Losing myself…

We were all lazing around the resort pool on a hot tropical afternoon. I was a bit bored and remembered that someone I know, who was on the trip, used to brag about her “gaydar”. So I went up and asked her to guess me. I wasn’t that interested in the label, I just wanted to see if she actually read my posts.

“Kath,” she replied, “you’re not going to like this but I see you as being lost, lonely, and desperately looking for labels.”

I was simultaneously shocked and angry. Shocked that she could think such a thing and angry that she paid that little attention to my life. I’ve been identifying as an asexual for around four years now and panromantic for almost as long. I never mention it anymore because the label gets too long but I’m still demiromantic too. We have to be friends for me to be interested in a relationship. The last four people have been friends. I’ve only ever mentioned two of them though.

A little while ago someone who’s very close to me told me several things, all having to do with “the old me”.

“These days you put yourself in so many tiny boxes. The old you wouldn’t do that.” and so on. I’m assuming the boxes are sexual orientations.

Most of the conversation washed past with the “the old you” comments stinging like a wasp’s bite. I know I’m not the same as the old me. I have memories, both my own and on Facebook. I know I could do a lot more before my breakdown. I didn’t need daily naps and didn’t go to bed at 8pm. I didn’t struggle with making simple meals. I used to meal prep on Sunday, something I think I posted recently, and had no problem doing so even though it took most of the day.

Being told I’m not the same as the old me makes me feel like the new me is an inferior copy, one that can never succeed.

It’s noon on Monday and I’m still in my pjs. I’ll get dressed soon but will likely pass lunch because there’s nothing I can think of that I want to eat. It’s okay because I’m not hungry anyway.

I try my hardest to be a good and decent person. I hold doors open for people, smile and hold a cheery (albeit brief) conversation in the elevator. I always make a point to smile and say “hi” to the homeless people downtown and give any food I have, which is usually my own lunch. I support people on Facebook, helping talking them down from suicide sometimes, giving relationship advice (mostly how to tell if it’s abusive). I’m not qualified for either but somehow I’ve fumbled through and helped. And all of that feels inadequate because I’m not working 40 hours a week anymore then coming home to cook from scratch. I’ve always tried my hardest, it’s just that my apparently my hardest isn’t good enough anymore. And I don’t know what to do about it. I can’t go back to my old me. She’s gone now and I have no way of bringing her back.

It’s now 1pm. I’m up and dressed and even fielded a phone call from a Facebook friend of mine. I’ve even made my bed. So now’s the time to wash the handful of dishes in the kitchen and take a nap. I’m going downtown this evening to support having a rainbow crosswalk (or two). I don’t want to leave this post on a down note so here’s a song I sang while my friends and I sang karaoke. My apologies for the couple of flat notes in the beginning and I don’t have a clue where that half a line went. But it does get better, hopefully just like me.

 

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Being you…

Recently I was told by someone (who really doesn’t know me well) that I’m lost, confused, and desperately searching for labels… and I want to tell you this. You are not lost when you have found a label for yourself, no matter if it’s relatively rare or majorly common, as long as it fits and feels comfortable.

You are not confused when you’ve found a label you’re certain of. You’re not confused even if you aren’t quite sure. You’re allowed to question things about yourself and your identity. You’re allowed to be a work in progress.

You can search for a label, or labels, that fit. It’s important that your label doesn’t pinch or chafe your identity and that it gives you space to grow into yourself. It doesn’t matter if you change your label three, four, or ten times in your quest to find something that fits just right. It’s alright to search.

You can have more than one label too. Remember, a rainbow has more than one colour and looks amazing as it is. Rock those labels! Honestly, I’m a demi-romantic, pan-romantic asexual. You don’t need to be just one.

You are the only one who knows your gender or sexual orientation. No one else can guess or decide for you. It doesn’t matter what they think, how good their “gaydar” is, how closely related they are, or who you dated in the past. It’s your life and your identity. They need to work on their own instead.

It doesn’t matter if your label is “rare”. It’s not a sign you want to be “different”, it’s just who you are. And you’re amazing just the way you are!

You’re allowed to go at your own pace. You’re allowed to fit in and to stand out. You’re allowed to just be yourself, as multifaceted and colourful as you choose. Let your own inner voice be your guide.

work in progress

If you know who made this, let me know and I’ll credit them. Thanks!

