Thursday, 31 December 2015

Year In Review: 2015 - Where to begin?

It tends to be a yearly tradition now where I make a blogpost on here about my year in a few hundred words, how I'm able to do that I'm not sure. Here we go, it's a particularly soppy one this year but I've been extremely soppy overall this year so it makes sense. 

So 2015 has been a year that's changed me, I say this every single bloody year but I think I have definite proof this time. It's had its good & bad points. I came out as a bi-romantic asexual so I basically announced that I'm not straight, I just love people. I faced some really tough times that exhausted me both mentally & physically. I went on a first date, something I thought would never happen. I became a First Aider. I've shed so many tears that I've become permanently dehydrated. I visited and discovered so many new places that became my little paradises to escape to when times were tough. I moved into my first private flat with my best friend. I decided to give up alcohol completely in May and it was the best decision I've ever made. I found out my idols are not just a figment of my imagination but they actually do exist. I've dealt with so much heartbreak this year that my heart has run out of super-glue. I received my first collection of fan mail. A childhood friend of mine sadly passed away suddenly. And I finally found a place I want to live in the future, I've decided that as soon as I can afford it, I'm living in Stonehaven. It was the hardest year in terms of university and part time work combined, being responsible for so many people's well-being and safety, dealing with the aspect of losing close friends who gave me meaning in life was too scary to write down in words. There was great pressure on me looking after and making people happy, to achieve the best marks I possibly could in my degree and gain respect as a responsible 21 year old in this big, terrifying world.

2015 was the year I really struggled to accept and love people, it's always been hard with my social anxiety but most importantly, it was so hard to be able to accept and love myself. It was the year I met lots new people, some in situations I never thought would be possible for me, yet I've already lost touch with most of them. But there have been some dear people who have made me smile a lot and I can't thank them enough. This year in particular, I lost someone who I thought was my best friend, but after a horrible fallout, we've never been able to re-patch things. It's a shame because I miss the fun and dear times we had together, but because this person had hurt me so much, it set my social anxiety on a whole new level, to the point where I tried to shut everyone out so I wouldn't hurt anyone else. 
It was the year where I had to confide in my dear friends, Connie & Struan, to be there for me, with coming out as bi & admitting I had depression/anxiety and needed help to keep on going. So many times I thought I was going to lose them and thought I wasn't worthy enough for them but they've always been there and I love them too much for words, everyday I'm so grateful for the sunshine they bring through that small window when it feels like I'm locked in a dark room with no way out. Coming to terms with my sexuality took many days & nights, weeks, even months of just crying to myself and trying to force myself to be straight and want sex. Now, I'm at that stage where I want asexuality to be talked about a lot more in LGBT communities across the world, discussed in sex education in schools and in social media & I'm slowly accepting the fact that it's just part of me. I have fallen for so many people this year, once again the wrong ones for me for too many different reasons and my heart has taken a bit of a beating but I'm still standing, just. 
University work was extremely tough, especially with the fact you were left to your own devices but I like to think I've improved massively in my saxophone playing, especially receiving my new horn, Candy, this summer. This next year is crucial and the pressure is fucking scary! Wish me luck! 

Now I'm happy to report that I have achieved most of the goals I set for this year, as you know from previous years, they're not resolutions but more ideas or ambitions I think could be possible to do within the year.

1. Travel more, see more places in the Aberdeenshire area in particular
I've been to the Royal Deeside, Slains Castle/Cruden Bay, Dundee and my particular favourite place this year has been Stonehaven, ever since my best friend Struan & I went for my 21st birthday, it's been my sanctuary at an overwhelming, difficult time for me and I honestly want to move there once I've done university/have a break for a year. There are still a couple of places I need to explore but I've pretty much seen the main areas in Aberdeenshire, which isn't just handy for my part time job but also places to escape to after a particularly stressful time.

2. Stay strong, no matter how hard the year gets, for my family's sake more than my own
My family and friends mean the absolute world to me, and people often say I'm like a motherly figure to them, so of course it upsets me that I often crumble myself. There have been several times where I've cried myself to sleep or felt as if I was all alone, thanks to the depression/anxiety that's built up a lot this year but all it takes is for my best friends, Struan & Connie in particular, to text me or pull a silly face or say they're here for me and it makes me laugh & smile again. So I wouldn't have been as strong without them in my life. My cousins and younger brother are still my inspiration and I want to be the role model they deserve for them. And my parents show no bounds of stopping in terms of their support for me, so I hope I'm doing them proud.

