoga, five minutes of mediation, can do a world of good. Give yourself permission to make your well being a priority; self care is more than bubble baths and Netflix. Astonishingly, you’ll be able to be twice as productive if you are in a good state of mind. I am going to shameless rip of Nike: Just do it! Value and take care of yourself, dammit!
  7. Talk to your peers. My fourteen year old self – and fifteen, sixteen, and seventeen year old self – was incredibly afraid of judgement from my peers because of my mental health problems, and so for the most part, my high school friends had no idea I was suffering until years after the worst of it ended. A close friend of mine was experiencing problems incredibly similar to mine, and we were both lost in our lonely miseries because we were too afraid of judgement. I still haven’t told my best friend that I engaged in self harm because a paranoid part of me is terrified she’ll be judgmental, which is not at all conducive to her personality.  We have been friends for fourteen years, and I am still terrified to tell her. The worst thing about the stigma surrounding mental health is that it makes people suffer in silence, and so we remain unaware of how connected our pain makes us. Talk to your friends, you have no idea how much they may be able to relate, how you may be helping them by sharing your pain.

Thank you so much for reading, I hope a couple of these things I wish I had known long, long ago were helpful, or at the very least thought provoking/ entertaining.

Until next time!

Being Openly Asexual, Openly Gay, and Equally Proud

So, this is my submission for the August Carnival of Aces, hosted by Demi and Proud, the subject for this month having to do with the Cass Identity Model. If you would like more information concerning the model, here is a link:  http://dustinkmacdonald.com/cass-identity-model/.   

As for my asexuality, I jumped from stage one of the Cass model, Identity Confusion, to stage five, identity pride, in a period of less than two months. To be fair, I had been in stage one for about a year. Once I finally had the time/energy to investigate my orientation in depth, accepting that I wasn’t straight came as a bit of a shock, but the shock was quickly replaced by all consuming joy. I finally had an accurate label to describe my sexuality. In this sex crazed, heteronormative world I live in, I finally had a niche where I fit, even if the only aces I knew were online. I felt this lightness of spirit, and the sudden urge for everyone to know that I was ace. Looking back, I both pity and admire the gung-ho eighteen-year-old who wanted to educate the world on asexuality. However, my enthusiasm was quickly dulled.

The first person I told was a friend of mine that I had known was years and years. We were lounging at a nearby lake, and I took advantage of a moment of silence to just blurt it out. She reacted with innocent confusion, oddly enough assuming that I was telling her I was no longer a virgin. I quickly clarified, saying that I didn’t experience “physical attraction”. She just nodded and changed the subject. It hadn’t gone terrifically, but it wasn’t terrible either. My best friend didn’t voice any of her confusion – though undoubtedly she must have had some – she simply nodded. It had gone even better with her than it had my other friend, and so I went forward with telling my mother.

It wasn’t at all planned, as I recall. I had felt as if I’d been hiding something from her for weeks, and it simply slipped out when I was helping her put away groceries. I had no idea what I had expected her to say, but I hadn’t expected an angry, “No you’re not! Asexual means you don’t have a gender!” I was flabbergasted at her aggression, but I did the best I could to “prove” my orientation. I was met with a wide variety of eye roll worthy remarks, such as the quintessential, “You just haven’t met the right person yet”. I had come into this situation utterly unprepared for opposition, and the argument certainly make me hesitate to come out to people who were substantially older than me. I’ve written in depth about the struggles with my mother’s lack of acceptance in my post “Heartbreak” : https://aceingit.wordpress.com/2017/08/19/heartbreak/. The struggle with my mother continued, slowly chipping away at my enthusiasm to educate the world on asexuality. Unsurprisingly, Coming out to my therapist was initially met with the assumption that I had been sexually assaulted. I assured her that this was not the case, and though she politely listened whenever I brought up my orientation, her facial expression always conveyed that she was skeptical, though she never questioned me.     In my post “Coming Out is Hard to Do” I mentioned my mother thanking me for not coming out to my grandparents, and this was yet another chip in my ever shrinking block of gleeful ace energy. In an aggressive moment of pride, I posted the following picture on Facebook:

coming out cat

I did not let people “have fun”, however, I clarified that I was asexual. The post went largely uncommented upon, but received two likes from cousins of mine, one of whom is a year older than me, the other twenty three years older. The cousin closer to my age was silently supportive, and the older cousin was as well, but only to my face. Talking to my mom, she reassured that I was asexual right now, but might eventually find the mystical “right person” that would turn me straight. At this point, I was simply exasperated. My older cousin had many gay and lesbian friends and was fiercely supportive of them. If she of all people couldn’t find it in herself to be supportive, then I was just wasting my energy. So, I started a blog where I could talk freely about being asexual, and cynically accepted that allosexuals were just narrow minded and apathetic toward anything that didn’t involve shagging. Even if I had essentially given up on coming out to my extended family, I had reached stage 6. my asexuality had long since synthesized into my identity, just one of many important details. It was around this time that I finally realized my homoromanticism.

