Interview with Abigail Reed


1. Hi! We’re so excited to talk to you today, your work is so beautiful and interesting. How would
you pin down your style?

I make vast drawings and paintings that capture a human fascination with animals and their ability to make us stare up in wonder. The natural world makes us think about the ‘other’, we feel less significant as a race and it detracts us from being consumed with ourselves. I work mainly in monochrome, keeping the raw and immediate qualities/ of drawing at the centre of my practise. I am drawn to fragile but magnificent subjects, animals that stand in their ultimate state, like statues, demanding your attention.

2. Can you explain a little more about what you’re up too at the moment?

Last week I was hanging paintings at Badminton School as part of their Arts Week, I also put on a workshop for the students there. I also had to organise the shipping of one of my paintings to Hong Kong as I sold it to a couple who live there. I also took part in the Frome Art Fair, so I have been super busy! Now I am less busy and have some precious time to be in the studio (Jamaica Street Studios, Stokes Croft) and work on some new paintings to show in the New Year. I am also in the process of setting up my own shop online, making my work more accessible to a wider market. I am in most days but I also run an Art class at a care home and am involved with various community art projects depending on the time of year.

3. Did you see yourself where you are now when you first wanted to be an artist?

No! In some ways it is better but in some ways harder than I ever thought it would be. You have to be incredibly good at doing many different jobs to survive as an Artist. Some days I feel like I am a running a logistics company or having to be a business woman which I am not! But the magic feeling you get when you pull it all off is like nothing else­ that is the best bit. It is an emotional journey that I perhaps didn’t expect but the highs and lows definitely make life not boring!
the black dog is over him
4. What has made you feel lost and how ­ if you have ­ have you overcome it?

It can be hard when you feel as though nobody appreciates what you do, all the hours and energy that go into making art and sometimes you can have such high expectations then nothing comes of it, it can be very disheartening. It’s not like any other job, you don’t have a team to support you, it is just you and when you have a down day that can be a lonely place to be. I am very lucky to be part of a great community of artists that are always there for me here at Jamaica Street. They always have great advice and that is priceless! My rule is to always keep painting and drawing, even when you don’t feel like it. It is easy to give up and lose motivation when working for yourself but if you just keep at it and be disciplined, you will draw yourself out of the difficulty and maybe create something new along the way.

5. What makes or would make you feel “found” either career wise or just life wise?

Keep strong and grounded. Do what you do because you want to do it, not to please others. Meditation helps me stay centred, just having a moment each day to be peaceful works wonders! Keep a balanced routine between family and work life too, it’s easy to forget but friends and family are so important…work isn’t everything and they are themost beautiful distraction!

6. What inspires you the most and do you have any tips or tricks on how to get so much work done?

Draw every day! It actually doesn’t take that long. Go and see exhibitions. If I see another artist doing something really powerful it gives you motivation to do the same and want even more to be a part of that world.

7. When have you felt most proud of yourself?

Working for yourself can be lonely but equally when you reach success and have a really good day, you get all the credit. It is a huge sense of achievement and it feels amazing to be creating paintings that other people appreciate, want to buy and have in their homes to look at forever! As an artist, you can take some materials and weave something out of it using your hands, the result can be beautiful and magnificent…that never ceases to amaze me and drive me on.
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8. If you could choose between all of the stages of being an artist: what has been the toughest?

When you don’t sell anything in a show, that is financially the hardest time. But also when you start to not believe in yourself and your own ability…dark times!

9. If you had any advice to give out to anyone in a similar career path what would it be?
Think seriously about how you can diversify your skills to help you survive financially and still satisfy your creative impulses. Don’t be afraid to change direction if you feel it isn’t working…be bold!

10. Any last words?

As artists, we are here to reimagine the landscape, to provoke thought and put beauty in an otherwise plain world… and that is a privilege. Art can sometimes be devalued in education and when funding is concerned but these things we make will go on living after we have all died, carry on translating how we saw and experienced our time on earth beyond our own mortality….that is something to think about!

