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Archive for December, 2007

New Years Eve 07′-08′

 918.jpg

The clock is ticking, the end of the year is upon us, as cities around the world have already started celebrating 2008. I guess I want to take a few moments to ponder what the last year has meant to me and what I have learned.

I know who I am today. I know who God is and who God is not. I know that I can give to my community in ways that were unknown to me in the past. Turning 40 was a big deal, in the sense that I started hearing my voice, I started to see things differently. I found wisdom in my life from experiences that I have lived through. And I share that wisdom with all of you freely, because isn’t that what we are supposed to do?

I have worked diligently at becoming and living an authentic life. Living on the outside what I profess on the outside. I cannot believe one thing in my heart and not live it on the outside. We are involved in the raising of new blood into the family. It is important that they know how much we care about them when we comment on their blogs. It takes a lot of work to raise a generation of young gay men. I take that responsibility very seriously.

Over the last year I completed a University Degree in Religion and I embarked in Graduate studies in Theology. I know what I am willing to put up with and I know what I am unwilling to put up with. Things have changed for me in the last few months. Perspective has changed and focused has changed.

My marriage survived another year. Not that it was in trouble but we have learned how to manage school, home, work and personal projects. It feels like a comfy pair of shoes now, we have learned how to live with all of life’s challenges. We don’t have the baggage of drugs and alcohol. We don’t have all those issues that young couples have. Our lives are constantly changing as we both grow into what we are meant to be.

For a long time I preached about growing up and that sex, money, power, prestige, drugs and alcohol and ego were the issues that would change a generation. I also predicted that monogamy would be the death knell of the gay community because once people commit to coupling the dynamic of community would change. Being married has changed my life in ways that I don’t think the greater community is ready to accept. But life changes and if you are ready to accept that change, then be prepared. Relationships ask us to be present, to be authentic and to be ready for anything. Change is a constant. Life is a journey and life is always changing, even if we don’t see it change. Every day we grow so we change with that growth.

We have a choice in who we are and we we shall become and what kind of impact we wish to make on the world around us. I hope that in the last year, I have at least have helped one person in some small way.

The longer I am sober, and the more I work on myself, the more I change and my vision of the world changes with it. Six years now and my world is much different than it was just a few years ago. I am more confident. I am settled in my life and I am happy with my life. I have survived to see another New Years… Whoda thunk it???

So we move into the night with hope and glad tidings…

More to come so stay tuned…


New Years Eve 07'-08'

 918.jpg

The clock is ticking, the end of the year is upon us, as cities around the world have already started celebrating 2008. I guess I want to take a few moments to ponder what the last year has meant to me and what I have learned.

I know who I am today. I know who God is and who God is not. I know that I can give to my community in ways that were unknown to me in the past. Turning 40 was a big deal, in the sense that I started hearing my voice, I started to see things differently. I found wisdom in my life from experiences that I have lived through. And I share that wisdom with all of you freely, because isn’t that what we are supposed to do?

I have worked diligently at becoming and living an authentic life. Living on the outside what I profess on the outside. I cannot believe one thing in my heart and not live it on the outside. We are involved in the raising of new blood into the family. It is important that they know how much we care about them when we comment on their blogs. It takes a lot of work to raise a generation of young gay men. I take that responsibility very seriously.

Over the last year I completed a University Degree in Religion and I embarked in Graduate studies in Theology. I know what I am willing to put up with and I know what I am unwilling to put up with. Things have changed for me in the last few months. Perspective has changed and focused has changed.

My marriage survived another year. Not that it was in trouble but we have learned how to manage school, home, work and personal projects. It feels like a comfy pair of shoes now, we have learned how to live with all of life’s challenges. We don’t have the baggage of drugs and alcohol. We don’t have all those issues that young couples have. Our lives are constantly changing as we both grow into what we are meant to be.

For a long time I preached about growing up and that sex, money, power, prestige, drugs and alcohol and ego were the issues that would change a generation. I also predicted that monogamy would be the death knell of the gay community because once people commit to coupling the dynamic of community would change. Being married has changed my life in ways that I don’t think the greater community is ready to accept. But life changes and if you are ready to accept that change, then be prepared. Relationships ask us to be present, to be authentic and to be ready for anything. Change is a constant. Life is a journey and life is always changing, even if we don’t see it change. Every day we grow so we change with that growth.

We have a choice in who we are and we we shall become and what kind of impact we wish to make on the world around us. I hope that in the last year, I have at least have helped one person in some small way.

The longer I am sober, and the more I work on myself, the more I change and my vision of the world changes with it. Six years now and my world is much different than it was just a few years ago. I am more confident. I am settled in my life and I am happy with my life. I have survived to see another New Years… Whoda thunk it???

So we move into the night with hope and glad tidings…

More to come so stay tuned…


What’s going on in my world???

It is a quiet Sunday, and sleep is the order of events as of late. Not much going on here other than lazing around the house as the holidays are coming to an end, New Years will be a big non event here as we don’t ever attend any of the big drinking parties in the city. For one, they cost too much and two we don’t drink, so why bother?

The boys are talking about disclosure over on the Aussie list so I thought I’d talk about it. I posted my chapter on disclosure below – written with as much care as possible many months ago when I was working on my manuscript. It is important to be honest, but there is a time and a place for disclosure, because you never know how people are going to react to the news that you are hiv positive.

When I started dating – that was in the early 90’s and people were still fearful of people with Aids and Hiv. It was a scary time for me and I know I freaked many men out. But this is 2008 almost now and HIV has come a long way in the last decade. People are living longer and the disease is not as freaky as it once was with the wasting and sickness that was associated with it in years past. I haven’t read many horror stories in the last few years.

Who do you tell? Only those you must.

Dating: I think that to be an honest person, that what you don’t tell will be your undoing. If people cannot handle a poz partner that just tells me that that person is not educated on his topics and that maybe they aren’t ready to be accepting. The true character of a person is told, in their ability to accept and love another, no matter what the costs or issues. And even today, we find that some, not all, cannot deal with having a poz partner.

When I told my parents, they freaked out and so it went that I was a dirty little secret. So that disclosure was a failure. I dated some good people who had no issue with my being poz, I even dated other poz’s… But that for me was difficult because I approached my disease differently than my counterparts.

When I met my hubby, I told him from the get go and he didn’t really have problems with my being poz, he had his own issues that outweighed my own. But we have never told my in laws because it would be too much for them. We made that decision because of the way they treat us as gay men. They have issues with homosexuality so in order to keep the drama to a minimum we decided not to disclose anything to them. I haven’t been to visit them in two years now and we are ok with that.

I have been on a good streak these past few years and I haven’t had many medical problems so if I am not sick, then we don’t talk about it unless I have to refill a prescription. Honesty is the best policy when dating. If i was back in the dating pool, at my age, I think that I would stay single if hubby ever left or we divorced. I don’t think that I would have the strength to go through another disclosure event in my life. It would be easier for me to fade into the background than to re-engage in community.

To be right and honest and making sure all parties are informed saves one from the possibility of infection and diagnosis of new people. I never wanted that someone come back to me saying that I had infected them. I never wanted to live with that stigma. So I never had sex with anyone when I was first diagnosed. Which is why diagnosis was so hard for me because of the way men treated me when I disclosed.

I related that story about the first date after I courageously reentered the dating pool and I drank with this young man and we got on, and ended up going dancing after my shift at the bar, and we ended up going back to his place and he wanted to get naked and do the nasty and I was stuck, did I tell him or not? So I decided to tell him, and as fast as lightening, I watched him dress as if he saw a demon, and he asked me to leave and he never spoke to me again after that night. He would come to the bar where I worked for a long time afterwards, yet he never spoke to me… That was my first encounter with disclosure. But I was always honest after that…

I never did Not Tell anyone I was involved with…

One must take care with what one shares with another. Because if I am sharing my heart with another, I want you to take care of my heart in the same way I take care of my heart and if you cannot, then you are not worthy to be my friend, or someone that I would date. If you cannot respect me in all my infirmity or sickness, then right there I know who you are, I know your character and I know your soul. And that goes for today.

I just cannot walk into an AA meeting and tell people that I am a poz member of AA. I have always had to edit my shares to what is necessary. I never disclose in a meeting because people are judgmental and can be cruel. I have, more than once been asked NOT to return to specific meetings in my city because I am a homosexual and that I have hiv and some people just cannot deal with the truth. I’ve never held back in my home group, that is why Tuesday Beginners is my home group, because they did not flinch when I shared there. They support me 100% every day, any day…

Just be careful with who you tell and when. Protect your heart at all costs. Do what you need to do and be happy with who you are because if YOU cannot accept who you are, how can you expect people to accept who you are? If you are unsure about yourself, people are going to be unsure of yourself. So before you disclose, you should know who you are and you should have a handle on your own character and personal outlook. Because you want to be sure of who you are before you say anything to anyone else…

If you doubt for one second or one percent the ability of the other you plan to tell, better you think on your next move very carefully. If you doubt that someone would not be able to deal with real truth and be able to walk with you through life, then don’t tell them. A partners ability to deal with pills and doctors appointments and the social stigma of HIV is a big ticket item and not for the feint of heart. Disclosure moves linearly. Its not the one you tell, but the ten they tell, and the family they chose [to or not to] tell. So if you are going to tell one, rest assured you are going to tell others by that one disclosure.

