His Love Is My Drug: Finding Love After HIV Diagnosis (Part 1)

Kids, I’m going to tell you an incredible story. The story of how I met my husbro. This gonna take a while so you might want to get comfortable. Make a good cup of tea. Grab the cookie jar.

Ready? Good.

You see, before I met my husbro, I had a different life. That is, a life before I was HIV-positive or, to be precise, before I found out about my HIV status.

Yes. I was single when I took ‘the test.’ It was, like, three or four years ago. I still remember how my doctor told me—after reading my test results—that I should “discuss the big news” with my “partner.”

“Just bring your partner here,” he said with eyes full of concern.

I guess he could see the sadness in my face. Well, how could he not? The life as I knew it was over. However, that was not the only reason I felt so sad.

“We can get him tested, too,” he went on. “Regardless of the results, you both can get through this.”

I finally shook my head.

“No, Doc, there is no need for that. There is no ‘partner’ or ‘boyfriend’ to begin with,” I said, bitterly.

Prior to that, I spent years and years looking for ‘the one’ but I did not succeed. I looked everywhere. Clubs. Social circles. Friends. Grindr. Jack’d. You name it. More than often I got rejected because of I’m more on the heavy side (read: overweight).

I was convinced that I was the problem.

I did, of course, occasionally meet someone who I ‘clicked’ for a while but somehow it was always between my (former) career and the guy. Obviously, at that time, I chose the former.

I told my friend about the situation and she said, “well, look at the brightside. Wehave a career. We don’t have time for boyfriends. Where would we put them in our busy schedule?”

Aye. So that’s what I did. I tried to look confident. At least you have a career, Mahel, I told myself. I convinced myself that the job was the only relationship worth fighting for at the time.

You know, the old mantra: be single and happy.

Now, kids, don’t get me wrong: there’s nothing wrong with being single. But, avoiding relationships when you actually want one is unhealthy.

In reminiscence, I guess, that was my mistake: I chose ‘career’ over ‘love’ not because I “wanted” a career, but more because I didn’t feel “worthy” to love and be loved back.

In order to fulfill my needs, I lived my life on one-night stands. Yes. Quick ‘love’. That was the only definition of “love” I knew at the time.

I was both insecure and reckless. So if a guy that I found attractive want me and he didn’t want to use condoms, I caved in.

It happened so many times I lost count … until there I was, in that clinic, thinking that my life was over. Thinking that I would never find a boyfriend, let alone partner.

I really thought I could do it alone. I didn’t tell my friends right away about what I was going through at the time (another stupid mistake). I tried to keep it together but failed miserably. I was a mess. I felt that I did not have a support system to carry me through (yes, another stupid mistake).

So I started to slack off at work, and, eventually, did a fatal mistake that ended up getting me fired. No job. No boyfriend. Nothing. All I have was me and the virus. I really, really thought my life would be over.

You see, kids, the funny thing about life was, when you thought it punched you in the face, it actually did you a favor even though it did not feel like it at first.

I lied to you. This is not the story of how I found my love. This is the story of how love found me.

Part Two released tomorrow.

First published on Bali Peduli.

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