Archive for the ‘The Poz+ Life of Adrian’ Category

“She grabbed me in her arms, put me in her arms, and whispered in my ear ‘we will get through this’ to hear those words by my mother were like…it was the most amazing moment in life.”

Adrian Neil Jr. Shares his heart warming story about when he was first diagnosed.

 

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Adrian and Thomas share their thoughts on USCA 2015! Can’t wait for next year!

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“An agreement or a settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions” is the definition of compromise. Lately this is something that I have been struggling with, as it relates to my career and my personal life. I rarely share details about my personal life but at times I feel it is necessary; this is one of those times. My husband and I have had numerous conversations, sometimes arguments, about the balance of time for my career and our relationship.

For those who know me, know that I give a 110 percent to whatever I do. I like to world hard and unless I am constantly moving and contributing in some way shape or form, I am do not feel fulfilled. Some may call that being a workaholic but I think its being passion. When did working hard to be successful become negative?

At one point my husband felt that I work so much that I was not fully invested in our relationship. He also expressed concern that since I am HIV+, I should allow myself to rest more. Well the challenge was, how was I supposed to achieve my career and personal goals and still be invested in my relationship without feeling as though I was settling? I have always been very ambitious and driven. I know what I want to accomplish and in what time frame I want it accomplished. I didn’t want my career to suffer or my relationship but the truth was that I did not know how to balance. Yes I have been in relationships before but they were with men who were even more driven than me so to be with someone who not only wanted to invest in our relationship but wanted me to as well as an equal was foreign to me.

I had to understand where my husband was coming from. Yes my career was very important to me but I had to realize that my husband is my family now and that he should be a priority. If I expect him to cater to my needs and be supportive of me, I have to do the same for him. Sometimes this means not responding to an email once I am home, not taking a call or simply catering to his needs and wants and making him feel like he is my husband.

But also my husband had to be honest with himself and acknowledge that fact that he wanted someone who was not as career driven as I am. He wanted a husband who would take on the traditional roles of a “woman”. He wanted to be the provider. Hearing this from him made me realize how many times we as gay men still try impose hetero-normative roles in our relationships and forget that we are both two men who have very similar desires.

My husband and I had to learn three very key components for any relationship; respect, communication and compromise. In my opinion the hardest of the three is compromise and there is a huge different between compromising and settling. It’s difficult to find compromise as a couple but at some point the two individuals have to reach a point of balance within the relationship. And they have to learn to do so without resenting the other person. We can’t be naive to the fact that these concessions will be difficult and that someone may even feel as though they are settling but once they learn to get past emotions the couple is open to a whole new level of love and respect.

Join the men of The Poz Life for our first live show on June 27th, 2014 at 8 pm EDT in recognition of National HIV Testing Day. We will have special guest Justin Toro as we discuss the importance of knowing your status. To engage in the conversation with please use #thepozlife. Also check out our blog http://www.thepozlife.com and our twitter:@thepozlife. If you have any questions or suggestion feel free to email us also at thepozlife03@gmail.com!!! Can’t wait to hear from you!!!!

IN THE GROUNDBREAKING documentary “Paris Is Burning,” Dorien Corey states, “Shade is I don’t tell you you’re ugly but I don’t have to tell you because you know you’re ugly. And that’s shade…” I often see LGBTQ people tearing each other down.

With all this shade being thrown around, we need to pause to ask questions. Is it necessary? Why do we do this? What is the balance between fun and harm? Why does a community that is already fighting for so many things battle each other?

While shade can be viewed as a form of banter, it can often be taken to the point where it impacts an individual’s mental and social development and outlook on a particular community. I have many times found myself on the negative side of shade. Growing up, I felt alienated from my peers and family because of my sexual orientation, and I felt alienated from a community where being different is supposed to be celebrated, not debased. I quickly found myself feeling more alone than I had before coming out.

At that point in my life, I didn’t feel comfortable within the African American gay community (and truthfully, I still don’t at times) because that is where most of my negative experiences have occurred. As a result, I developed a distrust and found myself feeling alone, not good enough, and like I didn’t meet some sort of gay black standard of acceptance. This led to depression, self-harm, and feelings of being unworthy of love and friendship. I felt betrayed, not only by my family and society, but by a community who I thought would accept differences. Not only did I not have the family support I desired, but I also didn’t have a group of non-judgmental, young African American gay males that I could turn to for support.

In my opinion, shade is often the result of someone being jealous or self-conscious about their shortcomings. I too am guilty of throwing shade; usually it’s because I see a characteristic in someone else that I wish I possessed. For example, when I would see people who were not afraid to be themselves no matter what others thought, I would get jealous. I was not yet at that place in my life, so I would quickly pass judgment or talk about them. Secretly I wished I was that confident to be who Adrian really was.

Talking about someone without money for certain shoes or making fun of someone who happens to sleep with many people is exactly what we shouldn’t be doing. We may find it to be a joke or think of it as innocent fun, but we don’t know the person’s whole story, what their struggles are, and how our “shade” will affect them.

When I have pointed out that maybe the person has been though a deeply traumatic experience, many have responded,“Well, I have had traumatic things happen to me and I got over it.” I think it is important to understand that not everyone is emotionally or mentally strong enough to just “get over it.” Either way, this type of shade is not healthy for our LGBTQ brother or sister– and it is not healthy for our LGBTQ community.

With the growing rate of suicides, bullying, and HIV infections, it is time for us to collectively rise above all this. As we move forward, I implore each person to ask yourself: Am I helping to build up the community or am I still stuck within the narrow confines of my own individualistic concerns?

-Adrian Neil-Hobson

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I RECENTLY WATCHED the YouTube video Look Up. It is about how we as a society now spend more time on social media via technology then we do with our family and friends. Verbal face-to-face interaction has been substituted with text messages, Facebook statuses, Twitter tweets and Instagram posts. We are now more likely to stay updated with our friends and families via social media instead of gatherings or phone calls.ImageWe rely on technology so much now that we often miss precious moments. In my experience,  dinners are no longer focused on spending time with family and friends around the table engaging in conversation with one another. Instead, people text or update their social media accounts. We have become afraid to approach someone for conversation or even befriend someone while waiting for a bus or striking up a conversation at a coffeehouse for fear of seeming weird or intrusive. All of this leads me to believe that social media isn’t really all that social.

There are many people who defend social media and technology, and I can agree with some of their arguments. Social media allows us to keep up with the lives of our friends and families in a more simplistic and convenient way. Instead of making a long distance call to a relative just to see how they are doing, you can simply look on their Facebook page. Social media also enables us to share some of our most special moments with our families, friends and the world.I will admit it is great to have the opportunity to share so many special moments in our lives in a broadcast manner, but how special are these moments if we are ignoring those who are with us in those moments? I hear more and more people say they feel alone. I can understand this sentiment because the norm is to not be fully engaged in a conversation or fully connect. Instead, the norm is to be texting or updating a social media status as you are talking to others. Likewise, the norm is parenting through social media or some type of electronic device.

Social media is not totally negative. There are many positives and many ways in which it makes our lives more convenient, but where is the line? Even though we are able to capture and share many important moments, not every little moment needs to be shared with the world. Let’s try putting cell phones, laptops and iPads away to really enjoy life in the moment. Instead of texting during an intimate dinner, let’s stare into each other’s eyes. Rather than relying on an iPad to entertain the children, let’s take them to the park and allow them the joys that we had as children. It is time for some balance. Let’s stop being a generation of smart phones and silly people and start learning to coexist.
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