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Moving Away From London


It’s been almost two years since I last wrote for Lost and Found. The reason I wrote my previous article was because I wanted to give advice to creative individuals who were graduating and thinking of moving into London. I found many difficulties renting in London, I struggled to find flatmates, I struggled to find an affordable place to live and I struggled to earn money. I felt so many pressures, pressures that I had not heard people speaking about. I wanted to make sure that other creative graduates had some advice, advice that I didn’t have.
So what happened to me next? Well, 2014 was an eventful year. Although my career had picked up and I was settled into London life, things in my personal life had taken pathways I never thought they would. Many of my best friends in London were moving away (some to Australia, some back home and some to complete further training) and I had never really found a flat-share that I could call home. Negative experience after negative experience led me out of London. I completed several touring contracts and in November 2015, I was cast in a performance job near my home town in Devon. Since then, I have not gone back.
My move down South was not a deliberate one but it was something that happened due to my circumstances. What surprised me so much about moving home was how much things had changed. Whilst I had spent so long focusing on my life in London, arts and theatre had been blossoming in my home County and there were opportunities for young graduates like me.  I no longer knew every face in the street, there were new shops, new roads and new opportunities. I saw this as a challenge, it was exciting and I didn’t want to walk away. I wanted to join this new movement and make theatre in the place where I had discovered my own enjoyment of the arts.
Of course, when you move away from the area you’ve spent the past 5 years of your life in, things don’t just happened over night. Everything I had achieved in the South East meant nothing to those in the South West and I was now working alone. The loneliness I experienced in London was so different to the loneliness I was now experiencing back in Devon. For a start, getting around was harder and I had no friends close by. But what I did have was a new found energy to get my name out there, meet new people and create art in the area where I had grown up. I contacted local arts organisations and began laying down the foundations for new relationships. At first, I received many rejections (which felt terrible at the time) but I persevered and found that organisations were willing to point me in the right direction.
The most alarming thing for me moving out of London was how much I hadn’t had the space to think about what I wanted whilst I was there. I had spent so long trucking on trying to earn money that I had forgot the reason I was there in the first place. In the Countryside, I now had the space to breathe and I began to understand my career ambitions. I knew that I wanted to make art, something I had lost touch of whilst in London and I knew that I wanted to work in a creative environment. Even though my colleagues were far away, I felt determined to work with them to create our own shows. Skype and FaceTime became a blessing, both for keeping in touch and for planning new events.  Earlier this year, I found a new flexible side-line career working in Events. This was something I had never done before and I absolutely loved it! No two days were the same, it was full of excitement and suited me perfectly. It meant that whilst I was creating my own Theatre Company, I could earn money and learn what goes into making a successful event. (This is extremely useful when trying to put on your own shows.)
Before I moved back home, people in London had spoken to me about moving home as though it would be giving up. “I’d never move back home” they’d say “because I’d never come back”.  And do you know what? They were right, I haven’t come back but so far it’s not been a bad thing. I have met some fantastic artists, taken risks I had never taken before and had the chance to take hold of my career. In August 2015, I took a piece of Children’s Theatre to a festival in Sardinia alongside a fellow graduate. We raised the money via Kickstarter and took our piece, ‘Portrait’ to the Rooted Moon International Theatre Festival. This was a huge achievement for us and something I certainly wouldn’t have thought possible whilst I was in London. We have gone on to take part in the Worboys Productions Farm Retreat in September 2015 and are now preparing for our next project which we hope to develop next spring.
So I’ve been back down South for almost a year, what have I learnt? I originally thought that if I didn’t live in London I wouldn’t have a career but in the last year I have discovered that there are other options. If you’d have asked me five years ago where I would be after Drama School I would have never in a million years said that I’d be living back at home. I’ve come to understand that there are many different pathways in life and this is just one of them. I’m not saying that this is something that would be the solution for everyone but I would like to inspire people to take a plunge if they are not happy with the way things are going.  Even if your decision goes against everything you have planned, change can be good and I can promise you that you will learn things about yourself and what you want from your life. Will I ever go back to London? I’m not ruling it out! But for now I’m happy. I’m just going to keep focused, make my own opportunities and be open to taking a pathway I might not have considered before.

