McGill Metro Station – Green Line – Montreal
The Mayor is pissed, the Premier is pissed and Montrealer’s are getting pissed as well. Who’s to blame for this action today? Nobody is sure. But these kids are adamant and just hitting their stride. This could go on for months. I’ve seen marches like this before, and once a movement gets galvanized, there is little that they can do about it unless the authorities get drastic and the government moves its ass and changes their tune …
The summer festivals will begin soon and the city doesn’t want this taint on our city, nor do we residents. Somethings got to give, and give soon, or else Montreal is at the mercy of the angry student movement.
Montreal mayor Gérald Tremblay is urging people to “take back their city” after a series of smoke bombs paralyzed the public metro system, sending the island’s transit service into chaos at the peak of rush hour.
“No cause, legitimate or not, can justify any criminal action that jeopardizes public security,” a livid-looking Tremblay told reporters at a news conference.
Although the attacks haven’t been directly linked to ongoing student protests, Tremblay also urged students and politicians to get back to the negotiating table to settle their tuition dispute, and restore civil order.
The radar says “A storm is a coming …” And if it does, it may be the first storm of the year for us. But because of where Montreal sits on the map, weather is a capricious lady.
I’ve been hemming and hawing about writing something today, because I usually wait for Friday to work in a meeting and what’s going on. I confirmed with grasshopper his attendance tomorrow night and he wryly said that “he wouldn’t miss it for the world, the chance to watch sparks fly!”
It was an off day today. Hitting meetings over several days takes a toll on you, where today I was like, “can I just turn recovery off for a day, maybe?” Always being on point get tiring at times. Always having to have the brain on “safe mode” is a pain in the ass. But I can’t turn it off, no matter how hard I try.
I was up early today farting around. And so I called grasshopper to see what he was doing tonight, and he was pooped out, or as he called it “meeting’d out!”
So I hemmed and hawed, and finally around 5 o’clock, I decided that a disco nap would be nice. Hubby joined me and it was all nice and quiet. For a little while. Then I was lying there and the hum of a helicopter was approaching and then you could feel it really close by, the noise it was making and how noisy it was, like right outside the windows. So I got dressed and went out on the balcony and there over head was a helicopter holding steady. I guess the riots on the streets were getting out of hand.
I was like, “really!! Really!!” A nap was quickly fizzling out.
My brain has been working overtime. Thoughts coming one after another. As fast as they flit in, they flit out. And with each pass, the thought carried with it it corresponding feeling or emotion. That’s when I like to spray Teflon on my brain so that none of the corresponding emotions stick in my brain for any length of time.
The one thing I need to say here is that I am hiv+ and with that comes the curse of being able to read people at 50 paces. And trusting that I know what I know, and listening to my heart – sometimes we have to say things that hurt people for their own good. I learned very well how to write – I paid a princely sum for a university education so my abilities to “Compare and Contrast” are very good.
I write for me and my readers. And with ten years of sobriety I know a few things about life, myself and the program. 18 years being Poz has served me very well. If I don’t like you, I sure as shit aren’t going to waste my time on you.
It is not a sin to write about life and people. That is who I am. Take it or leave it. Sometimes we need to hear words that we don’t like. And sometimes it takes a queer to speak those words…
I am where I am. And that will have to do. I wrote a few notes to friends around the world and dropped a few comments here and there. Trying to offer counsel and offering a kind word here and there.
You don’t get a day off from sobriety. There is always something to do, learning how to manage the thoughts as they come in, learning where to put them as they pass by. Knowing which ones to keep and which ones to discard.
I don’t know if I’ve drained my brain well enough here …
We shall see what happens over the next 24 hours. Holy told me not to make any decisions and stick to a years commitment to what I am doing. After that change is fair game. So that’s that.
Dinner time. Time to boogie …
Courtesy: 1Etranger (Sean Ashmore)
The weather held out. It was much warmer than usual today, but it is summer and we should be thankful for warm days. There are only so many more weeks of summer and the season change will begin in earnest.
The parade stepped off around 11 out front of the building. The good thing with holidays is that they always step off right in front of our building from the streets below the tunnel on Ste. Antoine and Rene Levesque. A good time was had by all. The pubs were full on our end of the city.
But all eyes were on National TV and the celebration in Ottawa of Canada Day and the continuing visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. It seems they were a big hit.
But all that is going to change because of the leftist separatist anti monarch animals in Quebec and Quebec city. They are going to be the tarnished black eye that is going to embarrass all of Canada to the rest of the world.
The anti Monarch protest is planned and tomorrow we will see just how much air time they get on the national news. Fucking animals…
But for today it was a good day.
Last night I headed over to St. Matthias for the Thursday night meeting, and wasn’t disappointed. I had never heard the speaker who spoke – he was a couple years in and older than me, we all have similar threads to get here.
The buses and Metro’s were all running up to speed both nights, I didn’t have to wait for either last night and tonight.
Tonight I headed over to Friday West End for a meeting. And it seems there is a trend going on with speakers being of the LGBT persuasion. In our own special way they are celebrating pride in sober fashion. My sponsor was waiting out front when I got to the hall but we didn’t sit together and I slipped out after the meeting and didn’t say goodbye to many folks.
A good night was had by all.
Tomorrow the Royal Couple will be here in Montreal for a few hours, I don’t know if I want to brave the heat and crowds over at St. Justine’s Children’s Hospital. there are a couple of things on the schedule for tomorrow before they board a naval vessel for the sail up to Quebec City over night.
Time for din din …
More to come, stay tuned…
I’ve been feeling a little out of sorts. Lots of things going on in my brain. Questions, concerns, feelings, emotions.
People are talking about Pride, as June is Pride month in many places. Pride won’t come to Montreal until the beginning of August. Pride is not something I think about these days. We’ve not talked about going as of yet, yet some writers are talking about the topic ad nauseum.
