Yes, I'm gay. I probably was since the day I was born. On my 21st birthday, I sort of had my debut. I came out to my parents. A little drama from mom, and some indifference from dad. An above-average coming out. Almost perfect.

Nine years later, two weeks before my 30th birthday, I found out... I'M HIV POSITIVE.

And so my story begins... I'm BACK IN THE CLOSET.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

License to Drama

Since being immersed in the world of HIV more than six months ago, I’ve been lucky enough to be given little chances to try my hand at counseling – talking with others who are dealing with HIV. Some who are about to get tested, some who are waiting for results, some who’ve just tested positive, some who’ve just tested negative, some who are concerned about medications, and some who have been living with HIV. I can’t say I’ve seen it all, but I’ve seen a lot. And I think it’s dealing with the emotions which is the toughest thing.

I’ve said before how the HIV bomb being dropped on you can be a really daunting thing. It is, it is. But does it give you all the right to be a bottomless supply of depression and negativity? Is HIV a license to drama?

Well, let’s be realistic. To some extent, it is. A string of days crying, feeling lost, not knowing what to do, worrying about how it will affect the rest of your life, being angry, wallowing in paranoia… all common things. Sometimes they come in phases, one after the other, but if you have it really bad, they hit you with one big blow. Again, common, but I repeat, only to some extent.

So when does it become too much? I think you just gotta listen to yourself. If you’re in the dark about HIV, then do something about it. Read up. If you’re worrying about how it will affect the rest of your life, go to a fortune teller. How your life goes will actually be all up to you. If you’re angry because someone infected you, then go ahead and point your finger. It took two to tango, didn’t it? If you’re paranoid, get over yourself. The world doesn’t revolve around you.

Sound harsh? Well, that’s usually what it takes to snap you back into reality. You need to get over all the negativity. It’s all just going to cause you suffering, which is totally unhealthy and unnecessary. You need to get it all out of your system and realize that it’s not the end of the world. Life goes on. And open your eyes and see that so many people are willing to help you through this new phase of your life.

How bad can it all get? I think the worst would be someone who tests positive for HIV and is unwilling to get the help needed and has lost the desire to live. Someone who thinks "I wanna die! I wanna die! I wanna die!" Who isn’t going to die? We’ll all get there eventually, with or without HIV. For this person, some higher being might appear before him and say, "Your wish is my command." Zap. The End. To state the irony, this person might actually die just waiting for his death, which is a sad life.

A close second may be someone who is about to get tested and can’t eat, can’t sleep, can’t stop worrying, or worse, can’t stop crying about it. It’s taxing to have to point out that they haven’t actually tested positive yet. Suck it up! Take responsibility! You wouldn’t need this test if you didn’t take the risk, would you? And if I was caught on a particularly bitchy day, be prepared. You’re getting tested for HIV. I already have HIV. Wanna trade places?

I know, I can be tough sometimes. But sometimes, that’s what it takes. The world is even lucky that I’m not the confrontational type, and am content with merely letting thoughts like this brew in my twisted mind, or go no further than my fingers doing the walking.

But nonetheless, the reality is that HIV should no longer be regarded as a terminal illness or a killer disease. HIV is still a big deal. But it can be dealt with. We can still work. We can still love. We can still laugh. We can still live.

Your license is hereby revoked. So go on, quit the drama, and live.


E said...

hard to comment on this one my friend...not everybody is like you and me..we all have different coping mechanism however, there are some pozies who love their depression and self pity so much that instead of helping themselves, they choose to wallow and whine.

I guess what your trying to say is "help yourself first before you expect others to help you"

again, wallowing is a normal thing but keep in mind that one should snap out of it at some point because HIV isn't so bad after all...

PinoyPoz said...

I think we can all blame Filipino dramas and soap operas for the extended boohoo sentiments of the typical Filipino. Fortunately, not everyone is typical. Basta enough of the Huhuhu-I'm-sick-Kawawa-naman-ako mentality.

E said...

the thing that ticks me off really is not just the "wawa mentality" but the "im so kawawa but im too good and sosi for these public hospitals"...hello?!?! if your too good for these free center then why don't you pay for your own tests and buy your own freaking meds! madaming mga tao ang gus2 pa mabuhay at umaasa sa mga libre na gamot at libreng check ups...bawal mag-inarte...kung madami arte-kumausap ng pader or ng taong grasa...baba lang cd4 level natin

Imagine?! People are actually helping you and these centers are giving out free tests, check ups, and meds tapos ikaw pa mag-iinarte?!? GUCCI ba ito? Socialite ba ito? makinis ba ito?

OliverTwist said...

This mentality has been ingrained to us by our colonial masters. Feeling natin eh lagi tayong inaapi.

Because of the stigma, di mo din masisi na dadaanan nila ung stage na yan. Pero eventually sana lahat eh umabot dun sa point na marerealize nila na it's not something that should stop you from looking beyond the situation; na hindi tumigil ang mundo because of it.

Anonymous said...

you are an amazing thinker and writer. This piece is good. this could end up in the articles of the first issue!