Speak up. Say Something. Who are you afraid of?

Robert Frost once said, “Half the world is composed of people who want to say something and can’t, and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on saying it.”

Restraints come in many different forms. They can be fear of consequences, judgments, tomorrow, society. They can be physical binds and emotional trauma. They can be rational, irrational or even a bit of both. The first half of the world is terrorized by entities it cannot capture, for often, they exist only in our minds.

We are terrified of missteps, cautious of embarrassment, weary of others and anxious of “x.”

And every so often, binds that we create for ourselves lead us to the very precipice of insanity. We drive ourselves to devastated mental states. It has created the possibility of concurrent existence of sanity and insanity; We function as normal human beings, not outwardly struggling in physical or “literal” aspects of our lives, but when we lay down to sleep, silence is deafening. We can’t be alone with ourselves, because we are plagued with memories and thoughts that we suppress during the day. We analyze every word we have said until everything disintegrates into total nonsense and our regrets intensify.

What we are afraid to say plays over and over in our minds until we fall into nightmares or fail to sleep completely.

And nothing is worth it. No one has power over you unless you give it to them.

Speak up. Say it. Say something. Who are you afraid of? Break the chains, so that when you lay down to sleep at night, you don’t wonder what could have happened.

And if it backfires, learn to forgive yourself. No one matters but you. It will hurt. I cannot promise immediate solace, but it will fade if you let it.

I basically admitted to being asexual to my father, yesterday. It was an absolutely horrible experience, and it made me feel like complete and total trash. He wasn’t at all mean. At least, not intentionally, but it was just not good. I agreed to things I should not have agreed to.

Oh, and this was two hours into my birthday. I’m officially 25 years old.

I do not regret it, because I am not ashamed of who I am.

No one should ever be. Speak up. Say something. Who are you afraid of?

The 80 Million Killers of Kissing

Let me begin by saying that I do not have an issue with people’s sexuality. Who am I to tell anyone what they can or cannot do? Whatever floats your boat, go for it. You get in there and close the deal, if that’s what you want to do.

However, distracting diligent disclaimers aside, I really do think kissing is nauseating in the most unfortunate of ways. It isn’t about being aro/ace. Think about all the bacteria that’s being exchanged during that interaction. You are quite literally opening yourself up to another person, whose mouth may have been places that could make your stomach turn.

According to Time Magazine, 80 million bacteria can spread from just ten seconds of kissing. The human tongue is really not the cleanest kid in the playground that is your body.

Sex is not the only way sicknesses can spread. We talk to our kids about STDs all the time, but mouth-to-mouth resuscitation for the sake of pleasure is not exactly the cleanest activity either, especially if we’re putting a French twist on the game.

In fact, your sexual organs are cleaner than your mouth. If you and your partner have tested negative for sexually transmitted diseases and keep everything covered and safe, you might actually be better off jumping over first base and taking it straight to home plate.

Kids should be informed of the implications of all activities that involve the exchange of body fluids. Preaching abstinence is not sufficient. Talking VD is not sufficient. Lay it all on the table. Bring the banana. Bring balloons. Bring puppets.

Okay, puppets may be a bit creepy. Nix the puppets idea.

Anyway, the next time you think about swapping spit with someone, I hope you remember this post and skip right to sex, instead.

Just kidding.

Sort of.

Cracking Open the Closet Door: Being Ace and Muslim

I am not entirely sure how to start this. Introductions are high on my list of horrors, finding themselves ranked above my pesky pigeon plight and just under the frankly fearsome fate of failing if I try to publish, again.

Forgive me. I resort to humor when I am uncomfortable. Allow me to turn off my taciturnity toward this tediously troublesome topic and return readily to my rattling rhetoric.

Okay. That was my last one. Promise. I’ll just get right to it.

This is my personal tell-all on how I pretended not to be asexual for the entirety of my life, displayed on the internet for all who do not know me to see.

Because no one I know goes on my website. Ever. This is our little secret, internet.

Just a little background on what an asexual actually is, I have zero sexual attraction to people, regardless of gender.

I was raised by Muslim, Middle Eastern parents. My entire life, I was told that my future consisted primarily of three things: going to school, making something of myself, and starting a family of my own–kids, husband, the works. That last one was not an afterthought. It was important both culturally and religiously, and I never doubted that.

I still do not.

On a trip down memory lane, one could see little me growing up completely different than literally everyone else. I was weird. People commented on it openly. They said it to me; They said it to my parents; They said it to almost everyone who knew me. It was never a positive thing.

My parents were very loving and supportive. I was their daughter and that was me, and they loved me. I have always been absolutely terrified of disappointing them, because everything I have, they gave me without a second thought.

Growing up, I had a ton of friends, but I felt extremely isolated. I didn’t fit in. I didn’t get the things other girls liked and they didn’t get the things that I liked. I was weird, and everyone knew it. I couldn’t control that, and it was hard. You try being one of those kids who know that they are complete deviations from the norm, all by their lonesome, not really sure what to do about it. So, I clung to at least one thing that would make me the same as everyone else: crushes.

