What doesn’t seem like very long ago, I decided to do the 100HappyDays challenge again. For those of you who don’t know, this is a very simple concept; you take photos of things which makes you happy, one photo every day for 100 days. I did it a couple of years ago – around when I first started this blog actually – and I really enjoyed it, it made me really notice and appreciate the little things in life, and generally contributed to the happiness I had at that time. So a few months ago, when I realised that I’d lost that happiness, I decided to do it again. As I say, it feels as though I’ve only just started it, but I’ve just realised I’m already two thirds of the way through. If I’m honest, it hasn’t had such a strong effect this time, but I still enjoy it (mostly, there are a few days when I forget to take a photo of something or worry about what I can get one of), and I think I am getting to feel a bit better again most days. But I’ll when I finish I’ll share some of my photos from it, and see how I feel then.
I think the first time I heard the term ‘asexual’ was in about year 9 when my friend and I were discussing another friend, I’ll call him Ben, who had been saying he would never be in a relationship. The friend I was talking to said ‘Ben must be asexual’. I think I was also told by a friend that straight people fall in love with people who are the opposite gender/sex (this was way before finding out that those can be different things), gay men fall in love with men, lesbians fall in love with women, bisexuals fall in love with anyone, and asexuals fall in love with no one. And while over last two years I learnt a lot more about different sexualities and gender, my thoughts on asexuality didn’t change. So when I started to question why I had so didn’t want to do any sexy stuff when loads of other people were, and I was in love my boyfriend and he wanted to, I never really considered that I might be asexual. After all, I was in love, I had been before, I had ‘liked’ several guys, and mainly enjoyed being in relationships (although only with people I’d already been friends with, I never ‘dated’ or anything). I honestly thought there was something a bit wrong with me, because I didn’t understand why people were so obsessed with sex, and people talked about wanting to do stuff with people they didn’t even know. Like I can see that someone is aesthetically nice to look at (I am so impressed that I just spelt that right first try), but that’s all the feeling was.
Over the summer I started watching Evan Edinger on YouTube, and sound his video about being demisexual, and thought, hey! This sounds like me! But then I started reading and talking to people online (always be careful doing this, especially non-adults out there) and watching videos and learning so much about the ace and aro spectrums. And it is pretty confusing. I’m always torn about all the labels out there; only having a few labels and expecting people to fit neatly into one is never going to work. But everyone is different, and labels can be restricting. Very simply, I’m saying I am grey-asexual.
This New Year Ben, who I’ve lost touch with a bit, announced on Facebook that he has a girlfriend. I told a friend this at a party and he said ‘Strange, I always thought Ben was asexual’. I replied ‘Well he still might be, there’s a difference between asexual and aromantic’. I got a non-committal ‘eh’ in response. I also got rather fed up this holiday with my friends talking of sex all the time, one of them making jokes about the fact that my ex and I had never slept together – which is out of line, whatever the reason for us not doing it – and just generally the constant feeling I have from them that we all should be having sex. But I don’t really feel like I can tell them, and one of the main things putting me off is knowing how much explanation I would have to give.
So I urge you all, whether you think you might be ace or you know you aren’t, to educate yourselves a bit on this topic, because I have no hope of explaining it all in a coherent way. I think YouTube is a good place to start, as well as Evan Edinger’s My Sexuality, I’ve been watching Ashley Mardell’s videos about ace and aro, which seem to explain every term that could possible be out there, and AmeliaAce. I would recommend all of these, and a lot of them give links to more things that you can read. I know there’s also loads more out there, so if you have any suggestions, or just want to say anything about ths topic, please leave a comment.
Having this new perspective on myself raises questions and potential problems, but it’s made me feel so happy and at peace knowing that it’s not something wrong with me, and there are other people out there who feel like me 🙂
There’s a great big world out there, and I wanna see it,
There’s a great big world out there, there’s a place for me in it,
Though I’ll miss my mother and the friends I’ve known,
Oh the light burns out if you wait too long,
There’s a great big world I swear, and it’s waiting out there for me.
