The past two or three days have been a blur with so much activity. Hell, make it the last four days! I’ve been going back and forth — doing errands, writing, watching movies, getting inspired, working on art projects with friends — all the while preparing everything that needs to be done before I leave. I’m heading out to Bacolod again, invited to do some HIV talks at the University of St. La Salle.
Honestly, I feel a little wary of these talks. I mean, I don’t mind doing them. I think I have to. There are very few of us who are public about our status, so it’s important that I do it, especially since it is in a school setting. The youth should have a face-to-face situation with someone who is living with HIV. They are most at risk.
But truth be told, I know they are going to ask all the same questions that I’ve been asked for the past five years that I’ve been an advocate. I’m not going to be saying anything new. It’s going to be the same-old, same-old and I really feel like a broken record. We have not pushed the discussions further. We are still where we were five years ago. And I’m not a public health professional; I don’t have the means to improve the situation.
I feel like a dancing monkey that just performs when they start playing the music. I’ve become some sort of cog in the machine that moves and works but it doesn’t really do anything. I’m not really solving the HIV problem. I haven’t done anything to change the HIV situation at all. And it’s exhausting. I’m just there to help students and administrators get a good rating for whatever forum or symposium they are required to put out year after year.
I’ve become cynical. How sad.
But, at least I get to fly to Bacolod for free. I get to spend some time with my Mom. I get to change the view and change the routine for a bit. I get to wake up to bird songs. I get to breathe fresh air. I don’t have to think about what the house needs for my Mom runs a tight ship. I’m going to be so relaxed and I hope I can just get some sleep and rest.
My bed has a habit of swallowing me up and never letting me go. I don’t think I am going to mind that so much.
I’m traveling light, this time. I tried packing my things for the trip tomorrow and found myself unable to fill my tiny suitcase. I have all the clothes I need for this trip in Bacolod already. I don’t really need to bring any more. I have toiletries and everything I need. I’m just bringing back some books and CDs from here. I can fit them all in my hand carry. I’m traveling really light, this time round.
And in that way, I’ve decided I’m traveling light in my heart as well. I’m leaving behind everything here. I’m even leaving behind whatever hope in my mind that I can change things. I’ll go to that talk and be straight-up honest and not attempt to be amicable. I’m going to say the whole truth and not hold anything back. I will not be afraid to offend. I’ve always tried to be diplomatic — to be inspiring — with the hopes that I will get people to be more careful with their lives and with each other.
Maybe that was the problem. Maybe that’s why people didn’t learn. Let’s not be Mr. Nice Guy anymore. And if they don’t ask me back; then that’s okay too. I’ve given six years of my life to my advocacy and the numbers have gotten worse and worse. Nothing changed.
I’m going to write when I’m there and I’m going to let it all out.
I’m traveling light. It’s the best way to travel.