Am I Sacrificing?

I am such a jerk that when it comes to my friends and family, I will sacrifice everything to maintain a certain level. I think this is because I’ve seen a lot of crap in my life and I think that I can’t do anything on my own. Or, maybe the reason is so ineffable and buried so deeply that I will never, ever figure it out. In any event, I will sacrifice every aspect of my life and myself to maintain an even keel. The problem with this, however, is the fact that when things start breaking down within me, I don’t necessarily know what the cause is. I don’t take as much time for introspection as I really should and so, when it comes to why I’m doing X, Y, or Z, I may not always know until I take a time out to think about it.

After my last post, TH and I have been working on things. We’ve been communicating more and more with each passing day. It’s very much like a honeymoon stage, which worries me. I know that’s how things work out between two people when they have a huge fight and are establishing their relationship anew. All of my divination attempts have reminded me that we’re starting over, that this is a time to take the relationship to its proper place, etc. So, I know that this honeymoon phase will last for only so long before we start actually having to live and prosper. And I have to admit that I’m a little worried about what will happen when we’re both living under the same roof again.

But, the thing is that this post isn’t about my worries for the future; this is about my worries for the now.

All week, we’ve been having sex. I’m not overly worried about it since I do have a tendency to want sex once in a blue moon. My only problem is that I’m wondering if I’m sacrificing myself and my thoughts on my sexuality in order to make him feel better? It’s something that I’ve been thinking about a lot in the last day or two. I’ve wondered if my sexuality really is what I think it is or if it’s actually something a little different. The problem with defining your own sexuality is that it’s fluid and shades of gray; it’s not easy. However, it’s easiest to define myself as asexual at this time until I figure out more of what’s going on in my head.

And at this time, I wonder if my definition isn’t quite incorrect, but if I’m doing this in order to maintain a sort of pleasant buoyancy in our relationship. Obviously, this is a conversation that I need to have with TH, but it’s only something that came to me yesterday and I’m not ready to voice my worries as of yet. The thing is, if I am willing to sacrifice something I feel is accurate in describing myself, what does that mean for our future? And another thing, how the hell do I figure that out?

“And You Always Knew It Wouldn’t Be Easy.”

Somehow I found
A way to get lost in you
Let me inside
Let me get close to you

Lost In you by Three Days Grace

I spent a good portion of yesterday, holed up underneath one of my altars while I listened to really sad music. Since TH had taken R to a family barbecue, I was left to sit and wallow in a way that I haven’t been able to do since TH told me he was going to move into his mother’s house on Friday. I found out a lot of things about myself yesterday that were frightening. I realized that while the horror of my life with my ex-husband was terrible, it wasn’t nearly as horrible as an honest broken heart. I realized that no matter what TH says about us or thinks about us, I’ll probably never be what he needs me to be. I realized that no matter how old I am, cutting is still an issue with me (though I didn’t). I realized that wallowing really hurts but is the only way a person can get past the broken heart. And I realized that no matter what, I felt like I was forever going to be unloved and unwanted for who I am.

When TH brought R back, I was hiding underneath my table. The only thing that was missing from that particular picture was me sucking my thumb with Professor wrapped in my arms. (Professor is a bunny my mom had when she was a kid that got passed down to me. He’s living in a hermetically sealed box right not because of the bed bug infestation we had last year.) I turned the music off and said something. I don’t know what, but it caused us to start talking. And I told him that I couldn’t do this anymore. I hurt so badly and the ache is so painful that I would much rather not continue to feel this way. I told him that I couldn’t live in stasis until he had his head screwed back on right. And I did something that is stupid and you’re not supposed to do in a relationship – I delivered an ultimatum. I said, “I can’t keep hurting anymore because you ran way because of troubles and heartaches. Either you move back in or you don’t, but you need to decide now.”

And he looked at me, with hardly a blink, and said, “Let me get my bag of stuff from my mom’s. I’m coming home.”

It’s weird when you get what you want from someone because it scares you. It scared me so much to hear him say that he would come home because I had delivered that ultimatum. You would think that I would have been happy to get something I wanted, but not really. It’s only after you deliver an ultimatum that you realize the person may only be agreeing to it out of their own selfish demands and wants. So, I took it back. And I said, “No, no. I take it back. I just can’t do this. You need to go and find yourself and figure things out and I’m left mending the pieces,” or something. And I told him that this wasn’t fair to me, to R, to him, or to anyone really. I reminded him what our core problem was here: a lack of communication. And I said, “Does it matter? Are things really going to change because you suddenly start communicating with me? Or is this going to be a two-week change and we go back to the way it was?”

