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Author Topic: Here I am  (Read 2234 times)

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Offline Rightbrain

  • Member
  • Posts: 54
Here I am
« on: December 04, 2006, 12:47:13 AM »
Thank you, Eldon, for articulating what I've felt for so long.  We need to be supportive of each other and if we disagree we can do so without being sarcastic or personal. 

There have been so many things that I have not shared here, parts of my story, that I did not because I knew I'd be attacked.  I've truly had the emotional wind knocked out of my sails since my diagnosis and didn't want to hanlde it.  I'll share them with you tonight.  I just want you to know who I really am.

I grew up PENTICOSTAL.  what a beginning.  It sets the stage doesn't it?  I was the fairhaired boy in my church. Everone wanted their child to hang around with me so their child wouldn't cuss.  I had so little validation and was so starved for love in my family that I found it be being "good".  I was so well behaved it was sickening, but it truly has always been the foundation of my identity.  I had to not only be good, I had to be "better than".  If this position was threatened I felt as though I was swallowed up into nothing. 

So, in the church that I grew up in (and mind you we thought we were better than the other denominations so for me there were no other views available) I started to have homosexual desires around the age of 12.  I was terrified.  I hid it.  I prayed.  hard.  I fantasized.  I thought it would go away because I was so special.  When my parents asked me if I was gay I told them yes.  My mother just put her head down.  I remember that terrible, sickening feeling-knowing that she couldn't bear to look at me.  I didn't know how to be anything but perfect in their eyes.  Now I was something my own mother couldn't look at and my father wouldn't talk about.  The shame was overwhelming. 

For the next 12 years I hid those feelings.  I read books.  I was introspective more than anyone should be.  I had to make this part of me go away.  I had to.  I had to reject what was not perfect (in the context of my identity formation).  And yet I was so incredibly starved for the love of a man.  I had HUGE crushes on girls, dated them, was engaged to one, and am now married. 

I went to Oral Roberts University.  Believe it or not, I went there because of the men.  You see, I visited the school and found other young men who were actually nice.  Remember that I was absolutely starved for male affection, and here was a place with young men that prayed together, shared intimately at times, and formed intense friendships.  I had NEVER even been close to that before.  I also thought that going there would somehow "cure" me of my desires.

I couldn't make my desires go away so I went underground with them.  At the age of 26 I had my first sexual encounter and was hooked--really hooked.  The guilt was still terrible but the sex was just as good.  I still went to church every Sunday, prayed, repented time after time.  I knew no other way than what I've always been taught and yet was in over my head.  It wasn't a question of "is gay ok".  Giving blow jobs in parking lots to strangers is not healthy for anyone.  And I gave a lot of them.  I slept with every man I could.

When I met and married my wife I thought that that would help me overcome the desires.  Don't get me wrong, I love my wife with all my heart.  She is by far the best thing that ever happened to me.  I thought that I was far from God, that He could not possibly love me for what I was doing.  Yet I was employed by the church as a minister of music.  I was very good at what I did.  I was an amazing worship leader in a very large church, leading a double life.  It still shames me to tell you all this, but I really want to be open. 

Then came the diagnosis.  That day I died on many levels.  I was certain that I had passed it on to my wife and would have to watch her die some day.  I thought she would leave me.  I knew that I would have to resign from my job ( I wouldn't now).  I Though I was dying because I knew nothing of the treatments available.  There was no way that I could have kept it to myself.  I could be fake, but not in the face of such tremendous loss.  I was loosing my mind.  All of this was still in the context of the perfect kid who was not allowed to make mistakes, let alone have opinions of my own.  My parents broke my inner sense of will at a very early age. 

Oddly enough, when I left ministry I felt an enormous weight lifted from me and for about 3 months felt the presence of God in my life more closely than I ever have before.  I didn't have to perform anymore.  I KNEW God was with me and I experienced a deep joy that I can't explain.  It made no sense.  I had made no promises of changing anything.  I wasn't "doing" anything. 
Hiv has certainly taught me to be faithful to the wife who has loving supported me through all this.  I'm ashamed that I'm the kind of person that has to learn that way.  I've also learned that the desire to stray probably isn't going to go away and that even in that, God loves me fully.  I have allowed myself to question things that I never would have allowed before even though it scares the shit out of me.  I've questioned a lot about right and wrong.  I've learned that I will never be "right".  I don't have the emotional energy to try.  I've learned the depths of my--MY darkness and learned that God's grace is deeper.  I'm angry, bitter, stronger, weaker, cracked, wiser, hardened, and will not ever judge another soul. 

