My 3 Wishes

This past weekend, I had the honor of being a part of a weekend workshop on how to affirm young people’s identities.

For part of the training, we listened to the song “3 Wishes” by J Cole and came up with our own three wishes around relationships in our lives. More than having everyone wish for world peace or a world without racism, our wishes were more concrete, more personal and for me, gave me a sense of power in my life. What can I control even it just begins by acknowledging a wish?

  1. I wish to trust my emotions more. I’m slowly feeling more confident in my homo-romantic identity and I think I’m getting to a place where I’m interested in exploring romantic relationships and being vulnerable.
  2. I wish my brother loved me for who I am as a queer autonomous woman and not just as his sister. I do not want to be the exception to the rule for his homophobia and misogyny.
  3. I wish to trust my friends more and trust that they will love me despite my imperfections. I do not need to be perfect all the time.

What are your three wishes? What do you wish for your relationships? I’m learning that the more I can affirm myself, the more I can affirm the young people I work with each day.



“That Escalated Quickly”

I was at a barbecue the other night and the woman who hosted it is married to a man who a big comic books fan. We talked about Man of Steel, our favorite superheroes and if he had comic book recommendations. When everyone was sitting around eating, he asked me if I would like to see his comic book collection. I was so excited about this, but everyone around us started laughing and making jokes of “that escalated quickly”. I want to show you my comic book collection is obviously code for I want to have sex with you.

I felt like I was back in elementary school where I was terrified to have guy friends because the entire playground would bully you mercilessly about you getting married.

Now I’m an adult, surrounded by other adults and its the same mentality: men and women can’t be friends by this logic. There is an unbreachable divide that says men and women can only be in a relationship if it’s a sexual one and any conversation is just hidden sexual tension.

I think this especially applies to how people view me because I am the innocent one. I am the one who never talks about sex, boys, girls or romance and that means that there has to be something about me that is corrupt and that people can pick at. This is wrong on multiple levels. One, sex is not corrupt. Two: there is no reason to ever put anyone on a pedestal; it’s not admiring them, it’s waiting for them to fail so you have a right to rage against them. This instance was both sexist and heteronormative, as everyone assumed I was straight and was interested in him sexually.

The whole situation was so uncomfortable and just a moment ago I felt very at home and at peace with people I felt I could talk to.

No one at the BBQ knows I’m asexual, but it’s so heteronormative to assume that if I’m having a conversation with a man that it means I’m attracted to him. And the worst thing was that he played into their jokes. He never did show me his comics and said something about how maybe we should wait for the second time we meet. We could seriously be friends and he was more comfortable playing along with the jokes and stereotypes at our expense than looking into the friendship we could have.

I’ve been having a lot of conversations with my summer room mate about sexuality and how it’s so awkward to bring up your sexuality without the risk of either making yourself or someone else uncomfortable. It’s not a normal topic of conversation. But not talking about being asexual, especially in situations where people assume that I’m straight, leads to me feeling isolated and childish. I’m sure other members of the queer community can relate.

Sexuality is strangely treated as a marker of adulthood. Yet when you first get sexual feelings you’re not an adult but a hormone crazy kid. Sometime in college, or beyond, you somehow transition to adulthood and having sex is a part of that transition.

So where do asexuals fit in? I know I’m still at an age where people can look at the absence of a partner and tell me that I’m making the right decision to focus on my school work instead of dating. But when I leave college? Will I always be less of an adult because I’ve never wanted someone’s penis or vagina?

I don’t swear. I don’t drink. I don’t have tattoos. I don’t smoke. These factors coupled with being asexual mean that I’m the innocent one and therefore the perpetual child. Again there is the element that I need to be corrupted. There is something about this “innocence” which unnerves people. Why else make jokes about things “escalating quickly”?

Asexuality isn’t innocence any more than having a sexuality is maturity. There is no correlation or causation. I’m just as much an adult as most anyone else my age.

It’s time people stopped associated maturity and adulthood with sexual experience. It’s sexist and quite literally incorrect. I’m adult because I take responsibility for myself; what I do or don’t do with my body holds no bearing.

Accept the Compliment

As women, it is accepted that we need the approval of men. Our worth is based on how well we fit a man’s definition of attractiveness and any compliments passed our way should be graciously accepted. According to societal constructs, there is no such thing as unwanted attention because it should be an honor to get the attention of a man at all.

This flawed principle is behind much more than the debate about who’s to blame in a rape case. On a day to day basis, it is somehow known and expected that as women we cannot displease or offend men.

I work on campus at college in the kitchen and there’s a man who works there who I talk to about everything from super heroes to religion. I know he’s a lot older than I am, and I still don’t know how much older, but he has told me on multiple occasions that I’m beautiful, or that I look pretty with my hair down, or some other minor compliment I should accept. And I did. His words made me uncomfortable and embarrassed, but I did not want to offend him so I stayed silent.

I wish I had spoken up.

I was dressing up as Captain Hook for a party and I was explaining my costume and he told me I would make a sexy captain hook. This was unwarranted. But I didn’t say anything. I didn’t know what to say. If I were a sexual woman would that be a compliment I would enjoy? I didn’t know, and I didn’t want to explain my asexuality to him either so I turned the conversation away from my costume. There was a hope that any stiff behavior on my part would suggest to him that I was offended.

I should have spoken up.

Unwanted attention is just that: unwanted. As women we should not need to accept compliments if they make us uncomfortable or if we’re not interested. I ask that as women, we learn to use our voices and say no even if the situation seems minor. Your comfort should come first, not his feelings.