By Helen Bovey

Circus Dream


Hi! We caught up with you a while ago and we’re so interested to see what you’re getting up to now. Our collective number 1 dream is to run away to the circus so we’re massively excited to be talking to you today! Where did the love of the circus blossom for you?

When I was 18 I went to a party at The old fire station in the centre of Bristol which had been temporarily turned into the most incredible space for performances, events and most importantly circus. I remember watching the most beautiful Chinese pole act and being mesmerized. I thought that I would never be able to do such incredible things with my body. A few years later and I found that I was up in the air on a pair of silks!

What’s the back story of your project and can you explain a little more about what you’re up too at the moment?

I started Tinted Bloom during my final year at university at East 15 Acting School and have left the idea and concept sit on the backburner for the past few years as I continued my training in aerial silks by going to a circus school in France. Most recently I have been focusing on my solo project named ‘Artemis’ which I have been performing and developing throughout the past 10 months, the project has been one that has required a lot patience and has been more about the process of creation rather than the final product. Therefore the show is a consistent state of development so that it adapts and changes depending on where I perform it.

Every once in a while, despite the passion, we all lose that fire and doubt ourselves. What do you do to keep it going?

I get back to nature, back to basics. I look at what I have in my life and I try and be thankful for all the people that surround me, and all the incredible things I have learnt. I try to be kind to myself in many ways whilst understanding that failure is ok, success does not mean you are successful and patience is vital.

What has made you feel so lost and how – if you have – have you overcome it ?

Moving to France was a pretty big step and especially in those first four months of living in Bordeaux, I felt very lost and out of sorts. It was difficult to learn a new language, in a new city, with very few friends, no family and training physically intensive skills five days a week. Funny enough it’s now that after five years of training I find myself free of any school commitments and I have to admit that I feel a little lost, but it is an enjoyable feeling, one that breathes potential and possibility. I guess the key to overcoming feeling lost, is to turn it on its head and look at what opportunities present themselves from feeling that way.

What makes or would make you feel “found” either career wise or just life wise

What makes me feel found is obviously my art and skill and having had the beautiful opportunity to spend the past five years training and crafting what I know.  But it is also having discovered a beautiful tribe of friends over the past few years that have supported me through all the bumps in the road. I am surrounded by some really incredible woman who have allowed me to harness a lot of power and calm in my life which then in turn reflects on my work and my career. I feel found in the sense that I know I am on the right path even though the months and years are ahead are unsure and unchartered territory.

Do you have any upcoming opportunities for people to get involved in?

7th of November – Tales of The Sexes; Rituals and Rites of Passage
I will be performing my solo show ‘Artemis’ alongside a number of performers in an aerial warehouse in Manor House London. You can find the event on facebook, the event is donation based.


14th – 15th November – Freedom of Movement Aerial and Movement Workshop

I will be teaching a weekend workshop on aerial and movement and the process I have begun to develop throughout my training in physical theatre and aerial circus. Freedom of movement is a process that I have begun to develop throughout my training. There are still three places at £120 each. Please find the event through Facebook if you are intrigued and would like further information.

When have you felt most proud of yourself?

I feel most proud of myself right now, I have transitioned into a human that I am proud to be. I have an incredible group of people in my life, I am doing what I love and I am happy. I think that warrants a little pride.

What are you aiming for and what do you find a struggle in getting there?

I am aiming to be a self-employed artist and performer where I can make my own projects, events and performances in collaboration with other colleagues, artists and performers. The thing that makes it most difficult at the moment is the very limited access to funding and money. Not only do I have to pay back a few things after being a student for five years but I am also attempting to launch my own project and solo show which is proving complicated without the relevant finances. I will be launching a crowdfunding campaign in the hopes that my community of friends and colleagues would be able to support me in reaching my fundraising target so that I can really dive into working on ‘Artemis’

If you had any advice to give out to anyone in a similar career path what would it be?

