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Telling my friends

One of the hardest things I have ever had to do was to tell my friends that I had tested HIV+. 
I remember each and every talk I had with my friends, breaking the news to them.  I always will.  Some of them were heart wrenching, some of them were comical but with each talk that happened, I knew I was changing my friends’ lives.   I was the one who brought reality home by becoming our first experience of having to live, love and deal with someone who is HIV+. 
And in a way my news marked the true ending of our careless twenties and we all had to grow up just a bit more, whether we wanted to or not.  All of a sudden this thing, this circle of life, became so very visible in our lives.
Unlike telling someone that you have a cancer, something that creates itself in your body by itself; having to tell a loved one you are now HIV+ means telling them that you at one point in time either made a bad judgment call or decided to not use the wisdom and knowledge available to you. 
There was a tremendous amount of shame and sense of failure I had to work through.
Then my father passed away and I became the first one in my group of friends who lost a parent.   Once again, I had the unfortunate honor of bringing our own feelings of mortality closer to the surface while further ruining our sense of invincibility.   Without sounding like a victim, I was a serious downer to be hanging out with at that time.  
How fast do we really have to grow up, no matter how hard we fight not to?  
The second hardest thing I have had to do was to stand by as most of those same friends decided to part ways with me over the last couple of years.  
I guess in a way I ended up on the receiving end of the “three strikes you are out” law.  You see, within a matter of 12 months my friends had to not only process the news of me being HIV+; they also had to deal with me coming clean about my drug addiction and finally about me losing my job.   Not to mention losing a parent.
And what those three things achieved was that they made the balance of equality in our friendships shift.  I went from being an equal partner to someone who is sick, unemployed and an addict.
From being someone that got called upon for advice and support to being told that I was no longer to be trusted or believed was a monumental change in the way I interacted with my friends.  From being the one that helped out to being the one that needed help; friendships went from fun, carefree and footloose to being strenuous, serious and supporting. 
And the balance of equality shifted. 
So while I was trying to come to terms with being HIV+, losing my father, being unemployed and a recovering addict; I also had to deal with issues of abandonment by my friends, my anger towards those friends and the resolution of all those issues in a sane and constructive way.
A lot of that was done through my writing and the publishing of my website.  It provided me with a forum in which I could vent my frustrations and work through them by putting my thoughts and emotions into words out in front of me. 
It allowed me to take an objective look as to what my responsibilities were in my friendships and in life and how to deal with my part and place in both those vortexes together and individually.
Now, with the last and final loose end in my life being tied up, I am allowed to close the book on a very important and big chapter of my life.   And I feel the need to somehow mark the importance of that event in my life as I go forward and move on. 
To that effect I have decided to make this my final editorial to be mailed out and to be posted on my website.
MYNAMEISSVEN.COM will continue to be available as a reference portal in honor of these last few years in my life.
If it in any way, shape or form may serve as inspiration for another person in the same way as it has been the pinnacle element behind my survival and sanity; it will have made these last three years more than worthwhile: it will have made them necessary and welcomed.
For such a long time I have been trying to find resolution and peace with what has happened in my life, especially the people that left.   By dedicating this as my official last editorial, I have finally found a way for myself to do the one thing that I needed the most but never really got: the chance to say goodbye.  
Even though they may not have been physically present in my life for a while, their presence and our past together remained very noticeable.  Which is why they are (almost) all included on this last email: allowing me to say goodbye and make them part of the chapter that is closing.
For others this will be the last time you hear from me as well.   I thank you for having been such a comforting and understanding part of my life these last years.   I send you my love and sincerest wishes for an amazing life.
Thus is the tapestry I wove,
My name is Sven


Sent via Email, October 15, 2004 from USA.

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