As we lie drunkenly just staring at the stars
Here’s to us, here’s to love, all the times that we messed up,
Here’s to you, raise a glass, ‘cos the last few nights have gone so fast,
If they give you hell, tell ‘em forget themselves,
Here’s to us.
But when you touch me like this,
And you hold me like that,
I just have to admit that it’s all coming back to me
Tonight we are young, so let’s set this world on fire, we can burn brighter, that the sun.
We won’t survive on this borrowed time, I don’t know what you’d wanna try
They tell me I’m too young to understand, they say I’m caught up in a dream
Well life will pass me by if I don’t open up my eyes, well that’s fine by me
So wake me up when it’s all over, when I’m wiser and I’m older
Wish that I could stay forever this young, not afraid to close my eyes
Let’s toast ‘cos things got better
I’d rather be alone than unhappy.
I’ll forget the world that I knew, but I swear I won’t forget you,
Oh if my voice could reach back through the past, I’d whisper in your ear,
Oh darling I wish you were here.
And I’m gonna miss you like a child misses their blanket,
But I’ve gotta get a move on with my life.
I hope you know that this is nothing to do with you.
Drinking old cheap bottles of wine, sit talking up all night,
Saying things we haven’t for a while.
Smiling but we’re close to tears, even after all these years.
Remember the time when we stole the whole day, and nobody knows it, we took it away,
And it will be forever yours, and it will be forever mine,
Now we own the night and it can’t be undone, we’ll never forget how it feels to be young.
As always these are quotes owned by copyright holders, not my own words, I have merely chosen them to convey a message. I recommend reading the posts in this category in order, starting here. I would also like to add that these are purely quotes I have related to at a specific time, and not because I necessarily approve of the person or place they come from 🙂 Click here for the next instalment.
A few days ago Dodie Clark (Doddleoddle) and Carrie Hope Fletcher (It’sWayPastMyBedtime), who are two of my absolute favourite YouTubers, made a video of a song called Gold Star For Me. If you haven’t watched this already then you really should, I’ve put a link to it here.
One of the presents in my Christmas Stocking this year was a sheet of shiny, sparkly, smiley face stickers. This is not something I would have thought to want, but it seems my Mum knows me, as they are actually pretty cool.
I’ve mentioned that recently I haven’t been as happy as I would like to be, and when you feel like this the simplest tasks can sometimes begin to seem impossible. I know this happens to lots of people, whether you’re suffering from a mental illness (or physical, but no one tends to question it then), or just going through a bit of a hard time. It’s very easy to expect too much of yourself, or punish yourself for not getting enough done, but that will only make you feel worse. The song I mentioned is all about rewarding yourself for everyday victories, and giving yourself the recognition for the little things you do well. And that’s what I’m trying to do. I’ve blu-tacked (shhh, don’t tell the warden) a sheet of paper to my wall just above the desk, where I spend most my time, and when I feel low I’m going to draw or write or stick something on it, like rewards you get in primary school, as motivation to do something, however small.
And actually, when you’re feeling bad, little tiny productive things are probably the most important. Yes, self care things like duvets, chocolate, baths, books, are all very good. But it’s often more helpful to make a meal, doesn’t have to fancy, just more than a piece of toast, or pick some dirty clothes off your floor, or change your bed, or do the washing up as soon as you eat so it doesn’t build up. These will make your life slightly more comfortable, and you can be proud of yourself for doing something. Even if all you do is get up and make your bed, only to collapse right back onto it, you have achieved something.
Another thing which I find always helps is going outside. You don’t have to go anywhere, just get some fresh air. I try to go outside everyday, but I often don’t manage it, especially at uni when I don’t have a proper window and it’s a long corridor and many flights of stairs just to get to a car park surrounded by buildings, very different to my home with open fields just behind. But going days at a time without seeing the sun or getting fresh air can only make things worse, so tomorrow I will make sure I leave the building.
Obviously the ultimate aim is always to be able to function easily on a day to day basis, it’s ok to take things one step at a time, and sometimes lose any progress you have made. Because every day that you do one little thing well is a day well spent. So whatever you have done today, well done