When difficult, painful things happen, I feel as though people often refer to “the other side” when talking about when said difficult, painful thing is considered to be over. But when that difficult, painful thing happens to be the end of a relationship and you’re a demisexual, what does “the other side” really mean? For most people, I think it’s assumed to mean when you “get over” that last person or when you start dating a new person, but what milestone are you supposed to look for when you’re a demisexual and dating someone happens once in a blue moon to begin with? That’s sort of what I’m wondering one year later.
A couple weeks ago, I was FaceTiming with a fellow queer friend, and we got to talking about something that seems to be rather ubiquitous in the queer world, particularly for queer people who were raised in conservative Christian or other conservative spaces, the second queer adolescence that so many of us experience in our late teens, early twenties, or perhaps even later in life, depending on your individual circumstances. While this isn’t an uncommon occurrence or topic of conversation in queer circles, a quick Google search also shows that it’s not talked about nearly as much as many of us have experienced it.
Developmentally speaking, there are usually certain ages and stages in life where people tend to sort through specific things, and for most people, adolescence, generally between the ages of 13-17, is when explorations into identity and sexuality tend to happen. This is usually when teenagers tend to date their first significant other, are sorting out their own individual identity as separate from their parents, and all the things that come along with those domains. Or at least, I should say…for most straight adolescents that is. This is starting to change for the better more recently, but for many of us queer millennials and older, this probably wasn’t the case, which is why we tend to experience a second queer adolescence at an older age.
The other day, my therapist and I laughed about the fact that I’ve been to a lot of weddings lately, which is true. By the end of October, I will have been to 10 weddings in the last year and a half, and 3 of those weddings will all have been in the month of October. Having gone to a small Christian college, this number may seem absurd to some and just about par for the course for others. But I think I’d probably also lean on the side of saying that I’ve been to a lot of weddings in the last year and a half, and I know for a fact that I already have at least 4 weddings to go to next summer, still almost a year away. (Then again, a friend of mine did mention to me last summer that they had been invited to 14 weddings just over the summer, but I digress.)
I think about that number quite a bit as I think on the last year or so. 10 weddings amounts to a little more than one every other month if you average it out, and I think I’ve definitely been feeling that in my spirit lately.
I don’t write about this specific set of feelings for a variety of reasons, not wanting to come across the wrong way as being annoyed or ungrateful that I’ve been invited to part of a wonderful day for so many of my friends, not wanting to seem like I’m self-pitying or anything like that, and also the fact that I genuinely enjoy going to all these weddings. They’re immensely joyful and fun, and I’m truly honored to be able to be present with my friends on these days, but the hours (and sometimes days) after all the weddings are always a little hard if I’m being honest.
This post is one I’ve been trying to write on and off since late this summer, and I’m still not really sure why I was never able to finish it. What I write here probably won’t come as a surprise to many people who know me well, even though I’ve realized that I haven’t really talked about this much with a lot of the people in my life. In all honesty, I’ve probably written more Twitter threads on this specific topic and elaborated on it more in that fashion than I have verbally to the majority of my friends.
But in the spirit of National Coming Out Day yesterday and the fact that I’ve been realizing just how much this other aspect of myself really does impact my day-to-day life and relationships, I finally decided to sit down and get myself to hammer out this post.
Something else people will need to understand prior to me really starting this post (and let’s be honest, I’m probably going to make a little series on this, but don’t quote me on that, because clearly it took me ages to write this one) is that the catalyst for this entire revelation was my glamping trip with the internet queers earlier this summer. I’m sure that I would’ve made this connection and realized this about myself eventually, but being able to spend several days surrounded by only fellow queer people all along the spectrum of sexuality probably expedited this process quite significantly.
While I was there, I was telling a story about a series of interactions I had with a guy earlier that summer and upon finishing my story, one of my friends who was sitting there remarked to me saying: “That’s a really demisexual thing to say.” In that moment, I had a simultaneously really profound and really simple revelation at the same time. I’m demisexual.
Today is September 19th, meaning I’m another year older, and perhaps that’s gotten me thinking about what this day has been like in all the 20something years past. Something that’s particular salient this year is the multitude of things from both my past and present that have been melding lately, and I specifically refrain from using the word “colliding,” because I don’t think any of those things are at odds. In fact, similarly to what I’ve written about intermittently over the course of the last year, I think right now is one of the points in my life where I actually feel more whole than ever, the point where my 11-year old self is meeting my present self.
In that moment, I think there’s a mix of emotions. My present self feels heavy and protective of my 11-year old self, knowing so vividly all the things that are going to happen in the next decade or so that my 11-year old self could never know about or be prepared for. And at the same time, my present self almost feels more jealous of my 11-year old self because of how simple and clean things were during that stage of life, before realizing that despite all the things that have happened in the last five years or so, things are slowly starting to return to a similar simple state, sometimes through the oddest and most trivial things. But then again, that’s what simplicity is, isn’t it? And maybe that’s what feeling in this odd between place, this sensation of simultaneously feeling 20something and 11 at the same time, this sensation of returning to a simpler age.