It’s weird thinking how different I am now from six years ago
When I was younger, I was so proud of being “different”- (when I look at my old online profile from when I was 13 it says “different and proud” omfg embarrassing). I was ~not like other girls~. But at the same time I was fully convinced I was “normal”. I decided from a very young age I was straight because all the people in my books were. I was so completely shocked when my dad was an alcoholic even though it should have been obvious because that was something that happened to OTHER people- not me, I was normal. Nor could I frame how he treated me as abuse, because that was not normal.
I wrote a poem about how I might die without ever finding romantic love and thus would never be whole, even if I was successful in other areas, in high school, and that of course shows I internalized SO much bullshit- but also the love I would lose was just automatically framed as heterosexual. There was no question of well “what if I like girls”. Nobody ever asked me this question, everyone assumed I didn’t, so how could I ask it of myself? And this is in high school, when I was writing a story with a gay main character. I was aware it existed, it just could never happen to me. There would have been a great awakening.
I also remember in middle school reading a book with a lesbian main character (probably the literal only one in the YA section of the library) and she was way more dynamic and tough than most YA main girls were, but I remembered thinking she didn’t really “count” as an example of good female character because she was a lesbian and not normal. I couldn’t relate to her. Lesbians were tougher than straight girls after all, that was the stereotype and I believed it. They were fundamentally different.
I was one of those girls who’d say “I don’t get slash” in fandom and could never spot gay subtext etc etc
My cousin wrote an essay that said she had retreated to the closet because when we were very young she had asked me about having romantic thoughts about girls sometimes and I had admitted I did too but informed her that I really thought pretty much everyone had those thoughts and we were still “normal” regardless. She posted it on tumblr or whatever and I burst into tears reading it. I hadn’t meant to hurt her or cut her off from coming out to me and everyone else. That was truly just what I had internalized and what I believed about myself. I could not be anything other than straight. So my cousin had looked to me for guidance, but my own issues with my own sexuality kept me from being her guide or whatever. In reality, it was a sign I wasn’t 100% straight and neither was she, of course.
It’s still incredibly difficult for me to unlock those desires. It may never be easy for me, because I was always sold this idea of the “default” and I well…defaulted there. It’s hard for me to separate how much my lack of desire for sex and largely romance is repression or genuine asexuality.
This is why the world needs to change. I did not grow up prejudiced, or in a prejudiced community, but still internalized so much that I had to be “normal” and normal was heterosexual that I couldn’t know myself. How could I be expected to advise anyone? I hurt my cousin and myself, I kept myself separate from the very idea. And it’s still a struggle for me to this day.