Get experience, as much as possible. Meet people, be open and try to get rid of any judgemental tendencies. Try to be kind.

Any last words?

Do it. Whatever it is that makes you happy. Do it. Dive in.

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Anxiety is a hard thing to nail down and no matter how many articles that I’ve read named “15 ways to get rid of anxiety” – it just doesn’t seem to go.

I started having anxiety when I was living in another country. Every morning I would wake up with this almost burning feeling in my stomach. Butterflies on fire. It felt like I had to be doing something and I couldn’t work out what it was, it was so uncertain. I’d get to work and it would go but as soon as I’d finish and be on the way home – I would feel it again. I had strange feelings in my feet; restlessness and a weird amount of energy. I had absolutely no idea what was going on. Then came the panic attacks. I’d be getting the subway and out of no where I would just lose it. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t be around people. I just needed to be alone in a dark room which is not the most cheery of places.

I remember being anxious at school, afraid to get off the bus and walk in which sounds so stupid but it was actually extremely intense. The thing about talking about anxiety is sometimes it just sounds silly. Like I can say sometimes it terrifies me to get a bus, and people can just laugh. It’s not all the time and I by no means have a fear of public transport but sometimes this feeling just takes over. I took more than my fair share of ferris buellers from school and have cancelled every plan here there and everywhere. I couldn’t sit still for five minutes and I’d nervously shake if I had too.

Anxiety is a mixture of a pulsing heart rate, uncertain feelings about the future and it can cause lack of concentration and irritability as well as fearfulness. It’s a reaction to your brain telling you that you’re in danger when you actually aren’t always.

I’ve heard many people suffering from Anxiety including youtubers Zoella and John Green. I still feel like it’s not talked about enough, I had no idea what was going on with my brain at all until my doctor suggested I take a CBT course in anxiety. It became real then. He said it’s helpful once you can identify all of these weird feelings as anxiety and begin to tell your brain that it’s just a feeling and it will pass. I was willing to do absolutely anything to help get this feeling away and I began to try all of the things that are recommended.

I stopped drinking so much coffee; I am very proud of myself from going to around 4-5 cups a day to just 1 in the morning. Coffee creates an increased pulse rate and can lead to sleep disorders which can lead to more anxiety.

I had a lot of changes in my life as well with job switches and moving back to England which caused a general unsettlement. I felt as if everything was so different all the time and I had stomach aches and head aches and total body aches. I tried hypnotherapy which really relaxed me and helped with stressful situations such as job interviews and driving tests. It was a little expensive but once you go once most of them give you a tape or a cd to listen to – and you can find them absolutely everywhere online. It sounds a bit off the wall but then again so am I so there you go.

Just basically avoid sitting around and obsessing. If all you focus on is the way you’re feeling – that’s the only way you’re going to feel. If you lose yourself in something else, it’ll give you a chance to get out of your head. I can’t say avoid stressful situations because they just happen and it’s likely to happen because that’s just what life is like. It’s all about managing the feeling. I find whenever I’m stressed out about something; I make a list. I write all the things that won’t go wrong if I do the thing and then I really really try to do the thing. If I cancel I usually regret it and sit fretting about the fact that I should have gone. If something makes me nervous I try and do it again to push myself and my comfort zone. Sometimes it’s as small as making a phone call and sometimes it’s trying to get back travelling again. It depends how strong I feel on the day and as cliche as it is: I do try and take every day at a time instead of thinking too far into the future.

