Saturday, August 6, 2011


My summer is almost over and I am fretting a bit.

I started this summer with “homework”: three conversations I was supposed to have. They’re things that really need to be discussed, but I’m scared and I hate conflict, so I’ve been putting them off. My best friend said she would give me a lollipop for each one that I accomplished by the time I get back to school. So far, I’ve gotten one out of the way. Another one was coming out to my parents. And now we’re nearing the end of the summer and I keep coming up with reasons to put it off.

My end-of-the-summer deadline feels artificial. There’s no reason for it, except that if I don’t have a deadline, I won’t do it. I’ll keep putting it off forever. But I feel like I’m rushing it. I’ve only known I’m ace for about six months. It seems like everyone else in the online ace community struggled silently with their asexuality for years before they finally worked up the courage to come out to somebody. Which doesn’t make sense as a reason for me not to come out, because comparing my experiences to the experiences of other people is not a good way to make decisions. But now I’m second-guessing myself, thinking that I’m rushing things, telling myself to wait and not force myself, to not make my asexuality into a Big Deal, as I am apt to do. When I hit upon a new idea that I like, I want to share it with everybody, and I feel like I should wait until the New Idea Energy dies down and being ace is just a thing instead of my latest fixation.

(I don’t mean to suggest that being ace is just a phase; I simply mean that in a few years, I will probably stop combing the internet for ace blogs to read for several hours a day.)

Sometimes I think that I just want to come out to everyone so that they’ll know what a special snowflake I am. In that case, I shouldn’t because I try very hard not to be annoying and attention-seeking. And then I think that maybe I’m using that as an excuse not to talk about it because I’m scared, in which case I should conquer my fears by coming out. And then I think that sexuality should be normal and unremarkable no matter what, and there’s no reason for me to be making a big deal about it at all, and I should just stop thinking about it, except I can’t.

I feel like whatever I decide to do, I’m doing it for the wrong reasons, but I don’t know what the right reasons are, and I’m about to tear my hair out in anxiety. 

Monday, August 1, 2011


My sister does not like labels. She’s told me this several times. That was her reaction when I told her that I thought the Doctor might be asexual. That was also what she said in another conversation about gender, when I pointed out that there are more than two genders, and gave her some examples of other genders people can identify as besides male or female. She had a particular aversion to my use of the word “genderqueer.” The word “queer” makes her uncomfortable, she told me. It sounds ugly. She’d rather everyone just be who they are and love who they love and not worry about any of it.

Easy for her to say. Her gender and sexuality and many other aspects are assumed just by looking at her. Or rather, they’re assumed correctly. She will never need those labels to, for example, explain to a boy that she loves him but feels uncomfortable kissing him. She will probably never need to justify herself or the right of people like her to exist.

I like the word “queer” as a respectful catch-all term for anyone outside mainstream gender/sexuality who wants to use it*, and I like my labels. Before I knew the word “asexual,” I had no idea that I was different. I knew I wasn’t gay, or bi, so I defaulted to straight and never really questioned it. I didn’t have the words to question it. I didn’t even know that I could question it. And since then, I’ve been clinging to that word like a security blanket as a way to remind myself that I am different but not alone, that there are a few other people like me, that I don’t have to cram myself into a mold that doesn’t fit. That if someone were to ask, I would have the words to describe who I am and make them understand.

I’m a big fan of the theory that labels are tools to be used and then discarded when they no longer work. I’m using the label “asexual” to help me figure out who I am and explain it to other people in a way that doesn’t involve (much) stammering and flailing. I’m scared and confused and lost, and that word is all I have to hold on to. Don’t you dare take it away from me.

I fully respect anyone’s choice not to be labeled, but that’s your choice. You don’t get to decide for everyone else. I won’t force my labels on you, (exceptions for fictional characters, who can be a million different labels all at once. That’s what fandom is for) and you won’t take my labels away, and we can all be happy. How does that sound?

*I personally do not identify as queer because I don’t think that my definition is universally recognized (see the Privilege Denying Asexuals and related arguments), and precision of language is important to me. But if we as a society could decide that cis, gender-conforming, heteroromantic asexuals could be queer, I would definitely use it.

Monday, July 25, 2011

No means no: not just about sex (part 2)

In which I get to the point of my last post.

(Trigger warning for very brief mention of rape in a general sense.)