This is where we weed out the gossipers and the talkers… What you share in confidence should stay in confidence unless you give others permission to disclose others. I like to think that my disclosure is safe with the few who know. And I like it that way. At my age now, I can gage people pretty well, and I know what to tell them about me and what NOT to tell them about me. With age comes wisdom. Living with HIV for almost 14 years now have afforded me certain gifts to be able to read people at 50 paces. I can tell more about you that you think I know. The gift of being able to do that is something that AIDS has taught me over the years.

It’s not about disclosure so much as knowing your character and ability to deal with reality. Protect yourself, and protect your heart. Do nothing to hurt another and most assuredly, don’t do anything to hurt yourself…

And that is my missive on disclosure…


What's going on in my world???

It is a quiet Sunday, and sleep is the order of events as of late. Not much going on here other than lazing around the house as the holidays are coming to an end, New Years will be a big non event here as we don’t ever attend any of the big drinking parties in the city. For one, they cost too much and two we don’t drink, so why bother?

The boys are talking about disclosure over on the Aussie list so I thought I’d talk about it. I posted my chapter on disclosure below – written with as much care as possible many months ago when I was working on my manuscript. It is important to be honest, but there is a time and a place for disclosure, because you never know how people are going to react to the news that you are hiv positive.

When I started dating – that was in the early 90’s and people were still fearful of people with Aids and Hiv. It was a scary time for me and I know I freaked many men out. But this is 2008 almost now and HIV has come a long way in the last decade. People are living longer and the disease is not as freaky as it once was with the wasting and sickness that was associated with it in years past. I haven’t read many horror stories in the last few years.

Who do you tell? Only those you must.

Dating: I think that to be an honest person, that what you don’t tell will be your undoing. If people cannot handle a poz partner that just tells me that that person is not educated on his topics and that maybe they aren’t ready to be accepting. The true character of a person is told, in their ability to accept and love another, no matter what the costs or issues. And even today, we find that some, not all, cannot deal with having a poz partner.

When I told my parents, they freaked out and so it went that I was a dirty little secret. So that disclosure was a failure. I dated some good people who had no issue with my being poz, I even dated other poz’s… But that for me was difficult because I approached my disease differently than my counterparts.

When I met my hubby, I told him from the get go and he didn’t really have problems with my being poz, he had his own issues that outweighed my own. But we have never told my in laws because it would be too much for them. We made that decision because of the way they treat us as gay men. They have issues with homosexuality so in order to keep the drama to a minimum we decided not to disclose anything to them. I haven’t been to visit them in two years now and we are ok with that.

I have been on a good streak these past few years and I haven’t had many medical problems so if I am not sick, then we don’t talk about it unless I have to refill a prescription. Honesty is the best policy when dating. If i was back in the dating pool, at my age, I think that I would stay single if hubby ever left or we divorced. I don’t think that I would have the strength to go through another disclosure event in my life. It would be easier for me to fade into the background than to re-engage in community.

To be right and honest and making sure all parties are informed saves one from the possibility of infection and diagnosis of new people. I never wanted that someone come back to me saying that I had infected them. I never wanted to live with that stigma. So I never had sex with anyone when I was first diagnosed. Which is why diagnosis was so hard for me because of the way men treated me when I disclosed.

I related that story about the first date after I courageously reentered the dating pool and I drank with this young man and we got on, and ended up going dancing after my shift at the bar, and we ended up going back to his place and he wanted to get naked and do the nasty and I was stuck, did I tell him or not? So I decided to tell him, and as fast as lightening, I watched him dress as if he saw a demon, and he asked me to leave and he never spoke to me again after that night. He would come to the bar where I worked for a long time afterwards, yet he never spoke to me… That was my first encounter with disclosure. But I was always honest after that…

I never did Not Tell anyone I was involved with…

One must take care with what one shares with another. Because if I am sharing my heart with another, I want you to take care of my heart in the same way I take care of my heart and if you cannot, then you are not worthy to be my friend, or someone that I would date. If you cannot respect me in all my infirmity or sickness, then right there I know who you are, I know your character and I know your soul. And that goes for today.

I just cannot walk into an AA meeting and tell people that I am a poz member of AA. I have always had to edit my shares to what is necessary. I never disclose in a meeting because people are judgmental and can be cruel. I have, more than once been asked NOT to return to specific meetings in my city because I am a homosexual and that I have hiv and some people just cannot deal with the truth. I’ve never held back in my home group, that is why Tuesday Beginners is my home group, because they did not flinch when I shared there. They support me 100% every day, any day…

Just be careful with who you tell and when. Protect your heart at all costs. Do what you need to do and be happy with who you are because if YOU cannot accept who you are, how can you expect people to accept who you are? If you are unsure about yourself, people are going to be unsure of yourself. So before you disclose, you should know who you are and you should have a handle on your own character and personal outlook. Because you want to be sure of who you are before you say anything to anyone else…

If you doubt for one second or one percent the ability of the other you plan to tell, better you think on your next move very carefully. If you doubt that someone would not be able to deal with real truth and be able to walk with you through life, then don’t tell them. A partners ability to deal with pills and doctors appointments and the social stigma of HIV is a big ticket item and not for the feint of heart. Disclosure moves linearly. Its not the one you tell, but the ten they tell, and the family they chose [to or not to] tell. So if you are going to tell one, rest assured you are going to tell others by that one disclosure.

This is where we weed out the gossipers and the talkers… What you share in confidence should stay in confidence unless you give others permission to disclose others. I like to think that my disclosure is safe with the few who know. And I like it that way. At my age now, I can gage people pretty well, and I know what to tell them about me and what NOT to tell them about me. With age comes wisdom. Living with HIV for almost 14 years now have afforded me certain gifts to be able to read people at 50 paces. I can tell more about you that you think I know. The gift of being able to do that is something that AIDS has taught me over the years.

It’s not about disclosure so much as knowing your character and ability to deal with reality. Protect yourself, and protect your heart. Do nothing to hurt another and most assuredly, don’t do anything to hurt yourself…

And that is my missive on disclosure…


Disclosure …

Red Ribbon

Disclosure

 

I am reposting this for Single in the City because we are talking about dating and HIV.

**********************

Before we talk about disclosure, you must understand a few things. One, that the world (as a whole) has already built its position towards the HIV/AIDS subject. Every culture and every race, religious group and creed and ethnic grouping has its view of this disease. And each and every person comes to the table with their opinions and preconceived notions about how you get it, what you did to get infected and how things are going to be now that you have it. Before you even open your mouth to disclose, your head is already on the chopping block.

I knew many years before how things were going to be with my parents. Before I ever knew that “gay” was different, I had already seen and heard everything my parents thought, believed and taught their children about homosexuality, so I knew when I called the family meeting to “disclose” my diagnosis to everyone, I knew already what they thought of “us” as a community, and I as their son and a gay man. My battle was all uphill and ended in contempt, resentment and eventually silence.

Let us begin.

Disclosure is the $100,000 dollar question. Who do I tell, When do I tell them, and How do I tell them. You know what? In the beginning, don’t tell anyone, until you have had time to “hear” what has been said to YOU, and you have taken ample time to let your diagnosis sink in to your head, and make damn sure that you have made the decision that you are going to either wait to die, or that you are going to fight to live. There is only one decision you have to make right now, and that is to live, and fight, and hope and learn.

My advice to you, in the beginning is this, “Tell only those you must!” If you follow that train of thought, then the rest will come in time. You do not have to rush into telling the entire world that you have just been diagnosed, because if you do, whatever comes back at you – you will have to deal with and you know what, it isn’t worth the trouble. Because when the chips fall, this disclosure will show you just who really cares and who doesn’t and if you are not ready to deal with this fact, then keep your mouth shut. Disclosure is fodder for the local gossip mill, so if you don’t want to be the center of the coffee clutch folk, then don’t tell anyone you don’t need to.

I was diagnosed in the mid-nineties, and ignorance was bliss, and people were reacting because of the fact that people were not educated, and rationality was practically non-existent and people were gripped by such “fear” that it was impossible not to be affected by those around you or by pressure from religious groups telling the world that “Aids was God’s punishment for our sick sexual practices.” But we know that AIDS is not just a gay disease. This fact will be repeated throughout this reading.

