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Who Am I?

05 Jul

I’m a man, a white man (not that it matters) with Cherokee indigenous blood running through my veins; not a lot, but “enough.” I’m also gay, meaning I’m a man who, if I’m going to date and sleep with someone— that someone will be another man. I’m a cancer survivor and I’ve lived with HIV for (knowingly) 15+ years; I’ve seen my weight fluctuate in both directions (presently headed in the right direction as I work to get back down to my goal weight). I’m “registered as” a Democrat but I’m one of the most conservative gay men living in our community today — and I’m not ashamed to be so. (I’ve every intention of voting for Donald Trump; not because I believe he’s perfect but because I think he’s the only one running that I can trust to get us back on track to realizing the potential that our country does have. Hilary Clinton is simply a crook, for sale to the highest bidder. Bernie Sanders, bless his heart, is a wonderful man but he’s a socialist; that isn’t what our country is all about. Better you people wake the hell up and realize that now, BEFORE we end up with some of the highest tax rates in the civilized world.) I believe in a hard day’s work for a hard day’s dollar; I don’t believe in handouts but I’m not averse to giving another person a hand UP. I believe every person, be they man, woman, black or white, red or brown, able-bodied or physically challenged should have equal access to the same OPPORTUNITIES that are offered to their peers, BUT that only means they’ve the opportunity to “PUT IN THE EFFORT TO ACHIEVE WHAT THEIR PEERS HAVE, THROUGH THEIR OWN HARD WORK.” I do NOT believe in giving a person a reward “just for showing up.” If he or she excels at what they do then yes, he or she should be rewarded in commensurate fashion — but to be given a trophy just for walking in the door? No! Excellence deserves to be rewarded; mediocrity does not. I’m proud of the principles upon which this country (United States of Amerce) was founded; I’m not entirely happy with some legs of the journey our country has traversed …. But we are learning, ever improving (or should be) and can still make this country as great as the dreams of which our forefathers did have in mind when the fight for our independence was made. The Republican (GOP) party is not perfect but I’m quickly realizing that I’ve more in common with the Republicans than I do with my own party members. Democrats LOVE to play the “victim” card; the Democratic party is ALL ABOUT building walls (which is hilarious when you stop and consider how much they’ve railed against Trump’s comment about building a wall between Mexico and the U.S.) Yes, there’s no group of persons existing today that gets more of a “money shot” out of creating divisions between one group of person and another —- than the Democrats. Victimhood is their modus operandi; trying to bully those with whom they disagree IS a common tool in their little bag of wares. [Most] Democrats I have known spend more time being ashamed of our country and its past than they seem capable of being proud of all of our [collective] accomplishments. They make excuses and offer apologies for shit they/we had NO PART in rather than simply saying, “Well, that’s something we need to work on” (and getting to work). Honestly, I believe patriotism is an alien concept to your average Democrat who buys into the liberal narrative that pervades far too much of our lives here in the USA today. Patriotism is NOT unfamiliar to [most] Republicans; if anything, most members of the GOP are so overly patriotic that they’re incapable of even “considering” an apology for the irresponsible and unfair actions of some of our forefathers. Members of the GOP have been charged with prejudice and racism in the past; closed-mindedness is a trait that prevails within BOTH parties but is more often than not assigned to the conservative party. It’s true that, seemingly, liberals and Democrats were quicker to recognize how unfair it is to judge a man or woman because of his or her sexual orientation. (Conservatives are more likely to butt heads on this issue based on their upbringing and indoctrinations from the pulpit/church. But I’m proud to acknowledge those conservatives who HAVE “grown” and do, today, accept me for the man that I always have been. In point of fact, I wish that I could say the same for my LGBT peers (who have YET TO ACKNOWLEDGE that we’ve MANY allies within the conservative party who, in spite of their religious beliefs, have accepted us for the people that we are). It’s true that there are still assholes within the Republican party who cannot see past the biases they have developed from years of faith-based indoctrination and redneck attitudes in the home but hey, that’s life. You have people who’ve grown over the years and you have those who walk in place, never evolving and ever-judging —- and they exist on BOTH SIDES, in BOTH parties, the Republicans and the Democrats alike! But personally speaking, I’ve had better luck holding dialogues with Republicans than I’ve had with those in my own party, in my own [LGBT] community. That’s saying a hell of a lot for a group of people who would have you “believe” they are better than most. (They’re not; if anything, liberals are MORE judgmental and more divisive than any other group of people walking the earth today. That HAS been my experience; especially in recent years as we have made some headway on the front of equal rights. (A fight, I might add, that I’ve fought for the better part of thirty-two years… only to now discover that “some” within our community REALLY DO want “special” rights (as opposed to equal rights). What a shameful fucking turn of events THAT realization has been!

