This post is my entry for this month’s Carnival of Aces, on the theme of “telling our stories.” In it, I’m trying to make three main points: One, aces cannot live on glossaries alone — we need stories, not just to demonstrate what ace experiences are like, but also to address internal intracommunity dynamics among ourselves. Two, because stories are so important, it is doubly a problem when our fellow aces foster an environment that makes sensitive and painful stories that much harder to tell. In other words, I’m saying our own community is contributing, in part, to why it feels like certain stories can’t be told. Three, there are things we can do and things we can use to foster a different environment — that is, to do right by each other and to make our stories easier to tell.
[Content Notes: this post does contain some discussion of violence, including sexual violence, conversion therapy, and murder. There’s an especially severe section on disrespectful treatment of these matters with a separate, additional warning — you’ll find it between the second header and the third, enclosed with the tags <severe section begins here> and <end severe section>.]
Well, sort of.
Today I wore a shirt that has the image of an ace of spades printed on it, and since I’m with family for Christmas, several of my relatives ended up calling me an “ace”, unknowing of how true it was and leaving me grinning like the cat that ate the canary.
Then, while we were all at the table for dinner, my aunt asked me what the significance of it was. It seems like kind of a weird question — it’s just a t-shirt, you know? But for me, it’s not “just” a t-shirt. If I’d have been of a mind to, that’s when I could have declared, “I’M NOT STRAIGHT,” but I didn’t. That’s not something I want to make into a group conversation, especially when there’s not much I can do to manage their reactions. I was a little scared, to be honest. So I sort of weaseled my way out of answering (in my family, sometimes all you have to do is take long enough to respond and someone will end up talking over you anyway) and was left wondering if I should have done anything differently. Mostly, it just makes me wish I were already out to someone besides my mom, or that there were some way to make my orientation known without actually having to face the daunting prospect of The Big Conversation.