Posts Tagged Single Gay
I wanted to share with you another vulnerable side of my life that many don’t see or even know about. It is something I disguise well every day and if you ever met me, you would think I was okay. It isn’t easy living with HIV+. There is so much to consider and take into account let alone try to date or find love. I have been single for the best part of 2 years and sexually none active for about the same time.
I joke about it with friends these days and they don’t really know how much it does affect me deep down. I fight fear with humour. I fight loneliness with banter. I fight isolation with lies.
My mind works on 2 parallels. The one that tells my body all is okay and you will be fine and the other that says you are a sad lonely man and this it.
When I was diagnosed with HIV in 2008, I was okay with my sexual and intimate life. I dated and had a few relationships. Yes it took a while to get over the initial diagnosis, but then I was okay. I was careful with whom I dated and aware of what I needed to do in any situation. This may have been due to the idea that I pushed HIV out of my mind even though I was always very careful
It was late last year that reality hit with the realisation that HIV did actually affect my life for the worse and I was forced to really deal with what it meant to live my this Positive Life.
“Our deepest wounds surround our greatest gifts.”
Since then I have found it extremely difficult to get close to anyone intimately and sexually. I just don’t know how to act now that I’m on HIV treatment or how to get close to anyone. There are a few reasons (excuses);
1- I no longer feel good looking
2- I am terrified of the rejection which may come
3- I have a fear of intimacy
4- Some people I have met who are HIV+ just want random hook-ups (which is fine, but is not me)
5- I feel like I’ve lost my sexual mojo
6- I’m diseased, poisonous, deadly, dying worthless
7- I don’t deserve to love or be loved
8- I’m a burden on society
(Don’t get me wrong, it’s a mind game that plays in my head often and one I’m dealing with. I know for a fact the above is false.)
Mostly I’m okay with my life, but there are days where I just want to hold someone close to me without any judgement or fear. Not always to be sexually intimate with someone, but just to hold someone close. Being in a relationship involves trusting someone, being vulnerable and being compatible.
My mind tells me often that people make the assumption, if you have HIV or an STI, then you can’t find love or be intimate with anyone, or that you are dirty, a sleaze and probably deserve to be infected. What makes this even less true is the same exaggerated assumptions I often put on myself.
Stigma is real on so many different levels, but self-inflicted stigma is actually doing you more harm than anything the world will throw at you.
Everyone deserves love, and everyone deserves respect. My turn will come. It’s not just going to knock on my door. I need to get out there and stop being so down on myself and allow people to see me for who I am, and what I am.
I have been looking online to see what sites are available to people who are in the same situation and “looking for love”. There is plenty to choose from and I commend the developers who start these sites with all good intentions. Sadly though 9 out of 10 guys who are also on these sites are there for one thing that usually means quick random anonymous unprotected sexual encounters. I haven’t met (or hooked up) with any of these guys. It’s just not my thing or who I am.
The same can be said for many sites that don’t seem to encourage love, but thrive on the idea of ‘hooking-up’ for a one nighter. Please don’t get me wrong. We all have needs and desires these sites cater for. I have nothing against them in anyway, just don’t advertise love if you really just advertising sex. It makes the whole process even more difficult for people like me who genuinely want to find love.
Then you have the groups for singles and HIV men. This is great, but again some of the guys who attend these are there for a quick sexual satisfaction.
Again, please don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to be judgemental or have an issue with this. I have actually made some effort to try to connect to people using these services. Unfortunately, out of the few people I have connected with met, it has always been the same want on their behalf, “I’m just here to hook-up”.
Being HIV doesn’t mean you can’t date or have a meaningful sexual relationship any more, it simply means you have to be more aware. Just remember there is a difference between awareness and self-inflicted rejection.
I am normal; I just carry some baggage which has its limitations, not road blocks. Like me, we all need to allow life to happen to us. Time waits for no-one, so the more isolated you become, the MORE isolated you become. I have lived an isolated life from fear, and it’s time to get my head out of the slum and into the light.
Recently I made the conscious decision to get out of my dark comfort zone. Although they are baby steps, they are steps. I have recently connected with someone who seems to be on the same page as me. He is a little older than me, which is fine. We seem to share the same desires with the same limitations life throws at us. It has only been now that I have started to truly see that I am not alone in this quest to find that someone (and neither are you!).