So, we started talking.

We talked about the asexual issue because I accused him of this being the actual issue. I told him that everything else all a cover, but it’s this possible indefinite lack of sex thing that scares him the most and that’s the issue. And finally, finally he agreed with me. I knew that, subconsciously, that things were going to be difficult when I said, “Yes, I am asexual.” I just never really anticipated how difficult it would be.

But, it is difficult. I’m ace; he’s not.

Our discussions went around and around the issue, stabbing at it, and then backing away. I told him that I don’t want to have a relationship with someone who is scared and not sure if they could be celibate – maybe – for the rest of their lives. I can’t just assume that my sexual desire will come back in the future. I have to assume this is a permanent fix for me. If I say even remotely what I think – that sexuality is fluid and changes over the years – then that could give him hope. And I don’t want him to hope that things will work out, be better, because what if they aren’t? And I admitted that to him. I told him that I don’t want to even cuddle with him anymore because I’m worried he’ll hope that it will lead to sex because, you know, he’s twenty-five and in the prime and blah, blah, blah. It sucks when you pull yourself back so much because you are scared of hurting the person you love so very much, but sometimes, it’s something you have to do.

Though, I don’t really recommend it.

He explained that it didn’t really matter to me about the asexual stuff and the scary future he may have in which he never has sex again. He said the point was that he loved me, he wanted me, he didn’t want to watch everything fall apart because he was scared and worried. He said he wanted to try. He wanted to find out if we could find a way to make things work around this. He told me that our life together – the one we forged with our son – is something that he wants to make work because, as he said throwing a sappy card I got him for his birthday, “I want this.” I looked over the card, a fairy tale story about knights and dragons, and the ending was “happily ever after.” And he said to me, “I want this and I want this with you.”

I want that, too, but I’m so scared that he’s going to take two, four, seven years and then say, “I’m done. I can’t handle this ace thing anymore,” and leave me. And I’ll be back where we started. I told him last night that my hope button is broken. I told him that I don’t have any faith in what he wants because I just can’t hope and have faith and then get torn down asunder again.

And he reminded me. He reminded me of all the things he’s done for and with me over the years in regards to this sex stuff. He’s never coerced me. He’s never forced me. He’s never yelled at me for not giving him sex. He’s stopped in the middle because he accidentally triggered me (after months of celibacy). He’s stopped because I’ve asked him to. He’s comforted me, after the fact, when I started freaking out about not being normal and being a horrible human being because we don’t have normal, societal sexual relations. And he said, “I’ve done all these things in the last six years. You can’t assume I’ll do a complete 180 and start forcing you against your ace thing.” And he’s right, of course, but I’m still scared.

The pain of it all
The rise and the fall
I see it all in you
Now everyday
I find myself sayin’
I want to get lost in you
I’m nothing without you

“All Those Fairy Tales Are Full of Shit.”

You can’t expect me to be fine,
I don’t expect you to care
I know I’ve said it before
But all of our bridges burned down.

Payphone by Maroon 5

One of the things that I hate most about being human is running the long gamut of emotions that any one person can. I really despise having to feel things outside of the positive emotions. However, I know that humans are one of those complex creatures, so we kind of have to run the gamut now and again. I would much prefer to not bother with some of the other emotional responses humans can go through, but again, I know that I have no choice. That doesn’t mean I have to particularly like it.

Last night, before I went to bed, I was blissfully numb. I say blissfully because it didn’t matter what I thought of because it didn’t impact me on an emotional level. I went to sleep completely numb to everything that was going on around me. I think this is probably how humans start to deal with the emotional gamut. When we’re shocked out of the status quo of our lives, we go into this sort of numbing embrace. And that numbing embrace is one of those things that I particularly like. I’ve been numb a lot lately, trying to process everything that’s been going on in my personal life, and I find it much easier to handle whatever it is going on in my life when I’m in that particular stage.

I find it easier to look at things logically. I also find it easier to decide what the correct emotional response will be. Chances are, if I’m blowing up at someone, it’s not because I just enjoy flying off the handle. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t actually enjoy making other people feel like shit. Honestly, if I’m flying off the handle, it’s probably because I went through a long or short period of “numbness,” looked over the entirety of the situation, and chose the appropriate [in my eyes] emotional response. If there’s something I got from the horror fest that was my married life to my ex-husband, it was the ability to go into a numbing time-out and pick what appropriate emotional response would come out next. (And that was actually kind of important when married to a control freak.)