In those years, disclosure was always preceded by speculation and gossip. I used to be able to “see” people with AIDS at fifty paces, these days that ability is not as easy to apply, because the signs of AIDS have changed, because we are living better, and with the progression of drugs in this field, the pall of death is not as prevalent as the one signifier that foretold the general public that you were sick.

Recently, well, in the last little while, I have come to know some people who are inside their first year of diagnosis and this question has come up. One has to be very careful about who you tell from the get go. Because you know, that people talk and gossip is a very hurtful aspect of human societal existence. Most of the world functions on the misfortunes and sexual practices of the every day human and no one is immune to this fact.

If you tell one person in the beginning, you can be rest assured that from that one telling is that at least 10 people will get this news from that one person. As you know people love to gossip, with no forethought about the person they are talking about. Not many people think about the emotional and social damage they do to those of us who really are sick, and are looking for a foothold after receiving this news from doctors. This gossip line will extend itself exponentially, depending on how many people you tell to begin with.

I watched families fall apart after learning that their sons or daughters were diagnosed with AIDS. I watched landlords toss tenants out on the streets because they would not rent to people with AIDS, because of peer pressure and sheer stupidity. I saw people shrink back from hugging friends and lovers and distance became the norm between people. This is the worst case scenario, and I saw this occur with my own eyes.

When I told my boyfriend that I was diagnosed he had a nervous breakdown, the men and women I called my friends, became strangers, and my family began to exclude and punish me personally. And my mother was a health care worker for years before this ever happened, which totally blew my mind, and broke my heart.

My parents were children who never grew into the world; they were victims of the “brainwashing” of the American social gospel of the time. Homosexuality was a sin, and was an abomination in the eyes of God, and those diagnosed with AIDS got what they deserved. Like I said in the beginning, AIDS knows no boundaries, or social class, or racial grouping. It is no longer a “gay” disease; it is a world “EPIDEMIC.”

It is sad because of the fact that the straight community suffers the same “stigma” that we did and still do. And I have to say it is only fair for you to understand what we felt, because of the way the heterosexual community treated the gay populations all over the world. The heterosexual community judged us and treated us badly and you did not take the high road, many of you took the low road, and you caved to the social and religious gospel of your communities and societies, and you burned bridges where you should have been building them.

This problem did not only come from the heterosexual community, it also came from within our own community. The Gay men and women who were diagnosed also suffered ignorance and exclusion by our own brothers and sisters. I would hope that this ignorance has been replaced by education, compassion and understanding.

Which brings us back full circle to the one hundred thousand dollar question? Who do you tell? Let me ask you a question first? Are you ready to cope with your diagnosis rationally? Are you ready to play 20 questions with each and every person you tell, because you know damn well, they will start with these off the top?

Who did you have sex with? Do you know who infected you?

  1. Why were you so careless? Hence it was your own fault!
  2. How did you know you “had it” before you went and got tested?
  3. Should I worry about my own health, (if you had been involved sexually)
  4. Did you use dirty needles?
  5. Did you infect anyone else?
  6. What will “the family” say! Oh the drama!!
  7. What are you going to do now?
  8. I don’t know if I can be friends with you any more!
  9. I think we should break up, God Forbid my friends and family find out.

You see, my husband has chosen NOT to tell his parents this little secret about me and we live with this secret each and every time we go to visit, you know, the hidden pill bottles in the suit case, the sidestepping health questions, we NEVER discuss my family at all, lest I tell them the entire long drawn out story! And that is one thing that I don’t want or need to worry about, let alone my husband. Sometimes, things are better left unsaid, you know.

What happens if your parents don’t know about you, if you are gay? That opens up many possibilities of resentments, in today’s day and age, gay men and women and successively the youth of the world live under veils of secrecy with their families because of the “toss out” factor. Parents still treat their gay children with contempt, anger, frustration and some parents even send their children to “reassignment camps” to try and “change” them into heterosexual boys and girls, because still in the year 2006, “gay” is still unacceptable.

People are forced to deal with the silence then say anything about being gay and then God forbid you get sick. I have known men who have gone to their graves with that secret because they could not bring themselves to disclose their homosexuality and add to that an Aids Diagnosis to their families.

There were a few funerals that I had attended that were scripted down to the burial to make sure that the parents and family never heard the word AIDS come from anyone’s mouth who had attended that particular funeral.

I have a friend who is straight; he is a young and beautiful boy, who made some serious mistakes with his life. He never crossed the sexual line, he is an addict and alcoholic, and on a bad day, he shot up, and his life turned on a dime. He called me the day before he left the country to say goodbye.

A few months later I got an email and in that email I read these words “Hello, I am sick, I was just diagnosed with HIV, and I don’t know what to do, please help me.” He told his mom and his tight circle of friends, to this day, he still struggles.

Disclosure also carries with it the fear of breaking the unspoken social, ethnic and racial taboos. I have found across the racial divide that AIDS is something that “we just don’t ever talk about!” We still practice guilt by association. Racial groups still treat their own with a perfect execution of racial exclusion and separation. It was always believed that AIDS was a “White, Caucasian, Gay disease.” How wrong that belief “IS.”

If you belonged to a racial grouping, there was only one way you “got it!” And if you “had it” then you were ostracised from your community and family. Sad, that families would rather kick their sick family members to the curb, rather than love them and care for them, as if they were human and created by God. But, I would be remiss, if I did not say that there are “miracle families” who did not turn their backs on some. And I would hope that this was becoming a norm and not statistical speculation.

When one is diagnosed with HIV or AIDS, there is so much to think about while you begin to learn how to cope with your own illness. That is why one has to first take care of themselves, before you can begin to look at the bigger picture.

Disclosing the news to the world around you is like throwing a rock into a pond of flat water. Each ripple moves outward from the center in varying degrees of impact on the shores that they will eventually hit.

It is important to keep this all in perspective, lest you fall into the pit of insanity and taking care of yourself becomes a path of self destructive behaviour, which could lead to addiction, pain and suffering and in the end, a very miserable death.

Fear is the path to the Dark Side…

Fear leads to Anger

Anger leads to Hate

Hate leads to Suffering

(Master Yoda – Star Wars)

You are the focus of this writing, what goes on within your social circle will follow its own evolution. You are not responsible for anyone else’s life but your own. You are not responsible for how people will react to you with the knowledge that you are sick. We are not responsible for other people’s choices. We all have a choice, which is why it is important that you make wise choices from the beginning.

Once again we come a recovery thought that “what people think of me is none of my business” and once again you say that this is easier said than done and once again, you are correct. Behaviour is learned and can be unlearned if you work diligently at it one day at a time.

You must have at least one ally in your corner that will stand with you, as you venture into the disclosure stage of your personal evolution. And some people don’t even have that, which is truly sad. It takes a village to care for someone who is HIV positive or has AIDS. I truly believe that I could not have done this alone and I will tell you right now that you will not survive if you try to conquer this mountain alone.

There is a path to follow, and the only way that you are going to find it is to come and look for it. Don’t go out there into the world without some very specific information, because you not only have to deal with the reactions of who you tell, you will be forced to deal with their own baggage of religious, ethnic and personal beliefs on the subject. At the time of disclosure, this becomes an issue about “you” and not “them.” And they must understand that.

It is difficult having to tell someone that you are sick after spending years in a family building relationships, you make friends in the world, and as well at work and school, and at some point you come to a cross roads, you have watched these people live and react to other people and issues. You know, full and well, how they think and what they believe, and now you have decided to have “the discussion” with them. And if you are like me, in any way, shape or form, you have already had this discussion in your head before hand.

You have scripted your conversation and you think you have all the answers you need to have prepared, I did that. But, you never know, really, how they will react until you tell them, and you have a 50 – 50 chance at a positive, supportive response from them. So you go on your gut instinct and you hope for the best, and I warn you now, before you say one word to anyone, be prepared to have them walk away and not look back. This is a very sad truth I have to share with you.

You need to know the answers to questions about AIDS and HIV before you disclose to anyone, so that you can pain them a picture that is easier to swallow, and may help you strengthen the relationship you have with that person you are talking to, because they are going to have a hundred questions for you before you leave that meeting.

And if you get overwhelmed, then you may find yourself having to defend yourself to them. In some cases “what about them” becomes a discussion that I call “what about you?”

If I invest time and emotion into a disclosure discussion with someone and they go off on a “what about me” rant, then I know that I have to stop them and remind them that “this is not about you, this is all about me.” For the most part I find that people are not able to take that hard stance from the get go, like I said Behaviour is learned, the more you practice the better you get over time.