Another calendar year is coming to a close on the 8th of July. I mark my 17th anniversary living with AIDS. Nobody seems to care. Nobody brings it up and it is not a topic of conversation in any of my social circles. Among my short list of gay friends, we never talk about it. Nobody mentions it.
I go to the doctor and he is non-plussed. My doctor visits are like any other day. It is a rote event on the calendar every few months. The appointment begins and ends with not much fan fare. I’m alive, the drugs are working, I live a good life, so if it ain’t broken don’t fix it. My doctor never mentions the word mortality because I guess as long as the numbers are nominal then there is nothing to discuss.
Another generation of young people are coming up through the ranks. A generation who know nothing of what it was like and they don’t think about AIDS unless it is forced upon them in ads and print articles.
What is out of sight is out of mind.
None of the gay folk I read on a daily basis mention any word of std’s or AIDS or anything of that matter. For the most part it is all about Grindr, and the hunt for sex. With technology comes the easy effort in finding ones next conquest. And you have to be between the ages of 24 and 30, young cut and hot. Many of us oldsters don’t fit in today’s acceptable demographic. And because of that fact, the young don’t care that we exist, nor do they take the time to pay us any mind. Just spend any time on Tumblr or You Tube.
If the storytellers don’t speak up and tell the stories of the past, the topic would never get talked about in any case. I don’t have to rehash all the memories from the last 17 years, all you need to do is click on the pages and read for yourselves.
I don’t know, I’m feeling a little forgotten. Like if I don’t initiate contact between any of my friends, they would not initiate contact either. Facebook is the easy out, we are on every day, we read statuses and messages and I guess that’s all part and parcel of technology. Connection at a distance. As long as you are updating your status every day, there is no need to see each other.
Sobriety is a rote activity. I follow the same routine every week. Week in week out day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. People come, people go, they don’t seem to take notice of me. I see the same people at the meeting every week. I visit assorted meetings every week as well. I come and go almost unnoticed. Nobody asks how I am doing or what I am up to. It’s amazing that I can walk into a room, sit down with my coffee, sit through a meeting and go and not speak to one person from that meeting. Not many people extend a hand, and I guess I have to admit that I don’t either.
I was talking to Holly earlier tonight and I said that sobriety is not what it was like ten years ago. People have come and gone. And being Gay in straight sober circles doesn’t seem to work for many people in the rooms. As long as I don’t open my mouth or share anything personal, they are ok. I don’t make issue of homosexuality in the rooms. I came out to Holly earlier and I did not think twice about it, and she was cool with it. I told her about what some people have said to me over the years and how people treat me in our meeting. AA might be all inclusive from the outside, but from the inside it is very exclusive.
I do my meetings, I keep to my routine. I am cordial to people and say hello here and there. And on the odd occasion someone will remember me at certain meetings because I follow the same schedule every week. I was surprised last week at Friday West End that people know my name because I read for the meeting a few weeks ago, because a man sat down behind me and I heard someone ask him if he knew my name, and he did.
Tonight at the meeting we had the 27 folks, we ran long and we made a decision from the chair that we would run long to allow all the folks in the room the chance to share, and it came that the last person to share really needed that two minutes to hear himself speak. And some had to complain about running long …
I don’t get it, alcoholics spent hours upon hours in a bar getting hammered and if you told them to leave or cut short a bar visit they would get up in your face. But should an AA meeting go over the hour mark, heaven forbid… That was an issue some people had when we changed the format that we were actually going an hour fifteen, which some people bitched and moaned about.
I am waiting until these bitchers and moaners come to the meeting and need an extra few minutes to share just to cut them off at the pass, just out of spite. It has always been understood that the chair usually never cuts someone off during a share. However, some folks at the meeting now go on and on and we have allowed that to happen. Maybe we should tighten up that portion of the meeting.
A home group for me, is the place that I call home, where I can share what ever’s on my mind, and that goes for everyone who walks in the door. If you sit in a chair you get a chance to speak. No matter what some pissy members might want. If you can’t sit for a few minutes more to give someone a chance to share, then go out and fucking drink … UGH !!! God give me strength…
I guess it’s not always about me now that I’ve come to the end of this piece. Or maybe it is. Something to maybe bring up next week in private with a friend.
I guess I just maybe need to be acknowledged. Maybe I need to feel relevant and important, that I am not just taking up space, where nobody notices me like a piece of furniture. You can’t put words in someones mouth nor can you expect a lot from alcoholics.
Expectations, that is a lesson I learned a long time ago. Expectations, you can have them, but not put very much importance on them, because people are people fickle as they are, if you never expect, then you are never dissatisfied.
Does it matter that I have survived? Does my existence really matter to anyone besides myself? People don’t know, nor do they ask about life in all its complexities. In the program I have acquaintances – but very few friends who are part of my inner circle. In the last nine and some odd years, nobody has stepped up to be that kind of friend.
People are non moved that I do the lion’s share of the work every week in order to put on a meeting, and still have the audacity to bitch and moan about something they don’t like. Which I am like, you know what, Fuck off …
People take for granted the fact that we work very hard to keep the meeting up and running every week and yet every week someone has to bitch. Fucking alcoholics. Some of them are never satisfied.
Thank God I am powerless over people, places and things.
I was up with the birds this morning, which means I did not get much sleep last night. I went to bed around 2 and I always multitask when I go to bed. One, the radio is on Coast to Coast AM and two, I was engrossed in my books as usual. I enjoy laying in bed with my books reading in the quiet. I sort of listen to the radio – and read at the same time. I finally turned thr radio off around 4 in the morning when the signal went down.