However, in this situation, I’m not able to stay in that numb phase. I can’t just plunk myself down and remain there. I can do so – prepare myself, so to speak – if and when I’m discussing the situation with the people I care to share it with. However, I can’t stay there. I keep waffling between being emotional numb inside, in an effort to choose the correct emotional response, to heartbroken to furious. And no matter how much I try to tell myself that the heartbroken and the furious are not emotional responses that I have chosen for myself, I still feel them anyway.

At about four thirty this morning, I woke up irrationally angry. And by “irrational,” I mean that I seriously considered throwing things out on the front of the house and see how quickly TH’s video game collection disappears. And by “irrational,” I mean that I seriously considered the idea of breaking his Xbox (all of them). And by “irrational,” I mean that I seriously considered walking over there and punching him in the face. I was not at my best. I had been having dreams about work in a definite effort to escape from the other dreams that could have manifested, which pisses me off because I’m at work all the time anyway. And it pisses me off because I was doing the great art of escapism in my dreams. The worst part about being irrationally angry is that it sets your adrenaline pumping with all of the angry, nasty things you want to say and then you can’t fall asleep again… even though you really should because you have a five-year-old who is a practiced steamroller and may not let you nap later.

I was up for two fucking hours being irrationally angry. I thought about all of the fun things I need to get going for this weekend. The absolute most fun part will be the disseminating of our lives together between the two of us, which is what originally made me so irrationally angry. I get to go through all the things we bought together, for each other, and put them all in a place together so that he can pick his shit up at some point. And do you know how much shit you accumulate when you’ve been together for nearly seven years? Yeah, that’s a lot of shit.

Gee, I wonder why I got so angry.

After a while, even irrational anger, fury, and rage have to take a break. And I was able to fall back to sleep after a while.

And when I woke up to my beautiful little man’s face, I felt nothing but heartbreak. I felt nothing but sorrow at the fact that I have to walk alone now. I felt nothing but sorrow at the fact that I am truly and honestly following in my mother’s footsteps. (Could going back to Texas be too far behind?) I didn’t even have the energy to get angry again. I just felt nothing but anguish. I felt anguish as I bundle up my son to go get milk for his breakfast. I felt nothing but anguish as we raced up the steps and out of the rain with our gallon of milk. I felt nothing but anguish at the thought of all the cleaning I need to do today. I felt nothing more than crying, but I won’t because I don’t know how to handle my son’s questions when he finds me crying.

I’ve thought about my sadness. I’ve thought about it and why I feel that way. My friends have all told me that it was for the best. And in a way, yes that’s true. I don’t hold with TH’s little brother’s fucked up decisions to stay with his crazy girlfriend because they have a kid together. I think my sorrow stems from the fact that I get to be another asexual statistic. I get to be yet another asexual person who loved someone who couldn’t love them back.

And now I have to agree with Maroon 5.

If “Happy Ever After” did exist,
I would still be holding you like this
All those fairy tales are full of shit
One more fucking love song, I’ll be sick.

In Which I Explain My Foray into [Gray] Ace.

Mom, if you read this, please don’t tell me. I’d like to remain blissfully unaware on that river in Egypt.

Some time last summer, I was having a complete thermonuclear meltdown to one of my closest friends. She’s an online friend and the term “close” is subjective. She actually lives four or five states away, we’ve never had tea or coffee at a local shop, and we’ll probably only ever know one another in the murky world of Internet relationships. I was whining to her about how “abnormal” my sex life is. I explained to her about the “the sex camel” and how I most assuredly am one. And then, I tried to put into words about how I felt about sex, which probably came out completely wrong and convoluted. But, being a friend and being awesome means that she got what the fuck I was saying. And she says to me, “You know, Aubs, it sounds like you might be an ace.” And while I’m scratching my head with images of camels in my brain and camels trying to have sex and then not having sex because it’s all stored in a hump on their back, I started researching asexuality.

Of course, coming into this whole terminology, I started thinking about worms. However, while being able to reproduce without any sexual contact would be really fantastic, although possibly boring because it would probably end up being more like cloning yourself, the term as applied to human sexuality isn’t on the same level. It has nothing to do with being able to, or unable to really, reproduce via mitosis. As Wiki said, “Asexuality (or nonsexuality) is the lack of sexual attraction to anyone or low or absent interest in sexual activity.” Oh. Hm. Yes, I guess that sounds reminiscent of a sex camel.