Having made that last comment I want to close with this. I do NOT believe in “compensation” for past wrongs; I believe in making course corrections and addressing the inequalities that may exist at any given point in time. I do NOT believe in affirmative action, REGARDLESS of the situation. If you cannot excel [presently] then you do not deserve to be rewarded. Keep working at it if you want the prize but don’t expect me to lower the bar to compensate for whatever injustices may have existed in the past. (That kind of shit simply means that SOMEBODY ELSE is now going to be discriminated against or treated unfairly —- and two wrongs do not a right make, folks.)

Get off your ass and work for what you want to get out of life. That’s my mantra; it should be yours.

In truth and honoring all human-kind (worth honoring)…
Michael

 
 

Still The Same Man I Always Have Been…

05 Mar

deadbeat

It isn’t that I’ve anything against Democrats (and for the record, not all Democrats are “liberals”). It’s that I was raised and taught that if you want something, you WORK for it. You don’t expect it to suddenly appear and be given to you as if money grows on trees.

(For the record, I’m registered AS a Democrat)…

A friend sent me a message this morning, expressing that he wishes he could draw because if he could… He’d draw the “Bernie”-mobile, all beat up and travelling along the freeway while siphoning gas from another car that was moving along beside it.

He’s right. THAT is how socialism works, folks. It’s what Bernie, nice as he is, stands for and it’s everything this country is NOT about.

We’re supposed to be about giving people “opportunities.” The chance to reach for their dreams — BUT to achieve those dreams, THEY must be the ones to put in the real effort.

You do not get something for nothing; in fact, you justifiably get no more than the effort you’ve put in to earn your prize.

So no, Bernie, the socialist, is not the answer. Nor is Hilary who has proven herself untrustworthy on so many occasions. Yes, I know. Those nasty Republicans have had her in their targets for years and years now, trying to rid Washington, D.C. of she and her husband. I totally understand that lame argument and I’m not arguing that the Republican Party was/is doing so in the interests of the nation.

You and I both know the vast majority of (if not all) politicians do not do such things in the interests of their constituents, because… Well, cause NO elected politician in EITHER party, since being elected, has EVER done anything without being motivated by some self-interest and/or greed.

For the politicians of today and many years past, it’s always been about preserving the power they won and securing more of the same. It’s about lining their pocketbooks with more currency. Greed and the lust for power is the human weakness — and our elected representatives display such frailty each and EVERY day!

/mm

[to be continued]

 
2 Comments

Posted in Politics

 

The “Twin Towers” Remembered

10 Jan

 Capture of post on Facebook I agree with the message that the original poster made.

Fact: There is a group of people that do not like America; they consider us to be “Infidels” and it was the intention of the terrorists to strike fear into the hearts of those they wish to kill (us).

Fact: Many countries have opened their borders to an entire group of people (the Muslims) who were raised to believe that women, gays and lesbians and ANYONE who does not believe as they do themselves are unworthy of living — and their own [cult] teaches them that it is alright to LIE to “infidels” to get their way. What has that gotten these countries?

Fact: 100 women were raped, beaten and robbed on New Years even by a thuggish, worthless group of 1000 Muslim men “because they were taught and believe that women are nothing more than property, to be used and abused as they see fit.”

Fact: Islam is not a religion of peace; it is a cult that preaches hate, deception and murder and I myself tend to think that many of those terrorists responsible for bringing down the Twin Towers in NYC and other attacks around the country on 9-11-01 were in fact followers of that cult, as are many of those who would like nothing more than to repeat the event if given the opportunity.

CONCLUSION: There are far too many Muslims who are welcomed in with all of their “necessary needs” PROVIDED for them, who LIE to us and bite the hands that feed them. Dogs deserve [MUCH] better treatment than these people do and if by re-posting a photo of the Twin Towers along with a clear message they “did NOT win that day” sends a message that their fear tactics are useless in the face of freedom/liberty and all that our nation stands for — then I say “all the better!” (Even if the sitting douche-bag of a president of the United States, along with many [liberals] in his party would much prefer to invite them in, demeaning the loss of life and property that day.) Islam is incompatible with our way of life here in America; it is incompatible with the way of life in ANY/EVERY civilized society. So I say, “Screw their feelings!” and let’s send as many messages we we can to these brutish THUGS that they will never win what they most desire.

