Amatonormativity: the assumption that all human beings pursue love or romance, especially by means of a monogamous long-term relationship.
Sometimes, I like to pretend that the first time I heard the word ‘aromantic,’ describing someone who does not feel romantic attraction towards any gender, things finally fell into place, and I understood who I was. That this word was the answer I had been looking for all my life. That I finally had a word to describe who I was and what I felt.
But reality is never quite so simple. For the longest time, the word ‘aromantic’ and its connotations eluded me. I was happy for others for being so sure of their identity and where they stood on the sexual spectrum. Good for all the asexuals, aromantics, alloaros, alloaces, and any other combination of people within the split attraction model and on the aroace spectrum. I was – and often still am – using the label of bisexual, which is almost, but not quite, the right opposite of aromantics and asexuals.
There was never a moment of epiphany, never a lightbulb or eureka moment, never that one click where everything slotted into place and I felt comfortable with myself. I still don’t know how to identify myself. Do I need to? Isn’t being queer all about not fitting into the norm of things? Of not fitting into neat, labelled boxes? Isn’t that the very definition of the word queer?
Yet the desire to name and identify remains. I want to know who I am so I can know which angle to approach the world with. I want to not be disappointed by my own choices and I don’t want to disappoint others with my choices. I want people to stop thinking of my future with a partner. I want people to stop talking about romance all the time. I want there to be more books without romance. I want more songs without romance. I want more poems without romance.
I want a cat who will purr against my chest when I’m feeling sad, and I want twenty eight plants at my home which will bloom because I love them, and I want to give my friend half my raspberry flavoured bun as she gives me half her chocolate flavoured one, and I want to vent to them and have them send me twenty different memes to make me feel better, I want to learn embroidery so I can embroider something for a friend’s birthday, I want to know a shopkeeper so well that he lets me go without payment when I find that I am thirty rupees too short,
I want to call someone at three in the morning and talk about how lonely I am as the loneliness ebbs away, I want to get matching tattoos, I want flowers when I hang out with friends, I want to pay for lunch and call it a date, I want to kiss them every time we say goodbye, I want to get piercings together, I want to try out food I swore off years ago because they told me to try it just one more time, I want to watch a romcom even thought I don’t like them because they love it, I want them to read my stories even though they’re not big on reading fiction, I want all of this and more.
I want more love. Unadulterated by social norms and expectations. I want a love that’s hard to describe and hard to quantify and hard to put into boxes and hard to neatly label and resolve with words like marriage or sisterhood or brotherhood or motherhood or—
I want queer love that leaves people confused and betting on what exactly we have with each other, I want love that transcends the bounds of known language, I want love that does not fit, I want love that makes others angry and makes others yearn and makes others jealous and I want love that makes people believe that they can have love outside of romance too.
I want love for the sake of love, and that is all.
Deepika is an English major from Delhi University and in typical English Lit fashion, they frequent the shrine of words every day. In a world that redefines ‘love’ every minute, that questions/bars accessibility to love, Deepika speaks to ‘love’ as a familiar stranger here, and in life.
“When you’re a queer woman in a heteronormative patriarchal world, the very fact of your existence makes you a blahcksheep, and every word out of your mouth becomes a political statement.”