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I can't know for sure, can I? On sureness and self reflection

Guest Nemo

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Being introspective is a serious hassle. Especially with regards to identity/emotion it feels like a diagnosis, but unlike an actual diagnosis, something that only YOU can do.

And I still don't feel qualified. It feels presumptuous to ask other people to do that deciding for me, not having the base of self-knowledge I do. But also it is a damn challenge, I have always been very indecisive, and that is kind of manifesting itself in my current self-examination.

Since hearing about the term/identity I pretty much immediately felt it connected with myself. I distinctly remember throughout elementary school being asked by classmates who I had a crush on, and truthfully answering 'no one' to the complete distrust of every classmate. In my head I sorta felt like we were all too young to have proper crushes, and that they were trying to be...special or something, I don't know. I also remember being pretty confused at the idea of fictional crushes. Like yeah, I got the concept and that they were fairly common, but it was so alien to me it felt like how could I even feel that for someone fictional.

There was a period where I felt an intense pressure that because of never having a relationship let alone a crush that I was lagging behind, was I at the right moment in my life? Eventually I kind of talked myself out of that and kind of accepted that what would come, would come and vice versa. It was a challenge to acknowledge because as a little kid I was very emotional and emotionally open, writing notes about whatever I was feeling whether it was sadness of love for my parents. I also had a variety of the common excuses: no one here is good enough; switching schools so often made it impossible to connect; etc. I have never, I think, known romantic love or anything close to it, but I have always loved love songs, soul music, romance stories and had a grand fascination and love for humanity and just the universe (it is really amazing to be alive and to see everything that exists how it does), and obviously familial love and affection.

Due to not being very outgoing in any capacity (likely an autism thing) and aforementioned school moving, and on some level being a guy, I have never had exceptionally close friends, not that I wouldn't like to, there are a lot of factors including a sometimes alienating level of maturity, that has led to that. I think that broadly these excuses are just that and serve nothing beyond placating my anxiety related to self discovery and feeling a minority of what most do. I'm lucky that my parents are very accommodating, and never push or anything, and would (probably) be fine with it after a while. A sibling came out as gay when they were young as well and no problems there.

Unfortunately being alloromantic has a lot of expectations with it, and those are difficult to buck generally. I also didn't want this to change the way people close to me see me, although I guess that's inevitable, at least for a while. It has been just part of my personality, nothing special, 'I haven't changed, my actions haven't changed, so why should the way people look at me change?' is the kind of naive process I had. At some point I had realized I was some level of bisexual but 'coming out' about that felt probably easier than aro, yet also I felt I couldn't due it without 'leading on' my family members into my 'love life'.  From there I told myself I wanted to 'be sure' about it before saying anything, but I know that's really impossible. I want to sort of be true to myself, whatever that may mean, before leaving for college.

I accept the fact that I'm young and a bit stupid, but I'm glad to be doing some introspection rather than pushing it aside til my early/mid twenties.

I'm not even really here for convincing, more so for affirmation bias, I know that knowing for sure is impossible.

Also I fell for the forum cliche of both writing an essay and making it my life story, so apologies. It did feel good to write though.

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Welcome from me also. Much of what you said sounds very familiar to me. And I agree that you probably can never really "know for sure". I have a few points to make why you should be comfortable ignoring that, if you wish to:

1. Everything Does change. Constantly. There are labels that used to apply to us that no longer do – I used to be a cashier and I'm not anymore, I used to be a first trumpet and I no longer am. Sure those are more tangible than something like "aromantic" but I only mean to show that if it ever turns out that you were "wrong" that doesn't mean that you were wrong to use the label. Since

2. labels aren't a select once at the beginning of the game type deal. They can change. They don't have to set rigid rules for how to live your life. They aren't boxes you make a home in, they are little decorations you put in the home you have (does that make sense?).

9 hours ago, Guest Nemo said:

Since hearing about the term/identity I pretty much immediately felt it connected with myself

If you feel like the label could help you, make you feel more comfortable or help you connect with a community of people with shared experiences, then that can be all that's important.

3. We're not gonna be mad at you in case it turns out you're "wrong"! If you say in a week or a year or 10 years that this whole "aromantic" thing was completely off for you then we're not gonna be angry or anything. I'm not even sure myself if I'll always identify as aro, but it helps me now and it's very important to me now

4. I do get not wanting to come out in case people will think of you differently. I don't know your friends and family but I think you're right, they might see you a little differently for a bit but eventually they're probably going to realize it's just a tiny fact about you that adds to the person they already know. I also used to be afraid I'd come out and change my mind and have to come out again and people would believe me less (which is honestly such a mean thing to think they would think. I think deep down everyone would know life is confusing. you can't always know everything about yourself). Funnily this lead to me identifying as bi "to me safe" and having to come out again later because guess what! turns out I was actually right the first time. Wow.

If you really feel you're ready and you're maybe annoyed by the assumptions people make don't hold back on coming out just because you're not a million percent sure. You're probably never going to be

Edited by root22
typo T-T
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Thanks for your responses

12 hours ago, root22 said:

I also used to be afraid I'd come out and change my mind and have to come out again and people would believe me less (which is honestly such a mean thing to think they would think. I think deep down everyone would know life is confusing. you can't always know everything about yourself).

I completely feel this, a lot of it I know is irrational, yet knowing that doesn't really help much.

I don't even understand really why labels help, I can feel that they do (as long as I don't get too specific with them), maybe it conveys some of your experience enough that people change their expectations for you.

That is both the goal and the fear of sharing it for me, having people change their expectations. I want them to be different in one specific way, and no others, haha. It's tricky.

I fully accept not needing to pin down my experience exactly, forever, but a part of me, in addition to the irrational fear of being 'believed less' I also feel like if I was 'wrong' I'd be seen as "look at that dumb fool who couldn't perfectly encapsulate his emotional experience one time" which is obviously insane and not likely to happen, and yet it remains a lingering fear.

I'm at the very least glad that my experiences aren't unique, which is not something I thought would be nice to know. Telling people close to me, in my head always felt like I'd be fervently defending my thesis like a phd student, bringing up evidence from my past to justify my findings, even though that isn't necessary, and they might believe me without having to dive deeply into explanation. I really gotta stop writing so much.

Anyway, thank you very much for your answer, from another Feb 1st bday :)

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I think sometimes we reach for a label in order to defend ourselves. Like it's ok to not have a relationship if we're aromantic. So if you don't really feel comfortable coming out ATM you could also just embrace that you don't owe anyone a justification. You can just live your life how you want to, not having to use any label for it.

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