Once you disclose to one person, that ally that I spoke about earlier, you can talk about the next conversation you plan to have. I always err on the side of caution, and if you take that tack, then you won’t go into this next conversation without some support and all the ammunition you need to get across the battlefield of discussion. I make this out to be a war of words, and for some it is. Let us not gloss over the facts and the history of the thousands of stories that I have heard over the last 13 years, and blow them off as just “stories.”

So who do you tell? You tell only those you must. When do you tell them? When you have fully thought through the words you heard from your doctor or clinic worker, and you have made that One Very Crucial Decision, “that you want to live!” And finally, how do you tell them? You find a neutral place, DO NOT disclose in your “sacred space” that place that you call your own. Because that memory will haunt the place you live in if you do.

It is important to create for yourself a safe buffer zone where you reside and rest your body and soul. If you have to, write out what you want to say on a set of note cards, so that you won’t loose your place within the discussion and that will keep you on track, so to speak. First, before you do any of this, you must pray or meditate, and connect with the universe, so that whatever you believe in will stand with you. There are no atheists in the foxholes. I will speak more about this topic later on. Just stay with me here.

Bring your ally along with you, if you think that they will help you stand strong. And you just do it. Look, we need to talk, I have something to tell you… then you throw a Hail Mary pass and hope that someone “up there” catches it. There is no set script, for this discussion, it is going to change for each person you decide to talk to.

This discussion will set apart the men from the boys and the girls from the women. It will test your resolve and truly show you who your family is and who your family will become. And sadly, this will also show you who your real friends are, like I said earlier, be prepared to speak your news, and have that person or persons walk away and never look back. Better you be prepared for the worst, in the hopes that it will not happen to you, like it did me.

When you have decided that you have done what you need to do, and you find out who is still standing with you after the dust settles, then you gather your horses and carriages and you rally around each other, and you build your fort. You fortify your boundaries and you take your stance and you stand for what you believe in. You draw a line in the sand of life and you stand behind it and you may be standing alone, or you may be standing with a few fellows, in any case, you must stand up and believe that things happen for a reason.

And like I said we don’t always get the answers we want, but we do get the answers we need, and you have to deal with that fact, from the get go because expectations are just pre-packaged resentments. Just because you have disclosed some information, does not give people the carte blanche to start running your life, scripting your visits and or sticking their noses into business that has nothing to do with them. And I am militant about that. How many people do you know from the outside have any idea what you are going through and how many of these people are still going to be standing with you when times get rough?

When you disclose your sero-status to someone, you invite them into your world, so be careful who you invite into your social circle, because they may be friends and family, but, like I said, this about your life and the living of it. Even if you don’t invite the general public into your life, we as people with HIV and AIDS are already on the radar of many religious, opinionated, and socially repressed people. We are not immune to the words of strangers. You will find the longer you walk this road, you will have to choose your battles wisely, once you disclose. If you can’t stand on your own and defend the person you are, then you make sure that there are others in your circle that can and will.


Jerome – Cosmology …

In Jain cosmology, the heavens are set up in a multi level system with the lower heavens and the upper heavens.
Jain Cosmology from Religion Facts Online


Jains believe that the universe and everything in it is eternal. Nothing that exists now was ever created, nor will it be destroyed. The universe consists of three realms: the heavens, the earthly realm and the hells.

There are seven levels of heaven in Jain cosmology. The top level, “the Realm of the Jinas” is reserved for liberated souls. The next level down is the realm of the gods.

The earthly realm, or jambudnoa (“Continent of the Rose-Apple Tree”) is divided into seven regions by six mountain ranges. Deliverance and religious merit is possible in three of these regions: India in the south, airavat in the north, and mahavideha in the middle.

The eight hells become progressively colder as they go down.

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I had a visual dream today about the heavens. It was multileveled like Jain cosmology, yet it has a very Buddhist twist. I was standing on this plane, and I was taken up to the next plane of existence. I understood that when you die on one plane, you move to the next in an ever present ever changing world of existence.

Each plane of existence was not so much grander than the one before it, but there were clear differences in them as you moved from one level to the next. I was told that you cannot move between the existence planes or influence what was going on below. I had the ability to see cities and towns, and move from place to place, and space to space. I found myself navigating through apartments and gardens. I was able to move from one level [plane] to the next as if floating between the spiritual levels.

It was a technicolor dream of grand proportions. The colors were vivid the sky was bright blue and the temples were incredibly amazing with their sculptures and decorated statues and gardens. There was life and there was death.

I looked upon a calendar like structure, it was almost as if each life was documented and as the soul moved through each plane, they would come to the time where they would leave [each] plane of existence moving upwards towards the uppermost level. At the end of your time of existence on each plane there were temples to celebrate your life and mourn your death.

I do not know if there was an earthbound soul that corresponded to a spiritual soul making their way up through the many spiritual levels, rising to the top most level of shrines and gardens. I could not see below, I was focused on what was going on around me.

You exist on each level in successive and once you complete your time on each level you die, and that is not a bad thing. Eventually you end up on the final level where you find a huge temple with a gigantic Buddha and lakes and rivers, and temples and places to live.

I am familiar with Jain cosmology and with Buddhist tradition. They do not share the same afterlife cosmology which is strange because what I saw was very Jain, but what was the Buddha doing there? Jain and Buddhist tradition are very similar in many ways as when I studied Jainism, Buddhist writings were consulted.


The Dying Orgasm

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wow, did that get your attention???

I want to ask a few questions:

1. How many of you expected a lot this holiday season?
2. Did you get what you expected? or did you not?
3. Did you spend all your time, talent and treasure on people who really did not deserve such gifts such that you spent on?
4. Did everyone have a really rough holiday?
5. Is the bluebird of depression camped on your sofa?
6. Are you sitting there wondering what the fuck???
7. Are you exhausted after getting emotionally and mentally fucked this Christmas?
8. DID that ORGASM you expected fail you?
9. Was the Holiday Orgasm short lived?
10. Is it time to reevaluate our traditions and holiday practices?
11. Did you put too much energy into your holiday and now you are feeling down?
12. Did you expend energy that you did not have to begin with,
i.e. were you running on santa elf endorphans???
13. Did you outdo yourself this holiday and now you feel wasted?
14. Did you not drink and use and feel like you did???
15. Did you expect too much and get too little?
16. Did you expect the wrong things, therefore you missed the whole shebang?
17. Do you need to readjust your emotional clock again?
18. Do you need a Quickie to Quicken you back to form?
19. What DID you NOT DO that you should have DONE and what DID you DO that you SHOULD NOT have DONE???
20. How many of these questions identify you right at this moment?

Thanks for playing…


Benazir Bhutto…

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I’ve spent the day pondering writing more on this topic, and I think I will. As you know I am not much of a political writer, but I do pay attention to world news and Ms. Bhutto’s desire to return to Pakistan. She was interviewed by Peter Mansbridge on CBC some time ago, and I have to say I was moved by her desire to return to her homeland and turn the tide, so to speak, so that Pakistan would not slide into becoming an Islamic state over run by fundamental and radical elements that threaten the entire stability and security of the world.

We all know that Pervez Musharraf is in trouble. His credibility has fallen and it was thought by many around the world that an arrangement would be reached for new rule to take place and that – that new rule would stem the tide of radical fundamentalism.

In October Ms. Bhutto spoke about the fact “that no Muslim man would wage an attack on a Muslim woman, because that was forbidden, and that if a Muslim man did so, he would burn in hell.”

We can imagine that he who shot her – was most likely the same man who blew himself up killing hundreds of people along with her. I am sure he was not greeted with 72 virgins and a first class ticket to Muslim paradise. Ms. Bhutto knew going in that her return was going to be fraught with danger, and she also knew that it was entirely possible that she may be killed. Her father was hanged, her two brothers were murdered, and now the last in a long line of “leader lineage” has been silenced forever.

I was very saddened by the news this morning. Ms. Bhutto is being flown to her families estate where she will be buried on Friday. We send our thoughts and prayers to her family and supporters. We pray for the soul of Ms. Bhutto, Eternal Rest Grant her and may Perpetual Light shine upon her.

We call for a period of mourning and we call for the people of Pakistan to rise up and turn your rage and anger to those who deserve it. Do not let her memory die in your rage. Do not let her killing stop the tide from turning to better government. We cannot allow fundamental extremists to attain any type of rule in Pakistan. Because that would endanger the entire world community on a grand scale. Turn your anger and rage into votes for the right party upon the day of elections. Do not let Ms. Bhutto’s efforts die with her. Stand up and vote your consciences…

Here are some thoughts from The Angry Black Bitch on the days events.

The former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto, has been assassinated.

When I heard that she had been wounded while at a political rally this morning I thought of her family.

People lost a loved one today.

