Wednesday, June 27, 2012

"Have fun dreaming about male tortoises playing tennis"

At this point you're probably thinking "OK, what on earth is this about? Why are they talking about tortoises playing tennnis?", well replace 'male tortoises' with 'men' and you'll be fine. The reason I'm talking about tortoises playing tennis (or men depending on your level of randomness) is because a year ago today, this sentence literally turned my world upside down, this sentence made me stop and think "s**t this really isn't going away, why can't I just be like everyone else", that is what made me panic and realise that something I had been trying to ignore, pretend was going to disappear with time actually wasn't changing and wasn't going away. In my panic, because that's basically the state I was in, I typed "not attracted to anyone" into my Google search bar, I was absolutely convinced at that point that it was going to come back with results saying that I was ill or a freak, but no; what my search came back with left me stunned.

Here I was, sat in bed at 2 o'clock in the morning reading about asexuality for the first time and the more I read, the more I realised that that was me and there was nothing wrong with me, I was normal, it was like being slapped in the face. Not only that, but when I stumbled across AVEN and started reading other people's stories I reaslised that my feelings were shared by thousands of other people, after that it didn't take me long before I said to myself "I'm asexual".

Although, I identified with asexuality straight away, I had more trouble getting my head around romantic orientations, mainly because our society portrays sex=love which is wrong, they are both separate and only vaguely similar. So I thought that I would be alone all my life because I couldn’t fall in love, which when I thought about it, sounded wrong; I knew I could fall in love, and so that equation sounded wrong to me. After a few days I was able to figure it out, and eventually ended up identifying as panromantic.

As I said in the first paragraph, I always knew that somehow I was different, but I didn't know that it was OK to be that way. When I started high school, the feeling that I was different was somewhat reinforced. I never was attracted to anyone in the way my friends were, they were all starting to be interested in dating and stuff, and I just didn't have any interest and didn't get why some of my friends said to each other "wow, he's hot" (it's even worse when it happens when you're with your Mum). I couldn't see what they found attractive about the people they talked about. Over time I have learnt to see in people what other people find attractive about them, although I couldn't care less about what they look like.

So back to the point: boys and sex didn't interest me, I was even repulsed by sex (I'm better now). My lack of interest led to a lot of name calling and comments, mostly from my Mum, some of which were really hurtful.

These hurtful things were along the lines "you can’t let your past win" or "you can’t let your past ruin your life" "get a grip Gabrielle, you can’t let your past turn you into someone prudish and snob and not talk about sex".(more on this later, or in another post, it’s a sensitive topic, so you shouldn’t have any trouble figuring out what this past is), and you know what? I believed her, I believed that my past was the reason I didn’t feel anything, that I was repulsed by sex, that whenever I saw a sex scene on TV I would have this urge to fast-forward or switch, and if I couldn’t do that I’d sit uncomfortably on the couch waiting for it to pass.

The truth is, I was blinded by my past for so long that it didn’t once cross my mind that what I felt was normal, and was not the result of some childhood experience. I was ashamed of myself for being the way I am.

Discovering asexuality put an end to all those thoughts. It also put an end the worry I had about being a freak or ill. I am now completely comfy and happy about the way I am.

Oh and just on a side note, I mentioned asexuality in an exam today...