We have chatted on the phone and via text message over the last little while (we haven’t actually met face to face just yet) and who knows where this may lead. But I have felt more comfortable talking to him as the days have gone by. At no stage has there been any request to hook-up. Actually we have talked about meeting up for lunch or even a coffee to just chat and meet face to face. WOW, people like this do exist.
For me to make face to face contact will be a huge hurdle, especially with someone who has shown some interest in me already and is also HIV. As I mentioned at the start, I don’t feel like I deserve to meet him or anyone like this most days. But I will get past this and face this fear of rejection and meet him. Who knows, maybe in the near future I will be writing about love in a different way?
Finally…Don’t let HIV hold you back. It’s time to love and be loved.
I think it’s time to start dating again…
“If you’re looking for love, try to discover your own gifts. They shine in your joys and strengths, but they also live-and hide-right in the heart of your greatest insecurities and heartbreaks. If you learn to lead with them in your dating life, you will find-almost without trying– that you’re experiencing mutual attractions with people who love and treasure the very gifts you’re discovering.” © 2011 Ken Page,LCSW. All Rights Reserved (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/finding-love/201109/how-your-greatest-insecurities-reveal-your-deepest-gifts)
Before being diagnosed with HIV in March 2008, there was a time in my life that I felt invincible. I could do anything, and nothing would hurt me. I was a free spirit, or so I thought until I met Tina.
Tina was different in every way. She had such a free spirit that I had never experienced, and she became such an integral part of my life that nothing would stop us catching up. I often went on long trips to escape this world with Tina to almost vanish from the reality of life. I won’t lie, the early days were phenomenal, euphoric and exciting but we got bored quickly and needed more to entertain us.
When I first met Tina, I didn’t pay much attention to her. I was my own person and thought that I didn’t need her in my life. That quickly changed as I got to know her more intimately over a short time. We often got drunk together and enjoy each other’s company. Time was of no concern for us.
My boyfriend at the time also knew Tina, but his relationship with her was different to mine. I didn’t fully understand his relationship with her, but I didn’t let it bother me overly because Tina and I had our own thing going and I loved it. All 3 of us often spent time together; having insane wild sex for days at a time (literally).
My boyfriend would sometime want to bring another into our sex life and this always made me uncomfortable, even with Tina there. He knew this but still kept pushing the boundary to try to get others in. Sometimes he would get his way and it would destroy me, but Tina made me feel better about myself. She gave me an increased alertness, confidence and libido, more energy, feelings of increased strength and I would become more talkative.
Tina and I would smoke ridiculous amounts when she was around. Consume way too much alcohol and occasionally introduce other drugs into our play.
She became my all, towards the end of 2007, when I broke up with my long term boyfriend just before Christmas.
“Tina gave me a new fresh meaning and focus in life.”
Looking back at our time together, I can say today that it is NOT true! Her meaning is dark, a cloud of smoke that isolates you from everything.
Tina encourages extra curricula activities in the dark aspects of life, and knows exactly how to maintain a hold on you. Under her spell she made it difficult to sleep, eat, and even hold a proper conversation with anyone. She sneakily provided feelings of anxiety and nervousness about nothing, paranoia and even irritability and aggression.
I will admit it wasn’t easy walking away from Tina. Our time together was wild, crazy, uninhibited and dirty. I no longer have contact or play with Tina. I haven’t seen her since June 2008 a few months after my HIV diagnoses. She knew about my HIV but it didn’t bother her. She actually used it to use her advantage occasionally. But I did somehow walk away; I had other things to deal with.
Many HIV+ people still keep in contact with her and that’s their choice. Just remember she is so cunning, that she knows how to use our weaknesses to her advantage. I should also say that I don’t blame Tina for my HIV+, although she played a big role in it.
Who is Tina?
Tina comes in many guises, and often all too silently. She creeps into your life and before you know it, will take over. Tina is not her real name; it’s one of many pseudo names we give her. She sometimes comes to you in a stunning white gown that is immaculate and pure. But more often comes is shabby clothes that are a little earthier, sometimes with hints of blue, pink or even green. She has addictive and expensive tastes and often requires you to pay with more than money which may have effects legally, with work, and other personally connections.
