I’m learning that my asexual identity is really important to me. It seems to be the one part of my identity that is hardest for me to accept and I spend a large majority of my time on tumblr following ace blogs in an attempt to understand it.
It’s also the one I have the hardest time coming out about. It’s a lot easier for me to come out as gay or queer or genderqueer then it is to talk about my asexuality. I think this has to do with the fact that there isn’t as much visibility about asexuality, so I’m worried about coming out about it because I’m afraid people won’t know what it is. Also since I have yet to meet another ace person face to face, it’s as if I don’t have real world proof that it really exists, so I still doubt myself about the validity of it. Also I’ve had a really bad coming-out-as-ace experience that has scarred me.
A part of me is still mad at myself for not realizing I was gay sooner, and blames my asexuality for it. I feel like a big part of the reason I never realized I was romantically and sensually attracted to girls earlier in life, was because of the fact that I was asexual, and wasn’t sexually attracted to anyone.
There was a post on the tumblr recently by @dontkillbirds that super resonated with me:
YES. For me, realizing I was ace definitely helped me to come to terms with the fact that I love women. Now if only the reverse could apply. I’m becoming much more accepting of the fact that I love women, but I’m still struggling with accepting the fact that I’m asexual.
Person: “Have you dated much since you’ve been here.”
Me: *Shakes head*
Person: Why not? Is it just because you didn’t want to?
I hate that when people ask me about dating or why I haven’t dated much I get super awkward and can barely even utter a verbal response. How do I explain that, no I haven’t “dated” but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been in relationships. And that doesn’t mean I haven’t had my heart broken.
I hate that there is not language to describe the importance of intimate relationships that aren’t romantic or sexual. When you have a friendship or family tie for years that suddenly ends, the pain can be unbearable. More shattering than any break up after a few casual dates.
I’ve dated before. I’ve had a long term “romantic” relationship. I’ve broken up. I’ve been ghosted. I’ve been dumped. I’ve avoided people. And none of those previous endings have been as confusing, miserable, and life shattering as being best friend-dumped.
It’s one thing when friendships naturally drift apart due to time or distance. It’s another when someone you trusted, loved, and spent a significant amount of your time with suddenly stops talking to you. And then on top of that you still have to deal with the fear of running into them on a daily basis.
I remember telling a close friend that I’d lost a friend. She tried to comfort me by saying,
“It’s like you got dumped, but you didn’t even get to make out.”
Those words cut through me like a knife. As if making out was directly correlated with how much you love someone. As if because we didn’t make out, our relationship was less significant and my pain was less valid.
I spent months blaming myself for not getting over this friendship faster. For not moving on. Blaming myself for not being able to talk about it. It’s not my fault.
It’s not my fault that I’m still traumatized by being cut off. It’s not my fault that I still have panic attacks when I think about this person I used to love. It’s not my fault that they decided to leave me. And it’s not my fault that we never even “dated,” but I’m still devastated.
The first person I ever came out to besides my therapist completely stopped talking to me.
To be fair, there were other parts of the conversation that explain why she was upset. But that doesn’t change the fact that it felt like I was being friend dumped because I was gay.
After some clarifying emails and declarations that she could no longer be the same friend to me and had moved on, I learned that she didn’t even realize I was gay from that initial conversation.
Apparently she heard “asexual and biromantic” and didn’t realize that was my “coming out.” Apparently she didn’t realize that meant I was “gay.”
Um— this is why labels are important and why awareness about other ways to identify are essential. I didn’t come out as “gay” because I didn’t identify with that specific descriptor at the time. But because my friend didn’t hear that magic word. She had no context for the significance of what was being shared.
I felt blamed for not coming out clearly enough. Almost as if it was my fault for not spelling out more clearly that I was capital G-A-Y. And maybe if I had there wouldn’t have been as big of a misunderstanding and she could have sympathized more.
I know people always say it’s better to not have someone in your life that can’t completely accept you for who you are. But that doesn’t change the fact that it hurts to have someone you used to love reject you.
I guess the bright side is now I can finally move past the bargaining stage of grief onto anger.