My life has begun to resemble my living space: cluttered and messy - but in a beautiful way. I think I may have way too many things going on at the same time again. If you’ve been following me, I wrote something a while ago about wearing too many hats so I haven’t broke character….yet! For now, I’ll write about why this might be happening.
I’d say it was around five years ago I began going to HIV-related workshops and training sessions. I didn’t have a plan for getting involved but thought there might be things I needed to learn more about to take better care of myself. I also saw it as a way to meet others who were living with HIV, as perhaps it could have some social benefits. When I learned that the new tool to be an advocate/activist was through social media. I was hooked.
A couple of months ago I wanted to apply for a scholarship to go to a conference. I would have to submit a resume of all my activities in HIV-related work. Sitting at the computer trying to remember everything, they started pouring out, one after another. I dug out a file which contained all the certificates from leadership trainings, facilitator trainings and volunteer awards, trying to list it in chronological order. It wasn’t long before I had almost three pages completed.
I have been involved in two ASOs (AIDS Service Organizations) locally, I’ve been involved in some provincial work and I’ve been going to CAS (Canadian AIDS Society) meetings on the national level. I used to think I didn’t have a voice or ideas that were anything new to the movement. After 30 years I believed that almost everything had to have been tried and in place, only to learn that as people living with HIV are living longer, there is a new set of priorities to be met to help us live better lives .
And this is where my life became full of new projects. I love writing and I have been trying to finish something but I get distracted so easily. I used to think it was the result of concentration problems, side effects of my medications perhaps, but it clearly isn’t. I’m able to keep up with the social media responsibilities I have for PositiveLite.com, even if I have to find creative ways to do it if I’m out of town.
My work with one local ASO tripled; it has allowed me to contribute more to what we do there. Some of my ideas have been implemented into the programming and I need to be there doing my part of the work.
I have been doing public speaking as part of the ASO doing an HIV 101 session with a group of medical students. HIV and aging is still on my list of priorities so talking to healthcare people is important and I’ve found many of the students want to know what they can do better. (If you have suggestions, post them below; they want to hear them.)
One thing that is becoming a necessary part of many ASOs programming is finding ways to work on disclosing to potential partners and/or anybody. I have written two articles for PositiveLite.com about training I have taken that deals with disclosing through role play and humour. Now I am doing that work, I am co-facilitating workshops and we have been changing the program to help with disclosing to family and friends as well. I will be doing my third full workshop on March 14 and I have done two modified versions of the workshop. I see this part of my agenda taking off, as other ASOs are looking for something new and this workshop is just that.
Last year I was asked to be part of the HIV Disclosure Project that is providing a space to talk about and share disclosure and criminalization issues. I immediately became an administrator and program coordinator. I would describe what we do as peers working with peers for peers. We don’t have funds; it's all volunteer-based work.
We did apply and received some funding to produce three short videos that were launched here on PositiveLite.com on World AIDS Day 2014; we received so much positive feedback. The videos dealt with disclosure and criminalization and featured Dr. Julio Montaner from British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, Cecile Kazatchkine from the HIV Legal Network and Barb Cardell from the Positive Women’s Network in the U.S. (links below)
And then there is the lack of a love life that I’m trying to rectify. I’m not obsessed with it but I am actively searching online. Iit isn’t going well. I have met a couple of guys in person but one said that “maybe we should try this again when you aren’t so busy”. I had to tell him that in a month, things might be even busier. I might have to find someone that understands ‘busy’ or is busy himself, maybe someone that likes some alone time and not be so needy.
Even my hobby photography has not filled much of my time. I play with some older photos, recreating new images with editing programs. To those people who say I should set up a website for my photos and get busy in that area, that plan is in the pile of others on my desk. I’ll get to it – eventually. My interest in this area has moved to learning videography and I’m grateful that many programs are user friendly.
Well, this is where I’ve been, this is where I am, don’t touch my desk, I know where everything is. I’m enjoying what I’m doing, just sorry I have to spread some areas a little thinner. Things are keeping me busy so I’m not going anwhere anytime soon. Wait, I am going somewhere - oh you know what I mean.