3. Take more photos of friends and family. Keep the special people close to you as always.
I've taken some really lovely pictures this year and now have a photo album which I bought from Paperchase (guilty pleasure!) where I print photos and keep them inside. I have my favourite selfies I've recently taken with Struan & Connie in December but have also taken some pictures of the lovely places I've visited this year. Here are a couple of my faves!

4. Keep on working, girl! The next two years are crucial.
At the end of 3rd year, I achieved 6 B's & 2 C's, and technically I have a degree already, the final year is my honours year. For someone who's not a straight A student, it's not that bad. It means I'm on my way to receiving a 2:1 with honours, it's my target and I really don't want to fall at the last hurdle, especially with all the incredible support so many people have given me. These next six months are going to determine where my life will lead to next and I'm petrified.

5. Learn to cook different meals other than pasta
I can make Diet Coke Chicken, curries, risotto, but I feel as if I've eaten more junk food this year due to stress. It's something I definitely want to work on but it may be after I've handed in my final university work before it happens, I plan to stay in Aberdeen for another year with my flatmate Struan so we'll see how we do, we like making dinner for each other in the flat so hopefully we'll get some ideas flowing. 

6. Watch the films I haven't seen yet and have been told off for not seeing them like Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Iron Man etc
Funnily enough, I've seen all three series I've mentioned this year. Struan watched the 6 Star Wars films with me in one weekend (so I bought him tickets to see the new Star Wars with me, best friend points won I think!), I watched the 3 Lord of the Rings films in a bundle (took forever), and saw the three Iron Man films. I have seen quite a few films this year but I still have a long way to go in terms of watching all the films on my list on my phone but I'm quietly quite proud of myself!

So what about 2016, what do I want to try and achieve in the next year?
1. Receive a 2:1 at least in my Bachelor of Music undergraduate degree
2. Start learning sign language at North East College in September
3. Take a holiday somewhere with Struan & Connie, for their 21st birthdays & my graduation.
4. Save money for a flat in Stonehaven
5. Meet Harriet & Shelley
6. Get a Disclosure so I can work with children in the future
7. Fall in love with the right person for once
8. Get better. :)

So there we go, another year done, I'll be honest, it wasn't easy and a lot more sucky things have happened. But you have times that are not so good compared to others and the good times I did have this year were amazing. Here's to 2016, the year that is definitely going to change my life completely! To those special people who I keep on mentioning, I wouldn't be here without you all in my life, so I hope your support will carry on to the most important year of my life so far because I need as many laughs as I can get. Hope everyone has a safe and fun Hogmanay/New Year celebration, have a dram on me because I'm alcohol free now. I'm also staying at home for Hogmanay/New Year as I'm fighting off this cold, typical eh? Oh well, what can you do but just live with it. Thank you for reading this mammoth of a post, love you in particular because you've read the whole thing to the end, round of applause for you! Take care everyone. 

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Asexuality: What is it & My Coming Out story.

So over the past 21 years of my life, I've always known that I was different. And I thought it was in a bad way, turns out I didn't find out about this until a couple of weeks ago.
Hello, my name is Eilidh, I'm 21, I live in Scotland, I'm a music student and I am a biromantic asexual. 
Now most of you will probably be thinking, 'What the fuck is that, is that another way of saying you're bisexual?!' No, not quite. So this post is going to talk about asexuality, what it is and the wide spectrum of the sexuality, then I'm going to tell you my story, in the hope it helps someone out there who's struggling. I also made a YouTube video just talking about asexuality in general, using similar points.

These links are extremely useful to fellow asexuals or if you're wanting to know more about it. Most of the information in this post has been sourced from these websites. The last link was the one I used to show my close friends and my parents, and I think it's an incredible page to get the point across.

So what is asexuality?
Asexuality is a sexual orientation, like heterosexuality or homosexuality, but instead of being sexually attracted to men or women, asexual people are sexually attracted to no one. This doesn't mean we all hate sex or avoid it, it just means we don’t find people sexually attractive. There's a wide spectrum with asexuality so you can find out what works for you and that was a great comfort for me.

