Written for this month’s Carnival of Aces, hosted by Demisexual and Proud. The chosen theme was the stages of coming out as asexual, based on the Cass Identity Model. Following that prompt, I’ve written a prose poem divided into parts based on each stage. Content warning for one brief allusion to sex.
By my junior year of high school I have my sexual orientation narrowed down to a strict number of options. It is a matter of figuring which one fits best. The options are straight, gay, and bisexual. I cannot be asexual–one of those heartless things to be accepted but pitied all at once; when I was in middle school, I wanted to hold hands with boys. And I am thinking of kissing girls against women’s bathroom walls. And I’ve written at least a hundred, maybe several hundred love poems.
It may just be I want to be gay–to love women sounds an awfully lovely adventure. I only started thinking about girls in the eighth grade, liked boys as early as third. One of my first poems was about a Noah boy’s good blue eyes. I don’t write about the girl Jay’s black feathers hair until junior year of high school; her aesthetic has killed me, but would I love her? What is sex? I think that I know all of these things; I do not.
Epiphany comes in true bursting fashion, although I take years to get to that one April night. I have spent years and years years staring at the bathroom ceiling. Who do I like more–girls or boys? I decide one night in April, or some other spring month; it is my junior year of high school, to Google the hell out of myself, and stare at naked pictures of cisgender men and women and transgender men and women until I have at last come to the conclusion that I am not particularly in love with anyone. I type I am not attracted to anyone in the search bar, searching. Google asks me, have you heard of asexuality? and offers a website, which sits a moment at my feet before I pick the thing up, marveling at its sides.
I find I am not a unique beast. I am not the only one. There is wildness to that discovery. I have ventured finally onto the moon and found it already inhabited. We are all on the moon. I belong to the moon. I have not found my place on the earth but the moon says hello, and I am lifting my hand to wave back.
I still am ashamed of not mooning over Benedict Cumberbatch at our always lunch table; I do not understand his draw and wish that I did; his acting has made me cry, but I disagree with his being. I do not find him pretty. I dress up as Sherlock nonetheless, messing my hair and pulling a new dollar store scarf through its own loop. I think Sherlock is asexual–I idolize him, probably, too much. But I would love to be a man like him. It is a question I have not yet figured out.
I come back to this moment again and again, the older I become. My friends always are talking about their lovers over lunch. I cannot even get myself off. I am so very uncertain.
I suppose I am okay with being ace. I am mostly here, all the time, thinking I suppose I am okay with being ace. It is largely a front of pride flag aesthetics. I suppose I am okay with being ace. But I do not know anyone else who does not want at all, not even in the romantic sense. I am not sure if I want anything at all save books. I think I am only capable of loving Patti Smith. Her words are really getting me right now.
I am forever smiling in hopes that it will one day come smooth. I will feel at home in my orientation–
and I do. I would not give my asexuality off to any other person or thing; I am fiercely committed to it. I do not want a lover. I do not want a lover. My lover is a good number of songs on a sweet album. I have no desire and I do not desire to have it. I do not need a lover to live. I do not need a lover to be a professor, raise a thing of offspring, have a home, I can have a home in my own misshapen body as dead as it so often feels. I can form comma splices. My lover is asexuality. My lover is the fact of my lack of a lover. I am in love with my lack. It is a thing I can write about.
Writing it all down–I know my asexuality has not synthesized with the rest of me. It has and it has not. I am always alternating stages of acceptance of my asexuality and it depends on the day, whether I love it or hate it. But I would not give it away. It is me although it is not and without it I would not exist although maybe I would. I have no wish to be anything but asexual. I am many things here at once although I am not proud always of all of them at any given time. My gender is an answerless question. But asexuality is an alright word. It works.
I love it. I do not love anything. I hate it. I do not hate anything save the president. I do not think these things will change.