I always felt different from my peers at school. I remember clearly the day we were sitting on the second story of the sports centre watching the boys play basket ball below. The other girls would point out the boys they thought were “hot” and lust over them. I didn’t understand how they could feel something for someone they didn’t know. I found no one at school “hot”, and didn’t care about relationships or sex.
It wasn’t until I was 19 that I realised there were other people like me out there. I discovered that I was on the asexual spectrum. I was a person who did not experience sexual attraction, and it was a legitimate sexual orientation just like heterosexuality or homosexuality. Asexuals, however, can experience romantic attraction. This is something I started to experience when I started uni. I enjoyed things like holding hands with the boy in my philosophy class and going for special dinners with him. He knew I was vegetarian and took me to a nice vegetarian restaurant in the city. I was shattered when he started going out with another girl. I had to put aside my feelings for him and we ended up being friends.
When I was 19 I also realised that I was not straight. There were signs all along but for some reason it never dawned on me until I was 19 when I became romantically attracted to my female counsellor. Over the years, as I’ve come to understand myself more (it has helped to meet other girls who are gay or bi), things have started coming back to me… things from as early as primary school. I also remember my big, fat celebrity crush on Isabel Lucas who played Tasha in Home and Away. I was obsessed with her. I felt like such a stranger amongst my peers and she was the only person in the world I could relate with. I collected hundreds of photos of her and saved them in a secret folder on my computer. I was part of a fan site for her, regularly scanning the internet for new photos and news and then sharing it on the site. I was infatuated with her. I wanted to BE her. Yet I thought nothing of it until now. How could I have not known that I like girls??? The past few years there have been three or four girls who I’ve liked. These girls reduced me to a shy, nervous wreck! Sadly most of them I didn’t continue a relationship with. But they have definitely helped me to realise who I am.
My 20s has been a very painful period of my life full of unrequited love and mental health issues. My heart is guarded; I do not easily develop feelings for people, and some of the few people I have loved have been mental health workers. They have even, sometimes, made me question my asexuality. Nothing compares to the love I have felt for these people. They have both been the reason I survive and my downfall. James Baldwin said that “Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within”. Therapy has a similar effect, and maybe that is how I’ve come to love these people. They are the people who get to know the real me. I only recently discovered the terms “demisexual” and “demiromantic” and think this explains why I tend to fall in love with mental health workers. It is because of the strong emotional connection and intimacy I form with them. For people who are demisexual or demiromantic, we cannot experience sexual or romantic feelings for someone unless we have this emotional connection first.
I’m not really sure how to conclude this post or what “label” best fits me. It has been a post I have drafted and then redrafted many times. I continue my journey of self discovery and I wish you all fulfillment in your relationships.