Life Update #3: The bewildering aftermath of an unwelcome slump.

Life Update #3

In case you don’t want to read this long-ass essay, I’ll just summarize here because fuck if this post hasn’t gotten ridiculously long:

  • I engorged on too much romance & just couldn’t anymore and went into a slump like an idiot (;⌣̀_⌣́)
  • Subsequently, I spent almost two years watching anime and reading nothing but manga and fan-fictions (=^ ◡ ^=)
  • And I came out as a demisexual Demiflag ♡~(‘▽^人)

But do read on if you’re craving some messy ranting.

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You know, I don’t remember what the first book I’d ever read was, and so I cannot tell you why I started reading in the first place. But one of the first memories I have is of being in love with reading. Really. I wasn’t the weird geeky kid I’d read about much later on in life, because yes, although I’d read Goosebumps and Famous Five and Secret Seven, and Iva Ibbotson all the time, and although I loved math and science, I was also an extremely athletic kid, and I beat up the biggest boys in class until we became friends and no one got beat up anymore, so I did not even know geek culture was a thing until I was 17, and by then it was already too late. (⌒_⌒ ; )

I remember, when I was about 12, I was sitting in class and reading a Vampire Diaries novel, and one of my best-friends wanted me to go out to play with them, and I’d denied because the book wasn’t over and it would be a blasphemy to put it down, and then he pulled and I pulled and the book tore right down the center, so dramatically. And then there was silence. He was sorry, but he still got beaten up until he cried and then I think we went out and played football because the book was ruined. Well it was a terrible book, in hindsight, so I probably did the right thing anyways- playing with them that is.

But yeah, I’ve always read books. I used to sleep with books under my pillows so that I could read them first thing I woke up. And then I turned 16.

I don’t exactly know when it happened, but sometime during my teenage years, I got hooked onto romance. I never thought of love much before then you know, there’s a cultural difference between the West and here in India, and as teenagers we’re really not encouraged to date and think about all that shitz much, if at all. And I’d found my escape, in quite a clichéd manner, in the books.

Dead Beautiful was the first “romance” novel I’d read, for the sake of reading romance (I never consider Vampire Diaries because I’d read that for the vampires, and was brutally disappointed ヾ(  ̄O ̄)ツ .) It was the first love story that moved me, that made me want to want something like Renee and Dante had, and before I knew it, out went all the suspense novels and out went all the ghost stories that I’d devoured as a kid, and suddenly all I could read was romance. I will not lie to you, I’ve spent like 5 years reading nothing but that. Sure, I went through bunch of sub-genres in the romance genre, but the crux of the matter was the same. 

And I think that’s where I kind of fucked up. ( ̄  ̄|||)

Allow me to explain.

It’s a little strange you know, when I was much younger, and we were still in our teenage years, and the hormones kind of went rampant in our bloodstreams, all my friends would see these guys and go gaga over them, and then there would be crushes and relationships and heartbreaks, and all I could think was huh and why. I honestly thought I was too realistic and pragmatic for not succumbing to my baser instincts (눈_눈). I’d read all these novels and I remember thinking, “I just can’t relate to this”, and thinking “I just need to wait, and it will happen”, and thinking “maybe I’m just too young now, and maybe I just need some experience to relate to this”.

Then in my later teenage years when I’d gotten into college, and still felt uncomfortable at the idea of casual dating, I kind of analyzed myself, and came up with two reasonings:

  1. Either I’d consumed enough romance to inadvertently blow up my expectations exponentially, so much so that no “real” boy/man just compared anymore and I’d just become really really picky; or
  2. I perhaps just needed to open my mind a little more. And so I went from strictly hetero to kind of bi to definitely pansexual in a matter of a few months, because I’d decided I honestly couldn’t give two shits about my partner’s gender identity. Girls are good. Guys are good. If we gelled, then they could be a furry for all I care. 

Was that too presumptive of me as someone who’d never been in a relationship? Yeah. But it gave me the mental freedom I wanted, because I really really wanted what was there in those books you know, the whole love and years and years of happily ever afters, even though I do know that’s really not a thing, but that’s all semantics.

Fucking hell, you already know where this is going, don’t you?

Any time I got propositioned, I kind of ran away. It was bloody embarrassing. I know that, and I’d still do it the next time. Okay, maybe I did not literally run away, but I did get all awkward, and would go from very confident to very very flustered, and I’d bumble my way through a rejection and then I’d run away.

Yeah, I know I’m weird, spare me.