Tina demands change in your life with total submission both physical and/or psychological. She has different personalities when alone or in a group. If or when you meet her, she will tend to have an effect on you instantly.
Tina’s beauty is what gives her a desperate desire in all who know her and once you have met; it is very hard to ignore or walk away from her. Her gaze is intoxicatingly addictive. She will impact your health and relationships with others.
She doesn’t discriminate. She knows how to rock your world. She has no rules. She fills your glass with toxins and ooze, speeds up your libido and clouds your future with a chalky haze envied.
But let’s be honest here, her other names include ice, meth, d-meth, crystal, crystal meth, crack, shabu, shabs and glass.
Why meet with Tina?
- You love the taste of laundry detergent and lighter fluid in the morning.
- You have the ability to completely sanitize and sterilize your entire neighborhood every single day, no questions asked, all by yourself.
- You want it to be the, ‘End of the World as we know it’.
- You hope that someday one of your injections will finally infect you with the gift of HIV which you will be able to pass on to others.
- You want to prove to your family you can win against a heart attack, keep a straight face during a massive stroke, and will not giggle like a sissy during the tingling sensation of blood vessels bursting beneath your skin.
- You know that monsters hide under your bed and in the closet, and ninjas will attack you when you leave your house, and you have mental proof that you can actually see them!
- Because… well, you forgot why.
- Malnutrition and rapid weight loss due to reduced appetite is the in thing.
- Sleeping is just time being wasted.
- Reduced immunity and increased susceptibility to infections due to the person not sleeping or eating properly is so cool.
- You need help beating the crap out of your better half, chewing out your friends, and slugging your mom in the face.
- You want to constantly be host to viruses, bacteria, and other microscopic monstrosities, some of which crawl just under your skin and you must get them out!
- You enjoy vegetables so much, you want to be one!
- You want to feel worthless, all alone, and a failure. So why not add anti-depressants to the mix?
- Your dentures will be easier to clean than your rotting teeth.
- Nature gave you two kidneys, might as well get rid of one. Or why not both?
- You want to see dead people, or purple people, or flying rabid bunnies. Maybe you just want Santa Clause to exist again.
- Finally…who can turn down a drug you can smoke, snort, and shoot up… all at once!
What is Tina?
Like a hooker in the night, she will wonder the streets looking for you. Tina mostly goes by the name of ‘Ice’, which is her street name for crystal methamphetamine hydrochloride, which is a powerful, synthetic stimulant drug. Stimulant drugs speed up the messages going to and from the brain.
Ice is a powerful form of amphetamines. It is more pure than the powder form of methamphetamine (‘speed’). It can cause brain damage (there is some evidence that amphetamines may damage brain cells resulting in reduced memory function and other impairments in thinking).
Smoking it can damage the lungs. Snorting it can damage the lining of the nose. Injecting it can lead to scarring, abscesses and vein damage (sharing injecting equipment increases the risk of contracting blood-borne viruses, such as Hepatitis B and C, and HIV.)
Something we don’t always think of is that driving under the influence of Ice is extremely dangerous. People who use ice can quickly develop a tolerance to the drug so that increasingly greater doses are needed to achieve the desired effects.
Ice is illegal all around the world and carries various penalties for possessing, using, making or selling ice.
Do you want to let Tina go?
For me personally it wasn’t easy to say goodbye to Tina. I fortunately had a close friend who was concerned about my relationship with her, so they intervened for my own safety and health. Took me in and just look after me. There was never any anger or disgust from them, just love and true support. I moved away from my Tina circles and started the road to recovery. If I hadn’t made the change back then I really don’t know where I would be right now, but I know I would not be writing this.
If you are using ice regularly, it will be affecting your life in a negative way, try to get some help to get it under control. If you have problems with insomnia for more than a week or two, or you have ongoing feelings of anxiety, agitation or restlessness which is increasing your risk of using meth again, pay a visit to your doctor for support. (It may be a good idea to talk to a doctor, drug and alcohol worker or other health worker about the treatment options that are best for you.)
Consider on-going counseling to help you stay away from Tina. Withdrawal is just the first step on a long road, so go and talk to someone for treatment options.
Once you decide to say goodbye
- Be prepared and be kind to yourself.