You can be asexual even if:
You think someone is good looking:
It's possible to think that someone is cute or beautiful without being sexually attracted to them, in the same way it's possible to think a puppy is cute or a painting is beautiful.
You're dating or married:
Romantic attraction is separate from sexual attraction. Many asexuals are interested in relationships, even if they're not interested in sex.
You have children or want children:
Sexual orientation has no bearing on a person's fertility or whether or not they want to have kids.
You've fallen in love:
Love and sex are not the same thing. Being in love with someone doesn't necessarily mean you're interested in sex, as well.
You get aroused:
Getting "wet" is just your body doing what it's supposed to do. Getting aroused doesn't have to mean you're sexually attracted to someone or something.
You masturbate:
I masturbate, big deal. It's a great stress reliever and it feels great but I'm not necessarily thinking about someone when I do it.
You look at porn or read erotica:
Some asexuals look at porn and may even find it arousing. Some asexuals read erotica. This does not require sexual attraction.
You've had sex:
Having sex doesn't mean you can't be asexual. Some aces are curious. Some aces think it's what they're supposed to do.
You haven't done any of those things:
Some asexuals are aromantic, meaning they don't experience romantic attraction. Some asexuals don't masturbate. Some asexuals never want to have sex.

Types of Romantic Orientation
A romantic orientation characterised by a persistent lack of romantic attraction toward any gender.
A person who is romantically attracted to members of two different sexes or genders. Biromantic asexuals seek romantic relationships for a variety of reasons, including companionship, affection, and intimacy, but they are not sexually attracted to their romantic partners.
Not participating in sexual activity (often specifically partnered sexual activity) for any reason, not necessarily because of a personal choice.
A demiromantic does not experience romantic attraction unless they have already formed a strong emotional bond with the person.
A romantic orientation characterised by romantic attraction to the opposite gender.
A romantic orientation characterised by romantic attraction to the same gender.
Someone who experiences romantic attraction, but does not desire reciprocation.
A romantic orientation characterised by romantic attraction to any gender.
Romantic Attraction:
A sense of “I would like to be involved in a romantic relationship with that person”. (Please note that “romantic” in this context does not necessarily mean flowers and sunsets on the beach and candlelit dinners.)

