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.
If you know me or have been reading along with me for a while, you already know a few things: there's this really long, complicated relationship that I've been in the process of sorting through and getting over, there's something about the intersections of the sacred and secular that really speak to me, and there's something I always love about a good metaphor. You probably know a few more things too at this point, but those are the three I'm sticking with this time around.
Now, if you follow me on Twitter at all AND follow me on here, you might be a little jarred as you go back and forth, because apparently Twitter is where the sarcastically dry part of my personality resides, and around here is where the contemplative part of me lives. But something I read on Twitter the other day put me back in that reflective position, thinking about how sometimes we need to leave people behind as the absolute best choice we can make for them and for ourselves.
What got me thinking about all this was this tweet from Jonathan Martin I came across the other night. The part that stood out to me goes like this:
Sometimes God is leading you to a place where other people who have been important in your life cannot follow.
You could probably blame it on a lot of things at this point, the entirety of the atmosphere of Pride Month, the release of Queer Eye season 2, actually having time to myself (a full month after finals ended), or a myriad of other things, but there's been a lot on my mind recently. And perhaps more than anything, I've been thinking about relationships again, since it finally doesn't sting too badly.
Something I've been realizing as I've been reflecting on the last six months without this boy and how everything between us ended, is that so often as Christians, we're socialized to do romantic relationships in an unhealthy manner. I'm an Enneagram type 2, and in many ways, I think that Christian culture has socialized so many of us into doing relationships like disintegrated 2s, and I think what it comes down to is this: the entire cliche notion of, "guarding your heart" that you probably heard so much about growing up, isn't very Christian at all when you boil it all down.