asexual · asexuality · black girl blogs · black women

Hyped Too Early

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.

-Danyi

 

 

 

asexuality · black girl blogs · black women

Love, Dating, and Asexuality

I have never been on a date.

In my 25 years of life, not once has another person planned out a night in detail where we would spend time together alone. Not once. Even though I was in a relationship for 6 years. It was a hard relationship with lots of abuse and manipulation but one thing I’ll always remember about it was that he never took me on a date. Whether it was because we were still young and he didn’t know how to properly plan one, or because he just didn’t think I was worth it. I don’t know and I’ll never ask him. But we never went on one. I haven’t been in a relationship since him but there have been other people that I’ve connected with. I never went on dates with those people either. It just wasn’t something people wanted to do with me.

When I started identifying as Asexual, the idea of dating was pushed to the deepest darkest part of my mind and left there. I didn’t want to date anyone. I wasn’t really interested in being “in love” and I most certainly didn’t want romance from anyone. I still don’t want those things, but back then I used the label of asexuality to justify my way of thinking. That’s not what Asexuality is, and I soon learned this but I still hid behind it. It was easier that way.

Online I see many asexuals who do want to date and have romance and find love. And that interests me, in more ways than one. I don’t have those wants and desires anymore but I’ve always found the idea of human connection on a romantic and sexual level fascinating. We’re told that humans crave companionship and while I don’t really believe that, I see it being proven true more and more every day. I watch my fellow Aces as they struggle with dating and connecting with others, I watch as they recount the endless stories of how relationships ended before they could even get started. Once asexuality was brought to the discussion, many of my fellow Aces have similar stories of how they were turned away or shunned. It hurts them and in turn, makes me feel some kind of way. I’ve always found it strange the way society pushes sex and all acts of it down our throats. The way we’re conditioned to believe that sex is the most important reason for wanting to have a relationship with someone. People get into relationships for sex; sure they’re also looking for love and a life long partner but sex is usually the center of all relationships. If the sexual chemistry isn’t there, then the relationship falls apart. Or at least that’s what we’ve been trained to believe all our lives.

Sex is cool, for the most part. I never really liked it even before my assault, but I understand why people enjoy it so much. It’s not something I think I’ll ever really be into again and because of this, my perspective on sex and the way it controls romantic relationships is different from most people. In a sense, I’ve removed myself from the equation that makes up the possibility of having sex with someone else. I tell people I’ve turned that part of my brain off and though that’s not quite accurate (Let alone even possible?) it’s the best way I can describe it. And I had to come up with a way to describe it because when you tell someone that you aren’t into sex, they take that as permission to start asking invasive and personal questions. I learned to shut down those questions by letting people know the way I view sex and the way they view sex is very different. It’s important to most of the people I talk to, so important that they can’t fathom the idea of having a relationship without it. These days, I can’t fathom the idea of having a relationship where sex is so important our connection hinges on it. Perspective is obviously a very important tool to have.

In previous articles, I’ve talked a lot about the hyper-sexualization of Black women and the kind of trauma it can have on us. It’s something that I’d really like to dismantle in our society but with the way sex, in general, is such a big part of our beings as humans, the only thing I can really do is study hypersexualization and combat it as much as others are willing to listen. For me, hypersexualization plays a very big part in Black dating. No matter the sexual orientations of the people in the relationships. When two Black People get together one of the first things that people bring up, to their faces or behind their backs depends on the situation, is what their sex life must be like. In high school, I had only been with my boyfriend for a week or so before other girls were coming up to me asking what sex with him was like. My younger cousins just got her first boyfriend last fall, the first thing her friends and people older than her were asking? What was the sex like? She’s only sixteen, and it nearly made me irate that she was being asked that. But then I remembered, I was sixteen when people started asking me.

Nearly everything Black people do gets sexualized, little girls running around in diapers are called fast and boy toddlers that play with girl toddlers are asked frequently if the little girl is their girlfriend. As if everyone wouldn’t lose their minds if the toddlers started kissing and acting as if they were in an actual relationship. However, as we get older it gets worse and more obvious. Black girls are never given the chance to be little, we are preyed upon and ignored when we bring it up. Black preteen and teenage boys are forced into sexual situations that many aren’t ready for and learn to take pride in mistreating girls and women because their older brothers, uncles, and daddies praise them for it. As adults, Black women with any kind of shape are viewed through a sexual lens and a sexual lens only, they can be the smartest person in the room and will still only be asked for their number. When a Black woman doesn’t have a shape she gets ridiculed and mocked for it, I’ve watched many petite Black women nearly lose themselves trying to mold their body to a shape it wasn’t meant to be. So that they can get the same attention other Black women are receiving, even when these women speak out about not wanting it. On the other side, Black men face their own hyper-sexualization. If they’re tall and big then it’s assumed they’re aggressive in bed and only want rough sex. If they’re short then they’re ridiculed for being “small like females” and if they’re fat then they have to be absolutely perfect in every other way. Same goes for fat Black women. Everything we do and everything about the way we are is scrutinized and looped back around in some way to sex.   