Another thing that distresses me is dropping off the side of the earth. I switch off absolutely everything technical and go on a long hike by myself and just sit there and be quiet. I practice breathing methods (easily googleable but essentially you just focus on your breath) and meditation (which for me means being conscious of your thoughts rather than just blocking them out) and then talking to somebody. I rang my GP and got talking therapy which although is pretty hard to get and normally takes a few months, it is actually worth it. My friend said to me if you don’t do it now that’s another few months without it.

Basically anxiety is just about one of the worst feelings. It can strike any time and really stop you from leaving the house sometimes. Everything in life changes and barely anything is within our control. Because of this and how horrible and isolating it can feel.. maybe reading as many of those 15 things to stop anxiety is actually a good idea. The more you learn about something, the more you can stay in control of it.

IMG_8299Lost and Found


How To Not Give Up Who You Are – Drag Queens and Jesus

We’ve spoken to Nik Jovčić-Sas who speaks out openly about his experiences as a young person. He is a brave and inspiring person because he chose to be vocal about his experiences. There were several times reading through where we all thought “me too” and that not only brings us comfort but it also shows how sharing your demons can make them much easier to deal with. Thank you Nik!

Have you ever given up a dream for somebody you loved and if so would you share your experience
I’ve given a lot of things to people I loved – and if the person was worth it, it didn’t feel like giving up anything at all…but I draw the line at my dreams. I may have tempered what I wanted, or had to find a different way to do it, but I wouldn’t give up on a dream for anyone. My passions are who I am. If someone wants me to give up on the things I believe – they’re probably in love with someone they want me to be, and not who I am.

Are you a young person with no idea what you’re doing and if so how does it feel?
I guess I’m lucky in that I know what I want to do with my life – but it’s the figuring how to do it that’s the hard part. I’m a LGBTQ+ activist/writer/street performer. Growing up as gay in an Eastern European family, I was that worried coming out or falling in love with someone would mean I would have to lose my family and my faith. The two things I care about most. I thought I was going to hell, and so I grew a morbid obsession with reading the Bible. My obsession developed into study and I became fascinated in people who interpreted the Bible in a way that focused on love and compassion, over violence and hatred. It gave me a way to be me: both gay and Christian. I ran a support group at my university helping lesbian, gay and bisexual Christians come out and come to terms with their sexuality and their faith. I also started writing articles about my life experiences, that got a pretty wide readership. I know what I want to do with my life, I want to fight for LGBTQ+ to have the love and respect they deserve by changing the way Christians look at queer and trans individuals – I just don’t know how. So many LGBTQ+ people kill themselves because they feel that they’re worthless sinners, disordered and evil and that’s not true. All of us a born perfect in God’s image, and they deserve nothing but love and happiness. I recently presented a paper at an academic conference on the secret history of gay marriage in the Orthodox Church, and it’s hopefully going to be published, and I hope to start a YouTube channel soon as well – but I am so broke. My only source of income is street performance; I busk with my violin playing traditional Gypsy folk songs. It doesn’t give me a huge amount of money but there’s much more important things in life than having money. Keeping up the fight is the most important thing to me.


Have you been diagnosed with a mental illness and if so how did it make you feel and what have you learned about it since?
I’ve struggled with some pretty full on mental health problems since my teenage years – mainly chronic depression and trauma from a sexual assault I suffered in my late teens. The first time I really I realized there was something wrong though, was in my second year of uni. I had been struggling so hard to keep up with my work I missed the deadline of a very important essay. I ended up spending three days in bed, barely eating or drinking, thinking about how much I hated myself, how I thought I could never be happy, and how much I wished I was dead. It took me some time to try and get help, and in the mean time things got worse and worse. I developed a pretty bad relationship with alcohol and self harm. I couldn’t imagine a future where I could be happy. Being diagnosed with mental health issues in the end, was actually a massive relief. It felt so good that someone acknowledged my problems and that I was going to get the help I really needed. Things got better. My faith gave me a reason to get out of bed and keep fighting – if you want to leave all your stuff with Jesus and get on with your life, that’s what he’s there for. But you have to tackle your problems some time and counseling has done that for me. Counseling has taught me so much about myself and it’s totally changed me for the better. I feel more like myself than I have in years.

