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I remember dressing up as a nun when I was around 8, it just felt like my natural place. I wasn’t particularly religious, I just liked the idea. Somehow, something inside me was telling me that there was no other space I would fit. I grew up on Disney and soap operas and even though I dressed as princesses and loved the heroes, I never wished for the same “happy ending” they had, never thought much of it, I just didn’t – at best I wanted to be Jackie Chan.
I remember people asking about my first crushes and me being very confused thinking “girl, you’re 10, you shouldn’t be thinking about that”; and then picking a friend I missed as the one because there was no one else really and I felt like I had to. I remember losing faith in Christianism and being lost because I didn’t know what would be of me now I can’t be a nun. I’ve never seen myself falling in love and getting married, that’s what other people do; now what? By the time I was 15 I remember considering becoming a monk and feeling it was very dishonest of me because I wasn’t a Buddhist, I just wanted a life like that, a life where I didn’t have to think about forming partners and could live what to me was a liberating life.
By then I realised the only “crush” I had was still that friend from when I was 10, the friend I haven’t seen since I was 9, and I thought it was creepy. I decided I was picky. Then I started saying I was celibate because I was “too rational” anyway. When I was alone, however, I couldn’t stop but think that there was something wrong, that I was weird, perhaps sick, mentally or physically. I used to cry thinking my life would end in a mental institution. People kept asking me “what are you?” when talking about sexuality, and I never really had an answer, they seemed to know more than I did.
When I was 17 my colleagues were talking to my biology teacher about how sex is everything and he said “no, I have two asexual friends and they are happy as they are”. The best way to describe what I felt is as if I was drowning for a long time and hearing the word “asexual” was my first breath. It all clicked then and there, “asexual” was the name of all those little feelings I couldn’t explain but others demanded to have a reason, I just thought those feeling were empty gaps. On that very same day, I told someone I was asexual and they laughed. I didn’t talk about it for years after that, until I found the online asexual community. It gave me some sense of pride and community.
I was also more prepared to come out, you don’t usually come out as asexual in less than 20 minutes; there are tons of questions and even when you have the patience to answer them all, only a handful of the people you come out to will believe you – they usually just think you are either gay and scared of coming out or that you are sick and should go see a doctor. I can say that 5 people in my life actually take my sexuality seriously, my mum is not one of them. I’m 26 now, the only thing that changed was that I feel more free, I feel like I can leave a life in this society I currently am, being the way I am, living how’s natural to me.
I grew up watching romantic love as the only good end and sex as its greatest proof, watching sex as either pure or revolutionary and learning that we are only born to procreate. There’s something particularly liberating about finding out that one “universal truth” such as the human instinct for sex is not so universal and that you are the proof of it. Suddenly you don’t have to conform to a lot of other things.
Even when most people don’t really accept it (most actively don’t want to know of it), the fact that I accept and understand myself is already such a huge change from before. Sometimes I do worry about my future, about being lonely, but I try my best to wait ‘til I get there. Having people I can talk about and relate on this aspect of my life already means the world to me; it makes the world lighter and more colourful. The only downside is how restricted it is, how only a small group know of it, how lots of asexual kids will grow up thinking they are mad – hope they get lucky as I did. I haven’t yet thanked my teacher for what he doesn’t know he did to me, wish to say I’m becoming one too because of wonderful people like him – I hope I help others how he helped me.