This one is for those of you who are newly discovering the term Asexual. These are all the things I needed to hear/read when I was first coming to terms with this part of me. I hope they help you. To the Aces reading this who already know this part of them, feel free to leave your kind words of wisdom in the comments section.
Welcome! Kick your shoes off and stay awhile. You’re safe, we’ve got you. Psssttt…Ace is the slang word most (but not all) Asexual people use as a more general identifier (explained more in Welcome to the Ace Umbrella). It also sounds very cool, which you are.
I imagine you’re a little scared at the moment, thinking something is definitely 100% absotively posolutely wrong with you and that you are a freak of nature. That you are less than because you feel, or rather don’t feel, attraction (romantic or sexual) or not “enough” of it. To be sexual/romantic is to be human, isn’t that what we’re taught? You feel like there’s something broken inside you because…well…there has to be and you must be unlovable! Maybe it’s medical? Maybe I’m going crazy? This is all consuming and so much!! What??
First off – this is a normal feeling when you realize that you aren’t within the societal norms. I sincerely wish that it wasn’t this way and that people could just do what makes them happy, be who makes them happy and love who they want, but that’s society. Is it getting better? It did for a few years, but now it’s really not getting better. I’m not a member of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community beyond Q and A (yes, I did question if I was potentially Bi before I came across Asexual, which it turns out is pretty normal for Aces), but my own experience coming out was still pretty tough (see The Challenges of Being Asexual in Canada and What it’s like to be an Ace Community Leader). Sad to say, people are still very ignorant/uneducated about what Asexual means. A LOT of people (including those in the 2SLGBTQIA+ community) dismiss it as a “cry for attention” or “having a chemical imbalance”. Some of these people will also unfortunately be people that you know and probably trusted to share such a big revelation with. They will make you question yourself even though you know who you are, and this may make you want to bury it instead of embracing it. I’m sorry.
Second off – Ignore them. You ARE a human being. You are a perfectly imperfect wonderful human being. In terms of being Asexual/Ace, there’s nothing wrong with you (I can’t comment on the other parts of your life)! You’re likely this wonderful mixed up human being just doing your damndest to get through each day and thrive – not just survive! Look at you go! You’re doing amazing things and you make the world a better place. People are better off because of you in their life. You add something unique to this world all on your own. Keep going, please keep going! You are enough, more than enough!
Want to hear my favourite anecdote for what it means to be Ace? Here’s what I use to describe it (feel free to use and adapt as needed): See that person over there (take your pic of attractive people). When I see them, I only see them as a person, and perhaps they are aesthetically pleasing (I’ve certainly thought, “damn, they’re fine”). Maybe I want to talk with them, but I don’t look at someone and think, “Hot damn, I need/want to get into their pants.” The conversation is happening because I’m interested in talking to them or having a romantic relationship, not sexual, and not with the intent of hitting on them or trying to go any further. I am still worthy of love, and platonic love interests me the most. It isn’t a choice or learned after so many years single; I was born this way.
I would be a good supporter if I didn’t also add in that it’s OK to get a hand with this. This is a lot of information to process and it is life-altering, even when it feels affirming. If you need a hand (we all do sometimes):
- Kids Help Phone (for those 18 and under): www.kidshelphone.ca or 1-800-668-6868.
- Good2Talk (for those in post-secondary school): www.good2talk.ca or 1-866-925-5454.
- Mental Health Helpline: http://www.mentalhealthhelpline.ca/ or 1-866-531-2600.
- Canadian Forces Member Assistance Program: http://www.forces.gc.ca/en/caf-community-health-services/mental-health-resources.page or 1-800-268-7708.
- Open Line Open Mind (a.k.a. 310-OPEN, a part of Quinte Health Care): www.openlineopenmind.ca or 613-310-6736.
- Canadian Mental Health-Related Organizations and Resources in your community.
- If you can’t access these or live in an area without a mental health crisis centre, and you need help, talk to your doctor. If it’s an emergency, go to the nearest hospital. Please!
Much love to you, dear Ace. I’m in your corner.