Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Return of The (Anti)Social

I go on spontaneous hiatus every once in a while. There will be times when it will seem like I am suddenly possessed by some angel and I totally retreat and shy away from the hedonistic life and would prefer to be a recluse, and I have been like that for the past few weeks now.

However, last Saturday, I decided to have a break. I decided to go out to do some face management and practice some social skills (once again). I also wanted to know if I can (still) handle temptations.

Its been a while since I last attended a public party, but I wasn't so excited that night. I sure missed going out with my close friends and spending the night as if we own the world, but at the back of my mind, I knew some things have changed and we (might have been) past our crazy times.

Anyway, with some hesitations, I still decided to put on my white button down shirt and jeans and off we went to Malate's White Party. I was joined by three friends.

The night initially had a marketplace appeal to me, literally and figuratively. Aside from the railings and the tents they had on the streets of Orosa and Nakpil whick resemble more like tiange or talipapa. You will also see people of different type, displayed in different sections-- there is the dry section, the wet section, the fresh, the 'bilasa', the maganda, the nagmamaganda. Its gayness in all its form. It was fun looking at them, nonetheless.

It was refreshing to see some familiar faces, though. It was equally 'nice' to see some faces which, given a choice, I wish I didn't see (**i am trying to play sarcastic here) as we approached Nakpil. But I had to hold my social gestures to merely giving casual hi's, occasional wave, and impersonal smile at times instead of the usual beso beso until we reached Bed Bar. Not that I was playing snob-bitch. I just needed to establish my space first and be comfortable in 'my territory' before I break my barrier.

So I spent the first few hours in Bed with my friends. We all grabbed our first bottle and had a nice talk and some good laugh. Then I decided to go on start with my 'agenda'. I retreated to the stool by the bar area to finish my bottle while I left my friends in our table. I gotta know if I still know 'social skills'.

Just a minute after I sat myself comfortably on the stool and my bottle becomes empty, someone approached me and offered another bottle. He is some guy who I've seen in Malate but never really had a close and personal encounter with him until tonight. I spent a few more minutes and few more bottles with him by the bar before I decided to go back to our table and join my friends again.

With my comfort zone established, I started throwing my (in)famous 'hi gorgeous' line and was surprised that it still works like magic. I spent a few time just watching people, quickly greeting people I recognized, and flirting around. In short, back to the 'used to be me.' Two guys wanted to 'play' with me but I decided to play it my way and just kept them around for a possible change of mind. Sex simply wasn't in my 'agenda' that night.

I also got a couple of text message from people who wanted to have an EB and/or an after party steamy affair. Again, sex wasn't in my agenda that night so I simply shrugged it off.

Ryan, the guy by the bar who previously approached me, sent me a message and asked me nicely if I am still at the bar and if I wanted to meet up with him (again). I casually said 'yes' and so he went back to see me. I asked him if we could go out of the bar and have a walk somewhere quiet, though. This was just a little more than two hours after we arrived at the place and I was already looking for some place quiet!

He politely obliged to my request and we walked out of the bar and took a stroll. We were walking like we were lovers, holding hands and all, which I like, but that's just it. I am not really into him. He asked me if I'd be interested in the S word, but I politely declined. Again, sex wasn't in my 'agenda'.

So we went back and decided to go our way. He joined his friends inside while I decided to stay outside the bar.

There were still a lot of people outside. I can see them from where I sat. Theres still a lot coming in. I would have usually been inside the bar at this point, but today, I decided to bail out of the party and satisfy my cravings for dim sum.

On my way to the dim sum house with my friend K, my mind fluttered with random thoughts and realizations:

1. I can control my alcohol;
2. I can leave the party before the party is over;
3. I can maintain an 'agenda'.

I am not yet totally giving up clubs and partying. Its a healthy way of keeping ones social skills, I guess. I guess, I am simply partying the better and finer way. Afterall, partying isn't always getting wasted and getting laid.

Happy Pride.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Unlikely Disclosure

I was out to see J today. Today will be the last time I'll be seeing him for the next two months. He is going for a two-month vacation in Spain. Although the thought of (temporary) separation saddens me, I picked myself up and met with him anyway.

We just went for the usual coffee talk and said our temporary 'goodbyes'.

J and I have been seeing each other for a while now since we reconnected, and I have always been vocal about my interest in him. He takes the compliments and would reciprocate at times. i really cannot speak as to how he feels, but I know I like him and I am hopeful that he would be mine. But then again, I am trying to keep my promise of not getting between his relationship with his boyfriend. I remain content to us being friends for a while, and just enjoy whatever we have at the moment.

