This is my submission for the July 2019 Carnival of Aces, which had the theme of “Home”. The Call for Submissions was here.
I have been living in the same town with my dad and brother since before I graduated high school, barring the times I was 450 miles away at college, or the times my brother was 20 miles away at his college, and also taking into account that my senior year of high school I lived with my grandmother 70 miles away during the weekdays. But I kept returning “home” to my dad’s. To this town. To this place, where my brother and I were both finally safe and free from my abusive mother starting when I was 17-years old, and he was 15.
It didn’t feel natural to call it my “home” instantaneously the moment I moved all my stuff in and slept there every night of the week for a summer. I had been visiting my dad on weekends since I was 10 years old, sleeping one night a week in his apartment building, but my “home” was still my house with my abusive mother. Even when I lived for months in a row with my dad after I stopped living with my mom, it was hard to break the habit of calling this space “my dad’s house” instead of just… “my house”. It was just… a new house that the three of us moved to almost at the same time, and where we happened to live.
For a lot of people, the term “home” is associated with a feeling of comfort, safety, or even “sanctuary”. And “home” also is associated with memories, usually pleasant ones, or of history and the story of your life. This is the place where significant moments in your life happened. In that way, it makes sense that a new house I just had moved into in 2007 was not a “home” for me yet. I had loving family, sure, in my dad and my brother, but the place was not exactly home. It was too new, if nothing else.
The song “Sometimes You Can’t Make it On Your Own” by U2 reflects on Bono’s tense relationship he had with his father most of his life, and the line:
A house doesn’t make a home
definitely evokes something powerful. Less intense but still thought provoking is this silly Yahoo Answer:
A house is just a house whether made from wood, metal or stone. A home is a state of the house which required sentient creatures living and interacting.
Ever heard of a haunted home? ^_^
I went off to college and at some point did start occasionally, without thinking, calling my dorm room “home” in the sense of “I’m going home” from class/the dining hall, which when I realized I’d done it felt weird. However, doing that was somehow easier than calling other people’s homes “mine”, like my grandmother’s or my dad’s. There was a sense I had on some level that no my dorm room wasn’t home, and my dad’s I visited for winter and summer holidays was, but I had to break a particular habit that was more ingrained about the language of “my dad’s house”.
I think emotionally when I said “my dad’s house” it felt like “home” in many ways though.
And my mom’s house, growing up, was also my “home”. I had privacy in my bedroom and “the computer room” where I did homework, and I watched and fell in love with TV shows while in that house sometimes. I played video games, decorated the Christmas Tree each year and opened presents, enjoyed takeout food, and had a life in that house. I didn’t feel like a house guest and the house was “more” someone else’s. I had plenty of traumatic memories there too, because my mother lived there, and my mother was abusive in many ways. But that didn’t stop that place from being my home until age 17.
Eventually I shifted to my dad’s being my home base. I went off to college for 4 years. I didn’t really have a place that I called home. In fact, eight years ago when I was 21-years-old, I started to write a fanfiction story that I never ended up finishing (although I did write 11 chapters). It was titled, A Place Called Home. In the first chapter, I wrote about a character’s “silent drive home” because his car radio was broken, and then wrote:
Although honestly, it didn’t feel like “home” to Jess.
“Home is where the heart is,” or so the expression goes. Home is where you feel safe, comfortable, or perhaps loved. Approaching a crappy apartment and roommates whose names he couldn’t quite remember… he wasn’t returning home. He didn’t have a home.
Clearly this was a topic on my mind back in those days.
When I was 22, after I graduated and was back in the house with my dad and brother, I experienced my first date, and my first kiss, and found myself on AVEN and began my long questioning process to figure out I was asexual. I figured out I was asexual when I was 23-years-old, only three months before I was to turn 24.
This was in 2013. I did lots of Internet Research and exploration of ace narratives, and also narratives of people who are inexperienced with dating, sex, and kissing yet who aren’t ace. I did it all while on computers in this one house, this same home. I sat on this house’s couch that year and tried making out with my first ever boyfriend on a handful of different occasions before deciding I was kissing-averse. We dated 3 months before I stopped being able to hide in denial of the fact that we were completely incompatible because of my sex-averse asexuality.
I’ve been living here a long time now. Since graduating college in May 2012, it’s been my consistent full time residence, which is over 7 years now in the same bedroom every night. I’ve made new memories, fallen in love with new tv shows and book series, had new Christmases, cooked meals, and became extremely comfortable in my home.
In fact, Christmas 2013 was the first Christmas that I knew I was asexual, and while we also went to the movie theater and a Chinese restaurant that day, my family had hours to fill when almost nothing was open and there was nothing to do that year. My (Catholic) aunt’s extended family celebration had been postponed until the Saturday after Christmas, and my Jewish half of my family were busy on a vacation without us.
And I’d already two months prior come out to my dad and brother. I came out to them pretty much as soon as I knew for sure that I was asexual. I think it might’ve been the same day.