I had crushes on the most random boys; I had nothing in common with them at all, but all I needed was to fit in, so anyone fit the bill. I didn’t talk to any of them. I just told my friends. I had to start faking it since elementary school, and I got very, very good at it as I grew older. I even had myself convinced:

“This is normal. This is what I am supposed to want, so this is what I want.”

It became a sort of mantra. I stopped wanting to fit in very early on, but I now understood that it was extremely important in my most basic belief system. I had to get over it. I had to get over not wanting to be with someone at all, because I had to do it eventually.

Then, I hit college, and I “fell for” my best friend at school. We hung out all the time, and I thought, “Okay. This is good. This is okay. I can deal with this.” I completely convinced myself that I had fallen for him. In my head, I figured, “This is obviously a Muslim girl in love, right? It has to be.”

It wasn’t. It was me, once again trying to convince myself that I was just like everyone else. I even had my friends convinced that I was truly into him, and the lie got so out of control that I had to tell even more lies to cover up that lie. I couldn’t admit it, but I was too terrified to even contemplate the possibility of the truth, let alone tell someone else.

After that, I went through guy after guy. My parents would introduce me to someone, I would give it a shot, and then find a reason not to go through with a marriage. It became a cycle. I’ll give him the time of day, I’ll have “won” him, and then I’ll come up with any reason to high-tail it out of the relationship as if my feet were on fire.

I had–and still have–everyone completely convinced that it isn’t that I don’t want a romantic relationship of some kind, but rather, I have too tangled a mess of commitment issues to stick to one guy. I welcomed that label. It was served to me on a silver platter. I was not aromantic or asexual. I was afraid of commitment. It was perfect.

I have lied so many times to so many people, because I couldn’t let one soul know that I was this much of an anomaly. I have always known that stepping out from under my fairly comfortable invisibility cloak would go one of three ways: people would think I’m either lying, completely screwed up beyond human comprehension, gay or that I still haven’t met “the right person.”

Not one of those possibilities was appealing in any way.

And I was right. I told someone very close to me, and I regret it whole-heartedly. I am positive that she thinks I am confused or lying.

It might not seem like a big deal, but I struggled with this for the vast majority of my life. Being asexual and Muslim is several degrees of hard, because even though there is nothing that mandates that I must get married or “I’m going to get it,” marriage is too fundamental to just ignore.

I am a girl who will get married because she has to get married, not because she wants to.

I will stay in my tiny little closet, making no noise and pretending I don’t exist.

That is my burden to bear.

Immediately regret telling her. I think she thinks I’m lying or that it isn’t a big deal.
It is a big deal. It’s a huge deal. I’m Arab and Muslim. The concept of marriage–regardless of who the person is–is a HUGE deal. You have to get married. That’s it. Being aromantic is horrible when you haven’t got a choice.
What the hell was I thinking, telling someone? Never again.

I opened the closet door just a crack and told my friend that I’m aromantic, today. Sure, I bitched out and just threw it in the middle of conversation and moved on to the subject of pizza to avoid talking about it, but I did it, didn’t I?

Don’t you judge my pansiness.
Don’t take away my victory.
At least I said it.

Somebody Oughtta Tell ’em That Broad is Crazy

First order of business: aromantics are not insane. They are people who simply deviate from the “norm.” If this is a difficult concept for you to grasp, by all means, move right along.

Notice that I did not claim that I’m not crazy. My own insanity, I am not inclined to deny.
I place myself in the looney line for many other dreadfully disconcerting discernments, but that’s awfully unrelated to the topic at hand.

Dear Internet,
You don’t know me. I don’t know you. Let’s keep it that way.
Prince Charmander Charlie the Third

I have completely lost my mind.

Aromantic Non-Asexual

How do you tell someone you’re dating that you’re aromantic?
“I like you…as long as we each stay in our own respective corners.”
“Let’s try not telling each other how we feel.”
“Let’s not hug.”
“Let’s not hold hands.”
“Let’s just refrain from all nonsexual physical contact.”
“It’s not you. It’s me.”
“No, seriously. It’s me.”
“Wait, I’m not breaking up with you. I just don’t desire you romantically.”
“I don’t actually feel anything.”
“I’ve been lying this whole time.”
“I’m doing what they tell me I should be doing.”
“The normal thing.”
“That doesn’t mean I like it.”
“Oh god.”
“I am a bitch.”

How do you tell your friends you’re aromantic?
“We have always chalked my aversion for monogamy up to commitment issues.”
“I pretend to care more than I do so no one thinks I’m crazy or lying.”
“The thrill of chase is all I care about.”
“I don’t like him.”
“I don’t truly like any of them.”
“I am just not supposed to be alone.”
“That’s what everyone says, anyway.”
“That doesn’t make me fucked up or weird.”
“But you would think I am.”
“So I am trying to be normal.”
“Everyone wants to be with someone.”
“But I would rather be alone.”
“It’s not that I’m a crazy masochist who wants no people in her life.”
“I do want other people around.”
“I want friends and family.”
“But romance is foreign to me.”
“I don’t understand it.”
“So I pretend to.”
“Quite well, I might add.”

No Romo