#Muslim #AntiTerrorism #Terrorism #Islam #TwinTowers

 
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Posted in Politics

 

Tommy Robinson, the U.K. and the Threat of Islam

10 Jan

I’m not racist. You can’t be “racist” against an idea or a CULT (i.e. Islam). Ideas and religions are NOT people. But hey, if it makes you “feel” better to think of me as racist then by all means think of me as such. If you are a woman (or gay or bisexual), watch this video and YOU tell ME why so many seemingly EXCUSE the behavior of Muslims. Muslims are RAISED to think of women (in THEIR country) as second-class citizens. For the record, they think of women in the countries of others as even LESS THAN [that]. As a gay, lesbian or bisexual (AND AS anyone who isn’t a card-carrying CULT member of Islam), you have even MORE to be concerned about.

Do NOT “fool” yourself; Barack Obama and others of his ilk do NOT give a damn about this country (or he would be taking actions to protect our way of life). This pretender in the White House makes excuses for Muslims and welcomes them across our borders in record measure. The only reason members of his own party do so is so that they don’t upset the apple cart and cut off the teets they are suckling upon.

And Tommy Robinson is right; watch the video.

I’ve been told Mr. Robinson was jailed for speaking out against Islam and WHILE IN JAIL, he was attacked by Muslims. I haven’t researched that claim but there’s enough evidence on the face of it that I believe it is true.

Tommy Robinson’s circumstances are disturbing enough (and if liberals in our own country had their way, we would be – and ARE ON THE VERGE of facing the same effing consequences!) BTW, Robinson is a citizen of the U.K.

I’m told that NOW those in power in his country want to bring charges against him for PROTECTING HIMSELF while in jail! What the hell? If all of this is true… that he was jailed for simply speaking out against Islam, attacked while IN jail BY Muslims, fought back to PROTECT himself – and is now facing “additional prosecution” for doing something that ANY CIVILIZED PERSON would consider to be well-within one’s right to do (protect him or herself!) than our allies have LOST THEIR EFFING MINDS!!!


Read the rest of this entry »

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

24 Dec

Christmas-Card_MRM

 
 

Charlie vs. Swayze

15 Oct

 
 

Coming Out in A Faithful Family

25 May

When a family has been exposed to one of our group (the LGBT community) in a positive way, they’ve the opportunity to grow and evolve past the prejudice that may have been present before. We have to remember that prejudice is first learned and cultivated in a vacuum of evidence while it is dissipated through experience and an open mind.

For young adults and teens growing up within the confines of religion and religious families, I completely understand the reasons behind the fear of coming out (or being out’ed).

It isn’t easy to take that leap of faith, in the hope that your family will react favorably to the news that you aren’t what they’d assumed you were (all these years later). You and I have had time to reach some level of comfort with and acceptance of our sexual orientation. Even while some members of our family may have “suspected” it at times, the “news” that we are gay is still that; news that they have to process.

I always tell young people who are contemplating the act of “coming out” to their families, the most important preparation for that day is to be certain that you love and respect yourself and as well, that you have a support system in place to fall back on if your “coming out” doesn’t go as well as you may have hoped.

Growing up I was surrounded by family members who were very religious. I was fortunate in that they didn’t “seem” to be the kind who would react dis-favorably if and when I came out to them. (That didn’t make it much easier.)

All but one has been fine with the disclosure. A few were, and are, perhaps uncomfortable talking about the subject matter but that’s only because they, like so many others, seemingly think of it as being only about sex and little to do with who we are in our heart of hearts). For those persons, I wish you would understand that in the end it’s no different than how you feel; it’s a matter of whom we feel most comfortable sharing our lives. That’s it.

I came out years ago (to my mother first, around 1988 and the to the rest of my family the following year.

To be honest, I don’t for the life of me understand why they never figured it out on their own. I never dated [girls] and if anything, the hidden young man’s underwear section of the Sear’s catalog in my bedroom along with what Mom repeatedly described as my “snot rags” (ROFL!) back in those days should have been cause enough to clue the family in.

People see what they want to see I suppose.

I’m well aware there are families that are more religious than mine, whose members have spoken and acted out hatefully while discussing homosexuals, our pride events and/or actions intended to bring about understanding, equality and tolerance. I understand the hesitation and fear [some] feel over the thought of coming out, even in this so-called more accepting and enlightened age. The truth is there are no guarantees and it’s that “not knowing” that often paralyzes us into inaction.