Thank you for reading.

You are all my brothers and sisters.  (if you'll have me)

brother joe
If there's a cure I hope I can have all the leftover Sustiva.

Offline allopathicholistic

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,258
Re: Here I am
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2006, 12:59:39 AM »
Welcome and thanks for sharing! I say "let it all hang out"

There's so much combined wisdom here - you're bound to learn much on a regular basis.

We're so open (well, a lot of us, not all of us) that we even share our medical reports! Don't feel that's a requirement. It's not. But do know that great things can happen when you open up


Offline Longislander

  • Member
  • Posts: 2,489
Re: Here I am
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2006, 01:23:30 AM »
Brother Joe,

Welcome to Aidsmeds. Wow, that's quite a story. Thank you for sharing it.

infected 10/05 diagnosed 12-05
2/06   379/57000                    6/07 372/30500 25%   4/09 640/U/32% 
5/06   ?? /37000                     8/07 491/55000/24%    9/09 913/U/39%
8/06   349/9500 25%              11/07 515/68000/24     2/10 845/U/38%
9/06   507/16,000 30% !          2/08  516/116k/22%    7/10 906/80/39%
12/06 398/29000 26%             Start Atripla 3/08
3/07   402/80,000 29%            4/08  485/undet!/27
4/07   507/35,000 25%            7/08 625/UD/34%
                                                 11/08 684/U/36%

Offline Eldon

  • Member
  • Posts: 2,664
Re: Here I am
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2006, 01:52:14 AM »
Hey Brother Joe...

Wow! That truly is a story and for you to open up and share with the others. Yes, it is our duty as well as our "purpose" to help each other in any way that we can.

Our parents are similar in a way. They have expectations of us. In more ways than one. In fact, as it is with all sons and daughters, parents tend to have expectations and sometimes they are very high.

Truly, there is an anointing that you have from God. His divine presence is ever so vividly in your life as well as mine. He did say that he will never leave you or forsake you.

I must say that I am truly touched that you took the time out to share this with all of us.

In short, we are all in this together. There is a reason and a purpose that we are in each others lives. It could be either positive or negative. In this case it is positive.

There is a true connection that has taken place here this evening as I sit here and write back to you. I sense and feel the warm loving Spirit of the Great Divine. Yes, God.

Moving forward, let us continue to walk on our path our journey in this life. There are many positive things that will come out of us knowing each other. In time, this you will see.

I could do the big warm welcome, but you know where my heart is at already before I do.

In Universal Love,


Let me give you a BIG HUG!!!

Happy Holidays!

« Last Edit: December 04, 2006, 01:55:29 AM by Eldon »

Offline Angel-Ronnie

  • Member
  • Posts: 454
Re: Here I am
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2006, 01:58:26 AM »
Brother Joe

Welcome and be assured that many will welcome uyou in their hearts and lives. It amazes me to see that some of us were raised the same and that we have experienced so much similarities in our lives

Peace and love to you

Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it - Charles Swindoll
2012-04-23 CD4=847 VL=125 CD4%=29
06-02-2013 CD4=990 VL=<20 CD4%=28
05-07-2013 CD4=869 VL=<20 CD4%=30
05-12-2013 CD4=859 VL=262 CD4%=28
03-05-2014 CD4=743 VL=<20 CD4%=28
30-09-2014 CD4=291 VL=33 CD4% =30
24-02-2015 CD4 1065 VL=1814 CD4%=30
22-07-2015 CD4=974 VL=<20 CD4%=32
19-01-2016 CD4=940 VL=<30 CD4%=33

