Monday, June 24, 2013

Let's Take the Time to Educate

I just read the article "Transgendered Artist Arrested for Baring Breasts on Plane" http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/06/24/transgender_artist_arrested_for_baring_breasts_on_plane.html

It frustrated me to read it. Two Transgendered women on a plane didn't like that a flight attendant said "You guy's have to teach us how to do our makeup, you know because you used to be guys right?" Nina Arsenault said they were provoked by the inappropriate questions.

Were the questions inappropriate? Absolutely. Was the best response to those questions to take off her top and strut down the aisle to purposely shock the fellow passengers and flight attendants? No I don't believe it was. The only purpose of that was shock value. It didn't teach anyone on that plane anything. If anything, those flight attendants that asked those questions, were probably put off and embarrassed and maybe afraid to interact with a transgendered person in the future. This action they took just further secluded themselves.

It would have been nice to read that they took the opportunity to educate the flight attendants. To tell them why it was inappropriate to ask those questions and phrase it in that manner. It would have been nice for them to encourage the flight attendants to do some research on the issues transgendered persons face everyday. But instead they chose to use shock value which takes away from their cause and makes it appear that they only did it to bring some attention to the fact they are artists. I'm not saying they have to be advocates. If they don't feel the need to be advocates for the cause that's fine, they could have simply said the questions you are asking are inappropriate and left it at that. If the flight attendants persisted they could have asked to speak to a manager when they got off the plane.

If someone said something inappropriate to me about being HIV Positive, such as "your dirty" I wouldn't strip naked and start rubbing myself with soap to prove I am clean. I would take the opportunity to educate in hopes of reducing the stigma around being HIV Positive. I hope people don't applaud these women for what they did, what they did was not positive.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

People Like Us... Were not alone!

Kelly Clarkson! Love her, she is great. I love that she stands up for herself...google Kelly Clarkson and Clive Davis. I love her music, her songs are great and she has amazing set of pipes. Her latest single is People Like Us. It's super catchy, I love belting it out while I'm driving.

The song got me thinking how it speaks on behalf of so many types of people. When I sing along to the song "People Like Us", I think about being HIV Positive and people like me. I think about my life and what I have been through and how it feels like this song was written for me. I am sure many people feel that way, it is amazing how a song can touch somebody. I love that a song can have such global appeal but feel so special, so personal for that one person.

In the song she sings:

Hey...everybody loses it
Everybody wants to throw it all away sometimes
And hey... and yeah I know what your going through
Don't let it get the best of you, you'll make it out alive

There have been many times where I have lost my shit. I haven't had the easiest life. I have written in past posts about be raped when I was twelve years old, my dad being alcoholic and angry, my mom never being around, having to raise myself, acting out sexually, dealing with bouts of major depression, wanting to kill myself, the list goes on. There were definitely times I wanted to throw it all away, but thankfully I didn't. It helped me to realize that there are other people out there that know what I am going through.

When I was first diagnosed with HIV, I googled like crazy. I came across the forums on Poz.com. I am so thankful for those forums. When I was scared, or curious, had questions I needed answered, there were amazing people on the forums willing to answer questions and provide advice. Sometimes it just helped to have someone say "I'm sorry that your going through this, I know how you feel." It helped me not feel alone. I sometimes think if it wasn't for contracting HIV, I wouldn't be alive. Contracting HIV was rock bottom for me. What did I do to myself? How could I let this happen? It made me realize I needed help, that I couldn't figure this out on my own. It allowed me to be honest with myself, which led me down the road to group therapy.

Group therapy was the scariest thing I have ever done and the best thing I ever done. It was a lot of hard work, there were many days I spent crying, wanting to give up. I didn't! I went to group therapy 4 hours a day, 5 days a week, for 4 months. I worked my ass off, I opened up to strangers, I gave it my all and it paid off. I am proud of myself.

She continues in the song:

People like us, we've got to stick together,
Keep your head up nothing lasts forever
Here's to the damned, to the lost and forgotten
It's hard to get high, when your living on the bottom

If you're feeling lonely, feeling like there is no one in the world can feel like you do having HIV, depression or any other disease, it's not true. There are other's like you, there are support groups, online forums, therapists and more. An important thing I learned is only I can change myself. My friends, my family can show me unconditional love, they can tell me how they just want me to be happy, that they will do anything to help me, but the thing is, that can only go so far. If you aren't willing to help yourself then how can others help you?