I’ve thought a lot about why, exactly, everything imploded in my relationship with Bob. One likely influence was my asexuality, which I didn’t know about at the time. This made it hard for me to identify and articulate my boundaries, because I didn’t really understand that my situation was very different than most other people’s, and that people wouldn’t understand it unless I explained. That was my fault, and someday I might work up the courage to apologize to him for it.

But for me, the defining moment of this whole debacle, what caused me to refuse to reconsider, the event that made me stop feeling confused and conflicted and start feeling angry, was Bob’s continual asking. At times, I would even call it begging. Every time we started that argument, I became angry and frustrated, because he wasn’t listening to me. He refused to accept my “no” as a valid decision.

I think that I can safely blame the media for this idea, because I keep seeing it come up over and over again. It’s a tired and annoying Romantic Movie trope. Guy is in love with Girl, but she turns him down for some reason: she has a boyfriend, she’s pressured by her friends, he did one little thing to annoy her, she’s scared of love, etc. But really, she’s secretly in love with him too! And he just has to keep harassing her until she admits it! If he doesn’t fight for her, he doesn’t really deserve her.

You know those cheesy, “inspirational” or “heartwarming” sayings that float around the internet and are used as meaningless Facebook status updates or captions for black-and-white pictures of people holding hands? There’s one that I keep seeing that says, “Sometimes you put walls up not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down,” which I think illustrates what I’m talking about pretty well. Bob actually said something of similar effect to me once. My reaction was, “But I spent a lot of effort putting up those walls! Don’t touch them!”

In case it isn’t clear already, when someone says they don’t want to date you, THEY MEAN THEY DON’T WANT TO DATE YOU. I understand that this is not true of everyone. There are some people who play hard to get and want you to chase them. These are not people you want to date. Anyone who says “no” and expects you to figure out that they mean “yes” is only going to make you miserable. They are not worth your time.

(And lest you think it is a purely female trait, I beg to differ. A female friend of mine told a guy that she was interested in him and was rejected. A few days later, he said that he was testing her and if she had fought for him for a few days, he would have given in. She slapped him in the middle of the school hallway. While I don’t condone violence, I’m a little disappointed that I wasn’t there to witness this.)

I think people rely too much on body language. They say that 70% of communication is non-verbal, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to actually listen to the words. The chance of misinterpreting someone’s body language seems too high to take that chance. In extreme cases, this is the basis for using, “But I thought she wanted it!” to justify rape. And there are people who think that this is acceptable, because hey, she shouldn’t have been sending mixed signals.

I wonder if asexuals have more issues with this than sexuals. Because we’re more likely to separate romance, platonic friendship, and sexual attraction, our body language might be more open to misinterpretation. Someone might mistake platonic friendship for romance, or romance for sexual attraction. Asexuals are probably more likely to turn down relationships even with people they are romantically attracted to, due to fear of pressure to behave sexually.

Anyway, that’s my rant. Has anyone else had a similar experience? Or can you name some romantic comedies that use this? I don’t really watch romantic comedies, so I feel like my examples are rather vague.

Bonus: While writing this, I coincidentally found this link to a very, very old article on the satire website The Onion. So clearly I am not the only one who thinks this is absurd.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

No means no: not just about sex (part 1)

There was a boy I knew in high school. We’ll call him Bob, because I am a huge fan of internet anonymity and because there’s a chance, however microscopic, that he might read this some day.

Bob is nearly three years younger than me. In fact, he was in most of my sister’s classes throughout elementary and middle school, and he went to the same church as me, during the period when I actually went to church regularly. I liked him well enough; he was smart and funny and nice. I didn’t see him much, so I didn’t think too much about him. He was just there, and had always been there, and that was that.

I found out that Bob had a crush on me when I was a high school freshman. My aunt accidentally let it slip, having heard it from my mother, who had heard it from Bob’s mother, who I can only assume heard it from Bob himself. I was briefly amused and then forgot all about it. After all, the original conversation had happened months ago, and I didn’t see Bob very often. I was sure he must have gotten over his silly crush long ago.

So I was absolutely blindsided when I found out that he still liked me, years later, when he was a freshman and I was a senior. He started sitting with my friends and me at lunch, and then hanging out with us before school, and then texting me several times a week. I suspected he was interested in me, but I ignored it. I convinced myself that no crush could last that long, that I was making a big deal out of nothing, and who would have a crush on me, anyway? We were friends, and we often teased each other and joked around, and surely I was mistaking that for something else.