I progressed through the stages much more slowly when it came to being homoromantic. The first month or so after coming home from (rather ironically) the church mission trip that opened my eyes to this new aspect of myself was spent flip flopping between stages between stages 1,2, and 3. Toward the end of the trip, after realizing the feelings I had for the girl I was friends with weren’t going to go away, I began obsessively Googeling biromanticism and comparing my feelings to others. What I felt for her was unlike anything I had ever experienced, and it was simply impossible for me to deny that there was something there, that this meant something. Arriving home, I aggressively flipflopped between Identity Confusion, Comparison, and Tolerance. I talked off my best friend’s ear about what I had experienced, and she gave me nothing but patience and support. Eventually, I realized that only I could truly decide what this meant for me. I tentatively adopted the label gray- biromantic, and felt more confidant in this when I realized I had a massive crush an adorable barista at my favorite café. The second month that I was home marked my moving solidly into stage 3 and tentatively into stage 4, acceptance. My exhaustion with explaining asexuality lifted ever so slightly, and for my essay writing class, I chose the topic of lesser known identities on the LGBTQIA spectrum for my semester topic. I was a tad astonished at how much enthusiasm my topic was met with, particularly from my professor.  I continued processing my feelings and enthusiastically working on my paper, and by the end of May, just over four months after arriving home, I had moved  tentatively into stage 5, Pride. My professor told me that my paper was one of the best she had read in her teaching career, and commented that she had learned a lot from it. A classmate who read the final draft actually thanked me for letting her read it. She had a friend who identified as asexual, and she’d had no clue how difficult it was to be ace. I left the semester with a ninety nine percent in the class, restored faith in educating people about asexuality, and pride in a newly realized aspect of myself.

Soon, as often happens when one feels on top of the world, life kicked me in the teeth and I fell into a depressive hole. My father was diagnosed with Leukemia, my grandfather had a stroke, and it took Herculean effort to get out of bed each day. My social anxiety grew to become the perfect companion for my depression, and just ordering coffee caused me enough stress that the thought of coming out to extended family and educating them asexuality was enough to give me a small panic attack. I remained quietly, confidently proud of these two aspects of myself, and somewhere around eight months after arriving home, I entered stage 6, identity synthesis, where my homoromanticism was concerned.

In the following year, I experienced numerous crushes – most of them on girls, one on a gender fluid individual – flip-flopped between the labels gray-biromantic, gray-panromantic, and homoromantic, realized just how deeply my desire for a relationship with a woman goes, and settled on the label homoromantic, or ‘gay’ when I’m feeling lazy and don’t want to use big words.

Last week, it was my first time coming out as gay to someone who wasn’t a close friend or a family member. She’s a family friend’s daughter, and my parents and I were at a birthday party for another friend. Naturally, she wanted to hear about my trip to Germany, and on the walk back to my parent’s house, we started talking about everything. Inevitably, the question, “Did you meet any guys in Germany?” came up. I internally groaned and said I’d made a few male friends. Determined to stick to the subject, she asked if I liked dark haired boys or light haired boys, and I said I didn’t know. Her response was, “Oh, that’s so cute! She doesn’t know yet!” I gritted my teeth and resisted the urge to scream. My mom had caught up with us by this point, and quietly urged, “You can tell her, she’s cool with these things.”   I was astonished, but I gathered my courage and muttered, “I like girls.” She didn’t hear me and I repeated myself, louder this time. I was astonished I had actually done it, and a light, free feeling settled over me as Angela said, “That’s okay too.” She went on to say that she was from the bay area, she had bi friends, gay friends, lesbian friends, and that I was safe with her. She gently asked me if there was anyone special, and I honestly replied that there had been crushes, but nothing had stuck. I felt so light, so free, and I couldn’t stop smiling until I got back to my parents’ house.

