I am me
I recently came across an article published by TheBody.com about the term “HIV positive.” It’s an article that got me to thinking about my own life, and the labels that people may or may not place on me, and the labels that I may place on others.
As a whole, it’s a great article. Here’s where it hit me the strongest:
Remove the labels Positive and Negative when referring to your HIV status.
"This is not going to be something that is easy to do because those two words — positive and negative — have been embedded into the culture and society when talking about HIV. But do they need to be? Is it really not enough just to say that you have HIV? It is very simple when you actually sit down to think about it. You either have HIV or you do not. Just as with any other illness, you either have it or you do not."
I completely agree with the author’s point about the use of positive and negative. Furthermore, I would say this: every day, no matter who you are, you are labelled. Often times, these labels are black or white; there’s no gray area whatsoever: you are positive or negative. You are happy or sad. You are lazy or active. You are a man or a woman. You are skinny or fat. All of these things are labels that other people give to you, and that we bestow upon ourselves. But what good do they serve? Sure, they help you find similarities with others, but at what point do we step outside of the box and just accept the fact that we all share one simple label: we are all people. Full stop.
So who am I? Simply put, I am me. There are facts about me that are true: I am single, I am a man, I am a communications professional, I am a part-time student, I am a son, a brother and a nephew. And alongside all of those, I have HIV. While each of those things impact how I see the world, they don’t define me.
So, to ask the question again: who am I? I am me. And that’s really all there is to it.
Another Monday that didn’t go according to plan
Maybe it’s Monday that is the problem.
To say that the past year or so hasn’t gone according to plan would win the award for understatement of the century. Today was another day that didn’t go according to plan. Something happened at work that delayed what I had laid out in my head. Initially, I was upset about it and it took me some time to realize that the plan isn’t dead: it’s merely delayed, and I have a strong ally in my corner who is going to fight on my behalf. I’m comfortable with that. But there was that little part of me, perhaps the child in there, that just wanted to scream, shout and throw a tantrum that I wasn’t getting my way right away.
So has it been with life for the past little while. At one point, Alex and I had talked about moving in together. Survey says? (If you didn’t click the link, that’s a buzzer indicating that was incorrect).
Then Alex told me that he was faithful. Click the buzzer noise above in case you don’t know how that one turned out.
And then, of course, comes HIV. The dreaded three letters that, when you trust someone and are committed, you shouldn’t have to worry about. But, here we are. My plan was to make a right turn, and life decided it was time for a u-turn.
I guess what I struggle with is maintaining my strength and resilience. I have a pretty good suit of metaphorical armour, and over the past year it’s taken so many beatings that it’s not protecting me like it used to.
What do I have, though? I have my health. I have a good job that I enjoy. I have wonderful friends, a tight family and a lot of love and support. So it’s not all bad and it certainly could be worse. I just wish the universe would accept my over planning and let things work for once!
These articles originally appeared on Alex’s own blog The Plus Side of Life here.