Something I realized, just wasn’t right, and I couldn’t figure out why. And at the same time, I was reading all these ridiculously erotic novels (because really it is a landslide from romance to erotica, and you cannot judge me for falling through), and I just couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t anything like these characters in these novels, and these people in my life with all their… you know. I’m pretty sex-positive, not a prude and yet I’m not into people like most around me are. Case in point, my head is perpetually in the gutter (o^ ^o), but when it comes to a relationship, my body goes\(º □ º l|l)/.

I was so so frustrated with myself for the longest of times because I just kept thinking something was broken inside of me for not being like others. I know what you’re thinking, how can you accept being a pansexual, but still think like that? And let me tell you something about aphobia, it is not loud. It’s an ignorant little snake that poisons you.

I honestly can say now that I was dealing with internalized aphobia back then to the extent that I did not even want think that I might be on the asexuality spectrum. I had so many questions swirling in my head: How could I be asexual if I have such a high libido? How can I be asexual, when clearly I just need to try having sex once, and then everything will be alright, right? Because I won’t know until I’ve tried it, right? And then the worst of all, I kept thinking that although I didn’t mind being different, I didn’t want to be that different. Asexuality and a-spec are not one of the more cooler LGBTQ+ demographics you know— no representation and lots and lots of misinformation floating around; I only knew what I’d heard hearsay. I didn’t do the research, and I didn’t want to do the research, because I was scared of what I might find.

Facts as I knew them were:

  • I’d felt attraction before. Two is still a number greater than zero; and hence negating the possibility of me being an ace;
  • I have quite a high libido;
  • I’d always told people that “I’m focusing on my career” or “I have no time for relationships” or “I don’t care much for one night-stands”, and I desperately wanted to believe that.
  • I HATE LABELS. Because the ones I knew, I did not identify with, not completely, and the ones I did not, I did not want to know.

But that was all a cop-out, and I couldn’t keep giving myself those same excuses, because I knew them for what they were— excuses.

By this time, reading anything remotely related to romance, as portrayed in the Western media, became impossible for me. It made me feel like a disappointment, then made me feel angry for feeling like a disappointment, and just left me bitter. And reading anything but romance was hard, I thought it was impossible— it was all I’d known for years.

I’d completely stopped reading. And I absolutely hated myself for that.

It was like I went through a fucking mid-life crisis when I was 20. It’s ridiculous, makes me laugh now whenever I think about it, but god was it hard then. I’d cut myself off from all social-media. I was trapped in my head and I had no escape. 

It was around that time when I got hooked onto anime. I’ve never been a huge fan of movies, like sure, I’ll watch them every now and then, but I’m not and have never been a movie-buff. For me, I’ve always derived more pleasure from the written word than the motion pictures, but since the former was no longer an option,  the latter it was. 

Look, I don’t need to say much to justify why I fell in love with anime other than that anime is fucking awesome. And I will fight you if you say otherwise.

From thereon, it was again, a landslide from anime to manga because the anime was not complete, and the manga was, and I just needed to know the whole story alright? And then Mo Dao Zu Shi happened, and I loved it because it reminded me that romance is not always about wham-bam-thank-you-mam, and can also be a 20 year long love story filled with fighting and wars and dying and grieving and resurrection and smart-assery and solving a murder mystery and getting drunk and gifting chickens to your love-interest, and somewhere along the lines I’d forgotten that; and then the fandom happened, and then I fell in love with reading meta analysis of characters and plot points, and the ridiculous amounts of fan-fictions happened (some were good, some were terrible, and I regret nothing), and then I watched Yuri! On Ice, and I loved it, and then I read meta analyses of that.

And then came what I have dubbed THE ARTICLE (that I cannot find now because I’m a dum-dum, but please bear with me ..・ヾ(。><)シ ).

Anyways, the article was an in-depth analysis of how Yuuri Katsuki was probably a demisexual, and then the weirdest thing happened. I never google random words I don’t understand, because usually the context explains enough, and especially not labels, because I don’t care about them. But that day I did, google that is. And all I could see was—

Demisexual is a sexual orientation on the asexual spectrum defined as someone who does not experience sexual attraction until they have formed a deep emotional connection with someone.

And I went oh.

Oh.

It made sense you know. It made sense in a way nothing before had, and something under my skin finally settled. I went from huh and eh to oh and ah and suddenly I didn’t need to heal and mend anything because I wasn’t really broken. I spent hours and days researching, and I learned that hey, what do you know, I am on the a-spec, and there’s absolutely everything right with that. And somehow with that understanding came the capability to read again because I knew what I would relate to at a personal level, and what I won’t but still enjoy, and isn’t that just perfect? (⌒▽⌒)♡

DemiflagOne of my friends is convinced that I identify as a demisexual, because I love the flag colors, which yes I do, because those colors are fucking awesome, bite me. But mostly for me it explained why I never understood the need for constant sexual validation (like I’m not judging, you do you, I just don’t understand it), the passing attractions to strangers, the one night-stand culture, falling in and out of relationships, and tons of other bla bla bla that needled me to no end. It explained why the attraction switch in my head only flipped after years and years of intimate knowledge about a certain person.

