WANTING AND NOT WANTING AT THE SAME TIME
Alice Oseman posted this comic to her since-deleted tumblr account (spacezeros) in 2018 for Asexual Awareness Week.
Though her old art account has been deleted, and this piece with it, this comic made such an impact on me as a teenager that I really want to share it. It's been many years since I first came across it, and I still think of it from time to time, even though I'm at a very different point in my life now.
ALICE OSEMAN'S FOLLOW UP COMMENT
"bringing this back today for the start of pride month. still overwhelmed by how well this comic went down and with how many people relate. it’s easy to think aro-ace people are all totally accepting of their identities and really proud of who they are. i guess on websites like this you see a lot of people proudly putting their identity in their bio, a flag in their profile picture.""
"in fact i think a lot of aro-ace people really hate that part of themselves, hide it, and struggle for a long time to ‘accept’ who they are and feel any sense of ‘pride’. that’s the feeling i wanted to capture here. the disappointment, the loneliness, upon realising that you can’t feel what is such a wonderful thing. the embarrassment of not being ‘normal’, of being some random sexuality that nobody irl has heard of, and letting down those around you because you can’t be who they want you to be. how desperately you want to change, how desperately you want to feel. but you just can’t."
"i know not all aro-ace people feel like this. i know lots of aro and/or ace people feel able to be in relationships, to feel closeness and have partners in other ways. but i think it’s important to be aware that some aro-ace people do feel like this."
"the comments on this comic have mostly been great but a few have been very frustrating. a comment it got a lot was along the lines of ‘aw!! you don’t need to have sex to be in a relationship!’. you completely missed the point, hah. this is not a comic about sex. it’s about a lack of feeling, the lack of something beautiful other people seem to have. another comment that popped up a few times was ‘maybe she’s a lesbian’. well maybe lesbians and aro/ace girls have more in common than people think - maybe they both often struggle to accept that they feel no attraction to men, even though society has conditioned them to do so, sometimes spending years trying to force themselves to like men in that way, when they just can’t."
"this comic is called ‘wanting and not wanting at the same time’ because she wants to love. but when it comes down to the reality, she can’t fulfil the requirements of that. she wants to love someone forever, to get married and have children and grow old with her soulmate, but she doesn’t want it with this person. or that person. or anyone she meets or will ever meet. a sort of catch 22, i guess."
"hope that makes sense. thanks for listening, and have a lovely pride month ❤️"