So I am not here to talk about books, today.
Today I’m telling a story of my own. Because I finally feel like I’m in the right place to tell it.
PLEASE NOTE: This post will include non-graphic discussion of sexual and emotional abuse. I fully understand if, on account of this, you don’t wish to continue reading. Please take care of yourself first and foremost.
With that said, let’s get a bit real in here.
When I was seventeen years old, I met someone that a ‘friend’ at the time thought I’d get along with. He seemed all right and I trusted her then, so I went with it. We ended up in a relationship. Even then I’d been starting to question my sexuality, but at that point it didn’t seem like anything worth questioning too hard.
I did bring it up with him. Once. By that point, I was pretty sure I was bisexual. (And yes, I had some help from that friend I mentioned to figure this out.) If I recall, he claimed to be cool with it, so long as I never cheated on him.
That sounds perfectly reasonable at first, doesn’t it. I certainly thought so at the time.
Fast forward a few years, and we were living together. It had been that long since I’d given my sexuality any more thought at all. (Subconscious Me would have many more opinions, but that’s a retrospective observation.)
All of my friends were his friends, including the one who’d introduced us. Soon we’d be having arguments that would leave me in tears, about exactly what counted as ‘being friendly’ versus ‘flirting with his mates’. Apparently things like having a spirited discussion about books we’d both read counted as ignoring him all night long. Guess who apologised for that one first.
Yeah, I know.
Sex was … something we had? I guess. I mean, I never ran screaming. It just didn’t drive me the way it seemed to do for him. Pretty soon, though, I was being accused of not being interested any more.
I’ll let you guess which area of (dis)interest concerned him the most.
Remember, I’d just about accepted that any sense of non-straightness had been set aside as A Phase years ago. Subconscious Me would have been screaming by that point, and I might have listened harder if those old friends Depression and Anxiety weren’t hogging all the mental attention. Because I was being told, damn near every single day, whether behind closed doors or through ‘jokes’ with ‘our’ friends that there had to be something wrong with me. And for the record, yes – when they didn’t laugh, they just straight up agreed. They were concerned; what was going on with me? What really was wrong?
Turns out, I really was not terribly interested in having that sort of relationship, and not because I was “frigid” or “holding back” or because I “didn’t care”. I was – I am – asexual.
And it would be about six more years after that absolute trash fire of a relationship finally ended before I figured that out. That relationship lasted ten years.
Ten of my most formative years, that I should have been able to spend figuring out who and what I was, and I can’t ever get them back.
If that seems like it upsets me, it did. If it seems like it makes me angry, trust me – it makes me furious.
Cut to today, and things are better. I’ve got friends for life that I found on my own, that I would walk through fire for and that I know would do the same for me. We chat, we discuss, we enthuse, we vent feelings, we rage at the world, we share. I’m not afraid to be honest with them.
I’ve been out to them for a while, in order to start figuring out all the things about myself I didn’t get to examine or explore during those ten years. It hardly feels like I’m even the same person I used to be.
I am, though. That’s the thing. You might be broken down into more pieces by life than you think you’ll ever be able to put back together, and maybe it’s fine and good if some of those pieces just get left where they lie, but for real – you’ll be finding little shards and fragments in the most unlikely moments and places for the rest of your life. Or so I’ve found, so far. And I’ve come to terms with that, finally. Because I could never be me, now, without me, then. And I might always be angry about that, no matter how much better off I am now. Because why shouldn’t I be?
But it got better. It got so much better. And that helps to keep me going more than I can ever put into words, even while I’m putting this into words.
I’m not fucking frigid. I care with my whole heart, when *I* decide to give it to you. I just don’t want to do it with certain parts of my body. And that’s OK. I can live with that. I can be happy with that. And I am, finally.
I’m asexual. I’m probably still at least a little bit bi, too.
(More like definitely, actually. I may not particularly want people of any gender touching me, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still find people attractive. As a dear friend recently – very neatly – put it, “no touch, only love”. It’s a sentiment I am fully on board with.)
I’m queer. As far as I’m concerned, this means I get to love more people in more ways than I used to think were possible. And that is awesome.