Also it explained my complete and utter hatred for love-at-first-sight. (ᗒᗣᗕ)՞

So yeah, discovering my sexuality was a very weird ride, and even though I never really set out to find my identity, I kind of did anyways, and it returned to me my first love—

Reading. ❤ (ɔˆз(ˆ⌣ˆc)

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—Your thoughts for a penny—

Have you ever gone into a reading slump? What brought you out of it? Have you ever questioned yourself? Your identity? Do you ever wonder why the a-spec people are so under-represented?

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ari(2)

 

15 thoughts on “Life Update #3: The bewildering aftermath of an unwelcome slump.

  1. That sounds like quite the journey but it’s amazing to find something that just fits for you. I hope it makes you happier. I also agree that anime is awesome… Have a great day and that was really nice to read.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh it was a journey alright. 2 years of trying and failing to read was kind of torturous o(TヘTo), but I’m in a much better place now, and thank you for reading that word vomit!! I wasn’t sure anyone was gonna haha (¯▿¯)

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Well Ari I still don’t fully understand what demisexual is. I will have to look for that word LOL But honestly I don’t give a fig if you are heyero, gay, bi, asexual or bisexual or…you are “just” Ari my friend. Now if that can help you to feel good again and to understand, that’s amazing!
    I advise you to read Radio Silence for the record 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    • Haha, well I can explain what it means for me. It’s literally like you’re an asexual most of the times, and then you feel attraction for someone you have an emotional connection with. Well I used to be mostly fantastic, until the death spiral of overthinking set in, and then I hated everything lol. I think the hard part of this was how some of my friends took it. Like when college had begun, and I was just always single, they mocked me by insinuating I might be lesbian (because apparently that is an insult lol) until I told them, sure I identify as pan or bi and don’t care about my partner’s gender, and then it became real for them, so they stopped. But then when I told them I was demi, they looked at me like I’d died lol. Honest to god, they thought I was infertile or something which was so ridiculous, and when I explained they were just like “you need to have s*x and then everything will be alright” and I was like wtf? (。T ω T。) The hardest part would have to be how reading romance made me feel because I kept thinking something was wrong with me lol. But I’m pretty chill again, so yay! \( ̄▽ ̄)/Anyways, I’m guessing you want me to read the Alice Oseman one? I will go check it out (¯▿¯) Thank you for everything you said! It means so much! (≧◡≦) ♡

      Liked by 2 people

      • You know Ari, from my now 50 years, I got a little wisdom and the more I read and talk with people, the more I realize we are all unique and that’s amazing. I think we should not put label un sexuality honestly. You do you and that’s amazing. Just do what feels good for you and if you are always honest with your partner about your emotions and desires or lack of then you will always be in the clear. I never wanted to fit a mold and always did what Ithought worked best for me. It was pure luck I am heterosexual and had the easy way.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Huh! I actually completely agree with you on not putting labels on these things, but you know how being young is like, it’s full of doubting yourself and confusion and mistakes. For me it was less of a label and more like a confirmation that I wasn’t a complete anomaly like some people led me to believe. And on top of that the Indian society is still very orthodox in its thinking when it comes to sexuality, you know, so it makes it even harder. I used to laugh at how you’re not supposed to date before your 20s, but should have a prospective life-partner by the time you’re 23, which is just what! Luckily my mom’s very chill about my relationship status, but my friend’s moms have already begun hounding us for being single and “omg what are you gonna do in 2 years” lol

        Liked by 2 people

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  4. I love the way you have articulated your journey. I could relate to everything because I did not experience attraction until my late 20s. I too labeled myself a lot of things until I gave up and decided I was ‘different.’ And then one day suddenly, I felt an emotional connection with my partner and there it was, the attraction I longed for. Until now, I was not aware that there was a name for it. Thank you for a fabulously written and informative post.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much! I tried to keep it less messy, but the whole journey was quite disastrous, so I just needed to show that in the post. I’m glad you have someone! I hope to find something like that too someday.

      If you wish too look into this, you could check out the AVENwiki. It’s a great resource that really helped me.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: January Wrap-Up: I’ve read more books this month than the whole of last year combined. | Readin' Under Street-Lamps

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