What helps you not feel utterly miserable?

A wise man once said to me that when it’s raining, there’s no point it pretending it’s not – and I think the same thing applies for when you’re sad. If what you need is to hide under the bed sheets all day and eat ice-cream and watch corny movies then do it! Give yourself the same care and attention that you’d give someone else you love when they’re sad – you deserve it! And, just like the rain, it will pass in time and the sun will come out again. I also have someone in my life at the moment who makes me laugh a lot – don’t feel ashamed to let people help you, as long as you don’t let other people set your self worth.

What in the last month has inspired you?
Drag queens. No matter what they look like or where they come from, they always channel flawless glamour, style and power. They know how to turn the party. Also, Jesus.


Music When The Lights Go Out


I’ve been trying to find the words to describe how it feels sometimes. I’ve got stacks of empty notebooks and I’ve been ignoring my laptop. It’s like Titanic Flashback Overload. One minute my mind is like a lit up ballroom with people dancing around and grinning like mad. All the lights are on and there is promise of a destination.

Then suddenly it’s like you’re in freezing ice cold water alone wishing you were dead. But you don’t just get rescued straight away – instead it’s like you constantly flip between the two feelings.

Or it’s like suddenly you’ve been moved to an old abandoned mansion in the woods. Everyone says what a strong house it is and how amazing it is that it’s even still standing. But you sleep on a bed entangled with ivy and there’s bugs in your hair. The house doesn’t seem so strong to you and then suddenly you remember the ghost of the swirling dancers in the warm bright ballroom and your heart aches you want to be there so badly.

It’s alright everyone says- you’ll get there. But this old house doesn’t sail and the piano is moldy.

People don’t want to be around you when they don’t know if the lights will be on behind your eyes. It’s disconcerting. You trawl the world for a solution which hard because sometimes you have 4g and sometimes you just don’t.

I think I’d like to share what helps me and what doesn’t so first I will say after that elaborate simile this is just a personal experience; a desperate life raft in a frozen sea of lost hope and endless darkness. It’s shit basically.

So the one thing people told me to was “ Do What You Love”. Well I listened to music so often I got sick of every single song and hearing my favourite band made me want to cry.

Running did help. My favourite band made me strong again although I was wearing the wrong shoes and I hurt my ankles. “Gentle Exercise” they said – that’ll help you sleep. Sure it does but it’s hard to sleep on ice.

The breath of fresh air is nice though when you feel dead inside. Social Media was like slow releasing hypothermia. Every second of it was worst than the last.

Reading stories on this blog was like sitting on the steps with a cocktail and a faux fur coat watching couples smile with warm affection at each other, and feeling happy. Seeing other people out there with experiences and determination and the honesty was like some sort of Titanic Support Group (I would go to that, I was traumatized).

Motivational phrases mocked me like a group of beautiful youths ignoring the mutters of a homeless man with no teeth. I am a youth and it was hard to find social media so uninviting. I felt alone.

Walking around in an old dirty nightdress did not help and drinking out of the same bottle and never washing it did not help. But that’s what you get when you’re sleeping rough.

It’s only in your head they say so they don’t understand. They can’t even see it. They just see someone who hasn’t showered for days and can’t even make a decent cup of tea. They feel awkward and have probably discussed you at great length because it’s weird to switch so suddenly.

YOU SHOULD BE TITANIC ALL THE TIME! But you’re so funny normally! I wanted to show you off to my dad! Why can’t you keep this rapid conversation up with a bunch of strangers! You could before! You’re stronger than this. Don’t give up.

Sorry. It’s not like a light switch – something you have to turn off at night because of social obligation. Sometimes the lights are on all night and you can’t help admire how beautiful they are – even if they seem so, so, so far away.