I was at the hospital before 10 am to drop labs for Dr. George – for my diabetes appointment next week. I dropped off my medical form with Dr. Chris’s secretary and she told me that she would get it filled out for me by Monday since my doc had a full scheduel today. I am told by the office with Students with Disabilities that the medical letter should be sufficient for my claim to be approved. We shall see next week.
Hubby is visibly upset today. His birthday is tomorrow and he has been expecting a card – with the usual check for his birthday – from my inlaws. They are usually very punctual with mail. It seems this year – they were not up on the ball. The card did not come this week, nor did it come today.
Hubby has been to the mailbox several times hoping that it would come… Finally he came upstairs and said … “Well they forgot me this year …” I dropped my inlaws a very terse email telling them that hubby was visibly upset and that I hoped the card was already in the mail. They haven’t responded as of yet today.
The weather today is quite beautiful – 66f / 19c sunny and breezy…
I have been checking my blood sugar often today as yesterday was a real roller coaster, I was up and then I was down, then after dinner I bottomed out and almost fell faint, so I pumped some serious sugar to stave off a low blood sugar hit. I hit a 10.6 before and / 10.9 after lunch today. I will check it again in a few hours. I need to go for a nap and get some sleep this afternoon.
More to come. stay tuned …
I made two trips up that damned mountain today. I got a call a while ago that my doc had filled out my form for school so I got dressed again and headed out for the bus stop to take the ride up the mountain again. I took another bus down the mountain – because the hospital is in the triangle of death, in order to get down the mountain you either have to walk all the way back into the core where the university is OR you can take a bus down the mountain and it drops you off at Atwater which is a few blocks from home. I still had to take the train up a stop to the university to drop off my paperwork. I’ve done my jane fonda for the day …
Hopefully I will have just saved $350.00 in tuition expenses…
Oh God, Let us Pray !!!
I got my three professors who wrote reference letters for me for my application for the MA in Theology today. All I need to do is pay off what is left on my tuition balance and I can apply for the MA. YAY for ME !!!
Blood Sugar check tonight: 9.5 YAY !!!!
It was movie night tonight and as I got up off the sofa a little while ago, my glasses snapped in half… FARK!!!! I can’t afford a $600.00 pair of glasses, I am hoping that they can transfer my lenses into my old sunglasses frames without charge.
“But you are not who you were – once ago. This is who you are today.
Acceptance is the key to all my problems…”
This is part of a comment I left on Adam’s Blog yesterday. Sometimes when I leave comments here and there I go back to reread what I wrote because sometimes I cannot believe that I could be that wise. Someone on that comment thread said I was wise, I guess that comes with sobriety. I am not who I was once ago, and in recovery, I can’t get it all back, all at once, as it once was. This is who I am today…
I had a drinking dream today, I still remember it now. I was with friends and I had one too many shots and I was falling down drunk on the sidewalk. And I was looking up at them and one of my friends had that “look” on his face like, “I can’t believe what you did, you’re such a lush!” Then I woke up – a little bit disoriented and I rolled over and looked at the clock, ok it was 2:30 in the afternoon and today is Tuesday and I knew I had to get to the diner for coffee and I got up and started my day.
I do my morning, well afternoon meditation and I log onto the computer and check my daily reads. I check on the posts that I commented on the day prior to see what people have to say, then I log into Face Book. I like that page because at the top of the page is a question…
“What are you doing right now???”
Now I know who is on my friends list, and there are sober people on my list so I can write stuff that normal people don’t write about. So I wrote, “I had a drinking dream and I am going to my meeting!” and I get comments from my friends about my recovery. That is a good thing.
The subconscious mind is a funny beast. It is thinking when I am sleeping and today it wanted to drink. I could see the drink, I could taste the drink, and I could feel the emotions coming from my friends. I felt bad, and sorry. I was talking to some friends after the meeting and Sean said to me that it is good to be reminded about the fact that I cannot drink. Normally… Even with seven years of sobriety, I still dream about drinking. It never leaves you. That is the fear, that I might loose the fear to drink and one day I might drink.
With the loss of my two friends at our home group, it now falls upon my shoulders to make sure we have supplies, cookies, milk and so forth. Last night I went to buy cookies, $16.00 for four packs of cookies plus $3.00 a week for milk rounds out my spending of $100.00 a month on supplies. I can’t afford another $100.00 out of my pocket so next week the group will have to either pony up the cash to reimburse me for the spending or we will do without cookies from now on. I have to go buy coffee and cups for the month and that is going to cost me more out of pocket, but meeting supplies come out of the budget and prudent reserve.
I am learning about feelings in my sobriety. I am also practicing what it is that I preach. Am I living what I am saying? Can I back up what I am saying to others over these blogs and in life, with my actions in my life? I’ve been following a number of people over the last few months, Adam is recovering from Cancer treatment and I’ve tried to be a voice of wisdom for him in remembering that you cannot ask for more than your body can give you at any one given moment. And who you were then, is not who you are today. Sometimes I scare myself with some of the wisdom I have collected over the past few years, that is now coming to fruition in my life, that I can share it with others.
Acceptance is the key to all my problems…
We talked about anger and resentment today. A very “delicious topic” as Doug shared. You know I don’t get angry a lot. You know when I get angry? At the grocery store. People shop in packs. They block the aisles as they stand there and stare at food on the shelf and I imagine them saying to themselves, “What do I need to buy, and do I need to buy this?” In the meantime I want to get past them and I am in a hurry to get somewhere – it seems all the time in the grocery store. We have a method to shopping. We know what we need, where to find it and how to get to the cash quickly.