Long story short, I wasn’t. Bob made several attempts to start a relationship, which I shut down. It wasn’t that I didn’t like him. I did. But something about him made me uncomfortable. My only real relationship had been a week and a half of pure hell, and my instincts were telling me that this was going to end up the same way. The thought of such a relationship filled me with dread and could even start panic attacks (not that that was difficult to do). I agonized over this for weeks. I liked him, I really did, but obviously I didn’t like him the right way. There was something wrong with me, that I couldn’t just accept that a sweet, funny guy was infatuated with me.

It wasn’t his romantic feelings, or mine, that ruined our friendship. If I had to pick one thing, it was probably our stubbornness. He wouldn’t give up, and I wouldn’t give in. Every three or four weeks, he would text me, asking me to explain my reasons for turning him down and trying to convince me to give him a chance. It seemed to me that we were having the same arguments over and over again, and every time I got angrier. He wasn’t listening to me! I was saying no very clearly and explicitly, and for some reason he couldn’t get that through his head!

I realize now that I was probably giving him the world’s most convoluted mixed signals, so I’m not suggesting I’m at all blameless in this situation, but that’s another post. We had regular fights for a few months before I got fed up and completely ended the friendship. I told Bob that I thought he didn’t respect me and I didn’t want to talk to him again, although I put it rather more diplomatically, and we went months without talking. It’s only very recently that we’ve begun speaking again, very tentatively, under the agreement that any mention of romance means that the conversation is over.

This is getting rather long, so tune in next time when I get to the point of this long, rambling story.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Ace flag bracelet

[Image description: A right hand, palm down, against a wood background. The tips of the fingers are not visible. There is a thin, plain black ring on the middle finger. At the bottom of the photo, there are three bracelets on the wrist. One is made of knotted string in stripes of black, grey, white and purple, the colors of the ace flag. The second is similarly made, in grey, bronze and blue. The third is made of braided beige string with seven small red beads.]

So I just wanted to share the ace bracelet I made recently. String friendship bracelets were really popular when I was a kid, and recently a few of my friends decided to revive the tradition, which gave me the idea to make one in the colors of the ace flag. Instructions are here if anyone else wants to make one. I used embroidery floss, which I believe can be purchased at most craft stores. For mine, I used 5-6 feet of floss and folded it in half to make a wider bracelet, which also gave me a convenient loop on one end for tying the bracelet to my wrist. You could also use yarn or any other type of string, although that will probably change the thickness of the bracelet.

You can also see my new black ring in this picture! I made one out of beads and string a few months ago, but I've been trying since then to find a real one. I bought this one at a tacky gift store while I was at the beach, along with a hematite one. They both seem kind of fragile, but they were cheap, so I'm not too concerned.

The second bracelet is one that my sister made for me in Ravenclaw colors, and the third is a good luck bracelet I bought at the beach.

ETA: I forgot to actually put in the link to the instructions. It is there now.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

...Well, maybe not

(Warning: potential spoilers for Doctor Who, depending on where you are in the series. I will be discussing the Doctor’s relationships, although rather generally.)

I may have spoken too soon. Today, I had a rather uncomfortable discussion about asexuality with my mom and sister. It started because I mentioned that “a lot of people” (read: me) consider the Doctor to be asexual or demisexual. My sister seemed appalled by this idea. Her main point was that the Doctor has some sort of relationship with River, which River implies includes sexual behavior. If you can’t tell from the way I worded that last sentence, I don’t think the Doctor’s relationship with River is that simple, or that this means the Doctor can’t be demi/ace, which I tried to explain. And then I got this gem from my mom: “Usually, asexual people don’t want to have sex*.” 

I think I visibly winced at that one. I pointed out that asexuals can have sex because their partners want to, or even because they think it’s fun. And then I repeated that the Doctor could be demisexual, which of course I then had to define. And then I decided to shut up, because I was starting to sound like I was reciting the answers to the AVEN FAQs.

My sister took advantage of my pause to change track, telling me in a rather smug tone that she didn’t like labels and she didn’t think we should be labeling the Doctor and why did it matter anyways? And I wanted to say, “Because I’m asexual and I want to know that people like me exist, even if they’re fictional. It matters to me.”

But I was too scared to say that, and I was afraid that arguing any more would make it really obvious that I’ve done a lot of research on asexuality, and after a conversation like that, I just really didn’t feel comfortable making it any more personal. I’ve been trying to be subtle, but I’m not sure it’s working. I’m still in that beginning phase where everything about asexuality seems perfect and interesting and I’m so excited that I want to tell everyone that I discovered something amazing that makes me feel more comfortable with myself than I have since I was a little kid. But I can’t expect that everyone will be as excited as I am, so I have to keep biting my tongue and biding my time.

