It's All Good In the Hood!

Submitted on Jul 22, 2014 by  MelPainter2014

It's been a while. Lots has happened! And I'm just about to embark on a 3 week working holiday road trip and then a stay at KPS Trebullom so thought it's time to catch up and share. It's all good in the hood! In May I got great blood results - CD4 726 VL 457 - and completed another 21 day HIV meditation project with new friends made and great feedback received. I also started dating...yeah that's kinda why I haven't written for a while, that and my two daughters' exams, prom, performances, birthday and boyfriend/girlfriend celebrations and commiserations!

So this is where the unique problems of living with HIV really hit home. With the chance of romance comes the fear around disclosure. I did write a whole blog discussing the pros and cons, when, where, and how, and I asked on the forums. I basically stopped seeing him because I couldn't face it! That seems a lifetime ago and I can't find the word document where I originally vented and ranted, which is probably good as it does all seem irrelevant now, but those fears of rejection and being judged were so strong. I haven't shared my status to many and it hasn't always been well received. Sometimes initially it seems ok and then cracks reveal themselves. Like a 'good' friend who is supportive, but actually I'm not welcome to play with her child; a lover who is ok until a condom breaks and the reality of PrEP proves too difficult; or another response: "Wow, I appreciate you sharing that. I feel closer to you now," and then they never stay to eat or drink tea in your house again.

Recently though I had a wonderful experience of sharing my status and I took a lot of courage from that. At Bruce Lipton's talk with 'alternatives', a fellow healer was surprised to see me there in the big city. He knew I ran a local meditation group as he gave me advise when I first started, and he began talking about all the wonderful work he was now doing in London and how he used to work nearby with PLWHIV. I said, "Oh, did you know I'm HIV+?" so matter of fact it was brilliant! He physically stepped back, but more out of shock than of fear, and I could see him reevaluating me. The table turned. Now he wanted to know more about what I did and was fascinated! I explained some of how the 'Biology of Belief' had helped me, then the lecture continued, and I sat back in my seat with a wonderful feeling of satisfaction for being brave and receiving more than just compassion - it was more like awe!  My disclosure meant that in his eyes I was more than just a woman dabbling in healing techniques. I was living proof that these 'alternatives' work!

Anyway, to my now 'official' boyfriend BRM, he's a Bicycle Repair Man, and we met over a puncture! He asked me out for a drink, which after became a date, and then we got kissing. Then it became more dates and more kissing, and then I started to fall for him so I needed to tell him. It's all about how you frame it, just mention it in casual conversation, find out what he knows first. All wonderful advice, but in the end I went for dropping the bomb. "I have something I need to tell you..."

I couldn't do it lighthearted because my heart was heavy. No matter how much I told myself, "If he rejects me it's his loss," I really wanted him to respond well. I really liked him and although my gut was saying it's going to be ok, just do it, my mind was on overdrive.  His initial response was, "Are you ill?" and his eyes showed concern not fear. "No, I'm healthy, I'm fine," I replied, and then started my spiel about slow progressor, natural suppressor and all the science, and then he kissed me! "I don't need to know all that," he said. "You're well and we're ok. That's enough. I trust you."

Wow! So since then when I've got some spare time I've been sending texts and meeting up. I've being proudly shown off, taken out for dinner, and generally been having a great time! I think finally there might be a fairytale ending. Time will tell if he is a true prince, but at the moment he ain't no frog in my eyes!

Submitted by ellejay

That's really good news Mel.  

Isolation was one of the worst feelings I had when I became 'positive', it just increased the sense of stigma and being 'outside' of 'normal' life (please note apostrophies!!)  It seemed like a life sentence of  singledom.  Like you I want to share - without sounding too Pollyanna'ish - the difference being in a loving relationship has made to my self confidence and sense of being 'included'.  I respect everyone's right to be different and to act according to their own inner voice but from where I am now I'd encourage more women to embrace the challenge of rejection in the quest for some loving company.

After I got over the initial shock of my diagnosis which took about 3 years, I became frustrated at how limited my life had become.  So, I decided to go online to check out some potential company for evenings out and day trips etc, nothing more, too scary.  Well I kissed a few frogs and met a few decent guys who just didn't float my boat.  Then I met a few who might have, just might have. But I found that the longer I left disclosure the bigger it got; and the more I felt like I was hiding and to a point, decieving them. Also I was scared of either me or them 'falling' and ending up hurt because of the disclosure.  Eventually I met someone who might have been good partner material so I disclosed on our second date - no beating about the bush.  I kept myself safe from possible violent reactions by making sure we were outside but in veiw of other people. My heart was pounding so hard I thought I might pass out. But I kept calm and explained as matter of factly as I could.  Wonder of wonders he was really cool, asked some questions, didn't stop hugging me and mused that it could have been him that was positive.  Most of us have been wild at some point - even just once!  And a lot of us have been cheated on - and then infected too.  However it was too much for that guy. He took time out to think about it and texted me 'We need to talk, can't stop thinking about you' about 6 weeks later.  By then I had met and disclosed to someone else.  He was attentive and considerate, 'It's just one of many illnesses' he said 'it doesn't change how I feel about you'. We are still together 8 months later and we are having so much fun!  I cannot put into words what a difference this has made to me on all levels.

So fab for you Mel may it blossom and grow to your heart's desire.  I wish good loving to you other ladies out there too - when you're ready.




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