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.
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.
If you've spoken to me recently, you know that I've probably been raving about this film called Call Me By Your Name, a queer film that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2017 but didn't make it to the US until the end of the year. It's a film with artful cinematography and stellar acting (that was ROBBED at the Golden Globes...), but perhaps its most powerful element is that it allows you, and even pushes you to feel some of the dark things that you would usually want to suppress.
I recently had a really eye-opening conversation that left me pretty stunned in retrospect, not necessarily because I was surprised about where the conversation went, but more because it was a powerful reminder of something I already knew to be true. The feeling that overtook me the next day was that of a hard truth finally beginning to settle into your bones and not being quite sure what you're supposed to or can even do about it. And it's been something I've been thinking of ever since.
During this conversation with a group of self-described "not religious" people, I was reminded of the fact that the perception the majority of the world holds is that faith, but Christianity in particular, is wholly incompatible with also being LGBTQ. This is far from shocking, but something I didn't realize is that many people who don't adhere to any specific religion often don't see faith as being something that's also intrinsic.