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Rough Night

By Brandon Lacy Campos

June 5, 2010

It is 4:25am, and I am sitting at my desk working on not crying and chatting with a friend from junior high and high school on Facebook about the royally screwed up discrimination her daughter is experiencing in her Minneapolis suburb school district.

I believe everything happens for a reason.

For example, I believe that it is not coincidental that La and my good friend and ex Chris were both online dealing with their own emotional issues when I logged in with my own baggage in tow.

Nothing like someone else's life problems to give you some perspective on your own.

I also logged in to Facebook to find that a reader of, recently diagnosed as HIV positive, read my story there and sent me a very kind and caring email. That is exactly why I took the step of writing openly about my life and struggles and celebrations as an HIV positive man, including allowing to post my recent blogs concerning my failure to disclose and the possible outcome of that.

For that express reason, I am writing this blog, tonight, just a couple of hours before the summer sun makes its extremely early morning appearance.

This evening, I was devouring a Domino's pizza around Midnight (don't judge). I had put in the Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and I was having a text war with my partner David. I closed down my computer and settled into bed with David and my gorgeous Jack Russell Mimzy, when I fired up the old cell and was going to entertain myself with a good game of Scrabble. I noticed I had an email from one of my softball teammates. He had left a comment on one of my blogs recapping a recent game. The blog started shitty and ended with "fuck you."


Being who I am, a gay Virgo, I shot him an email and a text message asking him if he had indeed made that comment and, if he did, why. I also explained that if anything in my blog offended him, it was all written with an eye towards humor, and I would gladly remove anything that he found personally offensive that referenced or included him or his loved ones.

He wrote back and told me that he thinks I am a "piece of shit."

Laissez les bontemps rouler!

I don't know this guy. Really. We've played on the same softball team for one full season. He is one of the guys that never goes out with the team afterwards, and he rarely participates (if ever) in our email discussions. So I don't know much about him except that he is a lawyer that works in the public interest. So, when I got his message tonight, I was, needless to say, completely and totally floored.

Now, though I play a blonde in everyday life, I have a genius level IQ, which means I am pretty much stupid and useless most of the time, but my powers of deductive reasoning are generally dead on. I know, for example, that this guy does the AIDS Ride each year. In fact, I pledged $100 towards his ride this fall. I know that I have posted on and on my blog about my recent failure to disclose and some of the emotional fallout from that experience. So, my conclusion was that either he knows the person involved in the story or that he read my blogs and decided that I am, indeed, a piece of shit.

And, of course, being a recovering addict living with PTSD and the survivor of abuse and sexual assault, the negative tapes kicked into high gear, I accepted that I am a piece of shit, and now I am writing a blog at nearly 5am. Hell, the birds just started chirping outside, which means that the sun is about to wake up, and I have not even gone to bed yet. Against all that I know to be true about humanity and myself personally, I still believe that I am shitty human being. I believe that I am worthless because those are the lessons that were beat into me as a child. In group therapy tonight, we talked about this subject. Our counselor asked me and another client why we felt the way that we felt ... and I was clear ... that which is beaten into you (literally) from age 3-12 and then verbally past that into young adulthood is what you learn to be true about yourself. And no one teaches you, unless you have the resources for psychotherapy that those internal messages aren't true. And, that being ones own (aka my) truth, one does some fucked up and stupid shit.

I am really tired. Not just physically, but spiritually.

Since my failure to disclose and my subsequent confrontation about that and the emotional fallout, I have felt relatively good about my life and how I have taken steps to ensure that I do not repeat the experience in anyway. I have spent 5 and a half hours a week in therapy. I have gotten to a place of acceptance if not comfort of what went down. And then, in one fell swoop, I let one person rip all that down.

And the fun fact is that though I surmise the cause of his emotional aggression, I don't actually know.

I am supposed to play softball in the morning. But I sent a note to my team telling them that I won't be there along with a very frank and very raw explanation of why. Some of them already know the story as they read my blog. Others have/had no idea until they read the email of what has passed recently. But, I learned that when there is bochinche (gossip) potential, it is better to lay it all out there and hope for acceptance than to let someone else spin the story and have to play damage control.

In the end, whether judgment is rendered against me or him or neither or both ... I can't say. But, at least now, everything is out in the open to everyone, and, moving forward, I will know if I am wanted or rejected based on the truth rather than a lie. Of course, relying on my team to approve or disapprove of what I have done or the way I have handled the fall out is still part of the problem. I should be able to say, "I've done what I've done. I've tried to heal what I can heal. I have owned what I could own. And each person can live, respond, and react in the way that best represents their feelings without it enhancing or diminishing my spirit."

Unfortunately, I am so not that evolved or there.

That is an apt lesson for life as a whole.

Send Brandon an e-mail.

This piece originally appeared in Brandon's blog My Feet Only Walk Forward.

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See Also's Just Diagnosed Resource Center
Telling Others You're HIV Positive
More Personal Accounts of HIV Disclosure


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Queer, Poz and Colored: The Essentials

Brandon Lacy Campos

Brandon Lacy Campos

Brandon Lacy Campos is a 32-year-old queer, poz, African-American, Afro-Puerto Rican, Ojibwe and Euro (smorgasbord) poet, playwright, blogger, journalist and novelist (that last one is slowly coming along). In 2009, named him the #2 queer, Latino blogger to watch. In 2006, the Star Tribune named him a young policy wonk for his political shenanigans. His writing and poetry have appeared in numerous anthologies including, most recently, Mariposas, edited by Emanuel Xavier and published by Floricanto Press. This fall, his work will appear in the academic text Queer Twin Cities, published by the University of Minnesota Press. And, one of these days, Summerfolk Press will be publishing his first solo book of poetry: It Ain't Truth If It Doesn't Hurt. Brandon is hard at work on his first novel, Eden Lost, and he lives in New York City with his partner, artist David Berube, and his boss, Mimzy Lacy Berube de Campos (their dog).

It's with heavy hearts that we share that Brandon passed away unexpectedly on Friday, Nov. 9, 2012. He was 35 years old. Read memorials by Brandon's friends and colleagues.

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