On the internet, there are hundreds of running “jokes” that set impossible standards for relationships. If you don’t do this, this and this then you aren’t dating material and deserved to be laughed at for not having these high set standards. The other day on Twitter I watched as women shared tips and secret ways of spying on their boyfriends to make sure they aren’t cheating. And I watched as men listed out things women must do for them to even consider giving them a second glance. It’s a constant war in the dating world it seems, to prove which partner is more right than the other. People say they’re in relationships with each other for love when they’re really in some sort of weird competition that the only prize is the praise of strangers on the internet.

So when you have all this to unpack and add Asexuality on top of that, it gets really complicated in almost record time. I haven’t yet tried to date someone, since coming out as Ace but I have had others try to date me. Even when they swore they weren’t and we were just friends, they all had in their minds that if they waited me out long enough I’d eventually “date normally”, which yes someone actually said to me. I don’t let people get even slightly close anymore but a few of my Ace friends have been trying to make next level connections with people. And the stories they come back to with me are always along the same lines. People hear the word asexual and think that it means the person won’t ever have sex with them and won’t ever be attracted to them. That’s not true at all. There are quite a few Aces that still have sex and whatever reason they have for it is valid. There are Aces who are only comfortable with some sexual things and they too are valid. Then there are the Aces who are only interested in a romantic relationship with no sex and the Aces that are against sex in all forms. All of them are valid in their ways of approaching relationships, sex, and connections. But just because they’re valid doesn’t make dating or searching for love any easier, especially when you’re judged before things even get started.

A common retort to this problem is that Ace people can just date each other or themselves. Which is hurtful to some, because anyone who wants love should be able to try and achieve it. To have your feelings dismissed and ignored, or to be told: “go date your own kind” can have long-lasting effects on a person. I’m not arguing that everyone has to date Aces because there is such a thing as having a preference but I am arguing that Asexual Representation needs to become more common and information about Asexuals needs to be readily available. It’s not. I learned about Asexuality through word of mouth, Tumblr and the one or two websites I could find that wasn’t mocking it. Asexuality is a spectrum, like all sexualities. There are Aces who don’t want anything to do with sex (me for now), there are Aces who only want romance and no sex. I’ve met Aces who are only okay with kissing and nothing else, Aces who like the way people look and nothing else and I have even come across a few Aces who want nothing to do with anyone or anything. Each Ace is different and should be judged by the kind of person they are, not just based off solely on the fact they are asexual

I don’t believe in romantic love, it’s a personal choice. I know this about myself and approach others and react to others accordingly. Everyone isn’t like me though and a lot of the time respect and communication gets lost in the chaos of uncertainty. Dating and love have become such a game that the art of it is often lost. Two people connecting on a level that they can’t find with anyone else is a great thing. There’s nothing wrong with love being a game when it’s played together with respect. But it makes me sad when I hear the rumbling and musing of my fellow Aces as they talk about how they aren’t even allowed to play the game in first place.

-Danyi   

asexuality · black girl blogs · black women

Let Black Queers Be

I don’t consider myself queer.

For a long time, I thought the word “Queer” was only something that white people could be. No one in my family, that I was aware of, was queer. None of my friends were talking about being queer. It wasn’t being said on the tv. It wasn’t being sung in songs. Whenever my aunts talked about someone being queer it was always a white person. I’m not white, so back then, I thought I couldn’t be whatever this mysterious queer thing was. I didn’t think I could ever label myself a queer being.

