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Author Topic: changing yourself: what did you do, what have you done?  (Read 2994 times)

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Offline CalvinC

  • Member
  • Posts: 143
changing yourself: what did you do, what have you done?
« on: June 25, 2006, 06:34:10 PM »
Hi all

Another day of doing all the do things but I can't connect with everyone; they're all at Pride, and I've decided not to go this year. I get painfully lonely in the crowd. And what do I get? Lonely anyway.

I'm wandering around the city, in a lot of pain: one moment it's the ex, the next it's really just about being lonely and having hiv. And I'm angry, thinking, F**k, how pedestrian,"being lonely." And I've sadly realized I've spent a good chunk of my 47 years going from park to bathhouse to washroom to relationships wherein the other guy is not really available, all in order to stave off that loneliness, but becoming only all the more lonely. And now here it is, finally, staring me in the face.... oh my god it hurts.

I wander into a record store and the first thing I hear is Man in the Mirror, which I found I've never really listened to before. It starts "Im gonna make a change, For once in my life." And in that prosaic simplicity spilled out what I'm in the middle of right now, making changes *for once in my life.* All the other attempts were largely cosmetic; this is the real thing. I'm in it.

And since I have to now take care of myself, I really hear the song's words: "Im starting with the man in the mirror / Im asking him to change his ways." And I have decided to respond with YES. Please say a prayer for me that I'll get through all this pain.

Andrew (apologies for the blog-like nature of this)

Man in the Mirror: http://www.lyricsfreak.com/m/michael+jackson/man+in+the+mirror_20092566.html


« Last Edit: June 26, 2006, 11:49:57 AM by CalvinC »

Offline jordan

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  • Posts: 239
  • What I want is a celebration
Re: changing yourself: the person in the mirror
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2006, 06:39:56 PM »
Calvin:

Hang in there....things will get better.


I understand about the power of lyrics.  Coincidently like the day after I found out my test was positive for HIV... I remember I had VH1 on the next day because I had to go to work like nothing was wrong and Daniel Powter's "Bad Day" video played - I remember just crying.

But then I pulled myself up by my bootstraps and said I must keep going.  The song and video really resonated with me (even though it's been a tad overplayed here in the States).


If you think your lonely now, wait until tonight.

Offline Dachshund

  • Member
  • Posts: 5,956
Re: changing yourself: the person in the mirror
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2006, 07:01:05 PM »


Andrew,
 I admire your honesty...and it does not take a parade to be proud of yourself.

Peace,
Hal

Offline Biggums

  • Member
  • Posts: 199
Re: changing yourself: the person in the mirror
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2006, 09:19:25 PM »
Andrew,

I also applaud your honesty.  Gosh I have been where you are at and still am in many ways.  It is so easy to live as a "victim" when sometimes the only person keeping you back is yourself.  Your post makes me want to make changes also.  Thanks
44 year old gay man .......just broke up with the only man I've ever really loved.

You can love completely without complete understanding.

Offline anniebc

  • Member
  • Posts: 5,939
  • AM member since 2003
Re: changing yourself: the person in the mirror
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2006, 01:32:25 AM »
Hi Andrew

First of all, never apologize for writing down how you feel or for being honest, that's what the forum is all about, if we don't know how you are feeling or how you are coping with life then we can't help you.

We have all looked in the mirror at one time or another and  haven't always liked what we see, but we have the power to change that, all we have to do is use it, we are all stronger than we think.

Sending you love and prayers from NZ.

Hugs
Jan
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Never knock on deaths door..ring the bell and run..he really hates that.

Offline CalvinC

  • Member
  • Posts: 143
Re: changing yourself: what did you do, what have you done?
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2006, 11:57:34 AM »

Thanks for the responses......and they prompted me to change the title to ask the question: what did you change when you become poz? nothing? everything? Name a change that you *willingly* made.

One (major) think I am in the middle of changing is my response to my loneliness. I dealt with these feelings all my life by running from them: into the arms of strangers. Well, not really their arms, as that might indicate a loving gesture. There was nothing warm about tons of anonymous sex. Right now, in addition to being poz, I got dumped. I am trying to deal with these two things by creating something else I have to deal with: my behaviour. And right now, I'm winning. It's hard, and I know I can drown my sorrows in booze and sex, but I know too that that is the loneliest place of all. Don't want to sound like Pollyanna or L'il Orphan Annie, but gosh, I gotta try. I really don't have a choice but to change. Not for my ex but for me. I am dropping the years of being angry and hostile to "them," the world out there that I used to think did me wrong. Time to grow up.

