Hey, world. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? What can I say, 2020 has been… a year. For all of us.
Me? I’ve been on sick leave since April. I reached another point where everyday work-life was just too much of a strain on my mental health, and I had to step away. In the months since, I’ve worked harder than ever trying to balance mental illness and life in a way I can be comfortable with, and maybe even enjoy. It’s an odd concept to wrap my head around, but I’m working on it. So far, so good.
But man, I have missed blogging. I’ve missed inflicting my compulsive honesty and over-sharing on the world! Today I’m trying again. Let’s see how it goes.
I’m going to try something I haven’t done on this blog before. I’m introducing a “series” – every month, I will write a post in my Identity series. I’ll talk about labels I personally identify with, why and how I think they matter, why I think there are good and bad things about labels and the choice to embrace them.
The series will be posted on the third Saturday of each month. Today is sort of a pre-intro, but I don’t count this as a part of the overall series. I just want to talk about something that has been on my mind the last few months. With all the time I’ve had to work on myself, I made some pretty important realizations. I want to share that briefly before I do anything else.
*deep breath* Hello, my name is Rain, and I’m aromantic.
One evening, I was sitting on my sofa, reading fan fiction. That’s pretty much most nights for me, but this one took an unexpected turn. I read a lot of asexual-tagged fic because, you know, me, but I’d never really read any with an aromantic tag. This one fic just happened to include both. And damn, was I not prepared for how it hit me. I reached the end of this short angst/fluff, hurt/comfort fic and I was frozen. I sat and stared at my phone like it was an alien object until I finally just started crying. I cried for a good long while, and then I moved to my computer and started researching.
In case anyone is uncertain, here’s a very simplified definition:
Never, not once, for one second in my entire twenty-seven years of life had it occurred to me that being aromantic was even an option. I had been totally sucked in by the amatonormativity of my culture (another term that made me cry when I learned it). I felt downright betrayed by society, that there was this massive piece of me that suddenly made perfect sense and I hadn’t been able to find it until now because I didn’t know to look for it.
Anyway, after a lot of online research and several hard conversations with my therapist, I accepted that this wasn’t just some random thing, or my imagination, or a term that just fit how I felt in the moment. It was something that is and has always been me, but I just didn’t realize it. I’ve ignored everything my instincts told me about romance and just done it the way it’s “supposed” to be done. I assumed any discomfort was just something everyone had and I needed to get over with.
Because, you know what? I love love. I love romance. In fiction. I live and die for all my favourite ships; ask my friends if I ever talk about anything else. And then I learned that it was possible to love these things and still feel uncomfortable or sometimes outright repulsed when romantic gestures and affection is aimed directly at me, and that realization was so incredibly freeing.
It’s been a lot to wrap my brain around. It’s forced me to re-evaluate many things about my life and my past, but let me tell you, I am so relieved and happy that I know this now. And I’m lucky that I have some great people who have listened and reassured me as I’ve tried to work this shit out. I know not everyone is so lucky, and for those who aren’t, I want you to know that it’s okay. You are valid. We are here for you and we support you.
*long exhale* Alright, I did that. That was a thing I just did. I wrote that and put it online. Okay. This is good.
I’ve been obsessing over this and I’m glad it’s finally out there. I’ll be talking more specifically about the definitions and spectrums of aromanticism and how I relate to them etc. in my future Identity: Aromantic post, but for today, I just wanted this out there.
Thank you very much for reading, and please feel free to comment, or come talk to me on tumblr about your own experiences if you want! I’m always happy to listen and rant.
And on that note, I have about five fanfics and a novel I should be working on.