I always use the express lane 10 items or less. And as ALWAYS, there is some jackpot joker at the express cash who is complaining about something, wanting a refund for something or they don’t have enough cash to pay for what they are buying and the cashier has to process refunding all that merchandise back into the system as we wait for them to do that. It NEVER fails…
On my way home – it is freaking cold out tonight. (-3c and snowing) although I didn’t see any snow falling on my walk home. I had to go to the store to get dinner. And I hit a pack of shoppers in front of the beer stacks, Christ get out of my way puhleese!!! Then I get to the cash and sure enough we hit the jackpot again, some girl was going to buy food. She swiped one card NSF, she swiped another card NSF, she swiped a third card NSF, finally she gave up and walked out of the store. And the cashier had to refund all the items that she had scanned again… OY give me a freaking break… ok, breathe…
This is about all the anger I had in my day today. I work diligently at not getting angry, my life does not lend to anger nor resentment. Which is good. Anger is one of those feelings that I tend to avoid. Resentment is another beast all together. Usually if I am resentful, about someone or something, I am spinning my wheels about someone who really does not deserve the time or space in my brain, and/or they have no direct impact on my daily life. I get resentful at people for reasons that are all about me, and when isn’t it all about me?
For the most part, life isn’t all about me in most cases.
Sometimes I resent some of the people who come to my meeting. Some of them are self centered and they are so antisocial that it makes me ill. People usually come to the meeting they get a coffee, they join the pre-meeting chat and say hello and they become part of the atmosphere. Then there are those who deign to speak to me (and that’s when it becomes all about me) and I have to stop and say “I don’t have to like everyone in the meeting and they don’t have to like me either. So Be It…
I don’t have to rent them Free Space in my head, with a resentment. I mean really, I don’t spend time caring about many people who come to my meeting. I don’t know, sometimes I get resentful over the most stupidest things. Just to keep the hamster in my head on its wheel spinning at 60 MPH… UGH!!!
God give me strength… There are no justified resentments…
Life is a lot easier when you don’t rent space in your brain to people for free…
I am powerless over people, places and things…
I can’t give away – what I don’t have myself.
But I do share what I have in my wisdom bank of time.
I am not who I was, This is who I am today…
I must remember what it was like, what happened and what it is like today.
I cannot get it all back, all at once, in the way I had it before.
Acceptance is the KEY to all my problems…
All I have is today, these 24 hours, and I should make the best of them.
This is who I am today !!!
In 21 days I will pick up my 7 year medallion. It is already in my bag. Nikki bought it for me. I opened the card today at the diner. 7 years. I had hoped, in the beginning of my sobriety, that I would be as fluid and as wise as some of the people I knew then, who had seven years or more of sobriety.
I wonder, Am I wise yet??? Some people think so…
Found On: Anglican Journal
Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul, primate of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan and bishop of Juba, Tuesday said Bishop Gene Robinson, the openly gay bishop of New Hampshire, must resign for the sake of the unity of the Anglican Communion, which has been deeply divided over the issue of homosexuality.
Archbishop Deng Bul and his fellow bishops have also issued a statement calling on both the Canadian and American churches to “refrain from ordaining practicing homosexuals as bishops or priests,” to refrain from approving same-sex blessings, and to “respect the authority of the Bible,” among others.
The Sudanese bishops said that the consecration of Bishop Robinson and the approval by the Vancouver-based diocese of New Westminster of same-sex blessings has “seriously harmed the Church’s witness in Africa and elsewhere, opening the church to ridicule and damaging its credibility in a multi-ethnic world.”
Archbishop Deng Bul came to the media centre Tuesday afternoon to explain the statement issued by Sudanese bishops attending the Lambeth Conference at the University of Kent here. ”I’m representing my people in the Sudan and (same-sex relations) is not what’s found in the Bible,” said Archbishop Deng Bul. “Gene Robinson should resign. For me, if he says he is a good Christian, he should resign for the sake of the church. The Anglican norm has been violated.”
Asked how Bishop Robinson’s resignation would halt a breakdown in the nearly 80-million strong communion, he said, “I think there’s already a breakdown. You have 300 bishops who have stayed away because of Gene Robinson. Can’t Gene Robinson not resign to allow the 300 bishops to come back to the house?”
He said that some bishops have boycotted the conference despite the absence of Bishop Robinson who was not invited by the Archbishop of Canterbury because “the question is not whether he comes in or not. The question is what is the statement for dealing with Gene Robinson?”
Archbishop Deng Bul said he and other bishops opposed to the consecration of Bishop Robinson and the blessing of same-sex unions in the Vancouver-based diocese of New Westminster decided to come because he wanted “to make this statement. I came to make this statement because I have to speak here, not from outside.”
He also said that bishops present at the conference who have consecrated Bishop Robinson “should confess to the conference because they’ve created an outcry for the whole Anglican world.” He added: “We are pleading to them, we are for the Anglican world and we want it to be united. We are not throwing anybody away but to say that this is not the norm of the Anglican world.” Archbishop Deng Bul said there are no homosexuals in the Sudan. “They have not come to the surface. We don’t have them.”
The Sudanese bishops’ statement as well as those issued by Archbishop Deng Bul have provided the first indication that the conference, which had been off to a quiet and peaceful start, is now moving into shakier ground as discussions have began on how to address the fractured unity of the communion.
Archbishop Deng Bul said he was uncertain whether indaba, the African way of settling disputes where people are divided into groups, which has been adopted by the conference, would work in settling the divisions in the communion. “I cannot tell what’s going to come out, but we haven’t seen the way out. People are talking about how to stay together, how to listen, but the main issue we came for hasn’t been discussed,” he said.
He said that about 150-200 bishops representing the “Global South” met Tuesday afternoon to discuss and exchange their views on the progress of the conference. He did not elaborate.
In their statement, copies of which were released to the media, the Sudanese bishops said: “We have come to attend the Lambeth Conference, despite the decision of others to stay away, to appeal to the whole Anglican Communion to uphold our unity and to take the necessary steps to safeguard the precious unity of the church.”