When I heard that she was critical and in surgery I thought of Pakistan, the country that she knowingly put her life on the line to defend against the forces of military oppression.

The Pakistani people lost an advocate today.

Then the news came that Benazir Bhutto is dead.

What happens next will determine what the world lost today.

Freedom requires opposition…dissent and the passionate defense of the right to voice dissent…not religion, or constant agreement or any of the love it or leave it bullshit those who fear the masses toss out as if an argument where a terroristic threat.

Silence the opposition and you smother freedom.

Smother freedom and the will of the people will struggle to catch fire.

I think that’s why Benazir Bhutto returned to Pakistan despite all the risks….because of the risks…to nurture the fire.

Benazir Bhutto was 54 years old.

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Sharif’s party to boycott elections…

By ZARAR KHAN, Associated Press Writer 

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan – Pakistani opposition leader Nawaz Sharif announced Thursday his party was boycotting next month’s elections following the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. He demanded that President Pervez Musharraf resign immediately.

“The holding of fair and free elections is not possible in the presence of Pervez Musharraf. After the killing of Benazir Bhutto, I announce that the Pakistan Muslim League-N will boycott the elections,” Sharif told a news conference, referring to his party.

Sharif urged other parties to join the boycott of the Jan. 8 parliamentary elections. A collective response, including by Bhutto’s own party could seriously undermine the legitimacy of the vote as Musharraf attempts to engineer a transition to democracy after eight years of military rule.

“I demand that Musharraf should quit immediately,” he said. “Musharraf is the cause of all the problems. The federation of Pakistan cannot remain in tact in the presence of President Musharraf.”

Sharif, 57, was a longtime rival of Bhutto as the two vied for power in the late 1980s and 1990s. He was ousted in the 1999 coup that brought Musharraf to power.

Sharif said after three days of mourning, he would chalk out a strategy to challenge Musharraf’s rule but he rebutted suggestions that he could gain political capital from her demise.

“I think nobody stands to gain and nobody should be looking for any gains,” he told the British Broadcasting Corp. “It’s a very serious situation for the country today.”

As word of Bhutto’s death spread throughout a shaken and distraught Pakistan, Sharif rushed to the Rawalpindi hospital where she died and sat silently next to her body.

“Benazir Bhutto was also my sister, and I will be with you to take the revenge for her death,” he said afterward, his eyes at times welling up with tears. “Don’t feel alone. I am with you. We will take the revenge on the rulers.”

Bhutto, like Sharif a two-time former prime minister, was hopeful of winning a third term. Election authorities have disqualified Sharif from contesting a seat because of court convictions.

Bhutto’s death will leave Sharif as the most prominent leader of a secular political party in Pakistan.

Bhutto’s supporters erupted in anger and grief, attacking police and rioting in several cities. At the hospital where she died, some smashed glass and wailed, chanting slogans against Musharraf.

The gathering unrest stoked fears of mass protests and violence across the nuclear-armed nation, an important U.S. ally in the war on terrorism.

For Sharif, the path forward was far from clear.

“I think we all have to seriously think about how to move ahead because such incidents are something absolutely unusual or unheard of,” he told CNN. “We have never been confronted with this kind of a situation in our public life in Pakistan.”

Pakistan, however, has seen its share of political violence, and Islamic militants have repeatedly targeted top figures in Musharraf’s government. Last weekend, a suicide bomber targeted former Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao inside a mosque, killing 56 other people.

Sharif, a law graduate and the son of a leading industrialist who is considered religiously conservative, rose to prominence under Gen. Zia ul-Haq’s military regime in the 1980s, becoming the chief minister of the eastern province of Punjab.

He went on to lead the Pakistan Muslim League and became Bhutto’s chief rival in the struggle for power during a turbulent decade of civilian rule.

Sharif was ousted in 1999 by then-army chief Musharraf. Sharif went into exile, living for most of the time in Saudi Arabia, before returning last month to challenge Musharraf once more.


The Gospel of Thomas…

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The Gnostic Gospel of Thomas: passages 66-71

66 – Yeshua said,
Show me the stone that the builders rejected.
That is the cornerstone.

67 – Yeshua said,
One who knows all but lacks within
is utterly lacking.

68 – Blessings on you when you are hated and persecuted,
and no place will be found,
wherever you are persecuted.

69 – Yeshua said,
Blessings on you who have been persecuted in your hearts.
Only you truly know the father,
Blessings on you who are hungry
that the stomach of someone else in want may be filled

70 – Yeshua said,
If you bring forth what is within you, what you have will save you.
If you have nothing within you,
what you do not have will kill you.

71 – Yeshua said,
I shall destroy this house
and no one will be able to rebuild it

It seems as though Thomas is repeating words shared in the gospel and acts accounts on canon literature. Almost beatitude like line 67 and line 70 seem to be associated with the thoughts of interior state and what you either have from within or do not have from within. The Gospel of Thomas is a collection of sayings in verse form. In order to interpret correctly or even understand the passages in themselves you must read the entire set of passages prior to and after the passage in question. The Gnostic gospels see Jesus in another light, other than the portrayal in the Canonical Gospels. So before you get your panties in a wad, read what I wrote here before you comment. And if you are not familiar with Gnostic Gospel writing, then maybe you should read them.

“Jesus in Thomas performs no physical miracles, reveals no fulfillment of prophecy, announces no apocalyptic kingdom about to disrupt the world order, dies for no one’s sins, and does not rise from the dead on Easter Sunday. His value, rather, lies in his enigmatic sayings, which are pregnant with possibility and power.

Whoever discovers what these sayings mean will not taste death, Jesus promises. That is to say, one who uncovers the interpretive keys to the meaning of these sayings thinks Jesus’ thoughts after him and comletes his sayings in new and sagacious ways. Such a one seeks and finds true wisdom and knowledge.”

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The Gospel of Thomas…

In the Beginning was wisdom, Hokhmah, Sophia

From the times of ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians, wisdom and knowledge have been seen as keys to a good and successful life.

In Mesopotamia, wisdom is also praised, often as a gift of the gods.

In the ancient Greco-Roman world, wisdom was the domain of the philosopher, the lover of wisdom and knowledge, who dispenses wisdom and knowledge.

In the world of early Judaism, sages are revered for their insight into the human condition before god, and sometimes the wisdom they proclaim is personified as Hokhmah (in Hebrew) or Sophia (in Greek), terms of the feminine gender used to indicate wisdom as the female expression of the divine.

Within this dynamic world or ancient wisdom, Hokhmah, Sophia, Jesus of Nazareth (or Yeshua, using his Semitic name) was born to humble beginnings in Galilee, in Israel.

In later christology Jesus would attain the stature of divinity, but his actual life may have been closer to that of a wisdom teacher — that is, a rabbi.

There is evidence to support the interpretation of Jesus as a Jewish sage.

The New Testament Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all contain a substantial amount of material reflecting Jesus’ teachings and sayings.

Within the first three synoptic gospels, Matthew and Luke have more sayings and stories than Mark.

Matthew and Luke must have added a collection of Jesus’ sayings, now called “Q” (from Quelle, German for “source”), to the story of Jesus.

“Q” must antedate the Gospels of Matthew and Luke as a gospel of the wisdom of Jesus, and thus it may have originated in the middle of the first century, only a couple of decades after Jesus’ death.

The Gospel of Thomas was also composed in the middle of the first century, around the time of “Q” or maybe a little later.

This evidence leads to the conclusion that some of the earliest Christian gospels were gospels of wisdom, presenting Jesus as a teacher of wisdom.

The sayings gospel “Q” and the Gospel of Thomas present Jesus of Nazareth as a Jewish sage, and they may have written something historically correct. A terse saying embodying a general truth, or astute observation, as “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” (Lord Acton).

The Gospel of Thomas gives many more examples of aphorisms of Jesus.

T.G.O.T. also presents a number of stories, or parables.

The Secret book of James and The Book of Thomas also include some of the same material.

The Gospel of Thomas (like Q) has substantial and meaningful sayings of Jesus.

Like the Gospel of John, both stress the role of Jesus as one who discloses insight and knowledge.

There is a difference in the “person of Jesus” in Thomas.

‘Jesus’ in the Gospel of Thomas speaks life-giving words, promising that those who follow him, respond to his words, and find their true meaning will not taste death.

Thomas’s Jesus is “just Jesus.” (Patterson, The Fifth Gospel.)

Jesus’ words are not just words. They are hidden words of wisdom from a living Jesus who lives on in his sayings — hidden sayings, secret sayings, with hidden meanings.

Jesus in Thomas performs no physical miracles

Reveals no fulfillment of prophecy

Announces no apocalyptic kingdom

Dies for no one’s sins

And does not rise from the dead on Easter Sunday

His value, lies in enigmatic sayings, which are full of possibility and power.

