I think back to when I was around 12 years-old and I had just gotten into reading YA books. I was also just getting into writing at that time as well.
I remember my stepdad and I were driving down a dirt road around where we lived at the time. I may have been running errands with him, but around that age I hung out with him a lot.
We got on the topic of what I had been reading, and I started to complain to him that I didn’t like that all my books revolved around romance. It was boring to me, it didn’t work with any of the stories.
This was around the time Twilight (the movie) came out. Before this conversation I had seen the movie and wanted to read the books because I was a tween/teenaged girl and there was nothing better to me than fitting in with my borderline abusive classmates.
I read the first book in one night, I stayed up all night to finish it (this was also around the time my insomnia was starting to rear it’s ugly head). The next night I read the next one and so on and so forth. I ended up reading them all within five or six days.
There was more YA supernatural books at Walmart, so I bought them all (over a period of time) and read them. This lead to the conversation with my stepdad.
“Why are all books romances?” I asked him.
He told me that not all of them were and that I’d find some I would like that werent romance based.
As I slowly devoured the Borders book store that was in the closest shopping town my mom and I went to every weekend, I got more and more irritated by it. I didn’t want romance! Why couldn’t the boy and girl just be friends? Why couldn’t they just go through something hard and be close friends?
Kissing especially made me mad. It was always at such a random point in the book, like it was shoehorned in there last minute just to fit the genera better. They would share all these great experiences and with no hint at romance (that I could see anyway) and then boom, end of book two (or one) there was a kissing cliffhanger.
I moved onto Manga after that, because I figured that if they were romantic that they would be more up front about it. The pictures probably also helped me see the subtle hints the author was trying to convey.
The romance there was slightly better but in general I was still irritated but the amount of love that surrounded me.
Love especially didn’t feel like that to me. Even between family memebers. My mom and stepdad always fought, my biological father abused me with no end in sight. My moms family all hated each other. The only loving relationships I had seen were not typical at all.
Romance felt like a cheap way to get more people interested in something.
High school came around, I was in a new school with new opportunities to make friends. Of course this also came with people doing what teens do and hooking up and romancing each other in the hallways.
I didn’t realize I was Asexual until I was 17 and I lived in a domestic violence shelter with my mom and sister (no, my stepdad was not the cause for this). Learning about it made me not want to accept it. I was already so abnormal, why was I now not able to do the one thing nearly every thing on the planet does?
I tried relationships, I tried long distance thinking that might be easier. It wasn’t, I was just stuck doing phone sex and pretending to enjoy myself.
Aromanticism was something I just assumed was made up. I mean, I have pretty close relationships between my system mates. I would date, kiss, marry my partner in my system. I know others feel the same way. Why couldn’t we have that same kind of connection between us and another in real life human.
Looking back at the kind of abuse I lived through, and thinking of any other developmental issues I may have (undiagnosed of course), I realized that my interactions between myself and other in real life humans have never been normal. I am outwardly friendly, happy, kind. Inside though I really cannot stand to interact with people on a face-to-face basis.
‘Professional’ relationships I can handle. Things with my mom, sister, and stepdad are all okay to me. Anything more than that is just stressful, painful even.
My system mates are all like me, we all know each other and are all close. We’ve been the majority of our social interaction for a very long time. It doesn’t make the pain when seeing other people connect with each other, or when a in person friend writes something on my Facebook wall and I cannot find it in my to respond.
It’s painful being to try and pretend to be normal in a world that seems to be full of extroverts and romantics.
I’m always welcoming to friends online, though. I cherish twitter interaction between each other. I love it when I get the notification that someone has liked my post. You all are my saviors. You make me feel like someday I might be able to hold down a friendship with someone.
So thank you. I know this started out as a Romantic musing post, but I got sidetracked.
For my fellow abuse survivors: is there an aspect of your abuse that you find still impacts you in a major way? Or that was happening at such an early stage that impacted your development?
How about other aroaces? What do you think is the reason you are asexual/aromantic? Are you both or just one?
Have a great day all!