Shortly after Archbishop Deng Bul’s press conference, Rev. Charles Robertson, canon to the presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, issued a statement saying that the American church “has enjoyed fruitful collaboration” with the dioceses of Sudan. “Our goal has been to make a difference… to respect the dignity of every human being and it hasn’t changed,” he said.
As of press time, the Anglican Journal was unable to get reactions from Canadian and American bishops who are attending closed-door sessions.
Last night I sat in bed next to my sleeping hubby, reading from a book I often return to again and again, when reading time permits. I Heard the Owl Call my Name, is a book that I have read countless times and every time I read it I come away with something new. I may focus one certain passage or a thought that I may have missed, the pages are getting worn and I guess that’s what happens to books that are read often.
I was thinking about school as well. Over the last little while I have been reading through my collection of Idol novels from the UK and it hit me that I haven’t sat through one challenging lecture in a long while. It was as if my spirit was yearning for something last night. The question rose in my mind and made its way out into my consciousness, I don’t feel challenged in this class I am taking this first session. Is it that I am not putting forth proper effort or that I have lowered my expectations so much that there is no challenge to what I am studying? I’m kind of bored with it already.
I guess I am feeling a little resentful at the process really. I should be doing something, I should be out there working in my field, and yet I have not reached the end of my certificate yet, but still, I should be doing more with myself than I am and I am at a loss to know what ‘that thing’ is that I should be doing.
I wrote to Jose last night after I posted his letter here on the blog, which has been picked up by the International Carnival of Pozitivities for its next publication, so I am going to get another article published. I don’t spend a lot of time talking about the past because there is so much already written that I can’ possibly write anything else, so what I thought I would do is tell you some stories about living in SOBE and how I got along with my friends. (SOBE = South Beach) …
There were things that I liked to do when I wasn’t working. Living in the city did not afford a lot of time to get around the city if one did not have a car. I didn’t have a car, so I had to rely on public transport to get from one side of the city to another, and Miami is a seriously ‘transit challenged’ city. The two places that I liked to go were Borders Book Sellers at Dadeland which was on the south end of the rail line, and SOBE which was an hours bus ride away from home until I moved onto the beach.
Lincoln Road was the epicenter of gay culture on the beach, which I understand is falling apart at the seams as the exodus of people are moving away from the beach because it is just getting too expensive to live there as the condo projects are taking up every inch of space they can find. It’s hard to sustain an entire community of gay people without spaces to congregate. All the large clubs have closed down or have moved off beach and that poses a problem to population when night transit lacks in a big way.
When I lived on the beach I was a stones throw from Lincoln Road living on 21st street across the street from the Miami Beach Convention Center. I have a few gay blogs that I follow from Miami and over the last few months the community has been going through a downsizing and that threatens the livelihood of the gay community. When there are no bars to congregate in where then does community end up?
It is a sad fact that circuit parties are the last bastion of world wide gaydom. I have to admit that I have never attended a circuit party, either in Miami or here in Montreal. They are too expensive to begin with and the fact that I am clean and sober means that I am not going to attend an all night rave with people getting drunk and stoned around me. One of the big events in AIDS charities is the yearly White Party which as a person with AIDS I have never been invited to, never did I ever get a free ticket or even charity when it came to an event to raise money for AIDS. And that bothered me that people who could not afford to go, would not even get an invitation to attend. Because it is just a big huge Money, Alcohol and Drug dump for those who are pretty, buff and connected. And if you consider that to put on an event of that magnitude costs a whole lot of money, after you pay staff, pay the alcohol and beer bills, rental rates for the site, suppliers and dj’s there is not a whole lot of money to go to charity is there?
It was really difficult for me to manage a home, rent, bills, food and medication and I had tapped all the possible assistance sectors of the city to help do that. I never in my life have ever been someone who had been touched or assisted by one red cent of money raised locally for people with AIDS, and that begs the question, where did/does all that money go? That goes for the same thing here in Montreal. I go to the clinic and I test medications for the AIDS community at large, but year after year, the community at large does nothing and I get nothing from that community.
The last time I attempted to get into my community here I was told that I was uneducated and that I could not possibly have anything to offer the AIDS community. Which was a real slap in the face. This province has the most fucked up system that I have ever seen, community wise. There are care systems in Ontario and British Columbia that are so much better than ours. They have comprehensive systems of doctors and service systems to meet all the challenging needs of the population. This is the one reason that we have considered moving out of province so that in the end, I could take my two degrees and find a real job doing something with the rest of my life because right now Quebec has done nothing for me and my family.
We really don’t get out into community. I used to go to gay AA meetings until I got tired of listening to sick men piss and moan about their lives and hearing them say week in and week out that they wanted to die. I just can’t deal with that degree of misery in my life. And I am not complaining here, I am stating fact. You’d think that as a city, that the systems created to care for HIV positive people would extend a hand to those who live in the city, No… You’d think that as a province and a city we could try to recreate those systems that seem to be really working in other provinces, but No, we don’t … The only thing that this province is good at is bitching about sovereignty, language politics, religious accommodation, yearly circuit parties and fucked up pride events that no good gay person attends because it is all bullshit.
This blog is a good gig, because I get worldwide exposure and readership, but it does not pay the bills. There have been times when I think about the outreach we do here and how we serve community at large and I think about buying a building here in the city and turning it into a multi-faceted service center for people with Hiv and those in recovery. It is a project that is sitting in a folder in my desk. I have drawn out the blue prints and the specs for that building but I have never investigated it further.
I don’t know, I think I’ve done enough ranting here, I am going to close for now…
Until later peeps…
“For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority – a loving God as he may express himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants they do not govern.”
Sorry, I haven’t been posting daily, as of late, I just haven’t had anything expressive to say. I was waiting to see what kind of response I would get from recent posting. Thank you for all your comments.