I also have to admit that in the past few days, I have been being drawn closer and more comfortable to him. But at the same time, I am also afraid with the comfortabilty we have now. We have been telling each other more 'personal' truths than before, and I am afraid i wouldn't know how to tell him one truth about me, and that is my HIV status.

I wanted to tell him about my status since I first saw him again back in April. Although I remained firm-- no matter how my friend K told me that I should tell the people I could have infected when I still do not know that I am positive-- that I am not responsible for them, I always felt that J is an exemption and that he needs to know. J and I had sex back in October, and I was thinking I could have been already infected then since my last test prior to my "Indeterminate" result in November was in July when I turned negative, and I could have possibly infected him.

Although I still maintain that I am not responsible for the possible infections that the "irresponsible" sexual activities I engaged myself in the past as I myself do not know my status, I felt different for J. Maybe its the attachment that is making me feel obliged to tell him. it could also be because I see a real person in him, sincere and loving, and that I cannot be unfair by keeping it now that I know. But fears are holding me back.

Finally, I took th courage and told him.

It started from exchanges of "not-so-good" text messages the night after we had our last meeting. For what reason, I'd rather keep that between us. One after the other, and I decided it wasn't a good time to talk and tell him. I have gone frustrated and exasperated with the message sent and recieved, until I decided to end it all there-- not to see him again, not even to hear from me again, with one last plea-- that he get tested.

Some moments of silence and I told him in a very relaxed message that I am HIV positive and that I might have possibly infected him. I then gave my final goodbye. It was hard, but I had to do it.

J sent a somehow confused reply. I went on to clarify. More messages and we finally decided to talk it out in details when he comes back from his vacation.

Things have started to get pacified. The earlier bitter exchanges have turned out to be words of comfort.

I am not sure really as to what this unlikely disclosure might be. But more than being afraid, I am now very much relieved.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Anti-Social Slob

I've always been open. I never really mind people knowing things about me, and sometimes my personal life. I even like it at times. There are times I've offered some information. A few times when I've gone overboard. Its somehow to feed my ego of the interest people put into knowing my(interesting) life. That's me!

The past few weeks have been different. I noticed that I became an anti-social slob. I've never been out on a public party. I have been twice, but never really got the interest to mingle with new faces. I would usually sit on my spot and stay there until the party is over.

A friend tonight told me it wasn't me. Its actually the least he would expect to see me simply sitting down. I dunno myself why is such the case. Why is such the case of self-exclusion? Let me figure out!

First, I never found anyone worth spending time with. I won't deny that there are a few guys who have gotten my attention, but simply not enough to get me out of my comfort zone and play. It could be because I have my thoughts solely for one person these days, J-- someone who I won't be afraid to be vulnerable with.

Second, I have found it futile to come and mingle with random souls realizing that the probability of finding a few good one is less than the passable. Its just a waste of time telling people the same story of my life, and in the end you realize its not worth telling, afterall. I am simply too interesting for them.

Finally, I have come into terms with myself. I am sufficient less the admiration (and praises?) from other people. It wouldn't add nor subtract anything from me, afterall. I'd be the same me regardless of whether people hate me or not.

By the way, I am just thinking aloud. I don't need an unsolicited advice!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Meeting the Pozzies

I had my CD4 Test today.

I was at San Lazaro Hospital earlier for my schedule. I came just on time, but apparently, the  doctors are not there yet when I arrived to I decided to take my breakfast first (it was just a cup of instant coffee. Hehehe) While on the line at the cashier, I saw a familiar face at the cafeteria. I know he was the guy I saw at PGH when I went there to have a check up for my shingles. I know he recognized me too as he is looking at me, and so I threw him a smile and walked to his table after I paid.

Lets call him KV. I asked him if I could join his table. He politely offered me a seat. Just a few minutes after, we started talking. He told me that he in fact recognized me. He remembered the time when I was limping from my chair to the doctor during one of my visit at PGH and asked me if I remember him as well. I said yes. He also said that he wanted to talk to me before but decided not to as he thought I was a snob and was looking like I was in terrible pain. he didn't want to bother me.

KV is 22 or 23 years old. I couldn't remember exactly. He was with his sister that morning. He was with her, too, when I  first saw him in PGH. KV told me that his family knows about his status, and it is nice to see his family go with him through his journey with HIV. I wish I can do the same, but I am just not ready to see my mom take the pains more than I should.

Anyway, KV and I talked a lot about our status and shared some insights about things while his sister nicely took our CD4 endorsement slip and wait for the doctor to open up the testing room. While we are waiting, we saw a few guys check the testing room as well. Of course, I was already thinking that these guys must be up for the same things as we are-- to take our CD4 test, as well.

