This post is for the March 2019 Carnival of Aces on the topic of Symbols of Identity.
I wasn’t planning on participating in the carnival this month, to be honest, because I don’t feel like I have a lot to say on the topic that I haven’t already said before. But then I realized that I don’t think I’ve actually ever dedicated a post on my own blog to this topic, just comments here and there in various places. So why not?
In general, I would say that I’m not particularly attached to most symbols of ace identity. I don’t tend to incorporate a lot of explicit ace symbols into my daily life. I have a couple of asexual pride shirts that I almost never wear, because when I do, strangers tend to glare at me and make inappropriate comments. So I’ve been discouraged from wearing them unless I’m going to a special event, like Pride. Except I haven’t even been attending Pride the past few years, because in my area it’s really hot so they’re now hosting it in the fall instead of June, and they’re… really bad about publicizing the new date, so I didn’t even find out when it was going to be until it was already over. So that’s a little bit disappointing, but I’m not too bothered by it, given that I really don’t get that much out of going to Pride to begin with.
Moving on to less explicit symbols… well, I have a black ring, but again, I rarely wear it. I wear it a lot more often than the shirts, but only maybe several times a month, and throughout all of Asexual Awareness Week. I bought it 3-4 years ago and when I bought it, it fit perfectly, but now it’s getting a little bit loose. I’ve also found that, unfortunately, it aggravates my tendonitis because it’s made of tungsten and it’s really really heavy. So even if I wanted to wear it every day, I can’t. And I can’t wear it all day long, either. But it’s nice to have the option of wearing a black ring sometimes, if I feel like emphasizing my aceness for a while. Not that I have never had anyone recognize it, ask about it, or even give it a second glance. That’s okay, though, because it’s there for me, not for anyone else.
Maybe one day I’ll get around to ordering a second black ring made out of a different material, but I’m not in a hurry. If you want to leave recommendations, feel free! (Especially if you also struggle with tendonitis.)
The one symbol of ace identity that I incorporate into my life very regularly—if not daily, then at least weekly—is the color palette. I have LOTS of black, gray, and purple in my wardrobe, and have white accents here and there. Black and gray really form the neutral core of my wardrobe.
The funny thing is, when I was growing up I would have avoided this particular combination of colors. Why? Because, oddly enough, the ace flag colors happen to be the same colors as my high school’s colors. And I was extremely unenthusiastic about my high school, especially the pride rallies, where so many of the girls would absolutely cover themselves in white, silver, black, and purple ribbons and face paint. Homecoming was atrociously gaudy, because people seemed to be making a competition of who could wear the largest mums and garters. It was a very, very big production. I didn’t get it at all.
So, if the ace pride colors had been determined when I was in high school, it would have been very frustrating to me because I would have been perceived as going along with the majority and expressing support for my high school’s sports teams. I would have felt like the ace pride flag was basically unusable as a pride symbol for me, because I wouldn’t have wanted to risk having classmates see my ace flag and then go get one themselves because they didn’t understand that it was a symbol of asexuality, not high school sports.
Encountering someone with an ace flag, getting excited and approaching them about it only to find out that they have no idea what I’m talking about? Yeah, no thanks. I hope that no one has to go through that sort of disappointment.
That’s why I’m glad that we have multiple symbols to express asexual identity. Because if one symbol has too many conflicts to use, then at least there are other options.
For me, symbols aren’t that important in my day-to-day life, but I like maintaining a sort of stylistic connection to my aceness through my clothing choices. I’m long past high school age, so since the dominant assumption about it is no longer about something I had a pretty negative view on, this color combination no longer bothers me. I find it ironically fitting, I suppose.
I like that the color palette allows me the flexibility of incorporating other identities as well: purple is one of the three bi pride colors, and black, gray, and white are also part of the aromantic pride flag. And I can combine ace colors with any other colors I like—turquoise is a particularly nice accent color to go with the purple, I think.
I’m actually more attached to other items that are not really symbols of identity, but just things that I sort of identify with—an old owl shirt with holes in it that I can’t bring myself to get rid of, and a silver moon pendant with an amethyst stone in the center, for example. But even though these items themselves are not symbols of ace identity, and the moon and owl imagery is more important to me, they both match the ace flag color scheme and can be incorporated into an outfit that has an ace feel to it.