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, November 22, 2010

A Good Night

Last night. Saturday night. I got a birthday invite. Not just from one, but two people. A joint birthday bash. Two people I knew, and hadn’t seen for a while. This was the chance to. The perfect excuse to finally show up at a pusit party. Should I, or should I not? How sure am I that this is going to prove to be a good night? I’m not. But...

I don’t usually like going to pusit gatherings like these, mostly because of the possibility of seeing some... uhm... nega-monsters.

Nega-monsters. My term for a few pusits who are just swimming in so much bitterness that they’re just out to nitpick at everyone who crosses their paths - devoid of any wit, sense or reason - as though they’re perfect and actually have a hand in the lives of everyone else. Nega-monsters. Ironic how someone who is “positive” can be so negative. Ugh.

Of course, there’s a lot to nitpick about me, but then I never claimed to be perfect. But then again, it’s my life, right? And these nega-monsters have been out to get me and some of my friends. Not our fault, they just don’t have lives of their own. And I choose my battles, and these nega-monsters have never been worth one.

With that, I choose to avoid any possibility of encountering these negativities, not participating in some of these gatherings at the risk of appearing elitist, snooty and anti-social. I’m just not the type to care if others think that way.

So with this opportunity to celebrate another year for two friends, and the assurance that nega-monsters weren’t invited, I seriously considered and reconsidered going.

Saturday night, I found myself on the way up north, with BFF and O. After around two hours on the road, we got there, almost exactly on call time, but still early as just the second group to arrive. The celebrants were there already plus a couple of familiar faces. And as the rest of the group showed up, sans the fact of being an hour or so late, it struck me that that night was going to be a good night.

Primarily, there were no nega-monsters. That in itself was reason to party. Other than that, Ate showed up with some other staff of the RITM. Perfect. I always thought having authority figures at times like these will mean that things will be kept in check. Of the 30 or so people there, I only hadn’t been acquainted with less than a handful maybe. For me, that means a bit of a comfort zone.

A group of pusits who prefer not to call themselves pusits was there, but in all fairness they were the ones I didn’t have problems with... not so much at least. Mr. Mouth was there, flaunting his gift of gab as usual, but thankfully this time, not anywhere in my direction, so he was okay. Not a problem.

Another set of people, I knew from the empowerment seminar I attended several months ago. A majority of our batch was there actually. Some sort of a mini-reunion after months of not seeing most of them.

But really, the biggest surprise was the little pozzie posse I fell into since about a year ago. Roll call?

There were four of my “kids”; the first ever person I brought to RITM, LittleJenny, and RedAppleBlackMark, and my adopted kid Positive'sStory. There was one of E’s “kids”, who I surrogated and who just happened to currently be LittleJenny’s beau, making him an in-law. Some friends LuckyTrese, O, and BruceKho. Papi was there, as well as one of his “kids”, who just happened to be LuckyTrese’s ahem-ahem. And my friendly neighborhood BFF, GreenFrog, of course. I was missing a couple of people though, W and E. And maybe my “dad”, U, who technically is part of the family.

But twelve of us there made it one hell of a reunion. A reunion because it’s been a while since I last saw some of them. The only ones I would regularly are those who attend Yoga for Life. Other than that, being busy with each one’s lives has been keeping us apart. And quite frankly, I’m sort of happy that we didn’t see each other a lot.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not about me not wanting to see them. I’m happy because that just means everyone’s busy with their lives. Busy being productive. Busy with their own families. Busy with their personal lives maybe. Just basically being busy going on with life, sans the HIV-positive part. Busy proving that life goes on. Perfect.

But despite this apparent retreat from the posse, we still know we’re all just around, and we still love seeing each other every time we do. Sort of like we move in our own little circles but still gravitate towards each other somehow, like the planets to the sun. The bond remains, if not gets stronger. Absence, fonder.

Also funny that night, I realized that most of the posse I haven’t even known for a full year. But I’m pretty sure there’ll be more years to come. I don’t believe that it’s the HIV that’s keeping us together. It’s more like HIV brought us together, but it’s something else that’s keeping us tight. Jiving personalities maybe. The overall good vibe. Whatever it is, heaven knows.

And so with that, that night was indeed a good night. Even if I had to leave my little bastard at home. Even if I made the boyfie sad at the fact that I chose my friends over him for that night... he was extremely understanding but I’ll make it up to him. Even if I’m still reeling from lack of sleep right now. Even if there was that one parlor game that led to a hair-raising and spine-tingling mishap... not my mishap, but my hair raising and spine tingling. Even if, even if, even if... Last night truly, truly was a good night.


Ray said...

This is an off-topic comment, and I'd like to express my apologies for posting it on this particular entry. Maybe I just can't find the right post to comment on.

Anyway, through blog-hopping, I encountered your page. It's my first time to actually read a blog page of a Filipino discussing HIV through documenting one's personal experience, partly because of my youth. I just turned 20 this year, but I guess I'm matured enough to realise the extent of this issue at hand.

I would not be dishonest enough to say that I've really read ALL of your entries, nor to claim reading a single entry with an unparalleled attention. But as part of the community, in a way or another we have common experiences, dilemmas to think about and challenges to surpass. That drove me to check and unearth the previous entries.

Of course, I was shocked with some of the realities that my brown eyes have read, knowing that I also engage with men. To be honest, although my sexual experiences are just nuts compared with yours (no offense meant) and that I've been with the same guy for more than two years, the notion of having been connected with some other guys before bothers me despite them being clean (I'm sure of it since they're familiar buddies and does not really engage in casual sex with strangers). I only know a few about HIV, especially in the context of our cluster and somehow it gave me an idea of what to do. Also, it warned about risking these affairs.

I may not fully understand what you have been going through these years, but I'm certain days aren't too easy. But I have to laud you for sharing these things with us on-line.

PinoyPoz said...

No problem, Ray... And no offense taken. Thanks for taking the time to go through the blog. I only speak from experience, and can only hope that my experiences can help open minds to the issue at hand. Bravo to you for facing the issue at such a young age. But then, of course, it's never too early to become aware.

Just always remember to keep safe, no matter how familiar and "clean" you think people are. Because the truth is, some people don't even know their own statuses. So just protect yourself... it's your right.

Mysterious MD said...

I am a medtech as well..but not practicing..i am not that updated to some kits available now. Is there an Ab detecting HIV kit available now outside hospitals like Mercury Drug store? if yes, how much would that be just a rough estimate..thanx..and sorry lastly, is serum required as specimen or just the whole unclotted blood? thnx dude..

PinoyPoz said...

Hi Mr. Mysterious. As far as I know, HIV kits aren't available over the counter. I find this a good thing, because the pre- and post-test counseling that come with it when having it done at accredited hospitals and clinics are very important.

As for the specimen, if I understand it right, it's just whole blood.