It has been a while since I wrote my last article. For those who like precision, it has been exactly 593 days since I last put ‘finger to keyboard’ and thrashed out my thoughts and feelings.
Where was I at this time?
After what felt like the longest 6-8 weeks of my life, I was at the end stages of wearing my protective boot after breaking my ankle at a musical festival being an idiot roller skating to 70’s disco music. This confined me to being indoors a lot for the duration of that summer, which for a runner, gym (and gin) lover it was my idea of hell on earth.
I had also not long come out of an unexpected break up after six months (which in gay world is basically marriage according to some people I know) and I was at a time where I couldn’t vent my frustration via exercise due to my ankle, so therefore was just one angry and resentful bastard.
May of that year I had signed up to a distance learning course to gain my CAMDip in Digital Marketing so decided I was going to put all my efforts into that as a focus point for maintaining control.
Now you may ask why was I so annoyed…it was only a six-month relationship at best, and that is not long. The biggest kick in the teeth (besides the fact I was in love with him) was that it was my first serious serodiscordant relationship. I had finally become undetectable so this was all huge stuff (I wrote about this in June 2014 which you can read here if you wish) and as I am sure has been the case for many a positive guy or girl, this can be a real struggle to achieve and maintain and I was scared it wasn’t going to happen for me again.
Okay, so fast forward 593 days and here we are on a sunny April lunchtime in 2016. I am still undetectable, my health being at its peak and have recently completed my CAM Diploma, ready to really get stuck into my chosen career path. In fact, I had lunch with the aforementioned ex just a week ago where we chatted about recent dates we had been on, our thoughts on the upcoming Marvel movies and how our gym regimes are going – ahh the gay cliché! So even that turned into something good in the long run.
With all this free time on my hands I upped the ante on my gym workout and have begun making more time for friends as I was pretty crap over the last two years bailing and being constantly unavailable due to my study commitments.
It was important to me to ensure I still had a life outside of studying and working, albeit limited to some degree – this was why I had to go on a hiatus from writing for PositiveLite.com until now to focus on other things. We must remember this is not a bad thing, I think it is really healthy to be able to say no and remember to look after yourself when it is necessary. This doesn’t make us selfish.
Wanting to make sure I still embark on goals I accomplished a number of things – I travelled the furthest distance on holiday when I spent a fortnight in Thailand backpacking alone. This allowed me to really open up to myself as a person and it changed my perception on things – travelling alone is something I would definitely recommend, the experiences I had and people I met were amazing.
Another goal I achieved was taking part in my first Tough Mudder which I done to raise money for The National AIDS Trust which was a lot of fun and would definitely tackle this course again as it made a great day out and formed some good friendships. November last year it all got a bit risqué when I stripped off as part of FS Magazine/GMFA’s World AIDS Day 2015 Campaign to tackle HIV stigma. As part of this same campaign GMFA asked some of the guys from this campaign to read out real messages sent to HIV positive men on gay dating apps which has had over 135,000 views on YouTube since it was published – if you haven’t viewed it you should, these guys were amazing and it was a brilliant campaign to be part of.
So that is basically what has happened during my hiatus and I am really excited to be back writing for PositiveLite.com again. So much has happened since in terms of all things LGBT – the USA and Ireland legalised gay marriage in 2015 and specifically in relation to all things HIV/AIDS - in the UK the National Health Service (NHS) denied a draft policy on PrEP provision to be put forward for consideration, but thankfully due to actions following the outrage it caused, especially amongst HIV charities, it is now being reconsidered and we should have an answer in late May.
Subjects such as these I will be writing about in future submissions and am open to any suggestions or ideas which you may want to hear about or want my opinion on. Until next time…