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.

Monday, July 06, 2009

The HIV Card

The HIV CardIt’s been more than a year now. More than a year since finding out I was HIV-positive. A year and four months to be exact. A year and four months since discovering my secret. My new powers. I’m like one of the Xmen now. A mutant trying to protect the world and fighting for acceptance. Like Gambit... with an HIV card... sort of.

Change. For someone like me, it’s scary. And frankly, this HIV thing has been the biggest and most shocking change in my life... ever. Now I won’t readily say that I’m getting the hang of this change thing, but lately, having been faced with another prospect for change, I went for it.

Having been with the company I’m currently with for so long, I’d certainly fallen into a comfort zone. The same place, the same people, the same culture for five whole years. But I took a leap of faith. I turned in my resignation letter. It’s time for a career change.

Rather than have any rumors circulating around the workplace, I kept my plans to myself and took the initiative to make sure it was our HR-in-charge who found out my plans first.

She, of course, didn’t let me go without a short chat. I shared with her the opportunity that had presented itself to me which had triggered my move. And in trying to be as honest as I could, it wasn’t far from my mind at the time that I might just have to play my HIV card.

Certainly, I did not have to tell her about it. But frankly, it was this advocacy that was the most compelling reason to move. It was this supposedly wretched virus that steered me onto this new direction and which was fate’s instrument of choice to enable me to encounter the people behind Positivism.

A few minutes after that chat with the HR-in-charge, I got a call from the owner of the company, a lady already in her 70s. She was surprised, and wanted me over so we could talk. And so we did. Over dinner, I was touched to realize she didn’t want to let me go that easily. I was shocked, honestly... and speechless. But I was ready to whip out my HIV card... if I needed to. Fortunately, the evening ended with her final request for me to just give it some thought. I did not have to play my HIV card to her either.

Certainly, this move I’ll be making will be a leap of faith in all aspects.

First, it will be a huge change in terms of my job description. A total shift from left to right brain. I’d like to think that I’m enough of a creative person to be able to do this new job. Yeah, I may have been doing some creative stuff for the company I’m leaving, but they were never really part of my job description.

Can you imagine what a heartbreaker it is to do something you’re asked to do, and then hear these same people say you can’t be commended for what you do because it’s not part of your job? It’s an enigma, isn’t it? Then they wonder why you no longer do it after that.

Second, it will be a huge change of environment. I’m talking about people. This group of people I’ve been working with, some of whom for almost five years, isn’t something that’s easy to turn my back on. Again, it’s a terrifying change. I’m gonna be with new people... well, relatively new, considering I’ve been working on Positivism with some of them for the past six months... which means new relationships. That’s scary, right? Or am I just paranoid?

One major difference will be that this new group of people knows that I’m HIV-positive. It’ll be one less secret I’ll need to hide. And starting off on an honest note will always be a good thing. I’ve actually been prepared to get asked whether my HIV thing will ever be a problem. Well, if I take good care of my health, I know it shouldn’t be. But I think more importantly than HIV being a problem for me, I would rather ask back whether my HIV will ever be a problem for them... which, ideally, it shouldn’t. So again, my HIV card is safe.

The HIV card isn’t something I can actually use indiscriminately. I certainly won’t be asking for any special treatment or anything because of my HIV status. If at this new job, I just happen to screw up, then I am the one that screws up. I can’t blame HIV for it. Wish me luck.

More than any professional advancement, with this move, I look forward to my personal growth. More focus, less spreading myself too thin. It will also be a chance to make Positivism and my advocacy a greater part of my life. As it stood, Positivism was something outside of my fulltime job. Working with people who know fully about my status and my advocacy will be a big change. It will still be an HIV card, but I will have that card laid out on the table, so to speak.

9 comments:

Ming Meows said...

i admire your courage.

Anonymous said...

Tama lang iyan kung ano gusto ng puso mo, follow it. Ano position mo sa bago mo lilipatan?

Turismoboi said...

matapang ka!

bazta matapang ka!

MkSurf8 said...

good luck sa new job. ;-)

Anonimus said...

Bravo!

It isn't always easy to make decisions like that. Changing careers, working with new people. The older you get the more difficult it becomes. Five years from now when you decide on making a new move, you might find yourself in an environment where your coworkers are one generation removed from you. =)

But keep on moving. I understand how you feel the need to always wear HIV out on your sleeve. It's a chip too big for most shoulders but you can always make it work for you. This burden (because it is) defines the muscles of your psyche, because there never is a time of day when you're not flexing to lift this heavy weight up. I'll risk sounding insensitive but say this all the same -- what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

Yj said...

good luck dear........ :)

PinoyPoz said...

Thanks guys :-)

the geek said...

hope you are fine...somebody misses you...

onestrangeboy said...

Good luck!