“Any boys you like?”
“Not really, I don’t really want any relationships right now, I have enough to worry about in my own life”
Like many kids raised in households that do not accept homosexuality, I had no idea about any other sexualities than the mainstream straight, gay, bisexual and lesbian until high school. For my whole life my parents always told me I was straight and expected to like boys, date, marry and have the standard 2.3 kids, and that was the norm and I didn’t question it. But that changed in my junior year of high school when I actually began to question my sexuality. I thought I might be bisexual because I felt about the same about men and women. And I was still thinking about it when on the first day of June 2021, I wound up on an internet deep dive that led me to two words. Aromanticism: When a person feels little to no romantic attraction. Asexuality: When a person feels little to no sexual attraction. And something finally clicked in my brain. This was exactly what I had told my parents for years, and I just did not know the words. Ever since then I have shuffled through different identities, mainly identifying under the umbrella label of aromantic asexual, specifically aromantic and demisexual (shortened to aroace). This means that I do not feel romantic attraction, and I don’t feel sexual attraction unless I feel a strong emotional bond.
Like many other aromantics, I have had so many doubts about my own identity over the last few months, especially as I am only out to my close friends and not my family. What if I am just straight? What if I am just bi and trying to hide it from myself? What even am I? Even though I feel happy being aromantic, I cannot deny that those dark clouds of uncertainty crash into me at the most inopportune moments.
I am at the point where I would feel comfortable to come out about being aromantic to my mom, I basically have already without saying the actual words “Mom I’m aromantic”. It will be much easier to come out to her as aromantic because I know with some education, she will be able to accept me and hopefully not talk about my potential librarian-spinsterness with pity. In regards to my dad, that’s a whole other story. My dad says he is fine with homosexuality, and I can believe this on the surface. Some of his and my moms’ friends are bi and gay, but in practice, I do not know how accepting he will be of his aromantic only child initially. He is one of those conservative Christian types, but he is one of the nicest people I know. I truly just hope that his love for me lets him embrace my differences, and I think he will. My dad is one of those people who can barely have gripes with anybody, so I have hope that after some time and understanding as to what aromanticism actually is, he will come to accept his aromantic daughter.
Even though it is certainly not what my parents would want for me, my aromantic identity has become super important to who I am, and it has always been there without a name. The “crushes'' I thought I had when I was younger on further examination really just seem like I wanted to be friends with them rather than anything remotely close to dating or romance. And I have always celebrated valentine's day as a way to show how much I love my family and friends rather than celebrating anything close to romantic love or attraction.
The aromantic spectrum also has a well-developed community on places like instagram. Over the last few weeks, I have watched the preparations for valentine's day and aromantic spectrum awareness week beginning and I have been amazed by just how much people in the community care. There are video projects, letter writing, and tons of posts explaining our community to others and providing support for aros on valentine's day and preparing to celebrate aromantic spectrum awareness week from February 20-26th
Whenever I have been interested in a topic, I dive headfirst into it and go through any content I can regarding it. I’ve done this with history, Muppets, and everything in between, and that includes aromanticism. Unfortunately though, there is not a lot of representation for aros in the media, even less than asexuality. The best representation for Aros often comes from the rare books and TV shows with confirmed representation such as Peridot from Steven Universe, Vernestra Rwoh from Star Wars: The High Republic, and Georgia from Loveless. The vast majority of our representation comes from non-confirmed semi robot type characters like Spock and Sherlock Holmes, whom I absolutely adore, but still are never said to be explicitly asexual or aromantic. Or from characters without a love interest who are assumed to be aroace like Merida from Brave or Mirabel from Encanto. With barely any representation, many people have no idea about the complexity of aromanticism or even what it is. Aromanticism and asexuality are often called “internet identities” because they gained popularity during the rise of the internet, but they have only slowly become recognized because of the turtle crawl pace of getting representation in media.
My story does not have an ending yet, and that’s alright for now. I do intend to maybe come out this year, and be out as an aromantic person for comic con this summer. But right now, I cannot complain too much about closet life beyond the agony of keeping one of my biggest secrets from my parents. The closet is comfy and I have the entire internet and four of my best friends to keep me company.
A common myth about aromantics, especially unpartnered ones, is that we are alone and sad and “just haven’t found the right person yet”. But we are fine. There is not that “one person” who will make us feel romantic attraction, but most of us still feel platonic, familial and many other types of love and attraction, and we are here, we are whole, and we are not going away. We may be alone sometimes, but we are very much alive.
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Etsy: Hundred Acre Broidery