I once said that I wasn’t afraid to rock the boat, “I’d even capsize it“… but I look back now and think that wasn’t quite right.
I don’t want to sink this ship, I want to build something bigger – and better, stronger. I don’t want to rock my pedalo – I want to launch a cruise ship.
I’ll warn everyone now, this is off the cuff; my usual posts are drafted a couple of times, even the short ones (I know they’re all short) and then I upload them when I’m happy. But this is fresh, live, now. It’s late and I’ve had a couple too many to drink, but I’m celebrating five years with my amazing boyfriend.
I was in a strange place when I met him. I’d always wanted a relationship. I’d gone from one train wreck to another, dating guys who were blatantly wrong for me from the start – I thought I had to settle, I thought I had to make do. I was wrong. There weren’t any issues with these guys. Don’t think I’m being pigheaded – they were nice guys, but there was no spark, no fire in their belly that excited me. We rarely shared interests other than getting drunk and going out.
We’re an odd couple. I don’t mean strange, I mean odd. We shouldn’t work. Whilst we have some things spookily in common (both vegetarian and dyspraxic for example) we’re also poles apart in many other ways, absolutely, totally and undeniably introverted on one hand and completely, utterly, irrefutably extrovert on the other. We drive each other mad to the point of total frustration, but if I imagine life without him I don’t know how I would cope. He grounds me, he brings me down to Earth when I day dream, when my blue-sky thinking becomes out of this world insanity.
I maintain that the one reason we work was the honesty between us from the start. I (albeit drunkenly) disclosed the first night we started talking. And he opened up about what was happening in his life at that time as well. It wasn’t a gushing outpour of emotions, it was matter-of-fact, it was the truth. Open and honest.
I was unlucky to be diagnosed HIV-positive, but I’m more than lucky to have met someone like him. I know guys like him don’t land on the laps of men every day; our meeting was down to chance, some fate, and a lucky coincidence.
I love him because he doesn’t hold me back. I have achieved everything in the past five years because he has been at my side supporting me. Even when he has been nervous about my actions he’s respected my decisions to go ahead. He supports me in everything I do.
I chose (and still do) to utilise my diagnosis as a second chance, another prospect to try again at the game of life. I don’t want to spill out some corny line about rebirth but sometimes I do believe I was given a gift of a revitalisation on 06.11.2009 – I became a different person, mentally dealing with HIV, and physically with this entity living inside me. I’ve exercised the energy within me to drive my passion and enthusiasm to provide myself with the opportunity to a better life, and I want to show other people they can do the same.
So don’t sink your ship, enjoy your maiden voyage or re-launch your opportunity to start afresh, push yourself and immerse and surround yourself in your passions and fight for your beliefs.
Never doubt yourself. If you learn to love yourself, and are brave enough to invoke the honesty within you, I believe other people will love you too.
This article previously appeared on Alex’s own blog HIV and Me in February 2015 here.