Many of my friends do though; they consider me the queerest of the bunch. Even though my older sister is a lesbian and one of my closest friends is trans. To the people around me, I’m queerer than they are because I’m asexual. A word that many people haven’t ever heard of and can’t begin to define. Asexuality is the lack of sexual attraction and/or desire. That’s the simplest and easiest definition that can be given. I’m not attracted to people, sexually. I’m not attracted romantically either but that’s a different story, different article. I’ve had sex before, a bunch of times with several people so I’m by no means a virgin or inexperienced. I can still look at a celebrity and automatically think “I want to fuck them”. I understand the general idea of why sex is enjoyable to people. But it’s not to me and it hasn’t ever really been. A few of the times I had sex I enjoyed it, but I rarely saw myself actively seeking it out. Those celebrities I’d like to fuck are more enjoyable in theory because whenever I imagine a scenario of it actually happening I end up shutting down. I wasn’t able to properly express this when I was younger, when my boyfriend demanded sex from me daily or when girls weren’t taking the hint that I just wanted to be friends. Now though, I have the tools and the language to get my point across. I use this to my advantage at all times possible.

I don’t like to be touched. It’s a trauma thing and something that grew and crossed over with my Asexuality. When one is in a relationship, you realize it involves A LOT of touching. I’m not with it so I removed myself from the equation of sexual/romantic relationships. Other people, however, haven’t removed me and still expect me to be interested in them when they show interest in me. Nevermind what I want, all that matter is what they want. They don’t consider the idea that I’m not interested in anyone at all. As a Black woman with the face and body I have, I must just be curving niggas when I decline their advances. My ass cannot be this fat and there’s no man or woman claiming it. I haven’t had sex in five years so I must be “crazy” because only a mentally unstable person wouldn’t want to engage in that universally loved thing. I have been preached at, screamed at, lectured and given looks full of pity. And all the while, I simply sat back and observed what I saw happening around me and the things happening around Black Queers. It all comes down to one thing for me, personally: Black Queers are constantly being policed and it needs to stop.

My perspective on sex comes from a different angle, one that most haven’t thought of before. And that somehow makes me both broken and queerer than the people out here having sex. Which is strange to me. I’m broken because I lack sexual attraction but I’m queer because of that as well? I often lost track of time trying to figure out if when someone called me queer were they really calling me broken in a nice way. What’s even stranger though, is the idea that something or someone must be invalidated in order for one thing to make sense. While my friends around me have been calling me queer for a while, once I got on the internet, I was told with a hard resounding “No” that I’m not queer and it’s disrespectful for me to even think of myself that way. Because I’m not interested in sex, and honestly that’s fine with me. What isn’t fine, however, is the way that Black people are constantly policed by queer white people because we don’t fit in the definition they deemed would define “Queer”. If you’re not X, Y, Z then you’re not queer and can’t be apart of the LBGT community. As if all sexuality isn’t a spectrum and ever-changing, but that seems to only apply when discussing white queerness. The only people who told me that I can’t be queer because I’m Asexual, have all been white. It’s very noticeable on the internet that if you’re not thin, white and pretty by European standards then your experiences, words, and perspective as a queer person aren’t taken seriously. Queer white people aren’t interested in hearing how being LGBT interests differently when it comes to Black people because they aren’t able to wrap their minds around any suffering that doesn’t directly affect them. They refuse to. And in that refusal, Black queer people can end up drawing the short end of the stick.

In the Black community, sexuality is a sensitive subject. It’s not talked about. If it’s not a man and a woman having sex then suddenly it’s problem, or it’s mocked. Queerness isn’t a joke, it’s an important part of many young Black peoples lives. As a community, it seems we’re fighting amongst ourselves for the idea that we are all Black despite what happens in the privacy of our bedrooms. It’s the old heads versus the youngings and I don’t really understand it. Especially because there are definitely Black queers that are 50 years and above. Any time Black men are near each other and show affection, they’re called gay. Black women are hypersexualized by the masses (men and women alike) and expected to like it. Black children are groomed to be homophobic. Our instant reaction to something that makes us uncomfortable is to crack a joke, to put down whatever the thing is. Instead of talking about why it makes us uncomfortable in the first place. The safe space for Black Queers in the Black community is very small. That’s gotta change before we lose even more Black Queers than we already have. The problem isn’t the Black community as a whole, the problem is we’ve been conditioned for literal centuries to think and react to differences in a white way. We react in the only way we know how. However, every once in a while I see something that lets me know we’re headed in a better direction. A progressive direction that we as Black people should and need to define ourselves. I’d never met another Black asexual until I started posting about being Ace on Twitter. I found other Black individuals like me and they’ve put me on to even more Black Aces than I could have ever imagined. We’re out here, we exist.    

