2 - THE TRIGGER
For my first real story, I decided to share with you the origin of the trigger that I had regarding the launch of the blog.
I've been writing for a very long time to vent, without necessarily having anyone read anything. Without writing, I think I wouldn't be here anymore.
The trigger was a boy on Saturday. What am I saying? It's not only thanks to him, it's also thanks to all the others. It's an accumulation of all the things that have happened in the last ten years. But yes, on Saturday I found myself in a situation that I don't want to go through again, and I realised that I had two options: either I continued to suffer terribly from rejection, or I freed my voice to survive. I seem to have chosen the second option.
So I met a boy a week ago after chatting with him on Tinder for a few days. Unfortunately he was just passing through Bordeaux but we felt like meeting again despite the distance. So I was cordially invited to spend the weekend in Nantes.
I asked myself many questions about this distance and it was only at the last moment that I decided to take my car to go there. I left on Friday evening, under a torrential rain, which is not very surprising considering the time of the year in the region. I hate driving, even more so at night, and even more so in the rain. It seems that I really wanted to see this boy again.
We spent the end of the evening chatting, very naturally, and I didn't ask myself any questions. Well, maybe the question of whether he liked me as much as I liked him, but in the end the fact that he had invited me was the answer.
The next day we did a bit of sightseeing, as I didn't know Nantes at all, so sightseeing turned out to be a necessary part of my stay. We had lunch with some of his friends. I was very surprised by this initiative but frankly, I didn't feel like analysing what was going on at all. Everything was going well in the end. We had planned to meet up with the same group of friends for dinner that evening.
After a long walk in the rain, we decided to go home. We watched a film - a very bad one - and then a second film was started.
Having shared some intimacy in the night, the thought of telling him I was HIV-positive didn't leave me all day. For all these years, I've been making sure to talk about it as soon as possible before things get serious, just to get the problem - which is not a problem - out of my head. I found that until it was verbalised I couldn't be myself, which is complicated when you meet someone.
I asked him to pause the film because I had something to say. So I went ahead, eye to eye, sitting on his sofa, side by side, and confided in him. I have rarely used my voice to tell a boy about my HIV status. I've often used other mediums, such as writing, but this time I wanted to tell him face to face. Right away I could see from his attitude that the pill wasn't working at all.
The first thing he said to me was: "I'm definitely out of luck. Naturally I was concerned to know why. It turns out that a similar experience had happened to him a little before he met me, and that he had apparently had a very bad experience when the boy had told him about his HIV status. I got the hypocritical "Thank you for your honesty, I know it can't be easy... But..." speech.
The famous "but" that I know so well. But what?
"But if there's one thing I'm afraid of, it's getting HIV, so there's not going to be a sequel to this."
So in a split second I went from "Potential boyfriend, you never know if it's going well" to "Oh my god, that boy has HIV, and as nice as he is it doesn't matter at all".
That's what I've been going through for ten years. All of a sudden I don't exist anymore. I am no longer a human being, I am the embodiment of evil, of death, of socially anchored fears, which obviously no longer have a place but nevertheless persist in our society.
I don't need to tell you the violence of the words and the devastating effect it had on me. To put it mildly, I clearly felt like I had been punched in the face.
I left his house immediately. I held back my tears very hard, I absolutely did not want to fall apart in front of this boy. Honestly, I hadn't fallen in love with him at first sight, so in the end it wasn't so much a sentimental disappointment, but more a general fed upness and an exhaustion of keeping everything inside me so as not to embarrass others, to make them feel uncomfortable, because in the end we end up being ashamed of being HIV carriers. You feel guilty and the slightest meeting becomes burdensome when it is taken seriously because you know that you will have to reveal yourself completely.
I got into the car, it was already dark and raining even harder than the day before. I took the wheel, without shedding a tear. It was only later on the road, while talking to a friend, that I managed to expel my disappointment. But even before feeling sad, what I felt was anger.
I'm not going to lie to you, on the motorway a dark thought crossed my mind. But very quickly I pulled myself together and knew what I had to do.
Today you are reading my first story, and I hope there will be many more. This one is about what finally made it happen, others will be about my past and future experiences, with my family, friends, colleagues, loves, treatment...
In any case, I have just taken an important step which, I am fully aware of it, is likely to change my life profoundly. But what I see now is positive. It is out of the question that ignorance and discrimination continue to extinguish me, and all of us. We have a voice, let's use it to tell our story.
Today I am finally free.