Andrew

Offline Joe K

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  • Member
  • Posts: 3,656
  • 31 Years Poz
Re: changing yourself: what did you do, what have you done?
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2006, 12:16:53 PM »
Hey Andrew,

I'm impressed to read how far you have come since last week and all I can tell you is that you have it right.  We are the only ones responsible for our own happiness and the sooner we realize that, the sooner the baggage starts getting the boot.  I understand about the loneliness.

During the fall of 99, my abusive partner finally got himself incarcerated.  It was a good thing in that it got him out of my life, but the hole that was left, seemed like the Grand Canyon.  Andrew, I cried for almost 2 months, until I realized that by allowing myself to wallow in self-pity, I was still giving him power over me.  Granted your situation is different, but the end result was the same, that nagging loneliness.

I like reading what you wrote because it tells me you want a better life for yourself and now you are ready to try it.  Just remember that those things worth having often cause the most pain, but they also yield the greatest reward.  You're not a whiner, just honest in assessing your situation and formulating concrete plans to move yourself forward.

Andrew, in the end that is all we can hope to do and I applaud your courage in both sharing your story and especially your unwillingness to let this get you down.  You can do this and you will.

Offline Moffie65

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,755
  • Living POZ since 1983
Re: changing yourself: what did you do, what have you done?
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2006, 12:26:49 PM »
Andrew,

"You're a good man Charlie Brown", now YOU must believe this.

You're coming along, now please refer to my last post to you and try that exercise; I bet you it will have really good effects on you and help you to see what is up next.

In Love and Support. ;D
The Bible contains 6 admonishments to homosexuals,
and 362 to heterosexuals.
This doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals,
It's just that they need more supervision.
Lynn Lavne

Offline Life

  • Member
  • Posts: 2,388
  • Member 2005
Re: changing yourself: what did you do, what have you done?
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2006, 01:03:42 PM »
Andy if you stop the depressants (booze) let your mind clear (3 to 6 months) I think you will find a whole new world around you...  A world that you never new existed.   Thats one thing I would start with...  I found that were I was at, I was not maturing AT ALL..  Just drownding in self.  And it was always right back where I left it when my head cleared.  This can go on for years without you ever even realizing your true potential.. God I am glad thats NOT a part of my life anymore.  Everything I see, everything I feel is REAL!!!  And the only way to get through it, is by doing so......    Tuff up bucko!

Love
« Last Edit: June 26, 2006, 01:08:54 PM by Eric »

Offline JohnOso

  • Member
  • Posts: 816
Re: changing yourself: what did you do, what have you done?
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2006, 04:02:56 PM »
Andrew,

Boy do i see a lot of myself in your posts.  i've tentatively accepted that my Unwanted Companion is now a part of my life.  I refuse to let it control me, but on the same day I feel I've conquered one thing, another creeps up out of the blue.

Guess that's living though, brother.

Take care,
john


Offline CalvinC

  • Member
  • Posts: 143
Re: changing yourself: what did you do, what have you done?
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2006, 04:11:00 PM »

You guys are the greatest!!

Yes, Moff, I have made a promise to myself to do the exercise. It does sound scarey but do-able.

I had a rough patch today, and I met a friend for lunch...and I just blabbed it all out. I came away realizing that I am doing too much. I have to drop some commitments, especially academic ones, and focus on getting back to social groups, like playing hockey this year. I need to build this new life, piece by piece.

Thanks for helping me put the pieces together.

Andrew

Offline Christine

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,069
Re: changing yourself: what did you do, what have you done?
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2006, 04:40:37 PM »
In a way, you are lucky. You looked in the mirror and saw you were not happy with the reflection, and want to change it. Learning to acknowledge your feelings truthfully to yourself is a big deal. Admitting you don't like what you see, and want to improve yourself- HUGE deal. Some people never get to that point in their lives. You should be very proud of yourself.

I used to take things for granted, and never enjoyed the moment. Always looking for the next thing to make me happy. And then I realized that they only person who can make me happy is me. It is my responsibility to love life, and see the beauty around me. I also learned to appreciate each day, because it could be the last. Yes- it is an Oprah moment, but on most days it works pretty well.