Prior to coming out, take stock of the situation carefully. Gauge your circumstances and come out when YOU are ready to do so, not a moment before and certainly not at the bequest or perceived need of another (a boyfriend or girlfriend perhaps). Will it be as though a burden has been lifted? Many have said it’s like finally being able to breathe. I know that sounds like every reason to do so but I always tell young people to not act in haste; to come out only when they are in a position to care for themselves if necessary (or have verified they’ve the support of others if worse comes to worse. Sometimes this means waiting until after you’ve completed your secondary training (college, etc) and don’t for a moment feel guilty about that.

The world is a wonderful place but it isn’t always fair; sometimes it is anything but [fair]…

The day arrives, and…

Sometimes it goes well and at other [times], total chaos and dissension ensue. I’m aware of young teens who were disowned and told “leave and never look back.” {sigh} It’s heartbreaking to me when I read of this happening (and obviously worse yet for the young person who’s lost all of the family he ever knew growing up). It isn’t right and depending on the circumstances, can lead to any number of bad decisions on the part of the youth; actions taken just to “get by” and/or secure love and affection from anyone who will accept him into their life.

My response to every young person who experiences the worst from their families after coming out is, “YOU are still the very same person you were before they knew. You are worthy, intelligent, loving and certainly deserving of a happy future. Don’t let the ignorant, unreasonable reactions of others, even if they are your family, make you feel any less of a person than the blessing that you are. If they are incapable of seeing you for who you are, that’s their loss. Don’t make it your own by losing faith in yourself.

In closing and to those reading who are young and contemplating coming out under what may prove to be difficult circumstances and duress. Look to those “you trust” for the support that you will need. Be very observant, careful to recognize the signs if a person is offering his or her shoulder to lean on (but in truth, has a personal agenda). There are good people and bad people in this world; some have ulterior motives and their “support” is anything but free and without strings attached. I want you to be liberated of your own closet (when you are ready) but please try to do so without stepping from one set of confines into another that may be much, MUCH worse for you in the long-run.

To put it bluntly, do everything within your power not to become a statistic; one who is taken advantage of emotionally (and perhaps even physically) during the process of coming out to your family.

Namaste,
Michael

Resource Links:

  • LGBTQ Youth Rights by Vickie L. Henry, Director of GLAD’s Youth Initiative — On first glance, this appears to be a fairly comprehensive and well thought out resource for LGBTQ youth growing up in families of faith.

 
 

Please Remind Me… What Is So Great About Christianity?

09 Feb

Arkansas churches refuse funeral for gay man, give hateful Bible verses to husband

Arkansas churches refuse funeral for gay man, give hateful Bible verses to husband

I know there are “extremists” among every group; even among the Christians. What angers me most is how this kind of ## goes on and on and on and on and on, without any apparent end and yet the “majority” of those who “identify as Christian” fail to show up to call their hateful counterparts out on their very-UNchristian-like behavior. (Read the article by clicking on the image to the right in order to better understand why I am writing today’s blog entry.)

The absence of these so-called “good” Christians is so overwhelmingly apparent that I understand why others feel as they do about this faith and its followers. I myself have begun to think that, all in all, this is a faith I should be more and more inclined to distance myself from.

I DO believe in a higher power (as I am quite convinced, for very personal reasons that there is more to life than simply that “we are born, we die and we become worm food”) — but the God, the Creator, the Spirit that I believe in is a LOVING entity (not just a deity to be whored out when the need to judge others presents itself).

The judgmental morons that condone the kind of behavior afforded the family of James Stone (deceased) and his surviving husband (Jay Hoskins) are “anything BUT” loving. Furthermore, the absence of any real effort (by other followers of this faith) to call these “supposed” Christians out for the kind of behavior they did heap upon a grieving family at their most vulnerable is greatly disappointing. If that is truly what “being a Christian” means to those who identify as such, then you can damn well keep your faith. (I’d like to think this doesn’t represent the majority. It’s simply the lack of response by “Christian friends and loved ones”, to these kinds of situations that has me on my soapbox this evening.)

As for myself, I will choose to worship (in private) a Creator that is loving, tolerant, understanding and non-judgmental. The “Christians” may keep their heaven, their hell and all of the judgment they swear is not “their” place to hand out (yet it is; daily, hourly and moment by moment).

Why? Because actions speak more loudly than words and the deafening silence that ensues each and every time “Christian organizations” (along with those who identify with them) blatantly express judgment, feign indifference and actively seek out to cause harm to LGBT persons, their families and their friends (under the guise of religious faith)… Well, let us just say that it is VERY evident that the flocks of these organized religions are nothing more than hypocrites whose real motto is, “Do as I say, not as I do.

