Running with chains

Sometimes I feel as though there is too much criticism put there. When I talk about criticism, yes I’m talking about the harsh words that floating out in basic conversation. I happened to be watching a video on The Young Turks, I’m scrolling through all the garbage of hate swimming out there and I come across a comment that basically said someone needed to get aids and die. Ok….. I’m going to keep this light, a new year is fast approaching and I’m tired of one set off people running and screaming anytime we disclose, the next group is always crying about I’m not guaranteed 100% coverage from hiv, really I cause life is a big insurance coverage with loopholes and back doors ready to screw you over one the first infraction or may not be covered in all states. Then the last group, that uses hate words whenever it suits them.

It’s OK to have opinions, I’m not going to be nice anymore, I just refuse to allow the era, of technological stupidity to breed as far as its gotten, it’s time for spermacide. I sit and meditate on how much people can’t stand others with hiv, yet hey let’s wish death on people with the very say chronic illness I battle daily. I won’t ask for respect, and I won’t let mine be taken either. I get, so then please stay in your own lane, I have had to deal with things I never thought I would have to. I can’t convince people to live the safe condom way, I can’t educate people who feel like they know it all, I can’t get people to treat me like I’m human. I woke up with your slavery chains, and guess what I’m not walking the lands with them on, I’m not going to hide, and shrink to your verbal domestic abuse, those days are over.

It’s not when you deal with us, it’s how you approach us.

Mixed status and proud of it.

I am not in a mixed status relationship, yet I have to say, it’s not new, in fact it’s exciting, and just like hiv and healthy relationships, this is another one of those types that still get those looks and whispers, like other mixed racial relationships. If you have ever heard of the saying, “love never fails,” how many believe in that? I have to say, those who have taken the time to see that the person they love, be it dating, boyfriend/girlfriend status or even fiancĂ©/marriage situstion. People have stepped up and learned what they could to be safe and keep their partner safe, I mentioned before that mixed status or serodiscordant relationships have been around longer than you think. PreP may be a relatively new thing out on the market, but hiv negative individuals have dated and even married those with hiv. Shocking??? It really shouldn’t be, it shouldn’t take a TV show that we are familiar with to bring it out, still I appreciate that even more why? People adapt, it’s one of the most remarkable things that we as human beings do. Take a look at how many new things we have adapted to, people who are blind and deaf, little people, people born without limbs or some without limbs caused by accidents or nature, yet what do we do, we adapt.

Why mention this, what is the point? I want people to realize, that sometimes we can adapt to various situations in our lives, yet we would rather miss out on love, miss out on a chance to see what another person with a different set of circumstances can do to challenge our character as a person, and we walk away, say no thanks, or that they are not ready for that type of complication in their lives? People find love outside their race, religion, and customs, and people make it work, they make it work. Shame? It shouldn’t even play a part, if people are scared that’s fine, we may not be cured but we’re loved and cared about, we’re not going anywhere, we’re not sitting in the back of the bus, waiting to be screened for eligibility to love someone outside of our status. Be proud of who you are and the confidence you have in yourself and in your partner. Never make an issue that doesn’t need to be. Never be ashamed or ever think that you deserve less or your partner deserves more despite your or their situation.

Charater, I can’t say this enough, it’s charter at the end of the day, being proud, working on the relationship that is important to you, working on showing healthy love and mutual benifitial habits keeping respect alive. In a relationship trust and respect should be there, it’s earned and displayed within those bounds, don’t worry about others. Their opinion is an opinion until you work at making what they say a fact. For all those who love free of bias and undue fear, for all those in a mix status or serodiscordant relationship, be always mixed and proud.

Stigma in the hands of those you trust the most

I can admit, that I’m small and just really nonexistent when it comes to the grand scope of hiv and who have the keys to the city. What I continue to find that advocates are on damage control. Why do I say that this is stigma, it’s not the outright in your face variety, this has a certain touch to it. Soft and yet blunt at the same time, I think we are headed for trouble and I really hope I’m wrong. I have read a not to happy comment about the open letter for Danny Pintauro, the comment that stood out was very harsh and direct to the one who wrote it. I understand both sides, you have to, though to understand what’s going on. When people talk about hiv, there needs to be 100% accuracy to it. Information seems to be law when it comes to us….those living with hiv, managing it, bringing awareness to it, so if the message comes out wrong, it’s a loose string to the security blanket that the community has gotten under, and the coverage starts to get smaller.

On the other hand, when you look at movies and testimonials, real life accounts of what hiv to aids really was, what it was about before the age of medication that gave back some life, why wouldn’t others speak out to protect the progress that was made, the road that is still to this day being paved with information, needed life saving information. One would say you fight tooth and nail for it. To protect those who still suffer who need shelter when there feels as though there isn’t. Speaking out in sea of oppression seems daunting but do able.