It is Saturday the 3rd of May. Today we had a historical group conscience meeting of my home group. Which is something that is recommended to do every year. it has been over seven for our group. There were six people for today’s group meeting. Our number of members has fallen over the last few months.
With a moderators assistance we set out our agenda – as per those things we wanted to discuss, each of us were given a sheet of paper to jot down the things each of us had on our minds. A lot of the members did a lot of writing. I on the other hand had very little to write down. So the meeting began.
I found that I was judgmental, and that I had a lot of conflict with a certain member of the group in particular. My good friend Ms. Nikki, has been in a bad spot for a long time, and when it came time to start voting on certain issues, I found her to be self centered and self serving. And the issue became for me, are you here to serve yourself or are you here to serve the group?
Ms. Nikki only comes to the meeting because it breaks up the monotony of her life. And of late, she has been increasingly ill tempered and bitter. She has more than once and including today, spoken about the fact that she will be leaving the group. She does not work a program of recovery, yet she is quick to offer her opinion about other people where it comes down to sobriety and sober issues, yet she does nothing to work her own program. She does not mix well with others, and she makes no bones about it. It was difficult for me to accept that she has a vote and a voice, even if she is combatant and bitter.
It is one thing to come to the meeting and make coffee each week, it is totally another issue to get involved with the sobriety of others and to actually put yourself out there and be accountable. It is a known fact that she has issues with anonymity and the fact that she lives her life in fear of meeting another “member” on a bus or in a public place. She came into the meeting this morning saying that if she knew who the moderator was that she would just up and leave the meeting right then and there, which was not the thing to say to me at the outset of this meeting. She is so fucking worried about who knows shes in the program that is clouds her own vision to a terrible degree.
She continues to participate in our group, yet she does not apply herself to her sobriety, where the rest of us bust our asses day in and day out to stay sober. I put a motion up on the table for a 30 day chip to be given to newbies if they wanted one, and she voted against it, that burned my ass because what does she care whether of not we give a 30 day chip when she does not give a damn about anyone else who comes to our meeting. She told me that she wasn’t going to maintain her membership at the meeting, so why should she have a vote as to what we decide as a group?
The motion did not pass… fuck me…
We covered all the other issues that were brought up, we made a few clarifications as to group members and time requirements for service and chairing of meetings. Every one participated in lively discussion, and I, more than once, needed to take someone else’s inventory, which is my own personal issue. I don’t mind going to a business meeting every month and being the group treasurer, but some members refuse to come to business meetings because it does not serve them to show up, yet they assume that they have a voice when it comes to decisions and actions.
Are you serving the meeting at large or are you serving yourself?
Ms. Nikki wants to push back the start times of the meetings to serve her better, and she wants to close the speaker meeting because it does not serve her to stay for the second meeting. She does not want to spend money for intergroup or general service, she wants to give all the money away locally, she does not see the importance of the global picture at large. Her life schedule does not jive with the times of the meetings any more because she wants a reason to leave the meeting and she has been making excuses to leave the meeting for more than six months.
You know what it is like when you watch someone fight the tide at every turn just looking for an excuse to give up and say fuck it… And recently I’ve become bored with listening to the sob stories and the bitching and moaning about time and the fact that she has no life and that she finds the meetings meaningless, and she never EVER says a word during any discussion meeting. She would rather die than to open herself up to recovery, and that pains me because I know she is hurting and however hard I try to minister to her needs, the message is just not making it through her thick skull.
One of our other female members tries to talk to her and she gets the same song and dance from her. I watched Louise throw her hands up even before the meeting started listening to Ms. Nikki make excuses as to why she would not be participating in the group further. What can you do?
How can one get sober and stay sober and become happy, joyous, and free, if you are always waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop on you? I’ll give you my opinion and cast my vote in your group, but I will not apply myself to the program or to sobriety. Why the fuck Bother???
And I know that I am partially to blame for this happening because I allow it to happen around me. I sit and listen to her piss and moan week after week, and try as I might to affect change – it is like trying to force the horse to drink at the well, after leading the horse there. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink.
So I am at SOBER odds with my best friend when it comes to my Home Group.
I work on my sobriety. I work my steps, and i work with others, I sponsor newbies and I actively participate in the daily runnings on of my home group. I have participated in my sobriety for the last seven years, and I share at meetings and I speak when asked to speak. Whereas some people come to meetings, they mark time, they show up and warm a chair, but they do nothing, they want nothing, they expect nothing and they contribute nothing. And it comes to pass that we sat in this meeting today and listened to Ms. Nikki talk about sobriety like she knew what she was talking about with some authority. She spoke about working with new comers and pledging to do more, when over the last seven years, she wouldn’t be caught dead speaking to another alcoholic in a public setting. God forbid someone see her in the capacity as a member in public.
She would rather walk away, than identify herself as an alcoholic. She has her good points, she is always the first person to step up and be counted where it came to caring for other people. She has, more than once, over the last seven years helped hubby and I when necessary and she would not think twice about stepping up and being accountable if called upon. But we are a special case, she is my best friend. And I stared questioning my friendship when it came to the group conscience today.
There are some things that I, (we) as a group overlook in everyday life. We make allowances for bad days and bad months and bad attitudes. I put up with this bullshit, because I know that if she was to leave the group, that she would have no one else to fixate on, or to talk to, and is that healthy?
When it came to voting on motions at the group conscience, I could not overlook my own issues with people when it came to the conscious application of sober principles and traditions. I did not come to terms with those issues and I spoke to the members of the group, because they watched me get upset and twist in my chair through the entire meeting and they all said the same thing to me.
“You can’t help or save everyone.”
