An ace childhood: yearbooks

5 Mar

I was thinking about what in my history I can see as manifestations of my gender, and I thought I might do the same with my sexuality, where I’m on surer footing. There are things from my childhood that — in retrospect — I see as “oh, yeah, that’s me. Asexual.” The biggest memory involves yearbooks in elementary school.

For some reason I had it in my head that if anyone ever went through my yearbooks, they would think I was weird because I didn’t have a lot of signatures from boys. I thought that it wasn’t normal that I wasn’t interested in boys. In the event that someone, who would know me and may already be thinking that it was weird that I didn’t talk about boys, started leafing through my yearbooks, I thought it was important to convince them that I did think about boys.

So I went to my grade level in the yearbook, glanced around for what I thought were conventionally attractive boys, and drew hearts next to their pictures. Most of the time I had never even met them, but I thought other people would think they were cute.

This seems really bizarre to me now. I wonder if I had a friend that I’ve forgotten about who was particularly boy-attached, or if someone made some comment to me about not talking about boys I “liked.” Social stuff like that does get to you pretty early. But I didn’t do things like that in middle and high school. I didn’t try to make comments about hot boys.

That’s not something I would ascribe to confidence, though. I know it’s mostly because my friends were not the kind to sit around talking about sex, at least not with me, which is a privilege of mine. I was never forced into an environment where I was expected to date, to act particularly sexual, or to dress in a sexually appealing manner. So I didn’t have to try.

I wish I could remember more about why I felt that way in elementary school. Since I can’t remember anything specific, it was probably all the media I was consuming: princesses getting together with princes, who is the pink Power Ranger dating, etc. Maybe people playing games in the playground, although I mostly remember playing Power Rangers and walking around the track. (Oh, we were fun children. Sometimes we even stopped on the track to use the old wooden work-out stations placed there for our exercising convenience.)

It probably is strange that I felt more pressure in elementary school than other age brackets, but I did identify as asexual shortly into middle school. So maybe that took a lot of the pressure off of me, even though my identification was, for a few years, an inside joke with myself.


7 Responses to “An ace childhood: yearbooks”

  1. Sciatrix March 7, 2011 at 8:35 PM #

    I don’t remember feeling much pressure from my peers to date in elementary school, but I did get a lot of teasing about my two best friends (both of whom were male) from my mother. She seemed convinced that I was deeply in love with one of them and that there was something going on there, despite the fact that I moved away when we were all about ten and I haven’t seen either of them since.

    It’s funny what early signs from childhood make a lot more sense in the context of asexuality, though. I remember simply thinking that the whole “grow up, get married, have children” paradigm just didn’t apply to me at all.

    • ace eccentric March 7, 2011 at 10:54 PM #

      Huh. My mom babysat some boys my age, but I guess they were kind of bratty and we fought too much for her to ever consider something like that. That is strange that even with the move there was still that conviction. Maybe one of them displayed signs of a crush on you? Although I suspect it’s just that society is hardwired to read “romance!” whenever boys and girls hang out.

      Oh, yes. It’s interesting how early people can feel things about themselves, like not fitting into the marriage/children formula. It took me a long time to consistently remember that sex was part of romantic relationships for most people. And I still forget that people think about sex just like, during the day, when they see someone they find attractive while they’re in line at Starbucks. Where I’d just be thinking about coffee.

      • Sciatrix March 8, 2011 at 7:22 PM #

        I mean, she was still pushing this up until I graduated from high school, when she sent my address and a request to write to one of them. Which I found unbearably creepy. So whatever she was thinking–and given that she usually insisted I was the one with the crush–I’m guessing that it was more projection than anything.

        • ace eccentric March 8, 2011 at 8:02 PM #

          Oh wow! That is extreme. And extremely awkward. Sorry you had to deal with that. Sounds like it could’ve been projection, yeah.

  2. maddox March 7, 2011 at 11:56 PM #

    I remember a lot from my early childhood, both in terms of gender and sexuality.

    As an easy way out, I chose to identify as “nerd” until college.

    • ace eccentric March 8, 2011 at 12:06 AM #

      I don’t have a lot of memories from my early childhood, really, so I think going through it for some posts will be interesting. I was planning on doing some neutrois posts in the same vein.

      Heh :) Is that when you learned about neutrois people?

    • Meike March 19, 2011 at 9:09 PM #

      Ah, another self-identified nerd, I see? Excellent.

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