That is to say, one who uncovers the interpretive keys to the meaning of these sayings think Jesus’ thoughts after him and completes his sayings with acute discernment.

Such a person seeks and finds true wisdom and knowledge.

But: was this entirely plausible and possible in early Christian communities, to understand the depth of these wisdom Gospels?

According to the Gospel of Thomas, the interpretation of these wise but hidden sayings will bring knowledge and life.

Every read is an interpretation, which leads to the possibility of community problems with interpreting scripture or wisdom writing.

Unless each community had its own interpretive teacher to enlighten wisdom and gospel texts.

Yeshua said,

If they say to you, “Where have you come from?”

say to them, “We have come from the light,

from the place where the light came into being itself,

Established itself, and appeared in their image.”

If they say to you, “Is it you?”

Say, “We are children and the chosen of the living father.”

If they ask you, “What is the evidence of your father in

you?” Say to them, “It is motion and rest.”

This saying, one of the most perplexing and most gnostic of the hidden sayings of Jesus.

It reflects early traditions about wisdom and the life of the soul ( psyche), which must go through transition and passages of life in order to attain its proper destiny.

This speaks of the necessity of life experience to grasp and understand the hidden sayings of Jesus.

That not everyone would have received the gifts of these sayings.

The format of Gospel of Thomas 50, with questions asked and answers given, brings to mind accounts, in other sources especially Gnostic writings, of heavenly powers interrogating the soul as it passes through the spheres of heaven.

In reading the Gospel of Thomas, one begins a quest. To read, and interpret the words and find in them meaning to each reader.

“Whoever discovers what these sayings mean will not taste death,” Jesus promises.

The editor of Thomas is said to be Judas Thomas, or Judas the twin, who is acclaimed by Syrian Christians as the twin brother of Jesus and the messenger (or apostle) to the Syrians.

This gospel may have been written in Syria, possibly at Edessa (modern Urfa), where the memory of Thomas was revered and where his bones were venerated.

Like the Gospel of Thomas, the Book of Thomas is said to have been written in conjunction with Judas Thomas, the twin brother of Jesus.

The Book of Thomas is identified at the opening of the document as a sayings collection: “The hidden sayings that the savior spoke to Judas Thomas.” the precise identity of this books editor remains uncertain.

 


Benazir Bhutto killed in attack

I was shocked this morning at seeing this report across news channels. Such sadness and senseless killing of a woman who had such great hope for her country. Eternal Rest Grant her and may Perpetual Light shine upon her…

Benazir Bhutto at the rally on 27 December 2007

Benazir Bhutto had been addressing rallies in many parts of Pakistan

Pakistani former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has been assassinated in a suicide attack. Ms Bhutto had just addressed an election rally in Rawalpindi when she was shot in the neck by a gunman who then set off a bomb.

At least 16 other people died in the attack and several more were injured.

President Pervez Musharraf condemned the killing and urged people to remain calm so that the “nefarious designs of terrorists can be defeated.”

There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the attack.

Ms Bhutto, leader of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), had twice been the country’s prime minister and had been campaigning ahead of elections due in January.

It was the second suicide attack against her in recent months and came amid a wave of bombings targeting security and government officials.

Nawaz Sharif, also a former prime minister and a political rival, said her death was a tragedy for “the entire nation”.

“It is not a sad day, it is [the] darkest, gloomiest day in the history of this country,” he said, speaking at the hospital where she was taken.

The United Nations Security Council is to meet for emergency consultations shortly to discuss the situation in Pakistan after the killing.

Scene of grief

The attack occurred close to an entrance gate of the park in Rawalpindi where Ms Bhutto had been speaking.

Police confirmed reports Ms Bhutto had been shot in the neck and chest before the gunman blew himself up.

She died at 1816 (1316 GMT), said Wasif Ali Khan, a member of the PPP who was at Rawalpindi General Hospital.

Some supporters at the hospital wept while others broke into anger, throwing stones at cars and breaking windows.

Police in the north-western city of Peshawar are reported to have used tear gas and batons to break up a demonstration by angry Bhutto supporters and there were also protests in other cities.

Mr Sharif said there had been a “serious lapse in security” by the government.

But an old friend of Ms Bhutto, Salman Tassir, told the BBC World Service he did not think criticism should be directed at the government.

“There have been suicide attacks on Gen Musharraf also,” he told Newshour.

“… I mean it is extremism and the fanatics who are to blame.”

Earlier on Thursday, at least four people were killed ahead of an election rally Mr Sharif had been preparing to attend close to Rawalpindi.

Ms Bhutto’s death has plunged the PPP into confusion and raises questions about whether January elections will go ahead as planned, the BBC’s Barbara Plett in Islamabad says.

‘Cowardly act’

The killing was condemned by India, the US, the UK and others.

BENAZIR BHUTTO
Father led Pakistan before being executed in 1979
Spent five years in prison
Served as PM from 1988-1990 and 1993-1996
Sacked twice by president on corruption charges
Formed alliance with rival ex-PM Nawaz Sharif in 2006
Ended self-imposed exile by returning to Pakistan in October
Educated at Harvard and Oxford

“The subcontinent has lost an outstanding leader who worked for democracy and reconciliation in her country,” said Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

US President George W Bush condemned a “cowardly act by murderous extremists who are trying to undermine Pakistan’s democracy”.

UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband said “extremist groups… [could] not and must not succeed”.

Ms Bhutto returned from self-imposed exile in October after years out of Pakistan where she had faced corruption charges.

Her return was the result of a power-sharing agreement with President Musharraf in which he granted an amnesty that covered the court cases she was facing.

It was only a matter of time before the darker forces… carried out this action
Helen Stynes
Swaffham

But relations with Mr Musharraf soon broke down.

On the day of her arrival, she had led a motor cavalcade through the city of Karachi.

It was hit by a double suicide attack that left some 130 dead.


End of Year 2007…

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End of Year 2006 – 2007 Prospectus

I’ve been wary to sit and write this post because this blog is just over a year old and so let’s look at the stats live at this moment:

We have had 72,887 Visits
Best Day Ever: December 5th 2007 with 570 hits
There are 978 posts
419 comments
315 categories
51 tags
and Akismet has caught over 90,207 spam messages…

So I am going to bounce between the then and now as I write this, I thought that might be a way to approach this end of the year post, to see what I was thinking a year ago at this time.

Then:

I haven’t really thought about the end of the year review but in reading some other of my fellows like Zeitzeuge, I guess I should write it down, before I forget. I live my life on a different wavelength – unlike my fellow, I am married, and I am sober, so relationship issues are somewhat the same, but are different. When you are sober and get married everything changes. Add to a marriage a bi-polar rapid cycling man and an HIV positive man and you’ve got yourself a pretty green pickle of a situation. Sero-discordant issues are a reality, but not as much any longer. Life is an issue, problems arise, but we deal with them as they come up.

We don’t live on year to year expectations. We have been on an path, so to speak. Our lives are lived in the pursuit of happiness, in as many ways as one can have it. The work that goes into “making a relationship work” is a force of nature. It is a willingness, an energy that I have no idea from where it comes, how one taps it, or how to control it. I guess this energy comes from the fact that “I made a promise” before my friends, family and before God.

A relationship takes on new meaning when vows are spoken and promises are made before God, at least that means something to me. Add to that – that my husbands Bi-Polar issue started well before our marriage and I chose to stick it out and be a man and do the right thing. That commitment has carried me through until now. It is the promise I remember – the man I knew then – and the man I know today. They are not the same man by any stretch of the imagination.

I don’t focus on my “Positiveness” like some of my fellows. The only place the word AIDS or HIV appears is in my sidebar profile. I only talk about it when necessary. Aids does not define me, nor does it limit me, nor does it make me any different than any other man or woman, it used to.

But the older I get and the longer I survive, the less important what I am or what I have becomes or exists to be for me. So what I am Gay, HIV positive, so forth and so on.

WHO I am is more important than WHAT I am… with age comes wisdom. That I can share that wisdom with others through the medium of a Blog makes each one of us important to those who read us. And that makes us accountable and responsible and reliable to be good men and women. To think of others when we write to try and leave the world a better place than when we came into it.

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Now: [Sagarmantha] The Holy Mountain

That was my opening salvo a year ago almost to the day, December 28th 2006. Much has changed since that time. Hubby and I have been married a little more than three years now [November 2004], and we have settled into a calm and quiet routine of life. Marriage has been an adventure. It by no means has been easy, not that it was difficult. We have just refined the way we live, and we pay attention to things a lot closer than normal couples. When we met in the Fall of 2002, it was instantaneous, and we’ve been together ever since. I don’t know what it would be like if I was ever alone again…

I just cannot imagine how lonely it would be…

Bi-Polar depression and its treatment has taken a marked cost from my marriage and I have to deal with that to the best of my ability. They say if there is not love, money, sex and power in a marriage, then what good is it? Well those things all add to a marriage, but when you strip a marriage down to the bare bones, it is the little things that make a marriage work. Problems aside, I’d never leave, because it would break too many hearts.