So on Christmas Day 2013, the three of us watched the (A)sexual documentary that at the time was still on Netflix. And we paused it a lot to talk about it so it took about three hours to get through it. And we did this in our home. And it was a good and positive thing for me to be able to more fully share part of myself with them.
In 2014 I joined the local Virginia/Washington D.C./Maryland asexual meetup group and waited a few months before deciding to actually attend one of the events. The events seemed too specific or intimidating in other ways for a first time attendee until I saw a Potluck Style “Party” happening in an event organizer’s home. My first meetup was wonderful and I spent probably 8 or more hours, from 4pm or earlier till midnight, interacting with a dozen aces.
In January 2015, I became one of the multiple organizers in that group, and started off by hosting meetups in my house to watch a television show live as new episodes aired Friday nights. It was a tv series which I knew a handful of members of the group already watched.
In the 4-and-a-half years since those first few meetups, we’ve had meetups to watch things in my house dozens of times, and I’ve also hosted meetups to play board games there, and to discuss Ace Zines!
My home is a place where I can comfortably host ace meetups to both help foster the formation of new friendships, and be an avenue to enjoy already established ones too. I really love hosting ace meetups in my home.
I greatly appreciate my dad and brother accommodating me using their home for this purpose. I ask them to not make noise on the main floor of the townhouse we live in while my meetup is over trying to enjoy a film, and i ask then to be alright with me preventing them from watching anything on the only tv in the house. For the Ace Zine discussions I had years ago, I actually asked for as much privacy as possible where they wouldn’t be in earshot for aces to discuss really sensitive topics. Often they schedule when they will be working out at the local gym around the timing of my meetup so that they can not be home at all during most or all of their durations.
It’s been a joy and an honor to be able to provide this community space in my home for so many aces over the years.
From early 2016 through mid 2017, I was in a queerplatonic partnership, on-and-off-again, with a guy I call “Robert” here on this blog (per his request). I had first met Robert midway through 2015 at an ace meetup hosted in a third home. We had initially bonded as friends at many meetups and our friendship deepened when we began to spend time together inside of each other’s homes. Inviting someone into your home certainly feels like a form of intimacy to me.
I hoped to one day move out of my home I had with my father and brother into a home with him. I imagined we would probably sleep in separate beds. I imagined we’d cook meals together like we’d already begun to do sometimes and watch tv together and build a home together. We had discussed how we would foster and adopt children and provide a home for them as well. But he began to start house shopping without consulting me. He bought a house with his parents’ help. He broke up with me the next week. He essentially ghosted me, and I still don’t have any clue why our dream to together share a home was something he seemingly suddenly changed his mind on and decided he didn’t want after all.
At the end of April 2019 I started dating someone I met on OkCupid. They have asked to be called “Asher” on my blog here whenever I were to start blogging about them. This, three months into our relationship, is when I am (finally) doing that. 😊
Asher and I have so much commitment between us and are intending to build a future together, including a future home. We have an entirely nonsexual relationship. We have physical intimacy though in other ways, most of which are ways I never had with Robert. It’s important to Asher’s vision of their ideal future home that they are sleeping in the same bed as their partner, and I’ve only so far into our relationship slept in the same bed as them once, but I have already cuddled in bed with them on more days than I can count, just without spending the night. At this point, I feel quite confident that I’ll be comfortable sleeping in the same bed as Asher every night when we live together. I feel ready for a future I didn’t envision in past years.
I’m demisensual (not demisexual, but “sensual”) and it’s very rare for me to like cuddling and hugs and touch the way so many aces seem to. With 99% of people touch isn’t really something that I care about or even want in the first place. With people for whom my “demi-sensual” switch hasn’t flipped, sharing a bed might not… Really make sense to me. But my switch is currently flipped for one and only one person, my partner Asher. And it makes the idea of this kind of physical closeness make a lot more sense to me. It just feels really special, and nice. 💞
Asher and I already have made plans to move in together after we’ve been dating for six months. This is about double the amount of time we’ve been together thus far. We’re excited by the thought and are making many plans for when we have a new home – a place neither of us currently are living in, but will be new to both of us – and when we can come home to one another and wake up to one another.
It’ll be a huge change for me and I’m already very sad at the thought of how much I’ll miss my family who I’ve grown so accustomed to living with. But I’m quite grateful that I won’t have to move to a place where I can’t still participate in the Meetups I’ve grown up love. That I’ll stay in the same rough area.
Of course though, I’m delighted by the prospect of moving in with Asher and beginning to build both a home and an entire future with them. I desperately want the new home I can already begin to picture clearly. This feels like my dreams coming true, and also new dreams forming, things I didn’t even know I wanted before I met Asher.
A whole new way for me to think about the concept of home is on my horizon. And I’m thrilled that this is the journey I find my 29-year-old gray-aro, sex-averse asexual self on.