I don’t consider myself queer, but there are hundreds of thousands of Black people who are queer and deserve to be so in peace.  

-Danyi

asexuality · black girl blogs · black women · Uncategorized

Androgynous and Ace, The New AA

When I was seven years old, my older cousin told me that I looked like a boy. She did it because she didn’t want me hanging out with her and her friends. I wanted to go with them to the mall, but no group of teenagers wants a kid trailing after them while they hang out. She’s nearly eight years older than me so I was nothing but an annoying little shadow to her. I know now that she didn’t really mean it but the younger me, the growing up in a judgemental society me, didn’t and it has resonated with me so much that eighteen years later I’m only now starting to deal with it.

Back then, I was only hurt about my big cousin not wanting me to be around her. I didn’t understand the real meanness behind her comment. Until middle school, when a girl who I didn’t even know told me that I had the body of a boy. This time, it wasn’t my face, but my body that apparently didn’t fit the normal female standard. I remember how hot my face got when I had fully comprehended what she’d said to me and I remember how my stomach twisted in unidentified embarrassment. It was only more fuel to my growing need to disappear, a need that I didn’t quite understand. My older cousin said I looked like a boy and now someone else was saying it too, so it had to be true. I pressured my mother and aunt to buy me clothes that were too big for me and I hid in them.

I didn’t learn the word Androgynous until I was in high school, however, it wasn’t a pleasant introduction to it. My boyfriend at the time was upset because I had cut my hair into a mohawk, he was discussing with his friends through texts about how manly it made me look to him. One of his friends replied back “lol she’s just androgynous dude.” but my ex, hated that idea and claimed that he didn’t date “unknowns”. Oddly enough, I don’t remember my reaction or if I reacted at all. Maybe it hurt me so bad that I’m still repressing it, or perhaps not being able to remember is proof enough in itself. However, I do remember googling Androgynous and hastily searching for someone who looked like me in the images that were brought up. I ended up disappointed as Google, then and now, only provided images of white women with pixie cuts and strongish cheekbones along with guys who faces were slightly feminine. I looked nothing like them and they don’t even slightly resemble me.   

Either way, I took solace in looking like a boy. Or at least I tried to because I didn’t know what else to do. I cut my hair short and kept my clothes as large as I could get them. At least at first, but it was a constant battle with my boyfriend who was embarrassed to be seen out with me. He felt like everyone would think he was dating a guy and that he was gay. Soon, my baggy jeans and huge t-shirts started disappearing from my closet and were replaced with leggings and halter tops. I had the body, I should be showing it off. It wasn’t what I wanted, but everyone around me did. So I went with it. Fast forward through some years of trauma and the severe depression, my clothes no longer became a concern of mine. I had bigger problems than the fact people thought I looked like a guy. While they were busy judging my face, I was mulling over the fact that all my emotions seemed to have finally disappeared. I didn’t feel happy or sad or even content, I was just here.

Which makes for really interesting interactions when someone wants to date. Every guy that attempted to talk to me eventually gave up as I didn’t react to things the way they thought I should have. My need to distance myself from romance and relationships was practically unheard of. Black women are supposed to always want a significant other. Society has projected that image on us to the point it’s the norm and those of us who aren’t interested in that particular area, are usually mocked and made fun of. People around me couldn’t understand, I had been with my ex for six years and now suddenly I wasn’t interested in relationships anymore? Something had to be wrong with me. And trying to explain that me being with my ex and loving him but never really liking all the things that came with being in a relationship? There’s no simple way to explain something like that and when you’re trying to explain it to someone who already has an idea about you in their head, it’s like talking to a dust mite.

Then, to add on to my ever growing pile of heavy thoughts on my mind, I started identifying as asexual. If you’ve read my other articles you know that I discovered “Asexual” on Tumblr and ended up spending hours on Google learning and reading about it. Just like the images attached to my google search of Androgynous, most if not all of the stories about asexuality came from white people. I couldn’t relate to the stories of growing up with no crushes or the accounts of being made fun of not wanting to have sex (which isn’t what asexuality is anyways but that’s another day, another article). So for a year or so, I struggled internally. I had absolutely no desire at all to have sex with anyone. I didn’t want to kiss anyone and handshakes were about all the touching I’d allow. My trauma and it’s contribution to my asexuality is still a glaring red folder that I need to open and read, but it always added a layer of confusion to thoughts. Was I really asexual? Or just a trauma-ridden woman who needed time and space and an excuse to not date anymore? It’s easy to acknowledge when I see a face I find pleasing, but it’s hard to say these things around others because we’ve been conditioned to believe that any recognition of attraction is sexual. Even though I heavily identified with the term asexual, I wasn’t able to communicate with others about it because of reasons that just kept building up. I’ve had crushes before, I still have crushes now. I can see why some people love sex, for a while, it was kind of enjoyable at times. But on the internet, where most things are exaggerated, because of those things, I couldn’t be truly asexual. On one side I had to be like the accounts of white asexuals and absolutely not want anything to do with anyone ever to be considered asexual. Then on the other side, I’m a black woman and black women can only be sexual, to some of my fellow black people I was just on some weird white shit. I was stuck in a never-ending spiral of these labels existing but not thinking they applied to me because I couldn’t find anyone to relate to and was only being shown examples of absolutes.