- Watch your mood.
- Remember why you’re stopping
- Get some good food into you.
- Use a network of trusted friends for support and have them close to you
- Take leave from work, school, or whatever it is you do so you have some space. Switch off the phone and limit visitors (support people are fine). You’re likely to be tired and irritable so give yourself plenty of personal space and remember to rest as much as you can.
- Watch for symptoms of depression and if symptoms hang around, become severe or you start to think about hurting yourself in any way get professional help straight away.
- Remind yourself of the benefits of not using meth– stick a list on the wall.
- Do whatever you can to maintain your commitment so you can get through this.
- Get specialist help if you need it.
Feeling Tina withdrawal
The come down from Tina usually lasts no longer than a few days. You may tend to sleep and eat a bit more than usual, and can feel flat, jumpy, edgy or irritable. It’s the Tina equivalent to a ‘hangover’ from alcohol. But she is very sneaky. Other symptoms may include; feeling moody or flat, right through to being severely depressed, having a total lack of energy, lethargy, exhaustion or getting no enjoyment or pleasure from usual activities. You can also have an increase in aches and pains and insomnia.
Do something good for your body, and turn your back on Tina. She isn’t worth it. She will make it hard for you, and sometimes almost impossible, but it is possible. To this day, Tina still haunts me. I still think back to the ’good times’, and every now and then find myself thinking I should give her a call. I don’t, but she will forever linger in my mind.
Okay now I know some of the readers still have contact with Tina. I’m not judging you in anyway what so ever. This is just my story. If I met you in the street and knew you were close friends with Tina, that’s okay, I would still love you the same way.
Video on Meth – http://www.smh.com.au/tv/Documentary/Meth-4262204.html
I was doing this alone. Even though I had a very close friend with me, I was still alone. They didn’t know what was going through my mind. They didn’t get how angry I was. They didn’t know what was to come.
I started to get angry, and started to react. I began to hide more. I stayed in Sydney for a few weeks to just feel the love of my friend. (An amazing person)
When I headed back home I began the process of packing my bags and leaving for good. Closing many doors and turning friends into enemies. I wanted to be rid of that place which meant at the time a complete cut off. Now I realise that wasn’t the way to do things, but then it was my only option (so I thought). I wanted to leave the place that caused me all this grief.
I broke up with the man I started to fall in love with. The same man I had infected. I didn’t want to live with that guilt over my life, even though I didn’t do it intentionally. He was struggling too, and I turned my back on him. I was being selfish but didn’t care at the time.
In a new place (Sydney) I could hide, and start fresh. I didn’t have to explain myself, and was free to just be.
People say we go through many stages when presented grief. I agree now. Sometimes the process is over a short time, sometimes over a long time. Mine is still going. I have been through the denial, anger, and guilt already, now is the time for renewal.
I met a new man. He was wonderful and so caring. We hit it off so well. I thought we may be perfect for each other. After a few months of seeing each other, he disappeared. I was worried and concerned that I may have done something to put him off.
Finally he contacted me, and said everything was okay, that he was just really sick for a few weeks and had a horrible virus. I thought that he should let me help but he assured me he was okay and he would be okay. After a few more days he said the dreaded, ‘We need to talk, please come around now’.
I was scared. What happened? What changed?
When I got to his house he was all teary, and said that he wasn’t sure how to say it, but that his health wasn’t great. I wasn’t expecting what came next.
We were having sex unprotected, but I didn’t pay any attention to this. I had been tested some time before and was clear and all okay, so didn’t think of it.
He said he was diagnosed with HIV, and that I should get tested ASAP. He also said he was tested just before we started seeing each other and he was clean. My world was destroyed. How could this be? I was sure I wasn’t HIV. There’s no way I could be. NO NOT ME! I didn’t have the symptoms and I wasn’t playing around. No he was wrong. He got from some random, not me!
I got angry and stressed. I had to leave, and said I would be in touch. The first thing I did when I left his house was call a very close friend of mine.
I was confused, scared, and completely lost. I told them what happened, and the first thing they said, was we are here no matter what. At this time I was living in Brisbane, and they were in Sydney, so I couldn’t get to them. We spoke on the phone for nearly an hour, while I walked home. It helped.
