First REJECTION after going public

I had this great friend of mine and in two years time, we went from being a friend to best friends. There would be absolutely nothing hidden between us. He would share all his life with me, his holiday trips, his dreams, his passions, everything. Even his sexuality that he is bisexual. And I would listen to him, would encourage him, would give him more input to dream about, would make his world. Since we work in different offices and stay in different locality far away from each other but in the same city, we rarely get a chance to meet each other in person. But when we do meet, we go out for a long bike rides late in the night, feeling the gentle midnight breeze. Then we would make a stopover at some dhabas over to eat and drink. (I have stopped drinking now. That was pre-July 2011). The relationship that we shared was such that people would often mistake us for a couple when in fact we were best of friends.

He knew everything about me. My past, my broken marriage, my present. But what he didn't know was my sickness. Also, I didn't deem it very important to tell him as we weren't going to marry each other and we didn't even dream of a future together. So this was my darkest secret.

When I decided to go public and put my story on A Girl Like Me as my first stepping stone to eradicate the fear, the stigma and discrimination associated with HIV, I decided to tell him also. Being my best friend, close and inseparable, I knew he would respect me and accept me the way I am for no fault of mine. Besides, I haven't caused him any sort of harm or even endangered his life thus I was confident enough that he will be with me and understand how am battling myself against this slow death.

Thus I called him on Yahoochat and told him am going public and my story is up online. And I gave him a link to read on. I don't know how much he had read or he ever read it coz a big bold broad line "Mumbaiyya Gal : Intro : Living with HIV" was enough to make world slip underneath his feet.

"Since when u have been HIV"

"Why then you haven't told me"

"Now that you have become spiritual and religious, and don't go out with men anymore was the right time you declared to tell me?"

"Now that you don't go out with me so you thought it's about time you declared this"?

I didn't protest. I don't know where I had gone wrong. He was my best friend, not someone that I am going to dream of being my husband. I know that the only thing that blew him off is IGNORANCE. Thou being from well to do family, highly educated, successful job, I bet not many know in depth about HIV except the scary picture that is shown during advertisements. In India, there is a nation-wide awareness of how not to get HIV and how to protect yourself/prevent yourself from getting it. BUT what about those who already have it? What about those half of the billion Indian population living with it? How to treat them with respect? How not to judge them coz they have a virus. How not to make them feel stigmatised or discriminated....what about this awareness? NONE. My mind was spinning but I had to say something....

"sorry that I never told you but I thought it wasn't important as we aren't dating, we are simply best friends"

"I know I should have told u earlier but the lurking fear inside me prevented me from telling you"

"Am really sorry for the same and now that I told you, am willing to face whatever the consequences"

And all he said was ......

"I am going to do the testing. Dont' know if I had contracted it."

"yes, am breaking up my friendship with you. What do u expect"?

And bam!!! I was left alone, shattered, shocked, frozen to my chair in disbelief. Does he thinks that a friendly kiss, or a peck on the cheeks or hug or even snuggling cause HIV? Does he thinks sharing food from one plate cause HIV?

Whatever the reasons, I need to wait till he is normal again. Till he forgives me and listen with a patient ear....

But this story goes on to say that India has a long way to go. A VERY LONG WAY!!!

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Comments

mumbaiyyagal's picture

Awwwww Geogy Jacob, thaaaaanks. Hugs back to u too.......

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mumbaiyyagal's picture

It was not an easy thing, Khadijat, believe me. I had to fight with countless emotions that only I can know how I handled all alone. It is described in my upcoming blog....
But yes, Silence leads to ignorance, then onwards to Stigma and discrimination, so the first barrier am breaking is the wall of silence. And I am experiencing then all the pains that people living with the virus go thru.....something that I have never experienced before...stab in the heart, pangs in the chest, mind crying and screaming aloud, tears ready to overflow but the body here, helpless, not knowing what to do, where to go n hide.......I am experiencing all these that people must have felt and this only is helping me to know them even the more better relating to increase rate of HIV suicides in India....I must stop them coz they dont deserve to kill themselves like I did!

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Khadijat's picture

My dear friend I can understand that it is not easy. I know what u are passing through emotionally, I felt concerned!!! Mumbaiyyagal this wall of silence need to be braked!!! YES it must be break, but you cannot do it alone. How I wish we are in the same country. You need to get some group of people that share the same interest with you. Well Mumbaiyyagal I know within me that we would succeed in breaking this WALL OF SILENCE because after DARKNESS comes DAYLIGHT. Please kindly keep calm and let think on how to handle it.
IN UNITY WE SHALL FIGHT AND WIN the stigma and discrimination surrounding us in Indian, Nigeria and all over the world.

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Geogy Jacob's picture

And Yeah count me in as a frnd :-) ..God Bless

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Geogy Jacob's picture

May God Bless you abundantly

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Geogy Jacob's picture

Hey dear firstly I thank God for such a wonderful and clean hearted person like u , as u said ignorance led ur best frnd to leave u ,I rather say its lack of love .. If a person truly loves u that person will never leave u come what may, so its rather gud u lost a Artifical frnd in ur life, its his loss , he dint realise love and friendship is eternal and u r a wonderful soul >>Keep rocking dear lets us shine so well that the clouds of ignorance and despair is faded out by the light

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mumbaiyyagal's picture

Thank u sooo much NABs...for ur blessing n ur love. We PLWHA (people living with HIV/AIDS) need more of those!!! Thaaaanks once again :)

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mumbaiyyagal's picture

Thanks sooo much Mandy. I dont regret having lost him but am deeply pained to feel that he didnt even sit back to think once, just once WHY I had disclosed to him. TRUST is a big word. But that incident will not stop me from telling to people who matters.

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NABs's picture

God Bless you on your walk and your journey toward truth and healing. I hope through your story people face their stigma and prejudice and call it into question. The valdity of fear induced hate is minscule and unproductive. You are loved and appreciated.

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mandywebb66's picture

I'm so sorry that you have had to go through this, disclosing is such a brave thing to do and you don't expect this from your Best Friends. Not everyone will be like that and keep feeling positive and proud about the woman you are. Take care, this is a long journey you're on and there's many great bits of sightseeing along the way.
Mandy

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Khadijat's picture

This story really touch my heart but I sincerely like your courage. What a brave thing to do? We need this kind of courage at times, because if we allow fear to over take us in disclosing our status how can we erased the ignorance, stigma and discrimination surrounding HIV especially in your country. Once again I say KUDOS!!! to you. Don't allow this to weigh you down I believed that your friend will surely come back to you. His reaction was just due to some misconception which is normal. He will surely come back one day when he knows better.

HUG............

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mumbaiyyagal's picture

Thanks for ur overwhelming support, Khadijat.....it means a lot......

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hiden helper's picture

You are so brave . It is very hard to expose this reality . But you did. I salute you.

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mumbaiyyagal's picture

@Hiden Helper : Awwww, thank u for your compliment. I opened out so that I let people know that they arent alone. In India, the suicide rate in HIV people is HIGH. Thus I want to reach out to them and tell them that all is not lost and it is not the end. People who dont accept u are the ones who aren't even worth being with u.

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