I talk about being asexual a lot because the community is so small and the more visibility we can gain the better. But I don’t really feel as if I belong there, much like I feel like I don’t belong in the androgynous community either. On the internet, I watch as most if not all, asexuals fight for inclusion in the LGBT+ community. It’s been a long battle and at times a weird one but I don’t feel as if it’s my fight. Or even if I wanted to fight my words would be heard. Because I don’t fit into the already pre-established definition of an asexual. So when I try to speak up, my words are dismissed and pushed aside. The account of a black woman struggling with hypersexualization is boring compared to the want of being included in a group of people. After all, if I’m not fighting for asexuals to be included in the LGBT community am I really an asexual at all?

And because everything in life intersects, when I finally took the time to sit down and think about being both Androgynous and Asexual I was thinking for far longer than I originally wanted to. It’s hard to hear that my face and body isn’t the “set standard” for femininity. Not only from a family member but a complete stranger as well, not to mention the reactions my ex had to my style choices and even now how my short fade haircut makes men automatically assume that I’m a lesbian. With all of that surrounding me,  finding any type of confidence in myself and the labels I choose for myself became nearly impossible. It’s something I’m still working through. I often wonder if a chain reaction was started somewhere or if being both androgynous and asexual are complicated separate for myself. I know, of course, that I could be one without the other but I think about the phrase “everything happens for a reason” comes into mind and makes me second guess myself.

It’s taken years to try and come into some sort of acceptance about being androgynous and asexual. Funnily enough, I think I accepted the latter long before I did the former. Because if I have to, I can keep being ace a secret. I can’t hide my androgyny. My face is mine, and although it’s not perfect it’s like this for a reason. I try to keep that mantra in my mind always, especially when I find myself being stared at in public. I could always change my face, plastic surgery has been brought up many times. Both from myself and from other people. However, I reject that idea that I need to cut and pull and reshape my face. I applaud those who do get plastic surgery, it takes a different kind of confidence to be able to do that. One that I’m not sure I’ll ever have. But I don’t want to change my face and I’ve finally reached the point where I don’t want others to accept my face. I don’t need validation from others about my face and body because it’s not theirs in the first place, it’s mine. Only my opinion about my self matters.

I look back now, at my cousin telling me that I looked like a boy and part of me wants to thank her. She prepared me for the harshness that society was going to bring. Intentionally or not, she set me up to be ready for every negative comment that is thrown my way. Honestly, no one will ever say anything as bad as some of the things that she and other family members have said to me. Being told that I look like a boy may have at first hurt me to my core, but I took that hurt and studied it until I understood it. Now I use that hurt to help others understand that the way they are is okay. Because I wish that, instead of telling seven years old me I was boyish, my cousin had been there to help me understand the internal dislike for things I couldn’t change.

-Danyi

asexuality · black girl blogs · black women

The “Normal” Asexual

I’m old enough (barely), to remember a time before social media. I remember when the computer was in the family room, everyone had their own account on it and no one could call the house if you were on the internet. I remember spending most of my time on the computer playing pinball and drawing badly in “Paint”. And I most certainly remember a time when the only thing a cellphone did was make calls and send texts. Now though, cellphones are computers. Everything I used to do on the desktop in the living room, I can now do on my phone without having to leave my bed. The little girl in me who more often than not would pick playing outside over time on the computer, is still to this day flabbergasted.

I like my smartphone. I do. I literally have no excuse to not know something or at least teach myself something, because Google is always in my back pocket. However, social media is where I start to become weary of that heavy electronic device I take everywhere. At first, social media seemed great. A way to connect and keep track of my friends, without having to bug them with constant texts. Amazing. As I get older however, I’ve watched social media take a turn for the worse. I’ve watched it turn people into their worse.

