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.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Walling Myself In

WallsI’ve been trying to convince others who, like me, live with HIV, to realize that HIV is not the end-all and be-all of a person. I’ve been trying to let them see that this is not a reason for them to discriminate themselves from the world they live in. I’ve been trying to show them how to empower themselves, to get them to let go of the paranoia, and to break down the walls they’ve built around them.

Yes, I can be strong for others. Yes, I can fight for others. Yes, I can be feisty for others. But do you ever notice that it’s much, much easier to help others feel good about themselves, than you of yourself? I did.

In as much as I’ve been trying to encourage others that this HIV thing is something that can be dealt with, I realize that when the prospect of a relationship comes up in my own life, I am reminded of how hard I can really get on myself.

It’s not really something new, I’ve been there before. Even long before this HIV thing. Minimum self-confidence, maximum self-doubt. It took me a while to get a grip of myself and realize that I wasn’t such a bad guy. But just when I thought I’d found my mojo, and was starting to get the hang of it, I found out I was HIV-positive. I lost it again. That’s when I started building my wall.

Realizing that I was losing some old so-called friends was my rebar. It started off touching to hear them say I’m here if you need me. But then words are sometimes just that – words. Hearing it so many times as I watched people walked away, I started realizing that maybe what they really meant was I’m here if you need me, but until that time, ciao!

Realizing how much of a deal breaker this HIV thing can be with new acquaintances is like the foundation to my wall. Hearing I’d still like to see you and watching it end up as nothing, I started realizing what they really meant was I’d still like to see you, so just send me a picture or a video, thanks!

The stigma has been looming. So with that, brick after brick was laid, and the wall I was building around me went higher and higher, stronger and stronger. I was set on not letting anyone in. At some point it got so bad, that every time I’d meet someone who just wasn’t into me, I’d automatically think, it’s probably the HIV thing. HIV became the moat outside my wall.

I don’t know what other crazy things have I’ve cultured in my head, but I’m pretty sure I’ve added some barbed wire, glass shards, and electrification to my fortress. I was safe.

And then it came. Someone came. It didn’t start out as anything meant to threaten my security. It wasn’t even a date. He knew even before we’d met that I was HIV-positive. But after that first meeting, he made sure he showed he was interested. I brushed things off as just a pathetic attempt at flattery, but with the way he kept things up during the days that followed, I couldn’t help but think.

It’s been a week, and I’ve let every form of skepticism run through my mind. Maybe he didn’t realize the implications of my being HIV-positive. Maybe he just didn’t think things through. Maybe he was just desperate. Maybe he was just being nice because he needed something from me. Maybe he just didn’t want to hurt my feelings. Maybe he just felt sorry for me. Maybe he’ll snap out of it soon enough. Maybe he deserves someone better.

It hurt a lot to have to roll through all those scenarios in my head. But it hurt even more to have to acknowledge them and enunciate it to someone. I told him. I felt so pathetic admitting my flaws. I felt naked opening myself up like that. I was showing my vulnerability.

That’s when it hit me. I was fighting myself to open up to this guy. Even more convincing was getting the chance to get physical with him, but showing that I wasn’t ready to take that step. Me? Not ready for sex? I was dumbfounded. If it was just a sex thing, then we would’ve been done in a matter of minutes. But that didn’t happen.

With the infancy of what I not dare call a relationship just yet, I’m still left in limbo. In Friendster terms, it’s complicated, but in an it-feels-right kind of way. I’m trying hard not to have any expectations, but I must admit... it’s hard not to at least hope.

If I can bank on it being similar to the relationships that it’s supposed to protect me from, then hopefully this wall I’ve put up will be easier to destroy than it was to build. What happens next, only heaven knows.


Glen Delfin said...

Interesting line of sight.

Anonymous said...

ang arte mo te. lol.

just pray that you never lose hope.
and it is exactly as you say "What happens next, only heaven knows."

keep the faith men. keep the faith.


MrCens said...

in love?

if this will increase your cd4 count, then go ahead...

but if not, still... because there was a line in a song that says:


Anonymous said...

"Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I'm through with playing by the rules
Of someone else's game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It's time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes: and leap!"

"I'm through accepting limits
'Cuz someone says they're so
Some things I cannot change
But till I try, I'll never know!
Too long I've been afraid of
Losing love I guess I've lost
Well, if that's love
It comes at much too high a cost!
I'd sooner buy
Defying gravity
Kiss me goodbye
I'm defying gravity
And you can't pull me down"

..."Ev'ryone deserves the chance to fly!"

from Wicked.

my friend, my sweetness, i want you to fly and soar.
have faith, be strong

Anonymous said...

the distance between at peace w/ yourself is the distance between your knees and the floor. try to pray. i know it sounds corny but i insist. . . . just try it . . . just once....

PinoyPoz said...

thanks anonymous. don't worry, i do pray. but my conversations with God aren't confined to those times that i am not at peace with myself, to times that i am in need, nor to those times that i am on my knees.