The stigma, it’s chains and weights that are made of Ill intentions, and at times malice. It doesn’t take much, yet it’s still used, even with people you want to have your back and it hurts deep when your on the receiving end. This morning I was with family holding my 9 month old nephew and breaking up pieces of my waffle and feeding him the smaller pieces and to be told that my nephew shouldn’t be eating after me, really hurt, it made me very upset. I thought to myself that’s the button, it’s that stigma space and she doesn’t even realize that she is doing it. It the subtle things like this I’m talking about. I know that I can’t pass it to my nephew that way, I do know another instance if I had something else, that I would not allow him to be eating after me. All day long I have seen twitter retweets on correcting these words put out there and to me in this moment resembles stigmatic speech, I felt shamed into a corner the morning, and if Danny has read anything out there I wouldn’t be surprised if and when he understands it, that he may feel shamed to and backed into a corner. I don’t think that it’s done with this kind of intent, but it’s there. If we don’t put a higher emphasis on community togetherness, not reverting to the same shame tactics that we have been accustomed to, we could make a profound difference in more people speaking out. Going down that road only leads to people thinking they need to hide and stay in the shadows and suffer in silence. My hope when others stumble upon this, give it a moments pause and reflect on how we personally affect the world around us.

Hands open for the road ahead

Standing in the background I pay attention to what’s being said and how others are reacting to what’s going on….guess that’s what’s in my nature. From my perspective, I want to keep my eyes open to understanding the hiv community, it’s needs, it’s understanding, the patience that helps some of us through the toughest times of our lives. Sometimes when I look at those who have taken the lead, the struggle and the progress that comes from it, I also can’t escape the comments of problems, stigma, not helping, setting the movement back. Honestly some of that actually scares me and then I don’t feel so welcomed, then I don’t feel safe, then I remember how limited my resources are being in the hiv community.

We have to remember to be a refuge to newcomers and veterans at all times. That’s what we need, the more voices that reach out in solidarity I would argue the better. We won’t always be famous, or ready for a role to make a profound difference, still anyone who knows what it’s like to be there for the hiv community either having the virus or dating or married to the person carrying it, your voice counts all the same.

I won’t deny the constant frustration of wondering how many years go by and people still seem to be stuck in the neutral position wondering when sexual education is going to be manditory in mainstream life, this is what I have accepted, what I have know that education doesn’t always start at a phone or computer screen, often times its word of mouth and when we accept the talks we have to have, keeping it organic, we may just make more advancement then the last generation. That means that I’m asking for us to endure some of the coversations that are annoyingly taboo, to our culture, and just break it down and hope it holds fast this time.

My goal, one way or another is to be the last generation that has to experience hiv in my lifetime, or the next, that advocates find more just like them and teach them the skill necessary to keep walking that road to the finish. My goal is to take the fear and ignorance away, leaving no more spaces to hide. Some days I feel as though we are refugees in a foreign land, waiting for a time where we are not viewed as threats, to people’s way of everyday living, where we are seen as like everyone else. Living in the light where we don’t have to fight everything that comes our way.

What’s important to me is not just the fact we need to live to treat ourselves and those alike with the same love and respect we show ourselves to others, please understand this, “trust and respect are thing earned and displayed.” What this quote means, is that it takes effort on our part to take the lead, helping others like us to know how to stand up in good times and stand up in times of difficulty, that we look out for each other no matter where we are or live and that we provide a safe place because we should, it should be automatic.

If we find ourselves in a place where we don’t agree with where a person is at stepping on to the scene of hiv, leave your arms open to help, love, accept, and give knowledge. Knowledge is a gift, a free one at that, it shows we care and that we have been there. Welcome home as we send you back out there in the real world once again standing on two feet out in the open.

Danny vs. Hiv Activists

I don’t want to sound misleading at all, yet from what I have seen on my twitter feed is that, Hiv activists slowly but surely are getting irritated with Danny for Who’s the Boss, it’s not about the fact that he is Hiv positive and bringing so me more awareness to hiv, it’s more of he has taken hiv front and center, to a degree where he owns it. I can only speculate to the fact that many people have been working hard at bringing awareness out for decades, some feel that he could actually do some harm and not really help the cause. I’m wondering who is he connected with, what information does he have? He is doing an hiv tour and I wonder myself what understanding will he bring mainstream. Is he really prepared emotional and mentally sound to handle the stigma that comes with it.

Being the face of hiv, means for many that we are represented in a way that keeps our dignity in tact. Watching his interview with Candace on the view really didn’t highlight that he was in control of the situation and knowing that her questions were grievously offensive, and mentioned to shame him and draw negative attention to those who live and manage their hiv. Going on tour is great, when your prepared for it, people don’t play fair and he is most likely to be eaten alive. My hope is that with more education under his belt he can do great things, right now he seems to be alienating the hiv community.