Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Identity, Labels and Progression

When I was a young girl, I identified myself in simple terms.  Female, straight, Canadian, chubby, quiet...  In health class we were split into two groups, boys and girls.  The girls learned about getting their periods, pubic hair, and growing boobs.  The boys learned about ejaculation, pubic hair, and I don't know what else.  In grade 7 and 8 health class, we learned about nutrition, nuclear families, drugs and AIDS.  There was zero talk about sexuality.  LGBTQ community did not exist.  Gay Pride did not exist.  In fact, if you identified as being gay or bi back in the 90's, you were most likely in the closet because people would emotionally and physically attack you.  Simply put, you got beat up for showing a small hint of non-straight sexuality.  I know, I witnessed it more than once.

These days, there seems to be a new label every day.  There are so many terms that I don't know what they all are.  Non-binary, CIS, queer, aromantic, demi-sexual, asexual, gray-romantic, etc...  It can be exhausting for some to keep up with the terminology.  And is it necessary?  Do we need terms for slight variations of sexual orientation?  While I think labels shouldn't be necessary for anyone, I do think it is a positive movement.

I grew up  being called shy and only having a small group of friends.  But I was loyal and experienced strong connections to the few friends I had.  In past years I've learned that I am Introverted.  And it's perfectly normal!  I've read Susan Cain's book Quiet, and it made me feel relief, but also a bit angry  that I was made to feel like an outsider for so long.  Recently I did a Meyer's Brigg's test again and re-learned that I identify as INFJ. Which is the rarest identity with less than 1% of the population supposedly being that.  But it makes sense to me.  I am happy that I belong to a certain group of people.  For years I have been made to feel ashamed, either socially, or intimately because of who I am.  But I feel strong.  Stronger than ever because of these identity groups and labels.  I know a label can place you in one spot, but I think we are becoming open enough to understand that it's not exactly who you are.  We vary.  Thus, there are spectrums.

This week I have learned that I identify with demisexuals, asexuals, and aromantics.  I am not sure if I am more demisexual, or aromantic-asexual?  A demi-sexual is a person who does not feel sexual feelings until they form a strong bond or connection with someone.  Asexuals (remember, there are spectums) do not feel sexual attraction to anyone, and aromantics do not feel romantic attraction.

I can't believe that I am getting so close to being 40, and I am only really beginning to know and understand myself.  But it's great!  A big reason why I am exploring all this, is because recently my label and identity as a common-law partner has changed to 'single mom.'  Over the past few months I've been trying to figure out what that means.  What my goals are?  Do I want a boyfriend/husband?  Do I want another child?  Am I career motivated?  (lol-no, probably not).  How do I now want to live my life?

I don't necessarily have all the answers.  But the more I dig, the better I feel about who I am.  I feel strong in my convictions, and happy in a way that I have identity labels to support who I am.  I've known all along that I am not a social or sexual misfit.  I am a person with different levels of comfort.  And that's o.k.  Thank god for progression.