One never knows when the dam is going to burst and the flood of emotions that will follow are going to occur. Over the last few weeks I have been trying to help hubby deal with his rejection by McGill University in the most helpful ways I can. Alas, I have failed in that effort.
I don’t know how to help him cope any better than I can, with all that resources I have at my disposal and people for him to speak to. How do you keep someone safe from the world? It has been a very upsetting day because hubby came home from his routine day of school and errands and he was a psychotic mess. Today we broke furniture and came to blows and I was the target of his assault. I guess I am not doing enough to help around here and that my efforts are useless and I do absolutely nothing to help him, in his own words.
We warned him of this happening. We tried to stave off the disappointment, but he is going to deal with his misfortune as he will, you can talk, talk, and talk, but as I said yesterday, people are going to have to figure it out on their own time and in their own way. So I have been sitting back watching this all come about, and they say silence gives consent right? He says that I do not talk, which is untrue. He thinks that I won’t listen without judgment, which is untrue. He has flown through this cycle very quickly and to damaging ends.
All this work he has done, has been for naught. The climbing the mountain has brought him no accolades, no scholarships, not acceptance by his peers and in his mind this has been a total outright evil rejection by a system that does not want him. We must add that as a mature student the stakes are different. We are much older that the regular university student – we may get good grades, and we may have to work harder than the rest to get ahead, but in hubby’s mind there is no difference. But there is…
Now he has to start from the beginning again and work on a second BA because his BA in English does not qualify him for very much and all of his friends got further academic acceptance including financial promissory notes of support for schools ‘out of province.’ So we talked about moving…
There are not many choices left to him to consider and the best viable plan is to return to Concordia this summer and continue his studies in communications where he has been studying for the last three years, this is not a choice he made easily, and it came with much revulsion and gnashing of teeth. How could he achieve such academic greatness, graduating with distinction and at the top of his game and not get one iota recognition from anyone further? Although on a personal level, all of his advisers told him that he is brilliant and smart, those words have fallen on deaf ears. He doubts everything that is being said to him because there was no pay off in his graduation. There isn’t going to be a huge celebration for him…
I don’t know how to help him cope any better than what I am already doing, because every time he gets angry he comes after me. and Fuck me for trying right??? In the Big Book it says that there are no justified resentments and that expectations are something that we cannot afford to have to a certain degree. Anyone knows that when you sets your sights too far up and your expectations find themselves in the stratosphere that the fall from those heights can be fatal. Hubby has had a fatal fall from heights that even I cannot save him from…
His attempt at surmounting McGill university was an exercise in futility and we all warned him of that, he did not listen. He was going to do things his way and be damned the ones who tried to deter him from starting the climb. They say that when climbing Everest [Sagarmantha] if you do not approach the mountain with respect and reverence and you do not honor the time told traditions of the climb, that you will fail at summiting the peak. McGill university was the closest to Everest that hubby was going to get, and he came at the mountain with expectations, an ego and a handful of really virulent resentments. And what did the mountain say to him…….. “You shall not summit my peak!”
He doesn’t want to attend any functions with other students because he has been humiliated at the highest degree, he only told his best friend and myself what happened. And graduation is going to be another upsetting event in his litany of fuck all events of this academic year. Many of them are moving forwards, where hubby, it seems, is only moving backwards with his going on to another BA instead of MA work.
All of his friends will be moving away and beyond and he will be stuck here, doing it all over again, and for him that is such punishment that even he cannot seem to bear at the moment. I am powerless to stop this from happening and I am not God, I cannot change the time line we are on. I am powerless over people, places and things.
So I am useless, All I do is sit here and do nothing, I contribute not enough and I am not pulling my weight around here. fuck me!!! I am without words for what happened today. I’ve been assaulted, insulted and read up one side and down the other for remaining steadfast and solid. At least I followed the program to the best of my ability and I only thought about drinking once today…
God grant me serenity…
by The Canadian Press
(Ottawa) If the Conservatives had hoped to put the Tom Lukiwski issue behind them, they won’t be able to because of pressure from within their own caucus.
Senator Nancy Ruth, the only openly gay member of the Conservative caucus, said she plans to raise the issue when caucus meets Wednesday.
“Apologies are never enough,” Ruth said in an telephone interview. “There always needs to be action.”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper refused Monday to discipline Lukiwski over a vulgar homophobic slur the Regina MP uttered 16 years ago while he was a provincial Conservative organizer. (story)
Harper acknowledged that Lukiwski’s remarks were “completely unacceptable,” but he told the House of Commons that he considers the matter is closed following Lukiwski’s apology.
Harper added the government will not be stripping Lukiwski of his title as parliamentary secretary to the House leader.
Ruth would not offer an opinion on whether Lukiwski should resign from that position, but she plans to tell him and her caucus that more needs to be done.
“I will speak to him and let him know that it’s not good enough, and I’ll do it in the most tactful way I can,” Ruth said while en route to Ottawa.
“There are queers everywhere _ including in his constituency _ and we don’t ever forget this stuff.”
She suggested that Lukiwski spend some time in his constituency with a group of gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans-gender people to develop a better understanding of the challenges they face.
Ruth said her discussions about homosexuality with Harper have always been positive. He considers sexual preference a private matter, she said.
That openness leads her to believe Harper will be willing to listen to her suggestions on how Lukiwski can begin making reparations.
A swaggering Lukiwski was videotaped on the evening of a provincial leaders’ debate in 1991 trying to draw distinctions between those who are gay and straight.
“There’s As and there’s Bs,” he said. “The As are guys like me. The Bs are homosexual faggots with dirt on their fingernails that transmit disease.”
Since the tape was made public last week, Lukiwski has apologized during a news conference and in the House of Commons.
The opposition has demanded that Lukiwski be fired from his parliamentary secretary duties, saying to do otherwise would condone bigotry.