Sending you good thoughts of empowerment and strength. And next year- go to the Pride parade, and enjoy yourself!
Christine
Poz since '93. Currently on Procrit, Azithromax, Pentamidine, Valcyte, Levothyroxine, Zoloft, Epzicom, Prezista, Viread, Norvir, and GS-9137 study drug. As needed: Trazodone, Atavan, Diflucan, Zofran, Hydrocodone, Octreotide

5/30/07 t-cells 9; vl 275,000

Offline Oceanbeach

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,565
Re: changing yourself: what did you do, what have you done?
« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2006, 06:25:40 PM »
Dear Andrew,

I saw myself on the TV news last week, recognized my shirt, my voice and my words but, not the face on the screen.

WE do not have to apologize for being ourselves and having feelings.  My first 6 years with HIV/AIDS was rather unsettling to say the least.  I missed a lot of events, I missed life as I once knew it.  Life beyond L.A.?

I spent another 4 years in complete isolation, moved to a small town where, I knew no one.  Had occassional chats with the clerk at the convenience market and the only people I spent any time with was at the clinic and only while I had an appointment.

Having always been an advocate, I was elected to be the Chair person on our local HIV Advisory Committee, I was invited to be on the Board of Directors of our clinic.  Tried to invoke some change through the State Department of Health, Office of AIDS (California) and got mixed (if any) results from the powers that bee and no support from the healthcare organization, the ASO or the other people living with HIV In our community.

When things are not going well, we need to re-invent ourselves.   I left that dirty little no-horse town and moved to Sonoma County because there is a physician here who was highly recommended by the medical profession in L.A.. Things got better and then there was the Ryan White CARE Act, which is necessary federal funding for needed services.  As you must be aware it expired on September 30, 2005 and the legislation in it's current form is nothing more than legislative language.  It is not likely to be resolved this year, in it's current state.

I re-invented myself from an isolated advocate to an activist.  I became a member of the Sonoma County Commission on AIDS, built a web site (from my own funds), I am an active member on at least 6 sub-committees.  I spend a lot of time with the media in our county and the surrounding counties.  There is little support for what I do but after working so long and so hard to be able to maintain a life with HIV/AIDS, I refuse to sit back and watch the legislators take everything away.  Have the best day
Michael

www.Commission-on-AIDS.org

In my free time, I post here in the forums.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2006, 06:28:01 PM by Sonomabeach »

Offline Gary85741

  • Member
  • Posts: 197
  • Native Virginian living in Tucson AZ
    • Good guy, good heart
Re: changing yourself: what did you do, what have you done?
« Reply #13 on: July 04, 2006, 11:49:40 PM »


     I like that some of you guys just put it right out there.  It helps some of us realize we're not alone in our scenarios.

     I've really tried (with as much success as can reasonably be expected) to accept my situation.  I realize I can't change people or fate, but I can to an extent change my reactions and perceptions to them.

     In the 80s I did the bar thing all the time...went home with lots of guys.  That was never exactly what I was looking for though.  At the time I thought I was doing that to find a LTR but in retrospect maybe I wasn't.
     In the 90s I'd had my fill of the bar culture.  Thereafter up to 2004 I had five STRs (short-term relationships.)  Maybe some of those didn't exactly meet that definition, but to me they did.  In each case, the other person terminated them.  I never did, though in retrospect I should have ended each of them myself.  Guess I had a bad habit then of ignoring red flags prominent enough for Helen Keller to see...and wanted to hang on at any cost.  Well...I've definitely learned a lot about myself and people since those situations.

     So here I be at 55...and I have some wasting...and moreover I don't fit most of the gay stereotypes or have the typical gay interests.  I have good qualities but they are not the ones which generate much enthusiasm in the gay community I guess. 
     (Poz) guys who do seem friendly with me always drop off after a month or so.  Maybe the novelty wears off for them...is that it?  (Of course it wears off as you get to know someone.)  Seems hard to even make friends...being pragmatic, I don't expect more than that anymore in my situation.

     I'm uncomfortable even writing this because it's embarrassing.  But others have opened up so I feel okay doing the same.  The good thing is that I have learned to love myself...which is as much a key as anything to getting by in life.

Gary
Poz since '89. 
Current regimen: Rescriptor, Emtriva, Kaletra, Invirase, Acyclovir, Lisinopril, Lipitor, Prilosec, Valium, Testim, Nandrolone, Loperamidr, Marinol.

 


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