Living in a sober household, dealing with issues of marriage gives a sense of perspective when speaking to other bloggers and readers. Navigating major depression and AIDS in the 21st century is a lot different than it was in the 90’s. Sensibilities have changed about gay men and women. The world has become desensitized to the “gay agenda” some like to think. In many parts of the world over the last year, LGBTQ people have been recognized, albeit, not enough recognition on all fronts, but I think we have made some forward progress. My readership is very mixed. My readers come from all over the world, men and women, gay and straight, etc, etc…

I have worked hard over the last year to be the man I say I am. I have walked the walk and talked the talk. Learning how to be a spiritual man on the inside and share with you that spiritual man on the outside has been very challenging, to say the least. I cannot think one thing, write another and try to walk on thin ice… That’s just not me…

I guess you can say that I live an authentic life…

I have also spent a great deal of time reading and participating in the online community of bloggers. I take that part of my life very seriously. I devote time every day, EVERY DAY to read your blogs. I pray for all of you, and I participate in your good times, and I mourn with you in the sad times. And I may not comment all over the place, but when I feel I have something to offer, I will comment.

And there are some blogs that I comment regularly on, those young men whom are growing into fine men themselves, having an older set of eyes on certain issues brings perspective. I know what it is like to be young, and horny at age 20 and up… I know what it is like to go out into the world… I have faced my demons of AIDS, Addiction, Alcoholism and Depression. And I lived to tell …

We are still sober. I am religious about meetings. My hubby tends to stay away from them, yet we share the same family of friends. Those people we call friends are family to us, because they have direct access to our lives 100%, they participate in our daily lives, and they have helped us when we really needed it, those friends we can call on night or day…

Being HIV positive now 13 years later, who knew!! Did I ever think that I would survive this long? No. Not in the beginning. In the beginning, I counted the days, until I hit that first year of being POZ, then I began to think on 5 year terms of survival. When I hit the ten year mark, things in my life had already begun to change. I was in the hands of a very capable doctor who treated patient zero – that man is still my doctor.

I don’t see disease in the same way that my contemporaries or fellow poz men see it. I may not be politically active nor do I spend time working in the field of AIDS work, just because I refuse to cave to the language police in Montreal. And nobody in this city has given me one dime or offered me one word of support or assistance in all the years I have lived in this city, aside from the hospital clinic.

Many years ago, I applied to work in this field here in Montreal and people [straight and gay people] looked me dead in the eye and told me that I was uneducated and unqualified to work in the AIDS community. Needless to say, in the last six years I have never attended one aids function, one fund raiser or one walk!

I do my best outreach right here on this blog. I cannot tell you how many hours of time I have spent working on those [Pages] over there on the sidebar. I have wept, cried and relived every memory that exists in my brain to pour that knowledge out in written form, I always hoped that one day my writings would be published, yet that dream still eludes me.

I don’t dwell on being sick, it does not suit me. My husband does not dwell on my illness. In fact we don’t dwell on illness at all. Although we manage both together, it never comes up in conversation. The only time we talk about sickness, is at the end of the day when I medicate or we have to refill a prescription. I don’t give my diseases any more power than I must. The less power you give an addiction or sickness, the more energy you have for life. Now I know that there are some illnesses you cannot avoid because of what they force you to live through, or experience, I am grateful that I have not had to walk that road. I have lived a clearly blessed life these last six years.

I do not know how I did it. I just walked the road, one day at a time…

I take care of me. I take care of my husband. And he takes care of me. I eat well, I sleep well, and I pay attention to the little details of life, at age 40, how can you not?

I’m clean and sober. Many of my readers are in a program of recovery in some way shape or form. I don’t [we] don’t have the pressures of parties, the pressure of relationships with people who drink, drug or party. I incorporate my sobriety into my writing every chance I get because [the program] principles are universal for everyone. Gay or Straight, male or female, God created them… If we all live by the good word and the good path, the world would be a better place, and it all begins with me.

If I can do it, YOU can do it…

I graduated from university last June 2007. I now hold a B.A. in Religious Studies and I am currently studying for my Pastoral Ministry Certificate in the Department of Theology at Concordia University. Who knew that I would LIVE and that I would start a university career at age 36 and graduate before my 40th birthday??? who knew…

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I still mentor my [pod of young men] and I have even added a few more over the last year, and this again, is another important aspect of my life and personal work. I truly enjoy working with them and seeing them grow into fine young men and outstanding community participants in their respective communities. My two sons are doing well. They both have great lives, they have great jobs, they have great friends. I love them more than life itself, and sometimes, even more than my husband…

My maternal instinct is very strong. Every once in a while I will get that pang of wanting children, and maybe one day we will adopt, but not today, but when we get to that financial point in our lives, we will. I need the house before I bring another soul under my roof again.

There is an entire community of online men who participate in helping raise great men into the universal consciousness. You all know who you are, and how much the work we do with others means so much to me and to those we minister to. We all have a stake in raising great young people. The world is going to hell in a hand basket, yet here we have an oasis of calm, guiding life coaches, mentors, fathers and supporters.

I’m sober 6 years and a few weeks now. December 9th was my Sixth Sober Anniversary. I am 40 years old, I have lived with AIDS now going on 14 years. I am Married, now three years.

And I am Living my Best Life. Does that sound familiar?

We have worked hard at maintaining community. We have worked hard at supporting every one of our readers. We have reached out into the cyber sphere with prayers, advice, strength and hope. We have shared with you freely – everything that we have and everything that we have learned in as many years when it comes to addiction, bi-polar depression, AIDS, alcoholism, sobriety, and just plain life…

I count myself blessed to be a part of this community. And I try to live up to the expectations that I see in others. I want to be part of community, so I work hard to contribute to that community. How can you be part of a community and not contribute what is freely given to you? That is an impossibility.

I’ve been up, I’ve been down. I’ve shared in the deaths of many parents in the last year. I never talk about mine, because many years ago, my mother told me that ‘if either she or my father got sick and died, I would never be contacted’ so I’ve buried them emotionally, because to not know is sanity, and I choose not to know, because to know would mean certain insanity for me.

And I would not be responsible for my reaction.

But many of my closest friends have lost parents, and I suffered each loss with them, I have taken each loss to the church and prayed until it hurt. You all know who you are. They know that I am here and where to find me if they need me.

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In the end we walk the path, up the mountain, we live and we die,
The lesson of this life is this:

You have a choice in who you engage and who you do not
We are powerless over people, places and things
We are only responsible for our sides of the street
You don’t have to be a victim, if you stay out of the drama
Empowerment is a gift, Take it and Use it, or Loose it
To live is to learn how to go to your death with dignity and respect

There are a lot of lessons I am forgetting, but You know what they are if you read here often.

Stay in your day
Wasted time is Wasted time
Time is a precious commodity, once wasted it can Never be regained!!!
Live – Easy – But – Think – First
Live and Let Live
Easy Does It
But for the grace of God
Think, Think, Think
First things First

Ok, that’s all I have to say about 2007. Coming soon, Predictions for 2008…

Stay tuned babies… goodnight…


The Feast of St. Stephen – Dec. 26th

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Stephen is called the proto-martyr, the first martyr in the sense of the first witness.

According to the Acts of the Apostles, during the early time frame of the Christian church in Jerusalem, Stephen was one of seven men, probably Hellenistic Jews, chosen to attend to the distribution of aid to elderly widows within the church community. (This role came to be known as deacon.) Stephen was also recognized for his gifts as an evangelist, preaching the teachings of Jesus to the people of Jerusalem, including members of the place of the Hellenistic synagogues.

Acts tells the story of how Stephen was tried by the Sanhedrin for blasphemy against Moses and God (Acts 6:11) and speaking against the Temple and the Law (Acts 6:13-14) (see also Antinomianism) and was then stoned to death (c. A.D. 34-35) by an infuriated mob encouraged by Saul of Tarsus, the future Saint Paul: “And Saul entirely approved of putting him to death” (8:1). [2]. Stephen’s final speech is presented as making an accusation against the Jews of continuing to persecute prophets who spoke out against their sins:

‘”Which one of the Prophets did your fathers not persecute, and they killed the ones who prophesied the coming of the Just One, of whom now, too, you have become betrayers and murderers.” (7:52)

Saint Stephen’s name is simply derived from the Greek Stephanos, meaning “crown”, which translated into Aramaic as Kelil. Saint Stephen is traditionally invested with a crown of martyrdom for Christianity and is often depicted in art with three stones and the martyrs’ palm. In Eastern Christian iconography he is shown as a young beardless man with a tonsure, wearing a deacon’s vestments, and often holding a miniature church building and a censer.


