To own myself is to unlock so much that had been inaccessible to me. So many thoughts and ideas, so much of my understanding of the world and my relationships to others. And it all started with my aroaceness. Through that came enough of a sense of bodily autonomy and self-possession to permit me access to my gender, some aspects of my neurology, and everything else that defines me as a person.
It’s funny. I didn’t really want to be in the romantic or sexual relationships I have been; I just felt like I didn’t have a choice, right? That it was what was wanted from me, was the trade-off I had to make for retaining those… what-I-thought-were friendships.
I didn’t so much consent as relent. I gave myself up—or I suppose just handed myself over, from where the last owner left me. I didn’t feel like I had any real agency over myself. I knew I was always wrong about everything, and I didn’t want to upset anyone because of my hang-ups or preferences, which I knew didn’t matter.
And it sucked. A lot. I hated the expectations. I hated being objectified. I hated the constant criticism and judgment. I hated having no control over my body or my mind or my life. I hated having everything I cared about diminished and demeaned, all my principles dismissed.
Sex was upsetting on so many levels. I couldn’t manage spending every waking moment worrying about someone else’s actions and feelings and well-being, and getting nothing but contempt in return; that raw disgust and fury at my just… being a real person, and not some fantasy idol.
In hindsight, somewhere in the deep recesses of my subconscious, I think beyond the toxic decayed friendship that offered me nothing in the end, the thing I wound up clinging to in each case, that intoxicated me enough to freak me out over losing, was their femininity—being in its aura, right? I was too meek to engage with it much, but there were all their girl things all around me. There they were, as a point of study; something I could never be, never have for myself, in a way that felt almost unfair. But I could do osmosis.
(Though sex and physicality freaked me out, I also did find boobs hilarious and fun—another thing to low-key envy.)
And yes, all my past partners—all those I will ever have—were cis women, though they needn’t have been. That they were is largely due to the circumstance of they being the ones to have pursued me; in part because of internalized homophobia; in part because I just… I think had all that unsettled business, existentially. I saw in them some part of what it hurt so much that I was not.
I guess it’s probably no accident that embracing my own femininity led almost directly into realizing all my tertiary attractions were pretty much regardless of gender. Once I had filled that void in my life, it was easier to step back and take measure.
Now that I understand I am my own girl, I’ve got no special need to live vicariously—so that weirdness is cleared up. I am the person I want to be now, or am on my way at least—so what narrow confused longing there was is gone, and what attraction I do feel, it’s free to be all about individual appreciation of the other, on merit.
People are just people, right? There’s so little that separates or distinguishes us except for who we are, and how we choose to behave—and that’s the power, the energy that generates beauty. Now that I’m on my way to being a complete person, it’s harder to discriminate—except in the sense that romance is dumb and sex is gross, and I have no desire for either. We really love to brand and package love in this culture. There are so many other, more interesting, more constructive ways to appreciate people. To show and receive affection.
I feel like I have missed out on a lot of meaningful connection, a lot of mutual support and fondness and care and joy, from playing other people’s games for so long. I want to learn how to love in my own way—a way without conditions or performance or… bodily fluids.
I feel like the world kind of needs it too.