… continued from the About page ~
“Finding out I was HIV positive, after everything I went through with the professor, at first, felt like the straw that broke the camel’s back. Soon after, though, processing that I had just acquired an early grave and the chances of finding true love seemingly now completely extinct, I nearly lost my mind and the will to live. Only my mother’s love and my desire to be vindicated kept me alive. As an escape, I began to solidify my imaginations of what I might be, inspired by the dream of ‘T’ I had when I was fifteen, which had now evolved into the rock, and mock star ~ T ~.
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world."~ Harriet Tubman
I floundered in jobs that were not fulfilling, depressed with this ghastly, stigmatized label, until I took a stab at an HIV-positive dating site on the net. Thank Love the internet came about not too long after HIV did! I began talking to a girl from the States and within one week I flew down to Los Angeles to meet her. Soon after I got off the plane and met her, though, I knew our relationship was not going to work. I believe she felt the same. But, being young and naive, we ignored our intuitions. We married a few months later and fought every waking moment as we had nothing in common other than the virus. It ended after only eight months. I came back to Vancouver, December, 2001.
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try, try, try again." ~ Michael Chang
I was deathly determined to follow my musical machinations now, as I had written what I had thought were a few potentially kick-ass songs. I went on disability, moved into the city, got a part-time job I could stand, joined bands, and started living the remaining of my twenties feeling, at least, somewhat fun and free. In 2003, I started writing a rock opera telling my story which used the songs I had written so far, recorded its demo album by the summer of 2005, and produced, starring as T, ‘Southern Time the First Act’ which ran for seven nights in Vancouver; December of that year.
I surprised myself by this endeavor. Though it was not a commercial success, it was an immense confidence boost, and extremely cathartic in that I had finally made a tangible attempt to not be a victim anymore.
I began to have at least some results, albeit mixed ones, with the opposite sex too. I toured a two-person version of ‘Southern Time’ the rock opera with one of these ladies who was and still is a great friend of mine for parts of 2007 and 2008. We settled in Toronto where we lived as starving artists.
“LIFE ISN’T ABOUT FINDING YOURSELF. LIFE IS ABOUT CREATING YOURSELF.“ ~ GEORGE BERNARD SHAW ¥Φ¥
Then I began to get ill. I started taking HIV medications immediately after my diagnosis in 1996 for two years, but stopped taking them and having my health monitored for the following ten years. For me, I guess, it was just too much to handle, being reminded two or three times a day of this unpleasant fate life had dealt me, and of the way I got it.
In 2009, the virus took its toll on me. In March, my mom flew to Toronto and brought me back to Vancouver. One week later, in a delirious stupor I walked to her kitchen, pulled a knife from a cupboard, and tried to slit my wrist. I only made a few scratches. She found me, called 911, and I was put into palliative care for two months. I was in liver failure, my central nervous system rifled with Cytomegalovirus,a viral load of 410,000, and a CD4 count less than 10. My lowest weight was 95 lbs. When my infections were brought under control, I started taking HIV medications. I take them to this day and my immune system is strong again. Everything that was wrong with me physically was made right, except for some lower spinal cord damage which remains.
After spending an additional four months in the hospital in acute care, I moved into an apartment of my own. Though life has presented challenges since, I have been handling them in a much calmer, positive, and more honest way.