My Story (Coming Out)
Guess I always knew throughout my life that something wasn't quite right from the get go.
Throughout high school, I was the fat, single 'friend' who never truly got accepted for just being me, I was always with a group of 'friends' who were all in relationships, all into boys and that just didn't appeal to me. I grew up in a small town where no-one really had much faith in me, apart from my family of course who are incredible. But I've always felt that I was different to other people who want relationships, money, employment, I wanted to have this sense of adventure and independence.
Living in a world where you watch all the films and TV programmes, you hear from your family and friends that you HAVE to be in a relationship, you HAVE to have sex to be in love with your partner, you HAVE to like sex to be accepted. That fucking terrified me and for ages I thought I was a freak because I was the only one in my group of friends that could honestly say I could live without sex and a partner. But I felt the pressure that one day, I HAVE to have sex or find someone as it's one of the many goals you must achieve in your life, fair enough it's how you're brought into the world but the way people can have sex with anyone at anytime scared me.
I have social anxiety which means that having to trust someone is a great effort, I only have a couple of people I trust to be myself with. You constantly feel like people judge you for the smallest things, don't like you, laugh at you or stare at you almost like you have horns growing out of your head. You have to live with these thoughts every single day, which isn't easy.
I grew up to having many gay role models, especially in terms of music which is what I study at university, being Elton John, David Bowie and of course my guardian angel, Mr Freddie Mercury. Also, I watched Doctor Who and Torchwood during the Russell T Davies' era, being openly gay himself, creating Captain Jack Harkness who was bisexual and introducing various homosexual/homoromantic relationships, it was educational for me in so many ways. So I knew about homosexuality from a young age and accepted it from the start. When I started university, I began watching Kaelyn and Lucy's videos and fell in love with their special bond. I then subscribed to other gay couples such as Will and RJ & Katy and Eilis and felt more of a connection with homoromantic relationships as supposed to heteroromantic. I was watching several coming out stories and related to people's insecurities and admired their bravery as it helps so many other people who are going through similar situations.
People should be with who they love, regardless of the gender of their partner.  
I never tell people I have feelings for them because everytime I do fall for someone, I lose them. And for ages I thought what I truly felt couldn't possibly be love if I didn't want to have sex with them.
I've fallen in love with two people, both male, in my life where I actually told them how I felt and both of them turned me down in different ways. One completely broke my heart and took away my confidence, the other is still my best friend today and gave me the confidence to find out who I was and to truly be me because of his own bravery.
I have had many romantic crushes on women too, albeit secret and if I do think about it, if I had to have sex with a partner, I would be more comfortable with a woman than I would be with a man. On my Facebook, it does say that I'm interested in both men and woman but before I never made it a big deal, so nobody asked, I just thought they assumed.
One thing though I can connect with all of these people I have fallen for, I don't want to have sex with them. I have never been sexually attracted to them, I don't picture myself having sex with them whatsoever and I wouldn't dare to ask that from them. Because I hate relationships, I hate romance and closeness, I've had rare cases where people were close to me and it made me feel incredibly uncomfortable, even the thought of performing sexual acts myself scares me. I may make innuendos and dirty jokes sometimes in conversation as you do with friends, I'm often known to having a 'dirty mind' at times, but the reality is, I can't picture myself in these particular scenarios. I feel like I would be the worst partner ever because I'm not sexy, I don't see myself as attractive and I'm a mess deep down inside. I'm a misfit to this society where you're instantly judged for being a virgin at the age of 21.
To be both biromantic and asexual may seem like it's a tough concept for most people to fully comprehend. You do hear people say that bisexual/biromantic and asexual people don't really exist and they're just scared of committing to one person. We don't know what we want and we shouldn't come out as we're not actually gay or we're afraid to admit that we actually are gay. That we don't want to have relationships or have kids or settle down. That's not the case at all. Accept people for who they are, unless they murder, attack or rape people.
All we want is to be accepted and for people to listen.
May 16th 2015, that was the day I discovered and finally accepted that I was a biromantic asexual. I was looking up things on Google, found the asexuality forum, read a bunch of different posts and suddenly took in a deep breath. When I exhaled, I thought to myself, I'm asexual. I'm a biromantic asexual. I hate how people put strict labels on each other and I hate restricting myself into some box that you can't seem to change but this term seemed to explain how I currently feel in a way for others to understand. I soon told my two best friends, who I adore, the truth and they were nothing short but incredible. I never thought I would be so lucky after shutting myself from pretty much everyone to have two amazing people in my life who love me no matter what. After telling them, I wanted to keep things hush hush for the time being, it took me so long to finally think to myself, 'You're ok. You're not a freak.' that I wanted to relish in this discovered hidden truth. But after a while, it started to eat away at me, especially when I was with my family.
I decided on the 4th of June to let my mum and dad know about this, with the parents guide to asexuality, it seemed to be the best way to tell them. So the next morning, before going to work, I sent them the message on FB messenger on my phone as I didn't have internet in my new flat at the time. Mum texted me that evening to say it was my business and no-one else's, but it was a shame I didn't tell them face to face. She said dad was very quiet in response and that worried me, the last thing I wanted was to hurt anyone for just being me. I took it hard, beat up myself inside about it and got upset, my best friend who's now my flatmate told me that I worry too much and that everything would be fine. I hope they're not going to make this a big deal as I never made my sexuality a big deal before but it was almost as if I was a different person when I saw them and I had to lie to keep them happy. It does take a while to get your own head around this, hell, it took me 21 years. You may have seen several coming out videos where parents are instantly loving and supportive to their son and daughter, you have to remember they're human too. They will have questions, they do get hurt, they will have pictured you having a heterosexual partner, having a family and growing old with them. But at the end of the day, they should still love you no matter what. Try not to be disheartened if it takes a while for them to comprehend everything as coming out is a difficult thing for everyone that has to do it.
In the world around 1% of the population identify themselves as asexual but that doesn't mean there's more people out there. There could be a young teenage boy or girl sitting in their group of friends who are in sexual relationships, having conversations about sex and they feel broken and alone because they don't see people in the same way. Sounds cliche and may seem stupid to hear, but I want you to know if you're going through a similar situation that you're not alone. Coming out as asexual is just as scary as coming out as gay, bisexual, transgender, you name it.
It's the 21st century and people shouldn't be afraid to be who they really are.