(CN: mentions of sexual abuse, naming of abuser)
There’s so much I want to tell you, dear one. We’ve had quite the adventure in our almost 30 years on this planet. It’s not been easy, that’s for sure. We’ve had some really, really, rough patches. But I promise you, from where I’m sitting today- things are looking pretty good. No, not everything is perfect- in fact, the world’s pretty messed up. But amidst the chaos of the world, we’re doing pretty good.
So, here’s the thing, Beloved. I need to set something… well, not straight… Let me rephrase it this way. I need to make something clear to you, Beloved. Are you listening? It’s super important.
What happened to you was not your fault. Your relationship with TJ was an abusive one, from the first day he started grooming you in the library. So, let me repeat it: it was not your fault. It’s gonna take you a long time to come to terms with it, Beloved. First, that it was abuse, and then that you weren’t asking for it.
Second: he did not break you. I know, Beloved. It’s so hard for you to trust people right now. And you wonder if this weirdness around relationships is something he caused in you- something he took or stole from you. But it’s not, dear one. Think back with me- on some level, you’ve always known you were different. You’ve always seen friendship differently than others. You’ve always loved others- loved in a way that felt different than what others were describing.
Sometimes, it feels like others are speaking a language you didn’t grow up with. One that you’ve picked up (sometimes a little too well), but it’s something you’ve worked hard to learn. There’s a reason for this, dear one. Most of the world was born speaking Allo. You, however, were born speaking A, but learned to communicate in Allo, because that’s what the world spoke.
This might often feel like a curse, especially as you begin to realize how the differences in the languages permeate seemingly everything. But Beloved, your asexuality- your aromantic nature- these things are gifts. Pure gifts. Yes, you understand relationships through a different context. Your relationships aren’t hierarchical in nature- giving one person emphasis because of some perceived “most important” quality. You love freely and fiercely, and point to the ever overflowing abundant nature of God’s love.
And the best part, Beloved? You’re not alone. There are other folks out there- just like you. Folks who are nonbinary, folks who are asexual, folks who are on the aromantic spectrum. There are folks who speak A fluently, and it is such a joy when we get to speak together.
So, My Dear One, know this: you are beloved and holy and whole- just as God made you to be. All of you- the nonbinary, the asexual, the aromantic- God created, They celebrated, and they named Very Good. I know it can be difficult to believe sometimes. Even I struggle with it- still-. But, right now, it’s okay if you can’t believe it. Because I can believe it for you. You will survive. You will find your people. You will thrive. You are not alone- no, you are never alone. You walk with God, and They delight in you.
Rev. Tobi Fleck (they/them) currently serves as the associate pastor at The Dwelling, Winston-Salem, a faith community primarily for people who have or are currently experiencing homelessness. In their free time, they enjoy playing games with friends, reading young adult fiction, and spending time out in creation.