Social media is tricky. It puts a screen between you and the person you’re trying to communicate with. For people with anxiety or those who have a hard time with confrontation, this is a good thing. It gives them that little bit of confidence to say what they have to say. But it also gives people who only have confidence when hidden, a chance to be mean. And more than anything, it leaves tons of room for misunderstandings.

I like to post pictures. And here recently, I enjoy making and posting videos as well. I love the idea of capturing a moment forever, because once a moment is over it can’t ever be truly replicated. So pictures and videos are a way to hold those moments and memories. Hence, I really like Snapchat as an app. I like seeing the world through other people’s eyes, I like seeing the pictures of what they find interesting enough to post. But because humans are the way we are, Snapchat is not viewed as a simple app for pictures. People use it to cheat on their partners, with the pictures disappearing after 24 hours it’s hard to catch a dick pic being sent. The app alerts you when someone screenshots you so racy messages can be sent in comfort, without fear of secretly being screenshot and leaked. It’s a lot, but only because humans make it so. I try to keep my Snapchat as simple as possible, I post pictures and videos of what interest me. My snaps still get taken out of context all the time though. Especially the ones surrounding my asexuality.

I made a point to make sure that it’s known on my social media that I’m asexual. I post my articles about it with links on my Snapchat all the time. I post text posts about how irritating it is when men don’t respect my sexuality on my Snapchat. More than 98% of the time, I am the only person in my snaps. It’s not something I actively think about doing and it’s not me trying to shove asexuality down my followers throats, it’s just the way I am. I want people to be aware so that they can stop themselves from asking me awkward questions. I want to help raise awareness to asexuality and normalize it. Which is one of the biggest goals I have, I want to normalize asexuality. Because there’s this phrase that I’m starting to hear the more comfortable I become: “You’re pretty normal for an asexual”. It’s not always exactly like that, the wording definitely changes but it’s always some variation of that. If it’s not you’re pretty normal then it’s “you aren’t like other asexuals”. And that bothers me.

I held a friend of mines hand in one of my snaps last week. For about five seconds we held hands and swung them back and forth. Nearly every male who follows me, sent me a message about it. Most were polite enough, a few ending up getting blocked but they all were asking the same variation of one question: Aren’t You Asexual? And it pissed me off. The hand I was holding in my snap belonged to a guy, and we were holding hands really tightly. He and I went to highschool together, we’re very good friends. I considered sleeping with him some years ago. I don’t want to sleep with him now. But absolutely none of that matters. We live in a world now where any type of physical contact between two adults is seen as sexual. No matter what. It’s a stereotype that is put upon us all even when not everyone has that same mindset. So even though I’ve known this guy for years and if we were going to sleep together we would have already, the five second video of us holding hands is all people need to question my sexuality.

It’s almost as if asexuals are expected to never acknowledge the existence of another human being. And if we do, we’re no longer what we say we are. Which is both impossible and ridiculous. There’s a difference between acknowledging a nice face and wanting to have that face in your personal space. But society can’t seem to separate the two. I’m not sure how or in what way it can be explained for people to understand. I’m even less sure that it should even have to be explained in the first place.

Not only does the question itself and the implications behind it bother me, the way people say it also irritates me as well. When someone says to me “you aren’t like other asexuals” in whatever form, they always sound as if they are praising me. Like a dog that’s successfully completed a trick. A pat on the head for being myself and managing to fit in the box that they have labeled as normal. I’m a “normal” asexual because while I may not want to have sex (they’re sure I’ll change my mind soon), I still must somewhere deep inside be interested in people. Since I can recognize a good looking person when I see one. In order for my sexuality to be accepted, people have to pick it apart and slather one little part in compliments hoping it overshadows the things they don’t understand or like about my sexuality as a whole.

Why am I a “normal” asexual for acknowledging other humans and why has social media given people the confidence to comment on things that aren’t any of their business? Both of these questions have been on my mind for longer than just the latest hand holding snap. Because there seems to be no clear answer, even when asked. People should have never thought it was okay to question my asexuality just because they saw me holding a guy’s hand on Snapchat. They shouldn’t think it’s alright for them to try and put my bisexuality front and center in the hopes it means I have actual sex. Just so that they can find some kind of comfort in my sexuality.

They don’t realize, it’s not my job to make people comfortable while in my presence.

-Danyi