It's makes me sad and angry to think about the stigma that still surrounds HIV. When I was first diagnosed I felt dirty, tainted. I felt like no one would want me. That's not true, there are wonderful people out there, you just need to put in the effort and time to find them and weed out the bad ones and hopefully educate along the way. Don't get me wrong, I have come along way, I am not perfect. I have my days still when I feel down, but group therapy allowed me to be honest with myself, which has allowed me to be honest with those close to me. I am able to talk my issues out most of the time, which allows me to get out my depression quicker.

The next time your feeling alone, feeling damned and forgotten, throw some People Like Us on, belt it out and remember your not alone!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

KFC Craziness, I'll Stab You

Last weekend I went to KFC/TacoBell. There are only a couple of KFC/TacoBell combos in the city and the closest one to me is in the ghetto. So off to the ghetto I went.

I pulled into the parking lot and I was approached by someone asking me for money. Par for the course. It's worth it for me to get my combination of KFC/Taco Bell mmmm. I politely say no sorry and head into KFC/Tacobell.

As I walk in, there are three guys near the till. Two guys who have tattoos, plugs in their ears and skateboards, they are white. There is another guy who is not with them that is dark skinned, baggy jeans, I believe he was native. They are arguing. The native guy is yelling at one of the white guys and is yelling "how dare you disrespect me in my hood!" I think to myself, this isn't Inglewood chill out. Also I am annoyed because they are holding up the line, I just want my greasy chicken and fries supreme, I have a stomach to fill up and make me look pregnant.

The white guy says,  "your hood?, this isn't just your hood, this is my hood too, I grew up here." I am thinking seriously who fucking cares who hood it is. Everyone order and eat and we will be all happy campers but sadly that does not happen. The white guy says "you disrespected me by cutting in line."

Now the native guy is saying "come on let's fight fucker, let's fight." The white guy responds "I'm not going to fight you in the store." Then they start stepping at each other like they are going to fight but nothing happens. I stare at both of them in disbelieve. This is ridiculous. White guy's friend is giving them both of dirty looks. You can tell he is annoyed his friend is participating in this stupid crap and that he isn't getting to eat.

Now the native guy says "I'm going to stab you, I'll stab you mother fucker!" I look at the cashier at the till, she looks terrified, her name tag has trainee on it. Poor girl. I step back a few feet, don't want to get blood on me, but I am not leaving, I still want my Fully Loaded Box meal.

Native guy backs off and goes outside. The first white guy engaging in the argument turns to his friend,  smiles and says "haha I've been looking for a fight, it's been too long." His friend doesn't respond, just glares at him in disgust. They order their food and the native guy comes back in. Thankfully he doesn't say anything just orders a poutine after I've ordered. Now we are all standing their awkwardly. I am praying that my Fully Loaded Box meal with fries supreme instead of regular fries.

The two white guys get their food and the one white guy gives the native guy a dirty look. This pisses off the native guy and he follows them out of the store. Two seconds later native guy comes back in, he almost forgot his poutine. He runs out with his poutine, after them.

Thankfully they are gone, and now my Fully Loaded Box meal is ready. Mmmm grease, nothing like a Big Crunch Sandwich - must add hot sauce, piece of chicken, coleslaw and fries supreme, greasetastic!!

Nothing like taking a trip out to the hood for some grease, always entertaining.








Sunday, April 14, 2013

Underwear Addiction

I have an underwear addiction. Seriously! I was hanging out with my friends last night and I mentioned that I had gone to the mall earlier in the day. They asked me what I got, and I said oh just some underwear. They started laughing and said you always buy underwear, how many pairs do you think you have. I said oh I don't lots. 

Well today, I was cleaning my room and decided to find out how many pairs I actually have. Are you ready for the number? Drum roll please.......... I have 197 pairs of underwear. 197!!!! So I laid them all out on my bed and took a picture. Then I stacked them and took a picture. I will attach the pictures to show you my crazy underwear addiction. 

I even counted how many of each kind I have. The breakdown as follows:

97 Boxer Briefs
68 Briefs
16 Jockstraps
14 Thongs
2 Regular Boxers

I imagine how much money I have spent on underwear, OMG! Lot's of them I bought on sale though, that makes it alright, right? RIGHT? Haha

The funny part is, it bothers me that its 197, I feel the urge to go out and buy three more pairs to make it an even 200. Hahaha.

Wait till I am in California at the end of the month, I am sure I will have more to add to the collection, tee hee. 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

I Can Breathe!