Ruth said she has reservations about Lukiwski’s apology.
“When people say that stuff, there’s something deep-seated that’s true.”
She is, however, going to give him the benefit of the doubt, as people do change over sixteen years.
“I know he has experience with homosexuals in the caucus _ I’m in the caucus, there are others.
Ruth was appointed to the Senate in March of 2005 by then-prime minister Paul Martin as an independent Progressive Conservative. When she later joined the Conservative caucus, she met with Harper who asked why she thought she had been approached to join.
“I said that it was because it was the year of gay marriage, and I was a lesbian,” Ruth said.
“His response was `that’s interesting. I’m sure there’s more to it than that.”’
Ruth says that Harper has been respectful of her views which she finds remarkable.
“And he listens. I actually got a budget line in last year around an action plan for women.”
Sorry for my lack of writing as of late, I just haven’t felt like writing. I’ve been hanging out in a new virtual community as of late. IMVU is a free web virtual community. You can join and build your avatar, they get you started, and then you build the avatar from looks to clothing and little perks here and there.
I joined a few months ago to reconnect to old friends from my past, and that relationship did not prosper and over the last few weeks fizzled into dust. It just goes to show you that two boys who grew up in the same community, grew so distant over twenty years that a friendship was utterly impossible. I moved out of the projects and became the man I am and it seemed my friend wanted to remain in the past and be rude and childish. I just cannot stand rude and immovable people.
I don’t live in the past, nor do I want to change who I’ve become. I guess honesty did not serve me too well with this outcome. Yes, It upset me that this took place, that nothing that I said or shared made a hill a beans difference. Some people cannot grow out of where they are, even with the right gardener tilling the soil. So I failed at reconnection, was that a good thing or a bad thing? I’m just not going to let people be rude to me or disrespectful. I’ve earned the life I have and I protect it as well…
So within IMVU you can purchase rooms and outfit them with all kinds of nodes and lights and music. It seemed that the gay community could not become cohesive as I see that the rooms have been taken down over the last twenty four hours. Implosion is the term I would use. It also speaks of truth. I don’t lie on my profile wanting to be 18 or 21 again, and it seemed that people could not be themselves even in the virtual world, which bothered me immensely.
Alas, truth always wins out. You cannot hide from who you really are. But I did find another community there run by an Aussie contingent of folks from halfway around the world. So that’s where I’ve been hanging out. Some good people, some great music and good conversation. You can find me at [Jeremiah1350] if you want to join and build an avatar and maybe join me for some fun.
Skool starts tomorrow again. My studies in Theology continue with two evening classes on Monday and Wednesday evenings which is nice, I don’t have to get up in the morning if I don’t want to!! YAY !! I am reading some of the text that we will be using in class and I have already began to post excerpts from the Spirituality text, see below…
I love this quote:
“Spirituality is more about whether or not we can sleep at night than about whether or not we go to church. It is about being integrated or falling apart, about being within community or being lonely, about being in harmony with Mother Earth or being alienated from her. Irrespective of whether or not we let ourselves consciously shaped by any explicit religious idea, we act in ways that leave us either healthy or unhealthy, loving or bitter. What shapes our actions is our spirituality.”
What is your spirituality? Can you define it? Are you in touch with it, and if you are not would you be willing to consider it? So that we can have discussion on the topic???
The great warming has begun in Montreal as the temps are rising and rain is in the forecast for the next few days, all the snow will be melted and gone by then. I am sure will will get socked a few more times before Mother Nature Winter edition is finished with us, as February is not here yet and we haven’t had the great “Freeze” yet… Although it has been bitterly cold over the last few weeks, we have not had sustained FRIGID temperatures for days at a time like last winter… Let us Pray…
That is all for tonight’s update. More to come tomorrow…
Be well babies and stay tuned…
**Edit: 4:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, it is Still Snowing like MAD outside. It has been snowing for over 24 hours now**
You should see the snow that fell in Montreal today!!!
I went to meet Ms. Louise at her building which is just up the street from home and there was 3 feet of snow on the ground. We walked into Westmount and got to the church, and none of the sidewalks or the street had been plowed – so we, carrying boxes of cookies and cakes had to navigate through three feet of snow to get to the church doors, which were covered up by 3 feet of snow falling off the church roof and blowing from the North to South of the building.
I started shoveling the sidewalks around the church an hour before the meeting started, and I shoveled a 1 foot path through 3 to 4 feet of snow. Now I am no spring chicken and I can only shovel so fast. By the time I got to the end of the road, I had to shovel all over again as the snow was falling so fast, the drifts were being blown at 60 clicks, what a mess that was…
I made two huge pots of coffee, we had enough food to feed a small army, and only SIX people showed up for the meeting!!! That was six more people than we had expected in the middle of a snow storm… UGH!!!
I walked Ms. Louise back to her building and set off for home which is 5 blocks from home, and the plows are just starting to plow the streets and sidewalks, so I walked down the middle of the street [Ste. Catherine’s Street] as there were no cars on the road because of all the snow. I did almost get run over by a sidewalk plow, 100 feet from my front door. I didn’t hear it coming as the wind was blowing and I was carrying a bag, what a mess!!!
Suffice to say, Environment Canada got this one WAY WRONG!!! We were told not to worry that we would only get 2 to 5 cm, well we got more like 30 to 40 cm. in some areas. We are expecting another 10 cm overnight… Jesus, Mary and Joseph!!!
anyways, I am exhausted so that is it for now…
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?
- Why were you so careless? Hence it was your own fault!
- How did you know you “had it” before you went and got tested?
- Should I worry about my own health, (if you had been involved sexually)
- Did you use dirty needles?
- Did you infect anyone else?
- What will “the family” say! Oh the drama!!
- What are you going to do now?
- I don’t know if I can be friends with you any more!
- 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.