I remember the 3 other guys who went to check the testing area, and I just found it interesting that HIV is becoming more and more real for me. I mean, seeing people who actually live with it, and what they go through. It is also interesting how HIV takes on different faces and how people living with HIV takes it in different fashion.

Finally, the doctors opened the clinic and we were called by KV's sister and went to the clinic to have our blood extracted. And yes, the 3 other guys who checked the clinic earlier were also up for the same thing.

Everyone is quietly seated on the lobby of the clinic while they wait for the doctor to call them, and I am included, although at times,  KV and I still managed to takes some good laugh just so to disperse the nervousness and anxiety.  Until finally, started to call the roll.

First, the guy in black. He was wearing a UP shirt, so I assume he must be from UP. He must be around 21 or 22. He looked good. He always had his head bowed down, though, as if he doesn't want people to recognize him. He is a bit bulky and looks very healthy, and you wouldn't suspect that he is HIV positive just by looking at him.

Next was the guy in white shirt. He is very thin. I also noticed some scabs which resembles lesions on his foot and his hand. He looked very sick, too.

Then its was  KV and me. KV  went first and then waited for me at the lobby until I finished my turn.

Lastly was the guy who is all "wrapped." He was wearing a long sleeved sweater, a low rise jeans, a big shades for his eyes and a turban wrapped around and covering his head. I do not know what was going on with him, but I remember my first few visits in PGH before. I would always go there with my shades so as not to be recognized.

KV, together with his sister, took a short walk with me afterwards and finally took our separate ways. We exchanged numbers and promised to keep in touch.

I head home took a long sleep.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Anxiety Attack

I feel very anxious today. No, I don't need a pill. I am not and have never been clinically diagnosed of anxiety disorder. But I feel like I am to break down anytime now.

I recieved a text message from Abby, the attending nurse in PGH's SAGIP, the organization dedicated to helping and extending medical support and counselling to different patients, including the immuno-compromised ones among others, saying that my schedule for CD4 test is ready and that I need to pick up the endorsement slip. This is the second time I'll be scheduled for my CD4 test, but I was not able to go during the first schedule as I was then out of town.

I know CD4 testing doesn't have to be so tough. I mean they will just extract blood from me, and although I freak out from the sight of a syringe and blood, it wouldn't take much time. However, although as simple as it may sound, what causes me the anxiety is the thought of knowing the results. Knowing that you are HIV positive is a hard truth, but knowing which stage are you in would be a harder truth, I guess.

There are a lot of things going on in my mind just thinking about it. What if my CD4 count goes below 300? Am I ready to start the regular and lifetime habit of taking medication? Those are just some questions I am trying to answer.

However, I realized this is the better choice.

Maybe I am just overthinking.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Being Cheesy

Today was a happy day!

I woke up from a text message from MR a little past noon, asking how am I doing. It is one of the few times he would send a message first so I got excited, but didn't show it. I was tempted but I sent him a very bland response, a very simple "I am fine!" instead! After two planned meetings had to be cancelled, I thought I shouldn't get too much into the thought of meeting him today thats why the very cold response.

He then asked me "Are you ok? Whats the problem?" Maybe, I got him to read my message the way I wanted it to come across. I was quick to reply, though, and qualified my previous reply and said "I am good. How are you?" He then sent another message saying "Nothing,maybe I just misunderstood your message. "

Some silent moments then another SMS came. It was him asking "Are you free to go out tonight?" so I replied, "I am just staying home today." He then came to ask me "Would you like to meet?"

I finally gave in. I asked for his plans, and agreed to meet him at night.

Three hours later, another SMS from him asking me if am ok to meet 'now' and I quickly answered YES! So off I went to prepare and met him earlier than planned.

Its always refreshing to see him. Those very expressive eyes. That very nice nose. Those lovely lips. That very disarming smile--I always look forward to see him smile. He doesn't smile often. He's a bit reserved with his smiles.

Anyway, I came to see in in High Street. We had a cup of coffee and a very good talk. I always enjoy talking to him. He is naturally smart. Its one of the talk when neither of us have the pressure of trying to sound smart and profound. We simply talk, and talk as we feel.

Then we decided to take a walk. We walked by the sunset. Slowly walking, holding hands, him embracing me at times, me hugging him on the waist. We didn't mind about people secretly looking at us nor the cars rolling down their window just to see two guys walking the way we were.

I could go on that state for a while. I could go on just going for long aimless walk with him, looking at the same horizon. He never failed to make me happy.

Only if we could just go on like that. I wish to go on like that...with him.

Anyway, we needed to head off and take our own different directions for the meantime.

He made me happiest today.

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