My Words

13 September 2018

When I wrote Guy-Adjacent, I positioned myself from a position of not wanting to impede on a space I didn’t particularly think I should occupy. Most of the sentiments expressed there remain the same: I am neither oppressed nor disphoric, my mental health is… pretty good. However, my approach to words has evolved.

(As an aside, I also think that placing myself, an NT, healthy, non-disphoric person in these spaces I belong to may indeed help in “normalising” them.)

I’m very much not a label absolutist. Indeed, I now take great pain in not using the term label here, or around this topic in general. I prefer saying “words”. Words is meant here as words that are you. It’s not about labelling, it’s not about the outside world, it’s not about absolutes, not about purity.

Words have two sides, and one constant:

  • Words are about how you feel about them. You understand them in a certain way. Their etymology, their use in your personal history, the way they sound, their spelling, all these things are aspects of how they make you feel.

  • Words are about how others understand them. They understand them in some certain ways. These might differ from the first. They might associate things to them. They might have a connotation. “Others” is a very wide group, and you should be careful both to exclude from your consideration those whose feelings you don’t care for (because of hate, because of irrelevance, because of distance), and to include those whose feelings you don’t necessarily consider outright but may have a claim against the word (because of kinship, because of culture, because of history).

  • Words change. Their spelling, their grammar, their meaning. Slow or fast. Sometimes both at once. Many times at different rates in different contexts.

All those things are equal influences, all as important as each other.

Guy-adjacent” is still somewhat okay as a word. It’s one way to describe me.

Here are others.

  • French”. I was born there, I speak the language, I do identify with my people. In some ways, and not in others, but I do. I have an accent when I speak English. I have culture and mannerisms and ways of thought which are very French. It is absolutely a word of mine.

  • New Zealander”. I am a citizen of this country. I love it. I chose it, in multiple ways. I don’t really claim “Kiwi”, but I acknowledge it. I have an accent when I speak English. And French.

  • Solitaire”. I like being alone. I’m okay with “introvert” from some people, especially other introverts, but I neither claim the word nor recognise it always. I recharge by staying away from people, and I shy away from too much socialities, but I do enjoy company, and I do go and brave crowds every so often. I get limited panics when I’m under too much exposure to others for too long: this is fairly frequent after conferences, or even during for long ones. I will happily not talk to anyone else for an entire week, if I’m given the opportunity (solo hiking trips being pretty much the only time nowadays — social media counts as talking!).

  • Pansexual”. With some preferences towards some aspects. Also “bisexual” which was my previous preference over “pan” — words and thoughts change! I reject “sapiosexual” (connotations are strongly against, and I very much don’t get horny only for brains whether physical or metaphoric). I’d say that the potential is there within the general population, and I do get attracted to some and not others, but the divide is neither on gender nor body traits. If I figure it out decisively one day I’ll pick a better word.

  • Demi-romantic”. Not “demi-sexual”. Not “aromantic”. I get crushes. I do fall in love. It doesn’t happen always, but most importantly for this word: I don’t feel like it’s something missing. “Bachelor” is a word I’ll acquiesce to, but won’t use for myself unless it’s right for the context. (I only fall within some of its senses, anyway. My uncle was a bachelor until he found his wife; I will remain demi-romantic even if I do find companionship.)

  • Non-binary”. I am that. See the first section of this post, and the previous article, for how I am not like some others who use that word. But I definitely am. Like the other below, I knew I was non-binary before I knew it was a thing.

  • Poly(am)”. Not out of the absolute need to be with more than one person (see demi above), although that varies with context, but out of the complete lack of any feeling regarding being “mono”. I do not care for it, in all meanings of the phrase. That too, I knew about myself before I knew it had a word.