The July 2019 Carnival of Aces theme is Home.
Home is a complicated thing for me right now. I live with my parents and my brother in the same house I grew up in; I’ve never moved in my life. I’m old enough that I get people asking me why I still live at home, but I’m not quite so old that it’s viewed as seriously odd.
Part of it is coming of age during the recession and everything that meant for the job market and the housing market – my two closest friends still live with their families too – but I can’t help but feel it’s closely related to my asexuality as well.
Three years ago, when I was feeling bad about myself and being aro-ace, I wrote this in my journal:
I feel immature or stunted or something. Like I’m not a real adult and I’m never going to be one because I don’t want kids or a family or a significant other. I don’t even really want my own place. I mean I think about it, about what kind of house I want and how I’d arrange it and everything, but I don’t feel any real pressing desire to move out. Because why do people move out? To get boy/girlfriends and get married and start families, and I’m never going to do any of that, so why bother moving?
I have thankfully gotten past a lot of that internalized aphobia, but part of that sentiment has stuck with me. What’s the point of leaving home? People are judgmental about it, but why? Culturally, living at home past college is viewed very negatively: failure to launch, lazy, losers living in their parents’ basements…
Meanwhile, I’ve been working since I was 14 and I currently have two jobs; I pay for my own things; I contribute to the household. I have friends and hobbies. Why does where I live matter to anyone other than the people I live with?
But even though in the general sense I don’t see anything wrong with continuing to live at home, my relationship with my parents has been eroding as I’ve become more openly and visibly queer. They could tolerate the asexuality, because that’s more passive: I’m not dating, I’m not bringing someone home, I’m not making them think about it. But once I came to terms with my gender, that’s been pushing the envelope. They don’t like how I look, how I dress, etc. and they’ve made that very clear.
So we don’t talk about it. I’m not out to them. As long as it’s not made explicitly clear, they can maintain plausible deniability and pretend they think I’m cis and straight. But they know. They have to know. They found out I changed my name at work, but we haven’t talked about it. I’ve been on testosterone for nearly eight months and I haven’t told them and they haven’t asked.
It’s not a comfortable situation, but it’s tolerable. I worry about coming out and about getting kicked out and then think how stupid it is to worry about getting kicked out when most people my age have been living independently for years. It’s not like I’m a teenager.
(Fun side note: they did threaten to kick me out when I was 17, and although that obviously did not happen, it definitely left a very negative impression on me and on my sense of housing security).
I’ve been looking at apartment listings more and more seriously, but doing so has only reinforced how hard it is to live as a single adult. Apartments in my area are very expensive and I don’t have anyone to split the rent with. Almost all of my friends from high school share apartments with significant others. The ones who don’t largely still live at home.
So right now home is something I try not to think about. What it means and what I have and what I’m missing.