(warning: brief talk of sexual coercion)
This was intended to be the 1-year anniversary post for this blog, which was back on the 5th, but I had been busy keeping track of, and writing about the archiving controversy between AVEN and the bloggers, and have also been busy with some other projects, but better late than never!
It was in late July last year that I got encouraged to write my own blog, and contribute to the ace blogosphere, which I started with some comments on The Asexual Agenda, though it was on August 5th that I created this blog and made my first post.
I had so much to say, but there was a lot I was holding back on due to my fears of not being understood. That still held me back despite the encouraging comments I had gotten on my blog, and some posts on The Asexual Agenda. It’s self-defeating considering why I started to blog. When asked why do we in the asexual blogging communities, write our blogs, I would’ve answered that I blog to: contribute to asexual discourse, contribute to the discourse surrounding the rejection of sex, to share my experiences, and to find others who can relate, because they also need to be reached out to.
Sharing my experiences is the most difficult part, and it still is because I know I’m an outlier in the asexual community. I’m thankful that I’ve had commenters say that it does matter that I speak up about my experiences, as isolating as it may be.
The first Carnival of Aces theme I participated in was the “Unassailable Asexual” topic for August 2014, and the conclusion to many of the entries, including my own, was to actively show the diversity of the asexual community by encouraging individuals who often feel silenced by social pressures and/or self-doubt, to speak up about their experiences, which would help themselves and others who can relate to their experiences. It seems like stating the obvious, but speaking up when your narratives don’t fit the narrow mold of the “ideal asexual representative” means having to fight against lot of pressure both inside and outside the asexual community, as well as one’s own self-doubt.
It can still be difficult for me, but I’ve spoken up in order to have a chance at finding others who can relate or understand, and maybe there are others who were in my situation, and think they’re alone until they find my blog, or the sites I admin.
When I mentioned in my early posts that I’m not from the asexual community, those who already knew of me from The Asexual Agenda likely knew what I was referring to, but others may not have known. For those who still don’t know, I’m an outlier in the asexual community, all because I found the (self-identified) antisexual community first, and find their concepts useful. I feared that the asexual community, especially AVEN, would assume the worst in me because of it, and I’ve had that fear since I first found them.
“Cake at the Fortress” was originally the title of my tumblr blog which I created much earlier, back in 2012. Back then, I already had the ambition of bridging the gaps between the asexual and the antisexual and/or voluntary celibate community, in order to prove to both sides that they don’t have to be enemies. I thought both sides were enemies to each other despite sharing, or having the potential to share many of the same goals, and I knew it was up to me to set the record right, because I knew they didn’t have to be enemies, and I may have been one of the only people to know this. I quickly had to put that on hold due to the sheer difficulty of the task. I knew it’d be overwhelming being the only one trying to bridge the gaps, and I tried to get started with it, but struggled with how to get that idea off the ground.
I put that aside for months, and I joined AVEN at the end of the year. I realized I took some of the things they said the wrong way at first. I was happy to meet and help many people there. I especially liked greeting newbies who may have just found out about asexuality, and just found out that not having sex is an option, that I was willing to overlook how much of an outlier I was in my experiences. I did this without any expectation of others understanding my experiences in return. Over the months though, the isolation ended up getting to me.
It was right around the 1-year mark after I found AVEN, which is about 8 months after I joined, that I felt like I reached a breaking point. That was when I really felt broken, or like a freak to the rest of the asexual community.That was when I regretted finding the antisexual community first, because that radically affected my experiences, and made me realize that I’ll never be a “normal” asexual within the English-speaking asexual community (even though English is my first language, which makes me an outlier within the antisexual community!).
Trying to fit my experiences and identity into AVEN’s framework would mean having to cut out parts of my experiences, and concepts I find useful that have no equivalent, making me feel more broken. I’ve clashed with people on AVEN over this, because I thought they were taking something I found useful away, and trying to force me to fit their framework, akin to cutting off the edges of a square peg to make it fit into a round hole.
Being interviewed for The Asexual Agenda for my experiences in the antisexual community was a huge honor, and one person willing to ask questions and to understand what perspective I was coming from made so much difference. At the same time, there was so much pressure to get every detail worded perfectly, because I knew that practically no one else in the asexual community would find anything about it familiar.
There were still a lot of times though, that I thought I shouldn’t have found either community. These were times I thought should’ve just caved into unwanted sex years ago when I was being pushed into it, and accepted it as my fate, trying to convince myself I could force myself to enjoy it over time. I often thought I still should’ve caved in, because at least some normal asexuals can relate to that! All of these thoughts of isolation, regret, despair and resentment persisted for more than a year, and this was what I was referring to when I wrote about feeling broken and alone within the asexual community. I couldn’t say it outright at the time, but that’s what I was referring to.
At the same time though, how can I say that about my own comrades on either side? Cake at the Fortress exists the way it does, because of my experiences as someone who has been involved in both the asexual and antisexual communities, and that I found the latter first. That also allowed me to create the sites that I admin. Technically I’ve also been involved in the celibate community, though I wish I knew what its boundaries were exactly, and that question has been nagging at me since I created Outside of Sexuality last year, and I never found a conclusive answer.
Another of the Carnival of Aces that was the most important to me was the February 2015 theme of “Cross Community Connections”. That Carnival of Aces theme served as one of the perfect prompts to help me speak up about so much that I wanted to say, but had previously been holding back, since I had been too overwhelmed to try and bring it up on my own.
The first year was of me blogging was me trying to break through a lot of what was holding me back from writing what I intended to. Moving forward, I wonder what my second year of blogging will bring!