So I was sitting in Dr. M's class today, and he brought up the menu conundrum; that is, as the number of choices available increases, the level of anxiety and fear about making one increases. His particular example was the habit of educated college students not being able to choose what to do with their lives, because it's all on us to decide. He argued that without tradition, and without really being encouraged or able to seek advice from older adults about what they thought we should do, it became the burden of the young person to come up with a life path completely from scratch--and he pointed out just how difficult and terrifying having to do that really is.
And it was all I could do not to burst out laughing. Bitterly. My entire life revolves around trying to find a path of meaning after throwing aside the central construction to the "accepted" path of the culture I live in. I mean, romance is so important to our cultural narratives that we can't even tell a single story without making a subplot for the main character to begin a romantic relationship. When there's no extended family, it's all about the nuclear family, and there's nothing for me in the traditional path to creating one without the whole attraction thing. I could do it, but I would be lying to myself and, more importantly, to someone I at least purported to care about, and I can't countenance that. So that leaves me with making my own path, and all that entails, because even if I'm not closing the possibility that I might one day be interested romantically in another human being or that another type of unconventional relationship exists that would work with who and what I am, I'm not counting on it. There's no point in planning on something which is unlikely to happen.
So I get to define what family is. I have all the choice in the world, and all I can do is walk into the future and try to live each day as it comes. I always hated those assignments I got in high school, when I was expected to plan out my future and say where I wanted to be in ten or twenty years. How can I know that? There's nothing to tell me how my life should go, no easy ubiquitous story to hear and build on. There's no story of my life out there at all, so all I can do is tell mine, day by day, and make it up on the fly. Maybe one day I'll be able to help younger asexuals figure it out, maybe one day I'll have something coherent to say.
Later, divorce came up in the class discussion. As class ended, I brought up the point that divorce isn't necessarily bad, and the conversation ended up with Dr. M going on about this new trend of women in their thirties marrying only because they want children, and then divorcing early once the kids are there. And I thought "wow, that's my life plan, except that I'd rather use a sperm donor entirely." I love that class, but there have been so many moments when I think to myself "yeah, and you don't know the half of it" when things come up. And I can't even say or do anything, because I'm damn sure not coming out to an entire class. There's feeling of being outside a house, and looking in--I can think of few things more alienating.