Thursday, May 29, 2008

Losing my Identity

Lately I have been reading A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. In this book, the author talks about our individual sense of identity and how it can create problems in our lives. During the course of reading this book it has occurred to me that over the past few months I have lost, or better yet abandoned, most of my identity. It's like the pieces of the way I used to view myself have been stripped away. To illustrate, a few examples:

Male. Biologically, I am male, there's no doubt of that. Everything from the shape of my face to the equipment between my legs testifies to that. I grew up knowing I was a boy and that boys are different from girls. I also knew what boys are supposed to do and that's what I did. There came a point when I started to question that though. And now I realize that it is irrelevant. I am still male but I do not identify with boys or men (nor do I identify with girls or women). My body has a gender but my ego does not.

Heterosexual/Asexual. Growing up I thought I was a normal heterosexual boy. I liked girls and wanted to have relationships with them. I flirted, I dated, I even talked about sex and told dirty jokes. I also planned on getting married and having kids. But one day I started to question that too. That's when I realized that the attraction I felt was romantic but not sexual. Then I found out about the asexual community and started to identify with that. I got involved with every aspect of the community and was even an administrator on for a while. I even started acting that part too, swearing off sex and looking down on the sexual world. These days that too is irrelevant to me. I still don't experience sexual attraction to anyone or anything so the label fits me. However, that label isn't part of the way I identify. I am asexual but I am not an asexual, if that makes sense.

With all of this sudden loss of identity I should be having some kind of crisis, shouldn't I? I'm not. In fact, it's liberating. I no longer have a load of unrealistic expectations about what I'm supposed to be. After peeling away all those labels I can finally see myself as I really am. And I'm free to be that person now.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Asexual Limbo

I've been thinking a lot lately about and my involvement in it (thinking is a hobby of mine and, like most hobbies, I enjoy it whether or not I am good at it). Lately I have started to wonder if I really belong there, since I don't seem to fit in with the views of many of my fellow members. I don't mean the political or religious views they hold, I mean their views of sexuality.

There are a few reasons why I feel the adjective asexual fits me. Firstly, I don't experience sexual attraction. I do have an opinion of who or what is pretty though. Almost every time I leave the house I see someone about whom I think, wow, she's pretty! However, that feeling stays in whatever part of my brain is responsible for aesthetics and somehow doesn't ever find its way to the part responsible for sexual arousal.

Another thing that makes me think I'm asexual is the word sexy. Will someone please explain this concept to me? I have looked it up in the dictionary several times and, although the definition is written in plain English, it does not make sense to me. Sexually attractive? Sexually appealing? These are concepts that I do not understand no matter how hard I try.

Now comes the part that makes my relationship to the asexual community a bit fuzzy. So many people there talk about being grossed out by sex or feeling that it is too prevalent in our society. This is also something I do not understand. I don't find sexuality offensive or disgusting in any way. There are times when I think it is overemphasized or it gets a bit silly but those times are infrequent.

Another thing that muddies the water for me is the fact that my body does respond to some sexual stimulus. To be quite frank, I can get aroused, even horny. I also have the ability to perform sexual acts and don't even find them distasteful.

So here is my dilemma: I fit the definition of asexual as a sexual orientation, yet I have nothing against sex itself. If I married a woman who was sexual I would have no qualms about having sex with her. And if I married one who was asexual I would be content to never have sex with her at all. So, where do I fit into this whole thing? I'll let you know right after I decide if it really matters.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

American President: my plan for the US election process

Many people are complaining about the election process theses days, so I sat down and thought about it and came up with a solution - let's make it into a reality TV show.

First of all, I'm thinking American Idol style here. I first thought of something more Survivor style but then we'd have to put a bunch of politicians on an island and they would just sit around blaming each other for the rat problem and the lack of food. That would be boring.

The first part of the show would be a selection process with a panel of judges. We could get some political analysts to do that, they love to criticize people. The contestants will come in and give short speeches, after which they will either be allowed to join the competition or be sent home. This could be the funnest part of all to watch.

The next part will include just those contestants who passed stage one. It would be 15 to 20 people at this point and there would be a maximum of three from any given political party, thus eliminating the per facto two-party system. They will each be sequestered (I've always wanted to use that word) in a hotel until they are eliminated from the running. This will keep them off the evening news and we won't have to put up a whole year of mudslinging.

Each week they will come on stage one by one and take three minutes to answer a question provided to them a few hours before. Those who have not yet taken their turn will remain backstage in a soundproof room until it's their time to come out. The question will be the same for all of them and they will not have input from anyone else on what to say.

After the show is over people get to vote for their favorite. The next week the person with the least number of votes is excused. This continues each week until only one person remains and that person becomes our next president.

With one simple solution we can eliminate long and senseless speeches, year-long campaigns, filibustering, campaign finance issues and the two-party system. We will also get a bigger voter turnout. The only I see so far is vote tampering but that's a problem already, I'm sure we can find a way to resolve it too.