I have to use metaphors for this post because it’s the way I’m built to think. Life is being extremely kind to me and the universe is giving me a lot of new things to think about and consider. I’m very grateful because this is a chance to level up and to really take stock in myself and make some pretty major changes.
I do my advocacy work because it’s important to me. It helps me deal with my HIV positive status and turns it into a powerfully positive thing in my life (pun intended). The HiV prevention work that I am involved in gives me focus and grounds me and allows me to never think of my infection as a curse but a blessing. Without it, I would have flown out into space and I might have stayed lost forever. What can I say? Becoming HIV positive helped me get my shit together.
I’ve never made money out of it; the first four years of my advocacy, I did everything for free and never complained. But lately, I’ve been given honorariums and tokens of gratitude that included some monetary equivalent, which I’m embarrassed to take but take gladly because it helps pay the cost of lost time that I could have spent working. It’s not a lot; not enough to live on, for sure, but a little goes a long way.
Lately, I’ve been doing the rounds and doing a lot of talks for HIV awareness and prevention. I was asked to talk to a large class of third year medical students in UP Manila and I was so affected by their enthusiasm and their rapt attention. I was so bowled over by how grateful they were and how intelligent and sensitive their questions were. I really feel like I made a difference that day and that this batch of future doctors will be a little more caring about possible HIV positive patients they might have in the future.
That makes me feel good. That makes me feel like everything is worth it.
I then went to PowerBooks in Greenbelt to talk about HIV advocacy work for the AIDS Society of the Philippines and Hands On Manila. They gathered interested volunteers and shared with them possible routes to volunteerism and one section was on HIV and AIDS advocacy work. It was a much smaller group but they were very interested and very receptive.
I realised, then and there, that this isn’t something that I do on the side. I realised that my advocacy work is my second job — on equal terms with my writing. My writing doesn’t come first. It shares the top priority with my advocacy. This is very strange for me because I’ve never been the type of person who was so… philanthropic?
And as I realised this, the universe began to give me opportunities to raise my game. More work, more chances to spread the information about HIV, but along with it comes some rewards as well. There might be travel in my future and better compensation. It’s like the moment I realised that this was it for me — the universe is rewarding me with more work and recompense for my efforts. It feels good. I won’t deny it. It feels damned good.
More and more opportunities are popping out from the woodwork and things are looking good and bright and cheery. I’m shifting into a higher gear now — from second to third — and I’m ready to go into the freeway and see where this road will take me.
New sights, new roads, a new journey.