Since today is the fourth anniversary of the evening during which I realized I needed to reconsider my assumed and never questioned heterosexuality, I thought I might as well tell the story of what exactly happened then.
I had a LiveJournal account in which I wrote regularly – and there are entries about that event. The first one was published at 10:18PM that night, which means that the event happened before.
I remember writing a journal entry (which I intended to share with my LJ friends) about movies – more specifically, the different ways one could like a movie, comparing them with the different ways to relate to a person (an old favorite being like a childhood friend, for instance). I was really getting into this idea, and thinking about a specific movie, I wrote something like “And with some movies, it is like being in love with a woman” (I cannot get the exact quote, as I deleted that draft later on that night). Then I realized what I had written, and alarm bells went off.
Now, I had never, ever considered the possibility of being in love with a woman. I had liked boys, so I had always assumed I was straight, and never questioned that. I would not, I think, have had a problem with discovering I liked girls rather than boys (my parents had always told me that it would be fine if I did), but I did not know it was possible to like bothboys and girls. I did not know much about bisexuality and I thought (incorrectly) that it was only about sex, not about feelings. And I had never really thought about sex in relation to specific people – I only thought about sex as something that would happen some day, but did not imagine I might desire it with a specific person in the present. So I could not relate to liking men and women for sex only.
At first, I wanted to erase the sentence. Then I thought that I had no reason to be ashamed of it, but added something like “well, I suppose so, as I have never been in love with a woman”. But it did not ring true. And, with a rising feeling of dread, I realized I could not ignore this.
The reason why I compared the specific movie I had in mind that night with loving a woman was quite clear to me, even then: that movie stars a female actress who, I thought, looked quite like a woman I knew and admired very much at the time. Well, a bit more than that. My feelings for her were confused, because she was older than my mother and not someone I was close to, so I did not quite know what I felt for her. But I had never thought my feelings might be romantic – not even after I got carried away while talking about her to someone and said that if I were a guy I’d marry her, not even after I once felt jealous of someone she had just hugged and wished she would hug me too, not even when I wanted so much to get her attention and earn her respect. (Now, I do not think that those feelings were romantic, actually – I think it was more like a squish than a crush. But back then I did not know about squishes or aromanticism). That night, though, after writing that sentence, I began thinking that maybe my feelings for her went beyond admiration and were more similar to what I experienced when I had a crush on a boy (well, if it is possible to compare a crush on a boy my age with those feelings for a woman older than I).
I tried to consider that possibility. It terrified me. If I really had a crush on that woman, then it meant I was not straight – but why had I not discovered this sooner? Why was I feeling this way only now? How could I have not known this about myself? Which other things did I ignore about myself?
I remembered other events. A girl I always hoped to see at the dining hall. A female friend I had in high school and how I loved our talks about not needing boys and touring Ireland on a Porsche when we were older, how I had thought many times that if I liked girls, she would be the type of girl I’d like. A woman at a party who had insisted to make me join others on the dancefloor, and how I had thought I would not have done this for anyone else but would do anything for her. A movie I had seen about a newly-married man who falls in love with his mother-in-law when he meets her for the first time on the day of the wedding, and how I had thought that it was impossible not to fall in love with that woman. I had thought these were nothing unusual. That evening, for the first time, I was not so sure anymore.
What terrified me was not really the possibility that I might be attracted to women – it was the fact that I had discovered something about myself, something which might have been there for a long time without my knowing about it, and for which I had no name. Suddenly I felt I did not know who I was at all. I was not sure what it all meant.
I cried myself to sleep. I had the most terrifying nightmare of my whole life (a nightmare which involved a woman with superpowers who used them to kill many people, took me hostage, and with whom I fell in love before she killed me, and then I became her), so terrifying that when I woke up from it, I could not tell if the dream was over or not, if it had been a dream or if it was real, and did not dare turn on the light as I feared seeing the woman in the room (something which had never happened to me with any of my previous nightmares).
In the morning, I was still confused and afraid. I cried several times that day. I felt I needed to talk to someone, to get help make sense of this, but I did not know who to ask, and I feared that whoever I would talk to would try to put me in a box and not really understand me, so I decided to work on this alone.
It took a week. The process was both scary and exciting. I created a new private LiveJournal, searched the Web for information on sexual orientations and more specifically bisexuality, and wrote my findings in the new LJ. This is how I discovered the sexual attraction criteria (bisexuality was always defined as “being sexually attracted to both men and women”) and that it made no sense to me. And this reminded me of an article on asexuality I had read a few weeks earlier. I read the article again and found a reference to AVEN
. I went there, read the FAQs, read some members’ stories, and then I knew where I fit.
A week later, on June 11, I wrote in my new private LiveJournal: “I am bi-asexual”. I knew who I was. I had a word for myself. On June 22, I joined AVEN. The next day, I joined AVEN-fr.
I have questioned my identity several more times since that night. I no longer identify as bi-asexual, but as aromantic asexual (and some other things besides, but let’s keep it simple for now). I am less repulsed by sex than I used to be, and I know more about sex than I used to. I have discovered new concepts – squishes
, non-romantic love, Boston marriage
, among others. That first questioning phase opened the door to others, and each time it became easier to accept that what I had always taken for granted might not be true.
On June 9th, I wrote this in my shared LiveJournal: “Question what you always took for granted. You will learn a lot about yourself that way, maybe things you would never have suspected and that will surprise you, but if you accept them, you’ll be fine, because this is who you are, who you have always been – you just didn’t know it.” I still believe it is true.
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