I finally went back to the gym today, I haven't been to the gym since early last year. It went really well. Last December I was diagnosed with severe Asthma. I made sure to take my inhaler before going to the gym. OMG! This is what it feels like to breathe normally while working out. I have always found working out difficult because I would become short of breath easily. I always thought that was normal, just how I was. But obviously it wasn't. I was on the treadmill for forty five minutes and didn't feel like dying. I also did weights as well.

I've also started going to Yoga. It's called gayish yoga, it's geared towards the gay community but anyone is welcome. The first two times I went I didn't take my inhaler - big mistake. I felt like death by the end of it. The yoga class is an hour and half long. My friend looked over at me and said "umm your quite pale." The third time I went I remembered to take my inhaler before hand, and my breathing was spectacular, it was beautiful. I ended the class tired but a good tired not a I am going to pass out because I can't breathe tired.

I remember when I used to run cross-country in junior high and high school, I was good at it but always at the end I would have troubles breathing. It amazes me I never had a severe asthma attack...thankfully!

Yay for normal breathing! Woot woot!


Saturday, March 2, 2013

Massage & HIV

About a month ago I started going to a Massage Therapist. I am constantly having back pain and thought I would give it a try. I've gone to a Massage Therapist a couple of times in the past, it was good and relaxing but wasn't great. I decided to give it a try again. I found the best Massage Therapist ever. He really gets into the muscles, I love it. It is the best massage I have ever had. I like that he uses his arm and slowly goes over the muscle. It feels so great and really loosens everything up.

There is another reason I like him. He has been great with the fact that I am HIV positive. When I went there for the first time, I filled out the usual forms. It has a list of conditions to check off, such as being HIV Positive. At first I wasn't going to check off the box for being HIV positive. I thought what's the point? There is no risk of him contracting HIV from me during the massage. But then I thought why am I trying to hide it? I really don't care if he knows I have HIV. So I checked off the box.

We went into the room and he said I noticed you checked off the HIV box. I have never had a client with HIV before. I thought to myself, not that you knew about. I also thought great, is he going to have a problem with this. He then said, are you on medications? I said yes I am. I thought to myself, is he seriously worried about contracting HIV. The next thing he said was, do your medications cause any issues, such as skin or muscle issues, I ask because I want to make sure I don't apply to much pressure if your medications cause any issues. I hope it's okay that I asked.

I felt like an ass. I made an assumption and I was wrong. What a great guy, making sure he is educating himself so he can make sure he gives me the best massage therapy possible. I told him that the medications don't cause any issues like that and that he didn't have to modify how he performed the massage therapy. I thanked him for asking and told him to feel free to ask me any questions about HIV.

The second time I went in for a massage, he took the opportunity to ask me some questions. He asked about how HIV can be transmitted and we talked about me having to contact previous partners. I told him that the nurse actually does that for you and does it confidentially. He said that is great, as you wouldn't want to have to worry about that, as you are trying to deal with the diagnosis itself.

Not only does he give an amazing massage, he was great about asking questions about HIV. He again asked if it was okay to ask me questions, I said definitely, as it helps reduce the stigma. Best massage therapist ever!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Road Rage...I Blew Him a Kiss

I was driving home from work today and the snow is blowing all over the place. There was a guy riding my ass, obviously he felt I wasn't going fast enough. He pulled up beside me and stared me down, so I gave him the finger. He was a very heavy set guy, probably in his forties. He was a few feet ahead of me, in the lane next to me, all of a sudden he let go of the steering wheel, put his arms over his head and started pounding his fist into his hand. It looked so stupid I started laughing uncontrollably. He was not happy about this. He started tapping his breaks to intimidate me, which didn't work since he wasn't even in the same lane as me. I just kept laughing. He moved into the left turning lane and was slowing down so I caught up to him. When I was across from his started shaking his fists so I blew him a kiss. The look on his face was priceless.

I used to have issues with road rage. Before I went through the group therapy program, I held in all my anger. Eventually I would get so full of anger it would spill out in unhealthy ways, such as road rage. I remember one time, I was driving down the freeway and there was a truck full of young guys. They were in the same lane as me  and all of a sudden went across three lanes of traffic, cutting off a few vehicles. I shook my head in disbelief, well they saw that and didn't like that so they cut back over through the three lanes of traffic, got in front of me and slammed on their brakes and then tried to take off. My anger over took me and I sped off after them. Weaving in and out of traffic trying to chase them down. I eventually realized how stupid I was being and backed off and let them get out of sight. What was I really going to do? Get out of my car and fight them? No way in hell, I wouldn't have a chance.

Thankfully I haven't lost my cool in quite a long time. Now I just laugh and blow kisses.