Yeah, I’m pretty hard-pressed to take up for Christians and Christianity, for the moment, since so many seem incapable or unwilling to take up for those of us they profess to love.

Related Links:

  • dallasvoice.comChurches Near Mountain Home, Ark. Refuse Funeral For Gay Man.
     

    What follows is a comment made by Jay Hoskins, husband of the deceased, following the article and update on the Dallas Voice:
     

    —BEGIN QUOTE—
     
    do not know what happened to the post I just commented on. I am James’ “legal” husband of nearly 6 months, and we had been together for over 10 years. Yes, this incident happened. And yes, it was out of the fundamentalist Clarkridge Church of Christ, amongst others. I just learned of the media coverage of this issue in the past couple of hours on the Voice. I have been contacted by local media in the last hour.

    I can tell you that there were not only issues having a service for him, but also in so much as that one or more members of the Clarkridge Church of Christ called and “CANCELLED” our family get-together after the service, and that TWO members of the Clarkridge Church of Christ, Jerry and Vicki Oels gave James grieving mother, myself and the preacher a nice big envelope each

    One filled with over 10 pages of Bible passages condemning us to hell, referencing God’s marriage laws, marriage amongst people and animals, and then a sympathy card.

    I HAVE NEVER EXPERIENCED SUCH HATE AND BIGOTRY in my life. James was taught not to be bigoted, hateful, and would not have approved of this.

    James did not die of Sjogren’s Syndrome. He died a tragic death of suicide where his poor mother and myself found him hanging from a ceiling fan. I tried unsuccessfully to revive him, but it was too late.

    To the people of Clarkridge, including his own family, RUTH STRAIN, RAY WAYE, ROY (JUNIOR) STONE and JACKIE STONE- you all will be judged just as everyone else. The same goes for VICKI and JERRY OELHS.

    And for anyone who would like to send their thoughts to Jerry and Vick Oels, you can write them at JERRY AND VICKI OELS
    3843 CR 37
    CLARKRIDGE AR 72623
    I can be reached via email at jhoskins2@att.net
     
    —END QUOTE—

 

Baggage, Baggage Everywhere

08 Feb

What do you do when you’ve been lied to, cheated on, have left the guy and are now dating someone else? (And WHY is it so difficult to take one’s own advice? LOL!!!)

As you may’ve guessed, this subject also came up in another group — and as you may have also guessed, I’ve been there and the advice I gave is precisely the advice I need to remember whenever I’m dating.

So…

What DO you do when you’re in a relationship with somebody new and you’re still dealing with the feelings of distrust brought on by an ex’s actions?

At some point you have to trust that the new boyfriend is being true to his word (unless he’s given you a real reason to think otherwise). What you’re really dealing with is “baggage from your last relationship.” There’s really no polite way of describing it; it is what it is; baggage. Baggage that until it’s dealt with effectively will drive you utterly and completely bat-shit crazy.

You can’t presume to think the current BF is likely to let you down because of what ANOTHER man did to you in the past; they are two different people.

True, the current beau isn’t perfect (none of us are; we all have our flaws) but if you feel the need to judge, judge him on “the flaws that HE may have” — not the ones your ex- painfully revealed toward the end (of that relationship).

If you keep expressing feelings of anxiety and distrust toward the man you’re presently seeing, basing such distrust on what happened in the past with your ex, he will eventually tire of explaining himself over and over and will simply call it a day and leave. (After all, be honest with yourself; isn’t it highly likely you would do the same if the roles were reversed?)

There is nothing you can do about the past other than to “accept that it’s there and learn from it.”

Moving forward, however, you have to remember that your past IS the past and the man you are now dating is an entirely different person. It isn’t fair for you to assign to him, the distrust your ex did (in the end) deserve … all while refusing to give the current boyfriend the “trust you freely gave to your ex- back when you and he first started dating.

In closing I would say, “Don’t ignore any obvious signs of cheating” but at the same time, “don’t go LOOKING for trouble either.”

What we go in search of, we’ll find. (It may not be ‘real’ — but we’ll ‘find’ the evidence to justify the search all the same.) I know that this last bit of advice seems to go against everything else I just said, but it really doesn’t. All I’m saying is, “Don’t ignore what’s REALLY there — but do not assign, to the poor guy, evidence of things he really hasn’t done to date.”