*Technically true, I guess, if you take “don’t want to” to mean “have no particular desire to” rather than “would prefer not to.” The former definition encompasses a much larger percentage of asexuals than the latter, since “have no desire to” includes “would prefer not to.”

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


So last night, I wanted to explain Sciatrix’s awesome zucchini pun to my family over dinner (it was kind of relevant to the conversation, I swear!) However, I’m not out to them yet, and they don’t know much about asexuality other than it does exist (which is a great start), so I’ve been trying to casually drop hints and feed them little bits of information in a, “Hey isn’t this interesting?” way so that when I do come out, hopefully it won’t be as big a deal. So for them to understand this amazing joke, I had to define a few different terms, like squish and zucchini.

Me: A zucchini is like a platonic life partner. I don’t know why they call it a zucchini. It’s someone that you live with or close to and see all the time and who won’t ditch you for a romantic relationship. Someone that you can kind of share your life with.*
My sister: Oh! Isn’t that what some asexual people do?
Me:*staring* Um, yes. Yes it is.

So that made me really, really happy. Right now the plan is to come out to my immediate family by the end of the summer. I know it’s a personal decision and there’s no pressure, but I want them to know because it’s important to me. And I know my mom, at least, would think it was really interesting, and I’d like to be able to share some of the stuff I’ve been reading about it.

*I may be oversimplifying this a bit. But I was talking to my family, who are totally new to this whole thing. This isn’t Asexuality 101, what I’m doing with them. It’s more like Remedial Asexuality**, to get them up to speed for Asexuality 101.

**On that note, I'm not sure if I like the term "Remedial Asexuality," but I can't think of a better one right now. Is there another term for those classes you have to take if you don't know anything about a subject and aren't prepared for 101?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

So why are you writing this?

So why are you writing this?
I’m writing this because asexuality is pretty much unknown, and I think that’s a bad thing. I think humanity in general could benefit from realizing that not everyone is like them until we stop being shocked by this fact. I think visibility is the first step to increasing tolerance. Also, I think most people are a bit too focused on sex and maybe discussion of asexuality could bring up some interesting things about both romantic and platonic love.

So why are you writing this?
I’m writing this because writing helps me organize my thoughts, and I’ve been thinking about asexuality a lot lately. It’s kind of a big deal to me. It’s a whole part of me that I didn’t know I had, and it’s strange and confusing and amazing all at the same time, and if I keep trying to think about it I might go crazy. Not that anyone would be able to tell.

So why are you writing this?
Because I like talking about myself.

So why are you writing this?
Because most of the ace blogs I’ve seen are written by people who discovered their asexuality years ago and have pretty much come to terms with it and are maybe a little bitter about constantly being ignored and abused (which they have every right to be). But while that’s great, I’d like to see someone who doesn’t have everything figured out yet, who’s scared and confused like I am. So I want to be that person for someone else who’s just discovering their own asexuality.

So why are you writing this?
Because I think I need to. Does that answer your question?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

An Introduction, A Disclaimer and A Warning

An Introduction
Hi! I'm Emerald Girl. I'm an asexual, cisgendered, eighteen (well, almost 19)-year-old girl. I think I'm heteroromantic, but it's kind of complicated. I only discovered my asexuality a few months ago, and I'm only out to one person. Eventually, I'd like to be out to more people and maybe get involved with asexual visibility. Right now, I'm just planning on blogging about my life up to this point. Looking back, I think there were some "ace moments" that I didn't really recognize at the time but make much more sense now. But really, I just want to talk about my life. I'm not really interested in the "Asexuality 101" thing. I want to write about things that I think are important. I want people who are learning about asexuality to be able to come here and see that this is what an ace person looks like. I'm a person and I do normal things which are sometimes affected by my asexuality, and I hope that people will be able to see that when they read this.

A Disclaimer
I don't speak for all aces. My opinions are my own and I'm not going to apologize for saying what I think (I tend to do that too much). I'm pretty new to this and I might get some stuff wrong.

A Warning
This blog is a safe space. Priority for this goes 1) me, 2) asexuals, 3) everyone else. That means that if for any reason, any discussion on here makes me feel uncomfortable or unsafe or threatened in any way, it ends. 2 means that we might discuss things that bug us as asexuals, and any visiting sexuals need to be respectful. 3 means no sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic or otherwise discriminatory remarks. Be nice to each other. Also, don't feed the trolls.