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, April 25, 2009

Saké? Hai! Arigato!

Sakura!I had TGIF on my mind from the time I got out of bed yesterday. Another end to a work week, and another weekend to look forward to. A routine day at work ensued. At the end of it all, I punched out at exactly 5:30 pm and left the office... but I wasn’t heading home.

The day just wasn’t over. Not just yet.

The team had a dinner meeting scheduled last night in Makati. The agenda of the meeting? Well, the second issue of Positivism is currently in production, so we needed to updates as to how it was going and what else was missing or needed. It’s been a while since the last issue, released last December, mostly because we needed to act upon the feedback we got regarding our maiden issue.

So leaving work on the dot, I had two hours to spare before the meeting. I opted to take a bus to Makati, purposely meaning to get stuck in some traffic to eat up some of that time. I find bus rides much more relaxing, too, rather than having to walk all the way to and up the MRT stations, and squeeze into jam-packed commuter trains. So a long bus ride and a short jeepney ride later, I got there... still with thirty minutes to spare. Good enough. I pride myself with being almost never late for meetings.

I headed to the resto immediately, aiming to relax a bit and warm up to the unfamiliar place while waiting. I found the quaint restaurant, was greeted at the door in Japanese and led by the kimono-clad waitress to the reserved room. And in keeping with its authenticity, guests were to take off their shoes before entering the room, which was on a platform that opened up to a low seating table with leg-less chairs flanking it on both sides. Cute.

After about fifteen minutes, J, a fellow pozzie who wanted to meet the team behind Positivism before agreeing to be part of the coming issue, got there. And shortly after that, our Hotbox bosing and the rest of the gang arrived as well.

With some cheers of saké and lots of chika-chika all around, dinner ensued, with the raw stuff kept away from us who were immuno-compromised. Hehe. Yes, we practice what we preach. We were a noisy bunch through dinner – well, they were – but paled in comparison to the Japanese group in the adjacent room. Or maybe we were just hungrier.

After dinner, business replaced the food on the table. I don’t know how much I can give away without preempting the next issue, but what the hey... A preview of the HIV Basics sections came first, which was revamped to cater to those who had a difficult time with the previous issue’s magazine platform. I was literally speechless. It looked great. I was guilty, too, as our Hotbox bosing spotted a single missing word which made a world of difference.

Fine, I’ll admit it. I was tasked to act as editor for this coming issue. I write, yes, but I had never edited before. And I never expected that the hardest part of the job would be editing the parts I wrote myself. There’s just something about having extra sets of eyes comb through a piece of written work to spot mistakes and correct them. Sigh. I just must do better next time.

Next came the Features sections, which will remain in the magazine platform. The cover story? Wanggo Gallaga. Several new sections were born for this second issue: Affected Uninfected, stories of and by people surrounding those infected with HIV; Shout Outs, a venue for those living with HIV who want to come out to the world; and Say What?!, the poll now accompanied by a couple of blogs that readers can interact with... ahem-ahem. Hai!

This second issue will also see the initial offerings of Q for 2, where Dra. Ditangco and Shola Luna answer questions sent in by readers of the previous issue, Readers' Letters, which features e-mail and feedback we got after the launch of our maiden issue, and the Archives, where you still can visit the first issue of Positivism, themed CHANGE and featuring Shola Luna on the cover.

Old staples will still be there, such as It’s A Positive World, composed of news and stories on HIV in the world context, and Good Vibes, which is a collage of videos, articles, games and music, all related to the coming issue’s theme, which is RISK.

It was amazing how much had been done since our deadline for written content back in March. I can safely say that I am equally excited for this coming issue, as I was for the first. And damn proud, too. Ngarrr. The launch of Positivism’s second issue is slated for the second week of May, so watch out for it.

Considering it was past my bedtime and I was waiting for my ARVs to kick in, it was evident that I was left with still a bit of residual excitement for the night. Not as hyper as J, though, who was still full of life as he gave some of us a ride back to Quezon City. I made it home before midnight, by which time, of course, I was off to ARV high.

So allow me to plug shamelessly: Visit, the first e-magazine on HIV and AIDS for Filipinos worldwide. And watch out for our second issue, come May. Arigato!


rubypurple said...

so proud of you hun! ^^
looking forward to reading the 2nd issue! :)

gambatte kudasai! (good luck!):D

PS what's the resto name again? gonna look it up and... eat there :)

PinoyPoz said...

It's Hatsu Hana Tei...

Moshi moshi!