For those reading who have had their trust violated, if it makes you feel ANY better, just know that every one of us who has been cheated on or lied to has been in the same damn place that you are today. LOL. It takes time to deal with the baggage that an undeserving ex-boyfriend leaves us with when we start our lives over without the cheater in tow.

Namaste,
Michael

 
 

Valentines Day Again?

08 Feb

Happy Valentine's DayValentines Day is fast approaching [again] and I’ve seen several comments made within some of the groups I follow on Facebook by single gay men expressing feelings of loneliness. (This isn’t an easy time of year for any single person, gay or straight.) One comment in particular caught my eye as it was made by a guy who has been HIV-positive for a little more than a decade.

Basically, he’s trying to convey the message to other gay men in the group that if they truly want to know what it’s like to be lonely, they should talk to somebody who is single and HIV-positive. That doing so will give them an insight into the narrow-mindedness and prejudice that some within our community are capable of, afraid of the unknown and of even giving somebody who is HIV-positive the time of day. (Sadly, it’s been my experience that he has every good reason to make this kind of an observation.)

Even so, we’ve the power to turn it around. What follows is my response to the young man and the sense of loneliness he’s been experiencing.

I’ve removed all references to his identity for privacy reasons.

[Name removed]

Everything you have described, many if not all of us have experienced firsthand.

Some for being HIV-positive; others for being older (I happen to fall within both categories) and still others for totally unrelated reasons but as a consequence of some prejudice held by those we may have approached all the same.

The key to improving our own situation is no different than it is for anyone else (regardless of their HIV status). We must love ourselves first and foremost; we cannot gauge our own happiness on whether or not we’re in a relationship and have that special someone to cuddle up with at the end of the day. AND IT’S EFFING HARD!

I completely and thoroughly understand how difficult and how lonely it can seem when it appears nobody will ever give us the opportunities we once took for granted back when we were negative, young and had our entire lives in front of us. I don’t hold the short-sightedness of others (who reject me for being HIV-positive) against them. After all, I’ve been (when I was much younger) guilty of having done the same; passing up on the opportunity to get to know some wonderful people better because of my own unfounded fears back then.

Not getting angry for being rejected certainly doesn’t make me any less lonely — but it DOES prevent me from becoming bitter about the present situation. I know I’m a good guy.

Even if I never fall in love again with somebody who will take the time to educate himself and see past my disease, I’ll go to my grave knowing this and loving myself.

Once I accepted this state of mind I truly did reach some peace about being a single gay man with HIV. (Well, that and I had such a terrible relationship for 6.5 years, from 1994 until I left on my birthday in 2001, that being single IS PREFERABLE to the abuse I endured back then. LOL) It’s truly just a matter of perspective and we’re all a product of our own personal set of histories. With that in mind, I’m in no way judging you for feeling the way that you do. Your past is not the past I came to experience — even though we do share “some” very similar aspects within our lives.

One final observation (and this may or may not be applicable to your situation as I don’t know how you feel about yourself personally)… When one comes to respect and love himself fully, it becomes evident to all those around him. The odds DO increase that “mister right” will be attracted and make that added extra effort to get to know you for who you are rather than the disease you were exposed to at some point previously. That person will be more inclined to become an integral part of your life IF you feel comfortable in your own skin and love yourself for the man that you are today.

You are loved and appreciated. The real question is, “Are you yourself among that number?

If not then the best advice anyone can give you is that you find a way to change this; do things that make you proud of the person that you are. I am certain there ARE things you’re already doing that justify the love you should be feeling for yourself and when/if you accept that — others will start to notice the change as well. And those opportunities that once seemed so far out of reach? You may discover they are nearer at hand than you ever thought possible.

And before you say it, you would be right; it isn’t always easy to make that change or come to peace with being single until “mister right” veers near enough to your orbit to make an introduction. I get it (very, very well).

The final three paragraphs are basically the same advice I give to young people who aren’t HIV-positive but haven’t yet found a boyfriend or girlfriend for themselves.

Far too often, people (young and old alike) feel as though they’re “incomplete” if they’re not in a relationship. Relationships do not “complete” people; they’re wonderful and fun and it’s great to be able to cuddle with that special someone at the end of the day — but they don’t magically take away all of the loneliness you might be feeling if you haven’t yet come to love and respect yourself. Furthermore, it’s trying for a partner to always be in love with somebody who doesn’t yet love him- or herself.

Start within.

When you become satisfied with yourself others will likely want to get to know you better.

Namaste
Michael