I’m probably the last person to ask about self-acceptance and self-confidence, I’m firmly in the fake it til you make it camp. Because I’m still searching for self-love and overall confidence. However, in the past few years, I have gained insight and curated a few thoughts about how to come into acceptance and confidence. It’s not easy to love yourself in front of others, it’s not easy to ignore judgment that you know is happening. And it’s even harder when the acceptance you’re seeking, the confidence you want to gain; is attached to the acknowledgment of something a lot of people would rather ignore.
My asexuality makes people uncomfortable. Usually, I can see in their faces as they come to regret asking me to explain what it is. I can see the apprehension in their eyes, they don’t want to think about the oddity of someone not being interested in sexual activities. It’s foreign and so far outside the normal societal way of thinking, it makes something inside of them want to change you. Even though your sexuality has nothing to do with them because it’s yours and not theirs. It’s here that self-acceptance takes the hardest blows. When alone, accepting yourself isn’t usually hard. You don’t have to be anything other than who you are, you can simply exist. It’s always when others start to come around and demand differently from you that you suffer.
My mother doesn’t understand me, any part of me. But she especially doesn’t understand my sexuality. It a phase to her because I don’t get out of the house enough. It’s a trend for now because I haven’t met the right person, she hopes that person is a man. It’s a temporary answer to the situation of having to spend most of my time caring for my grandma. It’s any and everything to my mother except for what it really is; my sexuality. She can’t fathom the idea that her daughter doesn’t sometimes crave the touch of a man, that I don’t daydream about falling into bed with the hot guy that gave up his seat for me on the bus. She won’t say it out loud but she’s astounded that I don’t think about women either, she’d take me being a lesbian or bisexual over me being asexual. Even though I most certainly claim bisexuality after my asexuality. To her though, the asexuality will keep from having a normal life.
It’s because of the word normal that so many asexuals can’t accept themselves. We’ve been told that we aren’t normal. And to not be normal is bad. To not remain swimming in the same stream as everyone else, to not even be in the alternative streams is even worse. Asexuality has created a new space for people, a new idea that needs to be accepted. It’s hard to be content in your own stream when others outside of it want that stream to dry up. The idea of a certain kind of normality has been so widely spread among us that breaking out it is proving to be the biggest challenge of some people’s lives. And it shouldn’t be.
I decided about two years ago that I am normal. Everything about me is normal, for me. Which is completely fine. I can’t really explain how I managed it without sounding egotistical, but I’m a very logical person. I deal with feelings, emotions and just about all aspects of my life with logic. It’s comforting to me. So I figured I would apply logic to my sexuality as well. I didn’t just wake up one day and decide to be asexual, the realization came slowly over time. There were a lot of misfires of communication and probably hundreds of journal pages filled with my sloppy handwriting about each day’s experience. Asexuality grew inside of me and taught me about the parts of myself that I had pushed away to keep others happy. I never wanted a boyfriend but ended up with one anyway. I never wanted to have sex but ended up having a lot of it. I don’t like kissing but still, let people kiss me until about seven months ago. For years it’s been me trying to abide by the rules of normality when I’ve always been normal.
For me, issues thrown upon my sexuality run deeper than just people thinking that I’m not normal. There’s the heavy cloud of misogyny that chases after asexuality and the weighted shackles of racism that affect it too. When men see me, they see the way my body is shaped and because they find it attractive they refuse to accept my asexuality. I’ve had men demand to know my every sexual encounter so that they can find the loop that invalidates me. I’ve had males insist that the only possible way I could be like this is because I harbor some deep hurt caused by another man. Any scenario is better to them than the simple concept of not desiring a piece of another person’s body inside of me. And when I explain sex to them in this way, someone else’s flesh inside of a vulnerable place in my body, we’re thrown back to the claim that I’m just not normal. Because after all, sex can’t be viewed from a different perspective other than pleasurable (or bad by circumstance depending on the situation).
If I take away the criticism of those only looking for a place to stick their genitals, then I’m able to look clearly at the criticism of my sexuality that comes from racism. Whether it’s self ingrained racism from a fellow Black person or racism that comes from white people (white asexuals included). Black women are the most sexualized creatures on the planet. We aren’t allowed to be children, our girls are called fast the moment they start breathing, our teenagers are preyed upon by the men that are supposed to protect them and our women are assaulted for simply saying no. My asexuality makes me an even bigger target for those who only want to fetishize me. If they can’t get sex from me then why am I even existing? There’s no way a Black woman doesn’t want to have men all over her, I can’t possibly be against the idea of everyone ogling me whenever they see fit. On the same side of this coin, there’s also the racist Asexuals that I find myself encountering. If I don’t agree with white asexuals need to be oppressed then I’m not really asexual. I can’t find familiarity in never having a crush and I’m firmly against Asexuals being represented by cake. So, therefore, my asexuality is a blanket label for underlying trauma. Or at least that’s what I’ve been told.
My asexuality challenges the notions of different kinds of normal in a way that upsets people because they cannot brush it away as something I’ll get over. Because I have nothing that needs getting over. My perspective gives off the air of self-acceptance and confidence when in reality I’m just trying to let myself experience Asexuality freely. I wish it was as easy as simply saying I accept who I am, but it isn’t. I decided that I would accept myself because I was tired of trying to shape my being to the idea of others. But not everyone can do that, some people need outside validation. And I think they have it the hardest.