From among the throngs walking past, largely ignoring him, a street preacher standing with a mic and an amplifier in front of Old City Hall called me out leaving the opening ceremonies of World Pride taking place at Nathan Phillips Square last Friday. Punching his words from between what he considered to be biblical condemnations of the gay 'lifestyle', he interrupted himself and pointed at me, yelling, "And look at you...", sizing up my 6'3", 122 lb frame as bearing the strains of HIV (correctly, for what that's worth), directly using me as an example of what happens when, as he sees it, God is disobeyed. What place does this sort of degradation have in our public streets? Even the most flamboyant parts of Pride Week aren't designed to shove hate in the faces of those who do not share our particular love of life! Kenn Chaplin Toronto
“How long have you been wasting?” the chiropodist asked me a couple of weeks ago as she updated a history on me.
The starkness of the verb, however accurate, stayed with me.
I’ve always been thin, I said, but my weight has been falling a bit since last fall.
Fast forward to preparations for a bone density test in Women’s College Hospital’s shiny new facilities today.
I stepped up onto an equally shiny, new, digital scale.
Weight: 122 lbs.(just over 55 kg)
On my worst weight dives I’ve never been below 130. Even at my usual 145 I’m off the BMI chart.
I’m accepting fattening dinner invitations.
Mr. G’s eye exam has been changed yet again so that the antagonist, though dead for more than a decade, might only be identified by his last initial and the responsibilities he held – not by full name nor school.
I’m doing this following some brief correspondence from a classmate who wondered, without suggesting anything directly to me, whether the man’s son, our classmate, might be unfairly wearing the sins of his father in this Google age. Also, as I have posted previously, something has shifted from a feeling of justified un-forgiveness to at least releasing my choke-hold.
Today marks eleven years since the beginning of events which form the basis of my autobiographical piece entitled Chopin, Roman Polanski and a cab.
I will attempt to stay home after dark.
Sujata, the name given to her by the previous human in her life, Kevin, is Sanskrit meaning “from a good family origin”; “Su” means “good”, “Jatakas” means “of good origins” or “well born”. The breed was also known as “archangel” in its early generations.
Sujata has been hiding whenever I’ve given her the opportunity this evening. I’m really looking forward to getting to know this beauty!
“This December I found a mass the size of a cantaloupe in my lung…I used social media to express my feelings without having to burden my family and friends.
I’d like to write a feature…that explores the way the Internet has changed the way we view illnesses, both visible and invisible, and how it’s changed our acceptance of grief and death…”
As I first reported on Facebook last week I had the opportunity to be interviewed by Teresa Sarga, a journalist and blogger from Syracuse, New York, about blogging as a person living with HIV/AIDS “…and more”. The issue of stigma is being unearthed and critically examined more and more lately, which is a good thing.
I’ve decided that, so long as I am open, I am not letting stigma thwart me.
Stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS, in my case, began with me.
If anyone deserves AIDS, I told myself, long before I tested positive for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, I do.
What a statement with which to live my life.
Fortunately I am able to unpack it:
-as if anyone deserves AIDS (or cancer or heart disease or diabetes)
-as if disease and illness discriminate
Following a “massive stroke” my beautiful friend of almost exactly fifteen years has left me. Emma (short for Emerald, the colour of her eyes) dropped to one side, sprawled on the floor, and let out a yell worthy of her Siamese ancestors. Now my breaths draw up sobs and tears as the quietest kitten of her litter, who later went on to bite quite mischievously, won’t be waking me up tomorrow morning. I love you Emma.