Writing this has been like a buoy – keeping me afloat. It doesn’t work for everyone and last week I couldn’t have sat down for even five minutes to write a sentence. I guess I’ll finish this with a great film quote that I won’t reveal the source of because all of this is sad and scary and lonely and sometimes you need to keep some god damn secrets.

“That’s the way it goes, but just remember, sometimes it goes the other way too”

To me that means what helps me personally is; writing, reading, taking great inspiration from film quotes, staying anonymous, explaining myself in great detail and remember that although it changes rapidly which makes me anxious and bad at life; it changes back.

You’ve got to hold on and wait to be found.

Feeling grey

Feeling grey

So today I’m going to be writing about sexuality, and I’m sorry if the article is a disorganized mess (it’s the nature of the beast, I fear). I think a lot of young people can relate to feeling confused about it, finding it hard to talk about, finding that often people just don’t understand. That was definitely the case for me, and I guess I felt lost for a long time without even realising that I was lost. Because I just didn’t know enough to realise.

Back to the beginning then, I guess. I always assumed I was ‘straight’ (read: heterosexual), with a few lil girl-crushes along the way that I kinda grew out of. I guess I always felt a bit of an outsider though.

At 15 all of my friends were starting to have sex, and they talked about it endlessly. I was disgusted. I didn’t understand the appeal. So obviously they talked down to me and assumed I was immature or a little kid or something, which made me feel sad, alienated, and pushed to cut off ties with them. I didn’t think about it much at the time. I just assumed I was the dumb little kid they were making me out to be, because I didn’t know any different.

Fast forward 5 years and I found my relationship of the same length on the rocks. I was growing tired of ‘putting out’. People I knew told me I just had to suck it up. “You don’t deserve to be in a relationship if you don’t put out! It’s not fair on him!”. Hearing it all the time, you believe it. You carry on being unhappy. And my boyfriend decided that my lack of interest must mean I was getting it elsewhere. Because who doesn’t want sex, right?

Scrolling through Tumblr one day, I see a new word. ‘Asexuality’. It was like seeing the world in colour for the first time.

You’d think that would be the end of it, but alas and alack. I still felt alone. It was probably in my head, but the people online seemed to be all “you’re not a good asexual, you have SEX!”, and my friends were all “maybe your bf is just bad in bed!”. People trying to help were just being offensive and hurting my feelings. Having to endure stupid comments from near strangers about how “only people who’ve been abused become asexual” (falls very much the opposite way, in my experience), and “but you wear ‘sexy’ clothes! You must be wearing them for male attention and you definitely can’t just find them cute!”. And the good old “romantic, physical, and sexual attraction all go together – they just can’t be separated!” from heteroromantic heterosexuals who were being plain ignorant and not caring enough to open their minds even a little.

And then one day…a wild sexual attraction appears! We have just lost cabin pressure.

Having to re-evaluate my whole existence for a second time in the space of a few months wasn’t something I was expecting to have to do, and it hit me. HARD. I felt disgusted and physically sick by what I was feeling, and I found myself pushed from an obscure sexuality to the even more obscure grey area surrounding it. And guess what? People understood me even less. Cue “so, you’re straight then”, “grey-asexuality is a thing made up by special snowflakes”, and “that just means you’re picky!”. As if I wouldn’t have given anything to be ‘NORMAL’.

But I’ve come to terms with it now (after a lengthy internal struggle), my other half is more understanding, and my life is going smoothly again (relationship-wise, anyway!). I just wish sexuality was something that was easier to talk about without being judged or dismissed as an attention seeker making up an orientation. And I wish people would make more of an effort to stop being so ignorant and thinking that you must either be straight or gay or maybe in-between. Ignorance is a choice, and we can all do our bit to share our experiences and understanding. Stopping to think about something for a second can make all the difference. It would still be a struggle for a lot of people, but it’d probably make everything a great deal more straight-forward.

I guess there’s a big problem with stuff like this with regards to ‘labels’. They make things complicated. Why can’t we just be who we are; like who we like? But, then again, without them maybe I’d still feel lost.

Abbey Swift


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