Offline Queen Tokelove

  • Member
  • Posts: 6,033
  • Smokey the Smurf
Re: Here I am
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2006, 02:00:56 AM »
Welcome to the Forums, Bro. Joe. I read your Intro, sorry you had to endure the things you did but hopefully it has made you a stronger person. I hope to hear more from you in the future.
Started Atripla/Ziagen on 9/13/07.
10/31/07 CD4-265 VL- undetectable
2/6/08 CD4- 401 VL- undetectable
5/7/08 CD4- 705 VL- undetectable
6/4/08 CD4- 775 VL- undetectable
8/6/08 CD4- 805 VL- undetectable
11/13/08 CD4- 774 VL--undetectable
2/4/09  CD4- 484  VL- 18,000 (2 months off meds)
3/3/09---Starting Back on Meds---
4/27/09 CD4- 664 VL-- undetectable
6/17/09 CD4- 438 VL- 439
8/09 CD4- 404 VL- 1,600
01-22-10-- CD4- 525 VL- 59,000
Cherish the simple things life has to offer

The Royal Blog

Offline Rightbrain

  • Member
  • Posts: 54
Re: Here I am
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2006, 10:24:03 AM »
Thank you all so much.  I also want to share that in the process of grieving the destruction of my life's foundational structures, a pastor at my church told me that no part of my life has been destroyed that was ever important to God.

I also forgot to mention again that my wife is negative, and I am in ministry again.  This time in a place that really knows who I am.  All of my choir members know of my hiv status.  They love me.  No more games.

brother joe
If there's a cure I hope I can have all the leftover Sustiva.

Offline aztecan

  • Member
  • Posts: 5,512
  • 31 years positive, 59 years a pain in the butt
Re: Here I am
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2006, 11:33:24 AM »
Hey Brother Joe,

If memory serves, weren't you here on the old site? I seem to remember your posting when you were going through some of the trials of which you just posted.

Whether you are or aren't, welcome (or welcome back).

I have found religion to either be the rock on which some build their lives, or the destruction of said life.  I am glad you have found a way to reach peace through this turmoil.

I look forward to hearing more from you.


"May your life preach more loudly than your lips."
~ William Ellery Channing (Unitarian Minister)

Offline Eldon

  • Member
  • Posts: 2,664
Re: Here I am
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2006, 09:09:32 PM »
Hey Brother Joe...

Something I wanted to add. Click on the link:

Happy Holidays!

Offline Rightbrain

  • Member
  • Posts: 54
Re: Here I am
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2006, 09:48:29 PM »

Yes, that was me, and I have continued to post every few days on the new sight.  Mostly on the weekends.


Thanks for the link.  You're a dear brother. 

A few other tidbits are that my t cells went down to 100 within a year of infection.  I have been in a clinical trial for the past 3 1/2 years taking Atripla and its predecessors.  My motto has become "If they find a cure, I hope I can have all the leftover Sustiva."  I was high as a kite the first six months and loved every minute of it.  It seemed more intense if I ate chicken.  I ate a lot of chicken.  T cells at 536, vl <50 and feel fine.  Also take Celexa, Trazadone, and androgel after months of debilitating fatigue that had no sort of cause.

I have a MA in music performance with clarinet as a primary.  I also play the other woodwinds, trumpet, horn, organ, piano, violin, cello, and Celtic harp.  I'm also a damn good portrait artist.


brother joe

If there's a cure I hope I can have all the leftover Sustiva.

Offline red_Dragon888

  • Member
  • Posts: 2,839
  • Love and Be Love in Return
Re: Here I am
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2006, 10:05:56 PM »
That spoke to me.  esp," I'm angry, bitter, stronger, weaker, cracked, wiser, hardened, and will not ever judge another soul."  That is like everyother day and then some.

Off Crystal Meth since May 13, 2013.  In recovery with 20 months clean time.

Offline Robert

  • Member
  • Posts: 2,658
Re: Here I am
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2006, 11:28:20 PM »
Well, Brother Joe, HOSANNAS!!

That's a fascinating portrait you've painted of yourself.  I can tell right now I will focus in on your threads when you post.  It sounds like you have a great wife and a great church and a great choir. 

And Welcome to the forum,


Offline Teresa

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,754
Re: Here I am
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2006, 12:38:55 AM »
Welcome Brother Joe!

I went to a Pentecostal church for a couple years when I was in grade school. It was my grandparents church. From what i remember it was very strict. That's probally why i turned out to be a baptist.

Glad you made your way here and hope to get to know you better,

Hubby HIV+ 5/5/06
  %: 26.7
 VL: <20
Atripla (started it 8/24/06)


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