This is my Carnival of Aces submission for January 2019 hosted this month by Demiandproud on the topic of Asexuality as a blessing
Actually this prompt is a real challenge for me (and not just because I’m kinda super tired right now). In my family we don’t really count our blessings anymore. My mom was raised Irish Catholic, but she stopped being religious many years ago. I remember when I was younger that my parents gave Church a valiant try because they know that strong community ties are important (and I agree) and are one of the many keys to a long healthy life, but my parents don’t tolerate ignorance well. A memorable example, according to them, was a minister was talking about Islam (and this was years and years ago) and he said that Muslims believed that the Earth rides on the backs of four elephants. Cue a double facepalm from both my parents. That was apparently the straw that broke the camel’s back because we stopped going to church after that. Then one summer my parents took the time to teach us about ALL the world religions from Amish to Zoroastrianism and said “Pick one”. We have parental permission to believe whatever we want, but only if we get the facts right. The elephant thing is first of all from Hinduism and considering all the engineering professors at the local University are from India they might have something to say about painting all Hindus with the same back-woods-simple-folks brush.
My family’s mental health isn’t all that great. My mom probably could use therapy, but she refuses to acknowledge her problems. My dad is an alcoholic and all of my siblings have been treated for depression. I don’t think going to Church would have fixed that, but clearly they’re missing a healthy support system. Somehow, I’m actually doing okay. I’m not sure what secret sauce I got that helps me not go down the dark rabbit hole, but asexuality probably plays a role in that.
Firstly, belonging to the asexual community gives me an extra rung in my support system that I wouldn’t have otherwise. It makes shopping for therapists a little tricky (especially since I’m also nonbinary), but I lean more towards self-help anyway since I don’t have a good track record with counselors (ugh). When I was just starting college (and didn’t know asexuality was a thing) I was part of a writing club and that was my healthy outlet because when I was writing anything was possible. My favorite character creation was an alien species where not having a gender or sex was normal and this character ended being one of the group’s favorites. Even if I didn’t know my gender or sexuality at the time I still found a way to safely express my doubts and feelings. My siblings didn’t have that because they’re “normal”.
Relationships are stressful. For every couple I see being cutesy and loving in public I feel like I see five couples arguing about dumb stuff. My brother and his girlfriend were arguing about dick tattoos while I was trapped in the car with them today, so…I’m actually really glad I don’t have that. My parents fight every day because they are literally an old married couple and it really takes the shine out of the long term relationship thing. Two of my coworkers just recently ended relationships that were at least borderline if not full on abusive. Does it make me sound cynical if I’d rather take myself to dinner and a movie than deal with another person. For every person who says I just “haven’t met the right one” I feel like my response should be, “Well, have you?”
I can’t say with absolute certainty that asexuality has actually had any positive impact on my life, but I can’t say for certain that it’s had any truly negative effects either. In Stoic philosophy there’s a term that isn’t easy to wrap your head around the first time you hear it; for me being asexual is an “indifferent”. This doesn’t mean that I don’t care that I’m asexual because it’s definitely a good thing to know. An indifferent is something that doesn’t affect your moral character. Being asexual doesn’t automatically make me a better person and it doesn’t make me a bad person. In Stoic philosophy things that matter are things that make you wiser, give you better self-control, ensure social justice, or help you overcome difficult circumstances. Since asexuality doesn’t meet that criteria, it’s not something I think about all the time (as seen by my infrequent posting habits).
I’m less concerned with my own asexuality and more concerned that all gender and sexuality minorities should be talked about, understood and celebrated. I’m less concerned about my lack of dating history and more concerned that all consenting adult relationships are celebrated and not just the boy-meets-girl ones. I’m concerned with people knowing what consent and power dynamics mean and that everyone gets the help they need when these things are ignored or abused.
Asexuality didn’t make me a better person, but it did give me a lens to see the world’s injustices from a specific point of view. Being asexual means connecting with so many amazing people and organizations that are trying to change the world for the better that I wouldn’t have known about otherwise if I was straight. Maybe that’s worth calling a “blessing”.