Originally posted on Tumblr but reposted here for archiving. Please note that my views may have changed since this was first written.
I know, I know. It’s a boring title. I’m a bit overdone creativity-wise at the moment. Under the cut because I rambled as usual.
So I was going to make a post about my romantic orientation and figuring it out (you might or might not remember my little rant about my earlier confusion), and as I was writing it in my head as I usually do, I used the phrase ‘cautiously’.
Cautiously. What does that even mean? Why am I cautiously identifying with something? I’ve been part of the ace community for a good while now; I’m used to the ‘only you can decide’, ‘being wrong/changing doesn’t invalidate your previous identity’ rhetoric. I know that I’m not going to be cast out of the community for finding that a different term fits me, and since the aromantic community has a lot in common with the ace community (in that many of the people currently identifying as aro know about it because they’re ace as well and so the communities merge a bit, not because they’re the same thing), chances are I wouldn’t be hated by the aro community for realising that I was wrong.
So why did I instinctively want to write ‘I’m cautiously identifying as demi/greyromantic’?
I think maybe it’s to do, in some ways, with the whole ‘special snowflake’ thing.
There are days when being asexual is weird as anything, simply because I’ve spent my entire life believing that I was the same as the rest of the world. I mentioned in the tags a week or two ago that I found out someone I knew was asexual, and apart from being super cool (though I haven’t yet broached the topic with her), it was also kind of like a pull back into reality because she’s asexual. She’s asexual, and chances are, the rest of that group of friends she’s from aren’t. People I love and talk to about everything feel something that this society holds in such high esteem and I don’t. It doesn’t stop them from being my friends or from being super cool but holy cow, it’s weird. It’s like finding out that the rest of the world thinks the sky looks green, or something. And you didn’t notice at first, but once you’ve found out the entire world thinks the sky is green, you just can’t get away from it. The rest of the world thinks the sky is green? Oh my gosh, she mentioned the colour of the sky! How did I never notice?
It feels like being a bit outside of the world – especially when you add all the asexual theories of attraction, sex positivity, etc. You’ve probably seen that post about getting off the internet and realising how straight the rest of the world is – that makes so much sense to me, sometimes. Which is silly; I’m mentally marginalising myself because of something that I couldn’t give a fuck (pun intended) about.
That’s where the ‘special snowflake’ thing comes in, I think. I’m pretty much entirely certain of my asexuality at this point, and even if I weren’t asexual I’d still be sex-repulsed and therefore would probably be celibate, so I feel like I’m almost allowed to feel weird when it comes to sex. When it comes to my romantic orientation, though, it’s not quite as set in stone, and so doubts start to creep in. I start wondering if I’m just being silly and over-analysing things because surely I can’t be that different from the rest of the world, right? I can’t have had such different experiences from what is pretty much the entirety of the rest of the world and have not noticed earlier in life. Besides, I can’t be aromantic spectrum; from the age of maybe ten to about fifteen I was obsessed with having a boyfriend. And I honestly do mean obsessed. Clearly my moody teenage brain is just feeling ostracised and wants another reason to feel that way because one just isn’t enough. I’ve got some sort of martyr complex and am just finding new words to tack onto myself to make me ‘special’, just like rude internet folks always say.
You know what? To Hell with that line of thinking. I don’t want to ‘cautiously’ identify anymore, because that’ll just lead me down a road of denial that is a major diversion from the path that is my life. The more I find out about limerence and squishes and romantic attraction as a social construct and just a big ball of confusion, the more I think that yes, I have been wrong about pretty much everything about myself. But is that really a surprise to me? No, not really. I’ve been wrong about a lot of things that I felt and believed simply because of the society I was brought up in. Now that I’ve realised that, I deserve to believe in myself as an individual and start learning to navigate the obstacles this fucked-up society has left in my way.
My name’s Mara, and I very proudly identify as an aro-spectrum asexual.