Last year, I wrote an article affirming my identity as asexual and bi/panromantic. I included the perpetual onslaught of moments in my life where I was directly or indirectly made to feel that there was something inherently wrong with me. I included these moments to combat them, to strongly state that I am right in all my identities and that accepting myself has been a form of empowerment in my life. This year, as Asexual Awareness Week wraps up again, I am writing to express that I still ardently wish to feel this acceptance and for everyone living and surviving stigmatized identities to feel this acceptance. I am also writing to make clear that reaching those conclusions of affirmation does not mean that I do not continue to feel wrong, that I do not still feel broken within this society that expects me to be a certain way and to play a certain role. This is an article on the raw fears and doubts that may always be woven into the fabric of my self acceptance.
Because it is that moment when your friend is incredulous as you tell them you identify as asexual and they make an offhand comment on your lack of sex.
It is when you read others’ experiences on being asexual and feel a connection to the positivity in their recollections but also cannot help but be overcome by the words expressing deep insecurities of things not working out.
It is when you know that you want different things in a relationship than the person you want to be with and can’t wipe out the feeling that it can never work out. That you will never love someone in the same way they love you so you subconsciously/very consciously push them away. That you are not enough.
It is when you forget that you are supposed to always accept yourself unconditionally and that you are not the problem. It is when you start to think of how much easier it would be if you were different, if you were like everyone else.
It is feeling the internalized homophobia lurking, becoming stronger and more present when you find a woman attractive.
It is dancing around coming out to a new friend as they have to inadvertently pry the information from you with three subsequent questions when you tell them you have to stay on campus for four hours after class (What for?) to go to a meeting (Oh! What’s the meeting about?) for the newsmagazine (Oh cool, is it La Gente?), the queer newsmagazine, that you write for.
It is the uncertainty of where to draw the lines between romantic and platonic because you have always been told that romantic is binded to sexual attraction such that the lines between strong platonic feelings and romantic ones oftentimes blur and you fear initiating a relationship on terms that you cannot carry out but later feel the fringes of regret of paths not taken.
It is all of these things, all of these moments that drag me down to a place that I sometimes cannot and do not want to try to climb back out of.
But it is also seeing a friend who disappointed you with their reaction after you came out to them, liking and reading your very personal article on asexuality on Facebook.
Because it is talking to your friend about your worries surrounding relationships and asexuality and their current worries and the work they put into their relationship giving you a sense of hope from tangible evidence that it can work out.
It is your friend asking you about asexuality because they feel they may be aromantic.
It is accepting the reality that there is stigma trapped in your lungs from years of breathing in popular media and popular notions of what is a normal sexuality and working to scrape away at the built up residue in order to build a home of your own on your terms and boundaries.
It is being okay with not being okay. It is knowing that you will continue to have these pitfalls, these setbacks, these feelings of brokenness, unworthiness, of discomfort in your own skin. It is vowing to yourself to continue to fight but also letting yourself fall prey to the negative feelings because strength is not hiding the negative realities of your experiences or always fronting to save face. It is what you make it out to be with every day that you survive no matter how low you feel you have gotten.
It is knowing you are on this journey of acceptance and denial, of self love and self hatred, of positivity and negativity with all the other people facing similar life obstacles that you are and wanting to believe that you will be okay. Sometimes I believe that things will be okay and sometimes I don’t. I want anyone reading this to know that I am often not alright and I am with everyone who cannot will the negative thoughts away. I am with you in that pit where we will destroy and rebuild our homes into places of love fit for ourselves and for the dynamic differences of the identities of those we share the world with.