Queenie of Aces just wrote a new post on Prioritizing Identity, and a wonderful conversation has been happening in the comments too.
This post is a response to that. I branch off to one specific part of the discussion though, and don’t talk much about the whole… um… “Are Aces Queer” discussion or some of the other things in the post. But I might leave a comment on that post to address one of the other sides of the discussion.
…you can divide aces into four groups:
Group 1: Aces who consider their romantic orientation more important than their sexual orientation.
Group 2: Aces who consider their sexual orientation more important than their romantic orientation.
Group 3: Aces who consider their sexual and romantic orientations equally important or who prioritize different orientations at different times.
Group 4: Aces who don’t identify with a romantic orientation and thus consider this whole categorization system boring and pointless.
And there is a lot more in the post worth reading but I figured quoting at the very last this small part here was necessary, because I would like to refer back to “Group 4” or whatever and you be able to quickly and easily scroll back up and understand which group I am talking about.
As someone who on the surface is a Group 4 person, “Aces who don’t identify with a romantic orientation and thus consider this whole categorization system boring and pointless”, I wouldn’t quite agree with the second half of the statement. I mean… yes, I don’t identify with a romantic orientation, but…
I find the whole categorization system to be so many things, but NOT boring and NOT pointless. I find it amazing and wonderful, I find it enlightening and it seems useful to a lot of people and because of that in some ways useful to me too, but at the same time confusing, frustrating, and inadequate for me, myself. I find it fascinating and worth discussing more. I like the system, I mainly have positive feelings toward it, and really, all of the confusion and frustration I feel is more pointed at myself for not fitting into it quite right. The system itself seems pretty great because without it I feel like we’d all be SO LOST lol and even if I don’t fit in it quite perfect, having the system is so much better than having nothing.
But because it’s so hard for me to find my place in it, to figure out the difference between romance and non-romance, I definitely find myself falling more in Group 2 and just calling myself asexual and not worrying too much about my romantic orientation for practical purposes. My asexuality is a clearer part of my identity, so it’s easier to focus on. You physically *can’t* focus eyes on the foggy, blurry, unfocused mess of a romantic orientation that is “maybe heteroromantic, or maybe bi or panromantic, but maybe just aromantic”. It’s too vague or self-contradictory and you don’t even know what you’re looking at. So you focus on the asexuality, the clear simplicity of that, especially when you’re like me – a non-libidoist, not even close to gray type of ace who is pretty sure she’s averse to sex too and plans to remain celibate for the rest of her life. Asexuality becomes kind of “cut and dry”.
But THEN AGAIN, there are times when I almost feel like I’m in Group 1, when the fact that I am wtfromantic matters a lot to me, where the fact that I am asexual is a given, a background “yeah, you and I know that about my identity, let’s move on” type of thing. My asexuality can, sometimes, become a practical non-factor, because for those moments what matters to me is: “What even is my goal in life? Am I looking for a boyfriend? Should I delete my stupid OkCupid profile because I’m aromantic anyway?” When I’m at an ace-meetup (I’ve only been to two of these, ever, and both within the past 2 months, FYI) of course I’m ace, we all are, so it’s our romantic orientations that make us different and suddenly I feel kind of weird – or at least “special”, lol – when person after person is completely secure in being aromantic or one young woman thought they were a lesbian before realizing they were ace and I am met with wide eyes and a bit of surprise when I explain that I actually did online dating… with (*gasp*) 3 different guys… and even the people who talk of heteronormative experiences, of dating (or in one guy’s case, marrying) the “opposite” gender, etc. don’t actively identify as heteroromantic, and I don’t want to identify as heteroromantic either, it feels important to me to express that I am actually currently identifying as wtfromantic – as not necessarily aromantic, but not definitively hetero-romantic.
…and then I’m writing a fanfic where I’m making a girl have asexual experiences a lot like mine, and I need to tag it on AO3, and I don’t know whether to tag it aromantic or not and I spend way more time actually thinking about that stupid thing than I should… and yeah my wtfromantic identity (and my character’s) end up mattering a lot in my life, and I basically feel like I am in Group 1, where I don’t even know how to end my fanfiction story, because what does my character even want?
When reading Queenie’s post just now, that one that this whole post is basically just a reply to, I noticed when she discussed the Group 4 aces that she linked to 3 tumblr discussions that I clicked on and read and I ended up in an internet-death-spiral of reading other people’s tumblr comments on these same posts as the whole thing is a bunch of people reblogging reblogs and adding their own comments along the way. And I found the discussion facsinating. One of the most fascinating things that I found indirectly because of this “Prioritizing identity” post of Queenie’s just now was where Sciatrix questioned:
*Are* people thinking of “wtfromantic” as a distinct identity?
And I looked at that and thought… I think yes, yes I actually have been, lately. I’ve been thinking of myself as a wtfromantic asexual and feeling comfortable in that label.
When I read The Ace Theist’s post recently, “Re: Greyness 301”, and also the linked/heavily referenced epochryphal.tumblr.com original Greyness 301 post I left the first comment. The Ace Theist and Cor had been talking about grey-asexuality. Grayness in terms of sexual attraction and stuff. They talk about how confusing and messy it is. I never wanted to call myself a “gray-romantic” before reading that post, but when reading it and seeing how well their descriptions of “greyness” in regards to sexual orientation fit my whole relationship with romantic orientation so well. Other people (Queenie, yes her again lol, and also Ace in Translation) agreed with me after that in the comments that they also related as gray-romantics.
I have been strongly identifying as wtfromantic over gray-romantic because I think the “wtf” accurately expresses so much that the gray doesn’t. Gray implies some middle ground, halfway points, etc… it implies a lot of things to me that I don’t think I am. Maybe I have been wrong to assume that gray means any of those things. But “WTF” expresses more of where I’m at – confusion, frustration, etc.
I’m not sure I have a good stopping point for this post, so I’m gonna stop right here. I’m going to end by saying I am pretty comfortable in the wtfromantic identity label for now. And it has been for months and months. I do think of it as BOTH a distinct romantic orientation label and a non-romantic orientation at the same time, somehow. I think it somehow is a good final answer, as I’m not sure things will ever get more clear/less confusing for me… but it’s also a state of being in perpetual questioning – which means the chance for answers to maybe be found, one day. It is what it is, and I, personally, am happy to have found it.
For people who came to my blog searching for the term “wtfromantic”, consider reading this post: https://luvtheheaven.wordpress.com/2014/10/27/i-have-looked-through-what-search-terms-have-brought-people-to-my-blog/ about search terms that have brought people to my blog. Also, consider reading various other posts of mine, as I write about this topic fairly often.