By Sierra Campbell
The first time I ever questioned my sexuality was in my eighth grade religion class. After a long discussion in class regarding exclusively homosexuality, I remember thinking to myself, “Am I straight?” The label didn’t feel right at all, but I was only aware of heterosexuality and homosexuality because of the lack of teaching in school about identities. I had only experienced what I now can identify as romantic attraction towards people of the opposite gender, so I figured I MUST be straight. I lived my late middle school and early high school years messing around with male love interests, but the idea of doing anything physical with them didn’t interest me in the slightest.
During that time I was really self-conscious because all of my friends were obsessed with physical relationships, and I felt weird for not wanting that. The summer before tenth grade I got my first kiss. Now, because of society and it’s glorification of sex, I was under the impression that my first kiss was something special and meant to be absolutely incredible. Boy was I wrong.
It was the same sensation I felt when I fed a stingray on vacation except on my mouth. I hated every second of it, I was mad at myself for not enjoying it, and I thought there was something wrong with me. But of course, I hyped it up when telling my friends because I didn’t want them to judge me and think of me as immature. So when the tenth grade started, tales of people losing their virginities floated around, haunting me. I felt this pressure to go out and lose my virginity, and I was truly terrified of the expectations of other people. But yet I continued to go out, drink, and kiss boys. My life then was controlled by my fear of judgement; I wasn’t living for myself, but for the convenience of others.
I felt lonely and isolated, with no one to talk to about what I was feeling. Often I used Tumblr as my outlet, venting about my problems through my writing. One day in April of 2016, a girl in my math class at school came out as bisexual. Although I thought I had a pretty good understanding of what bisexuality is, I decided to look up what the exact definition was on the internet. I found a website that had so many different sexualities listed that it was overwhelming, but when I read the asexual definition my heart stopped.
In that moment, everything made sense.
I wasn’t broken, weird, or immature. I was valid and worthy of love. After my discovery I immediately did more research on asexuality, found my local asexual community, and connected with the Tumblr ace community. These people understood what I was going through, and they had nothing but love and encouragement for me. And now I’m here, I've finished grade eleven, and I'm celebrating my 17th birthday. I may not have my gender and romantic orientation figured out or be out to my family and friends yet, but I’m working on it. I’m on my self-acceptance journey and things will only get better from here.