When I was in the 3rd grade, a girl in my class asked me if I knew that the boys talked about me on the playground. I didn’t, because I spent most of my recess jumping rope with my friends. What the boys had to say about me wasn’t important at that time. Until suddenly it was. The girl, I remember her name started with a K, told me that the boys were always talking about how big my butt was. It made her mad because one of the boys she liked was always the leader of the discussion. He liked me, which in turn meant that she had to dislike me and make it known.
I remember that day vividly. I remember the pink shirt K was wearing, I remember the gold hoop earrings she had in and I remember burning my hands with the water in the sink because I was so shocked by the knowledge that my butt was a regular thing to talk about amount my male classmates. I was shocked and embarrassed and spent the rest of the day making up excuses to stay in the bathroom. Every day after that I spent a good portion of the mornings before school trying to make sure all my shirts were long enough to hang down over me.
The same things happened in middle school and only got worse in high school. Everyone always had something to say about my body. Never about me, as a person, always about how big my butt was. There was no “Danyi you’re really good at jumping rope or writing stories” it was “Danyi your ass is fat as hell” and someone always had to try and touch it. In college I tried for a few months to just go with it, dance with whoever wanted to, let whoever grab and squeeze. Everyone around me hyped my ass up, I should too right?
It was my second year of college, the seventh year with my boyfriend and a few months before we were to break up; we had an argument and he told me that the only reason he was with me was that my ass was fat. I’ve told this story before in other articles but it’s important to tell it in this one too. When he said that to me, I remember how I literally froze in place. My mind stopped all thoughts, everything inside of me and outside came to a halt. The humiliation and embarrassment I felt then can still make me squirm today. Just thinking about it makes my stomach turn. But it happened and it affected me. After that argument, I stopped eating and let myself lose weight. So my butt would get smaller and people would stop paying attention to me. It kinda worked, my ass did get smaller but the attention didn’t stop. Those didn’t know me before say my ass is still nice, those who did say I can easily get it back. No one seems to realize though, the focus is still on my ass and not me.
When it comes to my asexuality I often wonder if these events are a contributing factor to it. I can’t help but entertain the idea that the hypersexualization of my body from such a young age plays a huge part in my being uncomfortable with sexual situations. I was eight years old when my body began being sexualized by others. Wasn’t even a decade old before I was put in the same sentences as the word sexy. Didn’t have the chance to experience my first kiss before someone was telling all the things they wanted to do to me sexually. In a sense, my sexual development was backward. The older I got though, I learned that it’s this way for most women.
I haven’t spoken to one woman yet who doesn’t have some kind of negative sexual story. A young negative sexual story at that. We all have, in some way, been hurt sexually. And it sucks. It’s confusing and it makes for an even harder time when we find ourselves wanting to be sexual in a healthy way. I’m still firmly on the nonsexual Ace side of things but I do imagine a time in my life where that could change. I do imagine a person not pressuring me in any kind of way. I imagine a lot what it would be like to have a connection with someone that doesn’t have to touch sexuality but still can if we like it to. The problem is though that I have to imagine this, it’s not real life for me. It’s not something I can actively say I’ve seen around me. It’s definitely not the way my asexuality is percieved.
In the past few months, I’ve been having a hard time with my asexuality. Which is why I haven’t written nearly as much about it as I did last year. My Aceness is vastly different from others that I’ve come across. I wrote about it, in my Ace Discourse article. I got a lot of backlash for my statement that the Discourse is for white Asexuals. Black and Brown Aces have no place there because what white Aces consider oppression is very rarely a blip on the actual oppression radar. However, my article wasn’t taken seriously by white Aces because acknowledging that you still have privilege when you’re hellbent on being oppressed is not a trick they have learned yet. They probably never will. Anyways, I say all this to point out my confusion with being Ace because I’m not sure if I can place a point of origin to my Asexuality. I don’t know when it started. On a surface level, it seems like one day I was fine with sex and with having it and then one day I wasn’t. Like a switch had been flipped in my brain. Part of me thinks it might have started that day in the bathroom when I was in the third grade. Other parts think it started when sex with my ex went from fun and great to painful and traumatizing. I’ve also spent countless hours debating with myself that I’m not actually asexual and the way I feel isn’t valid.
Even though I’m aware the last part isn’t true, I can trace why I feel that way back to a root. I know where my doubt about being truly asexual comes from. It comes from the Black community around me. It comes from the way Black girls are hyped up and sexualized from a young age until the day we die. It comes from the fact that all Black women are seen as sexual creatures first and human beings second. As much pushback as I get from white Aces, it’s nowhere near what I get from fellow Black people. I understand the initial reaction is to dismiss me, even make fun because they don’t think I’m being serious but it’s something that should be discussed. The way Black people are hesitant to accept any sexuality that isn’t heteronormative. We say we accept gays and lesbians but we really don’t, they still feel the judgment and are still shunned. They still die. So while we struggle as a community to accept even the first two letters in LGBT, it’s not hard to see that accepting things such as Trans, Bisexual, Asexual and all the other terms that fall under the umbrella of the acronym are a long way away.
I don’t exactly blame the Black community. We could do better absolutely, but how are those who need to be more accepting supposed to be when we as a community are barely accepted. Racism runs rampant out in the open again. A Black person can be shot for holding their cell phone, for walking home at night, for literally just existing. I can see why we struggle to give acceptance when we barely get any. It doesn’t excuse inner bigotry, I’ll cuss out a Black person being disrespectful about my sexuality just as well as I will anyone else. I just might take longer to do it or give them more chances to switch up their tune before I do it.
I hate hypersexualization. Completely and totally hate it. There is no way to get my blood boiling faster these days. It’s been a part of my life since elementary school and no matter what I do to myself, no matter how I change or adapt, I cannot escape it. The feeling of being seen sexually follows me like a loyal dog, it’s turning me into a cat person. I want out of it, I want to never be looked at in a sexual way again. Because I don’t really know what it’s like to not be. That part of childhood was skipped when it was my turn and I don’t know if I’ll ever be over it.
At least for now, I’ll just keep writing about it.