In the last year, since that conversation, I’ve done limited research on the topic. Outside of Tumblr, there doesn’t appear to be a lot of discussions about it. And I will fully admit that it wasn’t like I was really looking for those discussions. Just thinking about my own sexuality, whether I have one or don’t have one, makes me uncomfortable. Looking into the information as provided by that awesome friend, I had to admit that a lot of what was being said could easily be describing me. However, there are a lot of factors one has to take into consideration before they just jump all willy-nilly onto a little-known topic.

I’ve been on birth control for almost the last ten years, in some form, which has been linked to lower levels of sexual desire. For a long time, I believed that my lack of desire was because of the birth control pills I was on. I figured it was just one of those awesome side effects some women got – some women being, you know, me – and some people didn’t. My best friend, BFMA, is a sexual creature the likes of which the gods have never once seen. And her birth control consumption didn’t seem to impact her sexual desire, but obviously, I was the “lucky one” here because it did effect me.

I’ve taken myself off of hormone based birth control pills. On the one hand, since I’m not having sex, there’s no point in shelling out the money for them, but also because I’ve wanted to test this. I’ve been on and off birth control pills in the past, but never really paid attention to the connection, or not, of my sexual desire. I’m paying attention now. And while I’m not scientist and I have no control group or anything, I can safely assure anyone who cares that I haven’t even remotely been interested in having a self-made orgasm, much less the kind you have with other people.

The thing is that I wasn’t entirely positive about whether or not I was turning to this definition to make my life “easier” or if I was sticking a band aid over my fragile psyche. As a person who has survived numerous sexual assaults, it really isn’t surprising that I have a distinctive lack in sexual desire. Let’s face it: when you’ve been used in that way, it really puts a damper on everything else. The thing is that I have never really considered sex in the way that societal norms dictate how people should view sex. I’ve thought long and hard about my past thoughts on sexual activity and I’ve had to admit that I’ve always been deeply disturbed by the whole process. This leads me to believe that as much as I’m running toward something that may, in a way, make things seem easier, I’ve actually kind of always been this way and it’s only been in the last year that I had a name that fit.

While most of my sexual activity came after my first sexual assault, I’ve been doing some deep digging. It’s hard, sometimes, to analyze your thoughts on sexuality and sexual activity back when you were still playing with Barbie dolls and My Little Pony, but I’m the sort of person that wants to know. I want to be sure that I’m not just sticking myself into a category because it’s easy. I want to be positive that I’m not going to make things easier by subsuming my identity to match whatever I find online. And I’ve had to come to the conclusion that while sex made me uncomfortable post sexual traumas, it also made me pretty fucking uncomfortable prior to those instances. I don’t know what, specifically, my thoughts on it were other than some internal debate about how I would probably like it, you know, but how I really wasn’t interested in, you know, going out to find out.

But, as a teenager with thoughts and feelings and stuff, you go out and explore. I’ve taken as much time as I can, which isn’t a whole helluva lot, to verify the impulses that set me into motion into a previous sexual activity outside of a relationship. And I have to admit that I was doing those things because I wanted to be liked. I was doing those things because it was supposed to be normal. And I think, a big part, was because I wanted the attention. In none of those instances can I say, clearly, that I enjoyed the act. In none of those instances can I say, clearly, that it was good. And in none of those instances can I say, clearly, that a magical box was turned to “on” inside my uterus that said, “LET’S DO THIS ALL THE TIME.” I just did those things because it was expected, honestly, and that bothers me on a different level that I’m probably never going to discuss.

Thing is that I’ve been looking into this for long enough to feel, finally, comfortable with the idea that I may, in fact, be “asexual.” I don’t think I fall directly under that definition, but I don’t think anyone can really define their sexual orientation with certainty. Everything in that category, to me, is kind of shades of gray so I can say, “I fall under this category,” and just not mention that there are “buts” in there. Some of those buts are as follows: I experience self-made orgasms, which would make it seem like I’m just all about myself and not about any of my partners. I can fully say that I find movie stars attractive, though I can’t say if I’d act on that sexual attraction or not. I can tell you that I have a very rich fantasy life that may or may not include a sexual situation.

To put it bluntly, I don’t fall into societal norms when it comes to my sexuality. Point of fact, I don’t think I ever did.

Interesting Links

  1. How Stuff Works: What Is Asexuality?
  2. Asexuality at AVENWiki
  3. Asexual FAQ
  4. Under the Ace Umbrella
  5. Gray/Grey-A Asexuality