Once the walk back was complete, my mother had surprised me by saying that she had expected me to tell Angela about being asexual, and asked me if I truly was attracted to girls. I came out to her back in March, after several mini panic attacks and much prayer, and I thought we’d been over this. Oddly, it had taken telling her about my crush on a girl I’d met during a mission trip to get her onboard with me being asexual, and   evidently, she had interpreted my coming out as me saying that I might like girls, not that I definitely did. I essentially came out as homoromantic a second time that night and she hugged me, said that she was afraid for me but that she loved me no matter what.          The next day, the thought that Angela had probably never met an openly ace person hit me. It had been the perfect opportunity, and she would have been the perfect person to talk to about asexuality and the difference between sexual and romantic attraction. I talked about the situation with my mom a couple days later, and she echoed my feelings exactly. Since coming out to her in March about being homoromantic, she has become a huge cheerleader for ace people, and asked me give her any and all books I had on the subject. I asked to read The Invisible Orientation by Julie Sandra Decker, expecting her to just skim it and return it to me a few days later. She took it far more seriously than I anticipated. It took her six weeks to read it, and she shared with me that she laughed, cried, and at times just had to close the book and think through things.

“Why did you ask me to read that book if you’re just going to tell people you’re gay? You’re really doing a disservice for asexual people.” The question was sharp, but it needed to be voiced. As usual, as much as I hate to admit it, my mom was right, and I knew it. She was bluntly telling me what I already knew. Honesty isn’t honesty if it’s only half of the truth. It is far, far easier to tell inquisitive (nosey) people that my lack of attraction to men is because I’m gay, but that isn’t the whole truth. The incident with Angela and the blunt conversation with my mom got me thinking back to my early days of fully embracing my asexuality, when I was utterly unafraid and just wanted to show the world my complete self. Somewhere along the way to where I am now, I became a tad cowardly. I’m in no way trying to put anyone down, if you don’t feel the need to come out as asexual and/or find it too difficult, don’t feel badly. My feelings only apply to myself, and what I feel I need to do – or rather stop doing. It is time for me to stop being afraid of difficult conversations, time for me to stop avoiding talk of relationships at all costs, time for me to stop taking my gayness as an easy route to avoid talking about my aceness. All or nothing. Either I am ashamed of my queerness, or I am proud of it. All of it, my asexuality and my homoromanticism. I am equally asexual and gay, and it is time to be equally proud.

I apologize for the mini novel, I was not planning on this post being so long. Thanks a bunch if you read the whole thing! As usual, I started a Carnival of Aces post late on the last day of the month in question and haven’t finished it until the early hours of the next morning. :/ We’ll see I can actually do a Carnival of Aces post on time next month.

Until next time, here is a delightful, dangerously catchy song concerning ace pride:

 

Be proud of yourself, all of you, and keep ooooooon Aceing It!

 

 

