Alright, let me start off by saying I do NOT regret expressing what I stated before in my last blog entry on PrEP -- MY personal OPINION on such a sensitive matter within our LGBT community, whether HIV poz or not. I wrote what I thought needed to be vocalized. I understood the possibilities of both positive and negative feedback and comments. I put it out there and took it all in. And you know what, sometimes some things, ideas and opinions need to be vocalized. Sometimes the hard, cold, ugly situations need to be vocalized. That also goes with those who have the voices that do not agree with someone else's vocalized opinion.
I have been reading and viewing a lot of videos on how PrEP has become the new "condom." Gay men everywhere are openly saying that it's OK to engage in bareback sex with HIV-positive men so long as you take PrEP on a regular basis. These guys sound worse than the bug chasers. WHAT THE HELL is going on within our LGBT community? Is THIS the norm? Is this type of behavior all right to exhibit toward straight people and those negative guys and girls? Are we, within our LGBT community, creating our OWN new issue for those straight people and negative people to pass rightful judgment on how we view sexual responsibilities? REALLY?? The most serious question to ask here is WHY IS THIS OK?
With ALL of the negative situations that I am forced to face head on, my focus and point of view is slowly maturing into an understanding. A significant awareness and understanding of what my Higher Power is doing in my life and why. All of these events are indeed serious but not life threatening. None of these situations appear to be easy to handle. None of them are what I would willingly or actively throw myself into. But, here I am.
What I am about to write might seem like a woe-is-me, feel-sorry-for-me story but I have to let it out. I am at a point in my life where I feel like a total and complete failure. Check it out -- for the past three years I have been doing what is absolutely necessary for my family and me to barely survive. I sold my car to a friend. Devin and I let go of our cell phone people and both purchased pre-paid phones. We let go of the cable. We downsized our place of residence to a small one-room bedroom. And STILL this seems to be not enough.
So yet another anniversary of my HIV infection has come to pass. Another year of living poz. Another year successfully containing my HIV to a deep and dormant slumber. The day came. And, like most simple things in my life, nothing happened. I heard no fireworks go off outside far in the distance. I didn't hear any women and small babies weeping for me out on the streets. I didn't hear a single bang. And that's just it.
Am I proud to have HIV? No. Am I proud to have spoken up in the U.S. Army and chosen to get kicked out? No. Am I proud just simply to be gay? NO. I am proud mainly of being a human being who happens to be a gay, HIV-positive U.S. Army veteran. Yes, my struggles and life story have some significant hardships, but they are nothing to what my predecessors had to go through. These leaders in our GLBT community are who I am VERY proud of.
When I was diagnosed with HIV in 2007, the news was devastating. For the first time in my life I felt totally alone and defenseless. My mind immediately shifted from helplessness to acceptance. I made a personal decision to carry on with my life and do whatever necessary to fight my HIV. That meant learning everything I could about my disease. I began educating myself. I obtained as much medical information from every possible source. That's when I discovered TheBody.com.
The year 2010 is coming to an abrupt close and as my days grow shorter and colder I am looking back at this interesting year. You know, ever since my diagnosis in 2007 my message has always been one of hope. But the events that I witnessed and participated in in 2010 shifted my point of view a little. To get an understanding of what I mean I write the following illustrations.
I've been thinking about how my life was before getting HIV for the past few days. I've been allowing my mind to wander in some of those lost and forgotten rooms buried deep inside. And it is comforting for me to say that these memories and thoughts are more of a reflection rather than self loathing. It's funny because, and you make think I'm weird for saying this, when I take myself to my past this Stevie Wonder song plays. I hum it to myself and listen to the tune. The song is called "Yester Me, Yester You, Yesterday." I love this song so much because it makes me feel good to hear but also gives me brief moment of sadness. In shorter terms: it is bitter sweet. Just like my life and the many experiences I have encountered. But, hasn't anyone else done this? Don't you find that certain songs, foods, places, and people take you to certain places or moments of your past?
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." This statement from the U.S. Declaration of Independence defines what every American citizen pursues and believes in. These rights apply to every American. Unfortunately, some American people would rather infringe on the rights of others while defending their own. One right in particular is the right to marry.