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Guest Aroacebunny

I don’t feel proud

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Guest Aroacebunny

During the quarantine, after talking with a friend, she encouraged me to try and figure out how I identified. I had been struggling for a while and after rereading something about aromanticism, it made sense. I was happy at first to have an identity to relate to but I slowly started to realize what it meant for me. I’m now upset and slightly angry. Sad that I’ve been told all my life that romantic love is something special and the best feeling in the world! And everyone has the perfect person for them! I’m angry that after my whole life of hearing this, I’ll never be able to actually experience it. I’m angry that every time (if I do come out to people) I’ll have to launch into a ten minute explanation about what I am and then defend myself for my feelings. I’m angry that everything that I had thought was normal and looked forward to in my life is now yanked from my grasp and taken away from me. Held above me tauntingly like it’s being heard Obote my head by a bully. I’m upset that even though my parents always talk about how open they would be to anyone in my family being gay or bi or anything, they’ll never quite understand that I’ll never feel that way about anyone. Even if they pretend to understand, I’m angry that I know they never will. I’m upset that no matter how much they pretend, they’ll always wonder what it’s like to live without love, even if I have it in a way they don’t quite understand. I’m angry that even though there are QPRs and things like that, my romantic orientation and sexuality make it significantly more difficult for me to lead a “normal and fulfilling life”. I’m angry that the only thing keeping me from the things I d’anticiper all my life is something that I cannot control no matter how much I want to. And I know everyone says “be proud about your orientation! It’s who you are! No need to be ashamed!” But I don’t know if I can. Because even if it’s who I am, I don’t think I’ll ever truly understand it. And if I can’t understand it, I don’t know if I can truly ever say I’m proud. 

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It can be really tough to realise that the things you've been taught to expect and want your whole life aren't actually things you want for yourself. It can be especially tough to realise you don't want those things when your entire social and cultural worldview tells you that those things are necessary to make your life normal and fulfilling. But can I let you in on a couple of secrets?

  1. You don't have to have a committed, romantic, sexual relationship to live a fulfilling life.
  2. Romantic love isn't objectively the best feeling in the world. It is subjectively the best feeling in the world for some people. It isn't remotely close for others. 

It's really, really hard to change the expectations you might have had for yourself and your future. It's really, really hard to realise that you're never going to have the white picket fence and 2.3 children that you've always been told would make your life complete. A word of advice, though: That "ideal" life is only "ideal" for people who genuinely want romantic relationships and kids. The internet is littered with stories from people who got married or had kids because society told them it would make their lives "normal and fulfilling", and who now feel like their decisions to marry or have kids have destroyed their lives. So when you talk about things being "yanked from your grasp" it might be worth sitting down and asking yourself: did I really, genuinely, ever want those things? Would it actually make me happy if I had those things?

It's okay and totally understandable to be angry and upset that your life will probably never conform to society's expectations of what's "normal", and that your parents will never understand. This is an experience that all sorts of people go through - for example when they realise they're gay, or trans, or in any way non-conforming with the status quo. But not being "normal" doesn't preclude you from living a happy life on your own terms that fulfils your own ambitions and needs. The important thing is to be honest with yourself about what you want, and pursue it regardless of what bullshit society expects. What would you say to a gay person who believed they can never live a "normal and fulfilling life"? What would you tell them if their parents were unable or unwilling to understand their orientation? Could you say the same things to yourself? 

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I don't know whether we really need to be proud of it. That's a bit too patronizing for some of us imho.

Pride is militant speach. Like any battle, militantism is for the people who can spend some energy on others. Some of us still have to deal with some interior struggles and just focus on them.

From my experience troubles occur when we are not aware, in denial or -worse- adverse to our orientation/identity. I'm trying to start slow by accepting it. Like they say in meditation 'contemplate without judgement'. Then look at what I want myself (start fresh) and look at the pros of my orientation. The goal is to try to be neutral about that weird part of me. Maybe loving it one day.

When the first steps are done, then go confront the world. I've felt bad for years because I went into the world unaware, feeling inept and not shielded by self-love.

 

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