Being A-spec and Christian

I have been putting off writing this post essentially the entire time this blog has been in existence, as this is a topic very close to my heart and I have so, so much to say, more than can be properly conveyed in a single post. The Carnival of Aces for June was hosted by Dating While Ace and dealt with the spectrum of asexuality. One prompt was religious beliefs and experiences as a gray or demi person. Generally speaking, I don’t feel the need to specifically address my place on the asexual spectrum. When first coming to terms with my asexuality, finding a specific place on the spectrum and gluing myself there felt overwhelming, and so I decided not to do it and simply go with saying that I am asexual, which is true – I do not experience direction sexual attraction to anyone, ever. However, I do have a libido and experience arousal that is typically weak, but at times I imagine it is almost on par with what allosexuals experience. Having been raised in a relatively strict Christian household, it was hammered into the my head at home and at church that sex was only something for a man and a woman in the context of marriage, and that it was wrong to even *think* about the act if had to do with anyone but your spouse, and that even included between fictional characters. This type of restriction has caused me a lot of shame, and I’ve thought at many times that unless I kept my frustrating libido on a short, short leash (meaning, deny its existence) I was unworthy of God. When I was fifteen, I was tormented with the desire to fit in, namely to fit into the heterosexual box that society had stuffed me into. I had the incredibly messed up thought that if only I had a boyfriend I was madly attracted to, the depression I had been experiencing for the past two years would be magically cured and I would finally find myself acceptable. So, I read all the erotica I could get my hands on, dabbled in writing it – major clue that I was ace, after a certain point I found it boring and gross – and watched all the movies rated R for sexual content that the internet had to offer for free – yet another clue that I was ace, I never watched pornography in the midst of this because watching real people have real sex was always just too repulsive a thought to me. I was spiritually dead at this point in my life, though I went to church every Sunday with my parents and would tell anyone who asked that I was a Christian. The truth was, I was suppressing some major anger at God over how out of control my life felt, and self harm and attempting to make myself heterosexual were how I was dealing with it. At the back of my head, there was always a bit of guilt and more than a little shame. Looking back, I find it very interesting how closely linked self harm and trying to force heterosexuality on myself were. I identified as straight up until I was eighteen, and I began questioning between the ages of sixteen and seventeen, but even before, I think I knew deep down that there was something different about me, and just as I cut and verbally abused myself every time I was alone in my room and felt like crying – which was much of the time – trying to mold and exaggerate my tiny piece of sexuality became a form of self flagellation. Thank fully, I finally went to therapy and unlearned many of my self destructive behaviors, as well as self soothing techniques that I think will be helpful to me for the rest of my life. While self harm was a big topic in my sessions, I never brought up my feelings of inadequacy in regards to my sexuality, and the things I had done to try and change that. I think I was sixteen the first time I realized that, truly, I didn’t care all that much about sex. I wasn’t repulsed, but I personally had absolutely no desire to engage in it. It was when I was seventeen that I started to think I might be ace, but the imagine of an asexual in my head was a person repulsed by sex who had no desire for anything but strictly platonic relationships with people. To prove my straightness to myself, one night I decided I was going to fantasize about a real person for once. I chose an incredibly charismatic, aesthetically appealing guy from my drama class who 98% of the girls in the class had a crush on – the only girls who weren’t enthralled with him were only interested in other girls. As soon as I imagined the two of us naked and about to go at it, my mind recoiled. It was then that I became one huge ball of confusion in regards to my orientation. Questioning my straightness was what brought me back to God, after so many years of religion and shame. I remember when I was young, I listened to my pastor say that religion was manmade, a set of rules and regulations that served as an exhausting treadmill to run away from sin and toward God, but that when Jesus died on the cross he erased the need for it – that he was the bridge to a relationship with God, and that the way to live a righteous life was to walk with eyes turned upward and ears open. A relationship with God through Jesus was the way to eternal life, and the way to make life on earth worth while. That way of thinking made more sense to me as I got older, and I learned what it truly was to have a relationship with God – to thank Him for beautiful sunsets, to ask Him to be my joy in the midst of dark days, to ask Him to go before me into each day and fill me with His peace that surpasses understanding. My exploring my sexuality helped me find a relationship with Him, in the end. I remember sitting on my seldom used trampoline under the stars, my mind whirling with questions and all the information I had scoured the internet for an asexuality and silently asking my God if I was asexual. Everything inside me was silent for a moment, and then I was flooded with peace, surety, and quite voice saying that I was made this way, and it was nothing to stress over. I asked prayed the same prayer and continued receiving the same answer, and so I began rejoicing. I felt free, everything suddenly made sense. I still felt shame over the bizarre, unattached arousal I experienced, and continued to for quite some time, until one day I prayed a prayer of repentance and was met with not an angry deity ready to smite me, but a loving parent welcoming me into loving arms, saying this was a part of who I am, and that as long as I walk with Him and don’t let my thoughts consume me, I will be perfectly fine. I will admit, this God given part of me is an incredibly annoying, confusing part as nine out of ten times I am romantically attracted to woman and nine out of ten times my pesky libido is awakened by something having to do with a straight couple – though this may just have to do with the ratio of representation that same sex couples receive in media.
I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t ashamed of the more complex aspects of my sexuality, but where religion shames and shackles, my Jesus, my God, set me free. Sadly, the same church that taught me the difference between God and religion has slowly shifted into a place that is piling on religion to justify prejudices, and I no longer feel welcome there. It is one of the most painful things I have ever experienced, but I am slowly in the process of leaving the church I have attended since I was seven years old. Where man brings judgment and exclusion, my God brings healing and acceptance. As long as He holds my hand, I need nothing else.

I suppose the term that best describes my irritating assurances of disconnected arousal is aegosexuality, which is synonymous with autochorissexuality. The below link will provide more info if you’re interested:

https://sexualdisorientation.wordpress.com/tag/autochorissexuality/ v

Well, that was therapeutic and much, much longer than I thought it would be. This was a difficult topic to wirte about, but I’m extremely happy I did, though I know the vulnerability hangout will kick in as soon as I click publish. Oh well, if it provides comfort to one person who has gone or is going through something similar, it’s worth it.
Thanks for reading, until next time,

Keep on Aceing It!