Defining sexual orientation…

C: Not a person alive hasn’t felt at some point even if it was brief and fleeting some sort of carnal sexual attraction to another person male or female.

Me: *asexual here* no brief or fleeting carnal sexual attraction.

R: But you have two kids….so….

No! Just plain no! Our pasts do not define our sexual orientation (or gender for that matter). Gay men can have ex-wives, lesbians can share custody with ex-husbands, and asexuals can have children. We are all people, with complicated thoughts and behaviours. Our pasts do not define us.

Sexual orientation is not a simple switch; flick one way for straight, the other for gay, the middle for bi. It’s a broad spectrum with a variety of sexual attractions, intensities, and genders. And it’s not always easy to define.

I know of one lesbian who’s happily married to a man. She (with much confusion) loves him deeply and freely admits he’s the only man she’s ever loved or even been interested in. Meanwhile she’s loved several women and would go back to only dating women if anything happened to their relationship. He’s an anomaly in an otherwise lesbian existence and, as much as she loves him, she feels erased of her identity.

Bisexuals and pansexuals exist and remain existing no matter who they’re with at the time.You can be mostly interested in men and only slightly in women (or vice versa) and still be bi. Plus, despite the name, bisexuals can be interested in more than two genders as well. Which overlaps with pansexuals but, hey, sharing is caring.

You can be asexual and have children. You can be asexual with sexual partners. You can be asexual and enjoy sex. The only definition for asexual is a lack of sexual attraction and, even that gets blurred in the case of grey-aces.

In my case, I had no idea asexuality existed. I figured I was broken and spent years trying to fix myself… right up to and including marriage. I wanted children and sex is one easy way to get them, which I did. I joke I built them from scratch. Now that I know asexuality exists and I’m not broken, I’d rather stick with hugging and cuddling.

We all exist on a tapestry of sexuality and it’s no one’s decision except ours as to what thread we chose to weave with. My thread is iridescent, which doesn’t exactly fit in but it’s certainly not extraneous. I think it makes the tapestry look fabulous.

Falling into autumn…

I walked home from the hospital under a canopy of new leaves. Now those leaves are reawakening in hues of scarlet and gold and I’m finding myself curiously adrift. I’d never planned on being alive this long and am at a loss on what to do next.

If my life was a jigsaw puzzle, the pieces would be in mid air, falling out of a featureless box. Each piece an unknown, tumbling down to who knows where.

I’ve applied for disability and have been told they routinely turn people down. But Canadian Mental Health Association will help me appeal when (if) that happens. Jeremy and I are on waiting lists for subsidized apartments… that we’ll get some year. Maybe two years… maybe four? And I’m writing away at novels with no real idea of how to get published.

two-years

I’m watching Jeremy transform into someone I love but don’t always know. They alternate between endearingly sweet and incredibly annoying and lately act traditionally masculine.

“I don’t want to go to PFLAG tonight. As a straight, white male I don’t feel comfortable there.” Jeremy informed me.

It doesn’t happen much but they left me speechless.

“Umm, I thought you were agender,” I commented after a few seconds. Jeremy snorted.

“Mo-om… that was three weeks ago!”

We have potatoes older than that and besides…

“It was yesterday,” I pointed out and they sighed.

“Well I don’t believe in gender and don’t feel like I’m a gender but if I had to choose between male and female I’d pick male.”

Clear as mud?

“You acted and felt more female than male not that long ago.”

Jeremy nodded. “I know. I felt like that then and maybe I’ll change again. I just don’t know.”

“And straight? What happened to ‘hearts instead of parts'” I asked.

Jeremy looked incredibly uncomfortable. “Don’t worry about it,” I said honestly. “Sexual orientation is hard.” They nodded and dropped the conversation so fast.

The ironic part is we actually talked about equal rights that night at PFLAG and how men’s rights need to be worked on too, which they would have loved. I reminded Jeremy that I missed a meeting on relieving anxiety because I was too anxious to go. Stuff happens and sometimes it’s as ironic as fuck.

The pieces of me changed this spring and they haven’t finished falling yet. So far all I know is that I’m different and there’s going to be a heck of a lot more glitter. Jeremy will have to sort themselves out on their own. I’m willing to bet on a fair bit of glitter and strands of coloured lights there too.