Monday, March 21, 2011
CALENDAR DATES: OBSESSIVE OR ALTRUISTIC?
One year ago this upcoming weekend I began my HIV medications. I remember that night perfectly- from strategically planning the hour at which I would consume the pills to who I invited over my apartment to join in on an occasion I insisted be festive. After my friends forced the pills down my throat and then headed back to their residences the idea of remaining in a celebratory state had subsided. I had a bit of quiet time to fill my “Monday through Sunday” pill box. While doing so I listened to sappy music and cried every possible tear I could. It wasn’t until this part of the evening did this physical illustration remind me that now that I started the medications I can never stop and that this pill box will always be replenished. To this day this incident was the third and final time I allowed myself to be emotional at the fact that I’m HIV positive.
One common trait I’ve learned that majority of positive individuals have are remembering dates: the month, day and year of their diagnosis, when they began medication, when and if they were hospitalized, etc. I see people on both ends of the spectrum criticize these people for being what they in their own minds would consider anal about keeping track of dates. Such individuals tell me that as time goes on I will forget my exact dates. That may be all right for them, but as far as I’m concerned my life began on January 21, 2010, a date that will live in my memory until God has decided that my time is up.
My argument for remembering dates is that it recognizes taking charge of your life. Before I had HIV, I could care less about myself. Whether it would be reviewing my resume for dates when I held jobs, or dates from my last dental appointment, or even the date of the last time I had sex. Sure, I may have a rough idea, but there is uncertainty. Since my life has changed I’ve become certain of almost everything regarding my health side of things. (Another reason why I can’t stand when people tell me my life hasn’t changed with or without HIV. Change doesn’t necessarily equate to BAD.)
Here’s an example of why remembering dates is not only crucial to one’s internal self, but for others engaged in your life as well. Look out- I’m going to be honest about how it works for many in the gay world. And in my opinion, unless our world finally accepts the homosexual community as equals more and more individuals will seek affection the way I’m about to portray. Several years ago, I met a gentleman on one of the many gay dating (sex) sites. After a few dialogue sessions exchanging what we were “into” (meaning sexual position, safe or raw, relationship oriented or no strings attached, discreet or open, to name a few) we’ve concluded that we were a match. One night in his hotel room (he’s from a major city two hours away from mine) we made love for a couple hours before calling it a night. This escapade continued on and off a few times a year, when he was in town, and we were officially “buddies”- no need to add the F word before buddies.
What began in my early twenties as an acquaintance relationship sooner turned intimate (he invited me to dinner after all these years of just having sex.) we learned that we can glamorize things and be considered friends. Recently, he got in touch with me that he will be in town and I was the first person he wanted to see upon his arrival. As flattered as I was, I knew I had to be honest with an old buddy. After all, he has and deserves the right to know the truth. Sure it will hurt if he rejects me, but that’s life. It doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of other guys out there I’ve yet to encounter that will care for me as me. I told him I was positive. I told him the date I was diagnosed, the date I started medications, my current numbers and my healthy stature, etc. I pleaded all I could to assure him that I would never do anything to hurt him, yet I understand if our debauchery had to end. His response, “the fact that you were so honest with me, know all your shit, like dates and all, makes me not only comfortable with you, but admire you for being educated and taking charge of your life.” Here I was worried he’d reject me for being positive. Now we speak on a daily basis and I teach him a thing or two about the illness that he can use at will to protect him from harm. I laughed when he apologized for asking so many questions regarding STDs. My response was, “Don’t ever apologize for taking charge of your health or let anyone put you down for doing so!”
My point in a nutshell, keeping track of dates and knowing your own facts, whether you are negative or positive, illustrates taking charge of one’s own life. So, to all the critics out there who tease us for knowing ours I say, “Get over it.” By the way, I have plans to meet up with that gentleman friend of mine very soon and I have a feeling it will be the most passionate meeting we’ve ever had. I guess honesty really is the best policy.