High School, Hair Dye, and Hidden Sexualities: Calista Lynne talks asexual representation in YA


Asexual representation. Why do we need it?

Well, apart from the fact that it would make a whole lot of people feel much less ostracized and help the population understand a very real sexuality, it would have saved me from some embarrassing high school shenanigans. I’ve written a lot about validating asexuality and how ignoring it can cause countless issues for young people who just don’t feel sexual attraction. I’m not positive where I fall on the ace scale, but since I never even knew there was such a thing until a few years ago, I once felt obliged to subject myself to the now-laughable trauma of an early high school “relationship”.

At the start of freshman year, I decided I wanted to find myself and managed pick up a boyfriend along the way. That wouldn’t have been so terrible if my hormone-riddled self had any idea how to navigate a relationship or even wanted one in the first place.

In my head, we were still in the days of elementary school crushes where dating was just glorified friendship and kissing was an intangible thing locked behind television screens. It was mind boggling to me that this boy wanted to carry my lunch tray when I was content to just wave at him from across the cafeteria and enjoy the empty superiority that dating gave someone. The relationship began because of my inability to say no. Our first kiss occurred under similar circumstances. I had been wary but damn, that boy was persistent. I made sure to keep my lips in a straight, unwavering line beneath his. It never dawned on me that all this might be the result of the fact I wasn’t attracted to him. Or men. Or people in general.

Since I didn’t have the courage to break up with him, the only option I could see was to have him break up with me. His parents were straight-laced and raised a son in their own image; he would have done anything to keep them content. My boyfriend was planning to become a doctor, not because of his own desire to heal, but to follow in his father’s intimidating footsteps. I made my decision. I was going to dye my hair fluorescent pink to scare his family away and spur him towards breaking my heart.

And so I was plunged into the first of many uncomfortable teenage phases! His parents sucked the color out of everything in his life similar to how I stripped the brown from my hair. When I showed up to school with my new “rebellious” hairdo, though, he just said that he loved my peculiarity. I obviously wasn’t being extreme enough. Next I lost the skin tone makeup, replacing my palettes with rainbow ones that had words like “punk” and “electric” on the front. He didn’t even notice. The preppy clothes went away after that and I tried the first of many cliches on for size and became Goth. Still, I could not shake the boy off. The final step was to chop off a good portion of my hair and sulk while he side-eyed me in the lunchroom.

When he finally got the message and broke up with me, it was over text and not because of my appearance, but instead my poor attitude.

And maybe also the fact that he, too, ended up being much less heterosexual than previously thought.

Freshman year wasn’t reality, but it was extremely real at the time. I had two assumptions about myself: either I was bisexual because I was indifferent to both genders equally, or this was how everyone felt and the general populace was just faking it all. Or I was broken. None of them were really the most pleasant options.

When I learned about asexuality, it just clicked. I’m still not positive if it completely applies to me and in what sense, but at the moment, it’s a validating label to apply to myself. This sexuality is explored so little in the media, though, that I realized if there was going to be any representation I would have to write it myself.

So I did that. And I gave a happy ending. After all of this, we deserve it.

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About Author

Calista Lynne

Calista Lynne is the author of We Awaken, available now from Harmony Ink Press.

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