I spent the past few days mulling over the S.O.S 2017 conference and a few words came to mind.
Security, self-healing, enlightening, relief, and understood.
With security, I now feel like have someone-multiple someone's- to help me out. To lift me up and help me stay up.
Self-healing because when I was diagnosed I tore myself up and broke myself. I was ashamed of myself to the point I withdrew from everyone all the time. These few days with those men who exude confidence within themselves showed me that we all have cracks and flaws but it all come back to what YOU see reflected when you look in the mirror.
Enlightenment would be the word for the play "As MUCH AS I CAN" we went see. The reality of that play made me realize that a lot of these situations happen the same way and it's all about how you feel about yourself at the end of the day and your ability to forgive and move on. Someone else went through the same situation and they came out STRONGER! Relief because I can actually breathe. I was waiting to exhale (LOL). Exhale all of the self-hate, the second-guessing myself, the internalized stigmas stuck onto myself.
Understood. Friday night was the "BLAQTalks" gathering; the range of men that was in that room was astounding and they all had similar situations and were able to provide insight on things I'd been trying to work on. It was a really great confidence booster to know I wasn't alone, that this was the first time meeting for a few people, and that there was support coming from everywhere.
If the Movement's upcoming board meeting is to see if having cohorts on future symposiums is a good idea, take it from me it's a GREAT idea. Please do. There are many young gay men that need to be around such leadership. After being diagnosed many, myself included, young men feel shut-out within the community and need a safe space to feel normal with men/women of like or greater minds to lead them onto the right path to keep going forward. Keep Thriving. Keep Building. Keep Rebuilding.
I felt rebuilt. Renewed. Restored.