Boxing Day…

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“Everything you wanted, but didn’t get for Christmas, is on sale now at Sears!!!”

Do you remember this jingle from years ago, from Sears???

Hello babies…

So I braved the throng of Boxing Day shoppers to get some gifts for people, I had not had the chance to do until today. I went to the village to get some fun things for myself and come to find out that the Beaudry Metro walk way is still down. To get from the platform to the street one must ride a people mover walkway that has a steep bank and is quite deep if you have to climb the stairs to get to the top. UGH!!!

The upside was working, the downside was not. Trying to navigate a steep decline waling is a chore, but its ok. I hate descending the stairs in that metro, it is such a pain in the ass.

I went by the Diocesan bookstore to get some books for a friend and met a wonderfully cheery priest who happened to be in the store while I was there, and we had a nice little chat about the ‘church.’ The Diocesan bookstore is run by the Anglican arm of the church so we are all ‘heretics’ and we joke about that…

I picked up a copy of ‘The Twelve Steps for Christians’ for my friend Peter. I think he will like the text, as it takes a biblical approach to the twelve steps of AA. I wanted to get him something, as he is one of my home group members who comes to help me set up the room every week. We have been friends for many years, so that will be nice to give him a little something. He is a ward man for a local ‘Word of Life’ church here in the village and he reads ferociously.

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I was looking for a book to read and I came across “Mother Teresa, Come be my Light, the private Writings of the Saint of Calcutta.” I know she wanted people to burn the book and not read her letters, but I think the book is going to be a good read, and like other books I have shared about here, I will do that again for Mother Teresa. I love books…

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Last night on 48 hours mystery, they had a special on Christmas and the gospel writings of the nativity story. It was quite interesting to see how scholars have studied this subject in depth. My favorite professor of religious studies, Elaine Pagels had a lot to say on the subject. Debunking or being critical of biblical stories is a tall order for mere mortal Christain’s to stomach, and I am sure many of them got their panties in a wad last night watching tv. But that’s the nature of deep religious studies. The bible is not all that, and if you take the time to really get to the bottom of biblical scripture you will find more information than was there on the surface.

The first thing I learned in Biblical Studies class was that ‘the bible is not a history book, nor a science manual.’ Attribution is different from Authorship. And to read the bible, one must first understand the time period that [that] book was written and to [whom] it was written for, and lastly, what it means to contemporary Christian living.

There have been many television programs that have discussed the many aspects of Jesus, who he was and the probability of miracle working, and the lives of those who knew him, namely the apostles, the Holy family and Mary Magdalene. I took time to watch all of these presentations over the last few weeks, so that I could talk about them here.

I had to make a stop to buy some ‘Smartie’ goodness for one of my fellow bloggers and wouldn’t you know it, already, the stores are starting to strip their shelves of Christmas goodies, I had to go to four stores to find what I wanted. I was really bummed out that I could not find the holiday packages that were on the shelves just a few days ago!! Oh well, you snooze you loose I guess…

The trains were packed with people and the shopping malls were packed with people, pushing and shoving each other, so much for Christmas cheer… I tried to navigate around the throng of people and do what I needed to do and come home unscathed.

So that is my day, in brief. Maybe I will write more later…

Stay tuned…


Reflections…Christmas 2007

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Another Christmas has come and gone. Without fanfare or hysteria or insanity. I usually spend time in my head moaning about lost family and wishing that things were better, and I did entertain these thoughts over the last week, but like a fleeting thought they came and went and they did not linger long enough for me to sit here and write about it.

Rod over at kickin’ tina once told me that maybe THIS is the miracle and that maybe I am living the miracle today. I would have to agree with him and his thought. I worry about things that are really out of my control, like people, and situations. I worry about money, and I have to say that this year was a real change they way the cards fell, and hubby and I were pleasantly surprised this morning when our big financial dump came today …

I am all for the holidays and coming from where I came from, I am oriented towards family in the absence of such people in my life, which gives me pause to consider who my real family is today. My hubby, my friends and my cyber circle family here online. I am very blessed and I do not expect anything any more which leaves me with surprise when things happen in a good way, and I can honestly say that God always gives us what we need – when we need it and not a moment too soon.

I played my role in the family holiday for my in laws. I did what I had to do and nothing more. I don’t have to engage them if I don’t want to, and I choose not to because I can’t please everyone, and everyone has an opinion about homos in the family not to mention that those two homos are married, and still to this day we have to make nice which is what we have to do to make everyone happy, and I am all and well with it, as long as I don’t have to engage them directly. Sometimes not saying anything is best…

I have fulfilled my duty as husband and comforter. And I am pleased with the way the holidays came and went without any real drama. Thank God I am sober today, by the grace of God and the fellowship. I have come a long way in my sobriety in six years.

As I looked out the windows last night before bed, the night was quiet. The radio was on and I listened to Coast to Coast until 4 am this morning, and I went to slee, I was up with the sun this morning. We got up and opened presents around 9 am. It was nice and quiet in the city. All of my gifts went over very well, I hit all the right ‘little things’ which was nice. I enjoy seeing my husband smile and get giddy opening presents, he liked everything that I got him, even the cozies were a great hit. He’s been wearing them all day long.

I cooked a nice turkey dinner and we ate an early lunch around two o’clock so the dishes were all done before I had to leave for the meeting at 4:30. The streets were very quiet all the way to the church, it was just me and my pod, listening to some music as I walked along snow covered streets. I got to the church with plenty of time to spare.

I got the two huge coffee pots brewing and I said to my friend Jim who came early to set up his food buffet, that ‘I made all this coffee – I hoped that people would show up and drink it.’ We had no idea how many people were coming, so I aimed high with 5 boxes of Christmas cookies and two pots of coffee. We had pannetone, cake, cookies and food to serve our guests. It was nice because out of all the people who came to the meeting, only a handful of them were regular meeting members. So we got to see new faces and listen to them share as well. The meeting lasted and hour fifteen minutes, which was long enough because people were getting restless so we just ended the meeting and people hung out and ate and drank coffee afterwards which was nice.

I cleaned up the pots while everybody stacked and stored the chairs and I was home by 9 p.m. All of the stores are closed in the neighborhood. Although the Forum movie theatre was open and it is a big wide open space [a former hockey rink] and there were huge curtains hanging around the inside of the space to cover the shops and section off the open space into a dance floor, and I looked over the dance floor and there were candles hanging over the main space like the Hogwart’s dining hall… [floating candles] I guess they are going to have a party in that space – but I did not see any signs to say that. hmmm, I am going to have to check that out this week.

All in all, the holiday came and went and I did not get all emotional on either side of the spectrum, I did not get maudlin and weepy and neither did I talk about the fact that this is my 13th Christmas living with AIDS, I usually spend time ruminating over the fact that I am still alive and this is number 13 for me, and that did not happen either this year. So I must think that I have changed in some ways – I am not focusing on the obvious issues I used to focus on every holiday season. It just did not phase me this year as it had in years past. I feel good, I take my pills [albeit on my own terms] and I am healthy so if it ain’t broken – then don’t fix it.

The more I thought about these thoughts after writing them down, I am not so consumed with death or the expectation of it coming soon, if that makes any sense to the regular reader, I think someone who lives with AIDS can better explain it. I guess I have evolved, I live, I breathe, so be it…

I am not entertaining other people’s issues or misery. I wanted to host these meetings over the holidays this year, because in the past others made meetings possible for me on the holidays when I was first getting sober, so I can give back freely of what was given to me. It was nice seeing people that I have not seen in many months. And it was certainly a joy to know that people need meetings and one young man said tonight that he needed a meeting so he did two tonight, and on the way to my meeting his thought was that maybe the meeting needed him. And it did… And he read the promises for us – I always pick someone from the crowd to read and to see gratitude in someones eyes for asking them to read is a real treat. Knowing that I took three hours out of my day to be present for others is truly gratifying. I hosted a meeting because it was the right thing to do…

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At the end of the day, if I die in my sleep and I finally see God, I want to hear him say

“Well done good and faithful servant…”


Recovery – Unity – Service

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The three legs of recovery that make it all possible. Without the three legs, the stool cannot stand. I went and set up my meeting, not knowing if anyone would show up, I was pleasantly surprised when 25 faces came down those steps tonight into the church hall.

You cannot give what you do not have…

At least I know that those folks who came to the meeting tonight were so grateful that the meeting was there tonight. We had cake, coffee and lots of food, a great night was had by all.  And we will do it all over again next week.