To this day, I am still in awe of this friend. They have been there through the whole process with, and never judging or changing the way they are with me.
I went home and told my housemate, who is HIV, and he went into instant support mode. The following morning he organised for me to see his doctor to have tests done.
I was still terrified when I went to the doctor. No he was wrong! It’s not me. So after talking with the doctor and getting my bloods done, I went back home.
I started processing all the things that took place in the last 24 hours, and then recalled my ex-partner was diagnosed with HIV before we broke up. It was me…
A few days later I was back at the doctors and had the confirmation that I was HIV. This destroyed me. My friend in Sydney booked me on a plane to come to Sydney that day. I was broke and they paid for everything. That night I was in Sydney being loved by a true friend.
From Sydney I called my new partner and confirmed with him that I was HIV. I had no words to say how bad I felt that I was the one that passed on to him. He was still struggling with it all to, and kept telling me he wasn’t angry with me, because I didn’t know at the time.
My double life got so intense, that I packed my bags and moved to another State. For me this was a new start, a fresh outlook. I was still battling the so called demons, and I needed to get my life straightened out (pun intended)
This didn’t work as I outwardly wanted. It has the opposite effect. I was allowed to explore more my attraction to men. So after my first experience with a guy, I was kind of amazed. Although the first wasn’t special, romantic, or anything grand, it was on a beach, in the bushes, with an older man. I didn’t care! It was good. It was different. It was comfortable.
From here things changed. I continued on my double life path of Christianity and gayness, struggling more and more each day with both as I was swirling into an abyss of total loss. The turning point for me was when my church leader decided to leave. This was finally a light bulb moment in my life. I stopped the double life and focused and my experience with men and discovering who I was.
I still didn’t classify myself as gay. That wasn’t me! I trolled through the internet, looking for hook ups. I found them.
STI’s didn’t cross my mind, why would they? I wasn’t being silly, but I wasn’t being safe either. I finally met someone who I really feel for. He was great, nice, and so normal. We hit it off, and somehow started dating. For several years we were together, loving each other and living a crazy life. The sex was amazing. Too amazing sometimes. We experimented with drugs and sex. We finally moved in together and things started going downhill here.
After about 3 years of being together, we split. He was a player, and I wasn’t. it hurt me, because he blamed me for not accepting it. The break up was hard, but was needed. After what seemed to be an eternity we were finally free from each other.
By now, I was no longer in the church, and was living a gay life. Not playing around, but just allowing my sexuality to exist without boundaries.
So as I start to write this, I’m not sure what to say or where to go. For too long I lived a shielded life which served me well. I grew up in a secluded catholic life (meaning we went to church every Easter and Christmas). I went to catholic schools, not that this meant much.
My life turned to a Christian based focus, when I was about 12. This wasn’t really a choice; it was more of a follow, because mum did it. Over the years I grew more and more into this Christian life. It turned into a very public Christian life over time.
I became a church leader, a bible basher, a true follower of the cross, on the outside anyway. To the church I was a great leader with so much passion for converting the world to Jesus. I believed blindly that all I was doing was right.
I started to believe everything was okay, and that things moved according to a plan.
Problem with this is the fact that I have allowed myself to deny what it is I needed to deal with in my life. For too long I thought I was okay. Yes I was moody often, but it was okay… So I thought.
I started to live a double life. In the privacy of my own home, when no one was looking, I was a completely different person to the one everyone saw, including my family. Isolated and frightened to do anything and express what I was feeling, because I didn’t want to be rejected. A battle in my mind started and I questioned what was wrong with me. Surely this was not normal; there must be something wrong with me.
I guess this is nothing new, or surprising. Today I hear more and more so called Christians who have lived the same way. Back then I thought I was the only one.
My battle was that I had an attraction to men. Yes I had the occasional girlfriend, but it was always awkward, and just not right. The male form in all its rawness seemed right to me, and comfortable. But this was wrong (so I thought), but it didn’t stop me.
Some of my closest friends even questioned me about my sexuality. I had a standard response which gave no indication away. My response was always, ‘I am comfortable with my sexuality’. Today I can laugh at this, and so can the same friends who questioned me way back when.
This is only the beginning of what I hope to put on this blog. A synopsis here is only the start.