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Monday, September 26, 2011

Reflect-SHUN? or Reflect-SHINE?

The alarm rang at six this morning, I slowly got out of bed, put a pair of boxer briefs on and made my way into the kitchen to put a pot of coffee on. While waiting for the morning energy mud to brew, I head into my living room, start up Pandora,  (Annie Lennox station is my favorite!) and I look into this big mirror hanging on the wall above the fireplace, and think to myself – ugh, I really don’t like what I see.  I quickly fix my bed-head, flex a little and almost see myself begin to smile, but quickly sigh.

Before I was diagnosed with HIV, it was easy for me to feel good about what I looked like. . .  posing for the cameras, people telling me all the time I am sexy and in general believing that I am just as beautiful on the inside as I am on the outside.

Today is a different story.  I have good days and not so good days when I look into the mirror. I feel like I am chasing after this “outer vanity” that society says one must possess to be considered successful or to even get noticed, and if I don’t possess ‘it’, I feel like I am shunned, tossed into a corner where no one will ever recognize me.  Shallow right??

So I flex a little more, trying out a few more sexy poses, sucking in my cheeks – giving the model pose all I got to try and feel a little better about myself.  Shallow again right??

I am stuck on the idea that if I don’t look good on the outside, how can I feel good on the inside?  It’s a struggle, sometimes, getting comfortable in my own skin.

I practice self-affirmations to build my inner self-esteem, trying my best to ignore the idea that everyone is always staring at me – because they see the HIV, as do I, sometimes believing that I am ugly.

I know that it is the reflect-shine that must come from within to continue to believe in myself and that it is not the vanity that is important for me to succeed and be accepted.   Easier said than done sometimes, I suppose.

Is anyone else struggling with this “vanity” addiction?  Any words of encouragement? Am I alone in my thoughts?

I am Daniel, and I am living pozitively. Thank you for following my blog.


  1. Hey buddy you are handsome both inside and outside and very successful :)
    And people who only see u as someone whom has HIV, they should not be judging you because of that. If they know u as I do, they would see what a great person you are and think twice about their opinion about you

    Josh T

  2. I can totally relate to you. I had a pretty good body before I had my son. I have to say, I was looked at often because I was pretty good looking and I also enjoyed a frisky lifestyle then (with my better half). After having a 10.5 pound baby at 40 - I didn't bounce back the way I thought I would. It has had a HUGE impact on my relationship and how I feel on a daily basis. Does that compare to your situation - somewhat. I can always workout to loose the weight but I don't have time usually because I work and have a 2.5 year old toddler. I feel vane by letting it bother me so much. But when you are used to looking in the mirror seeing one thing and then you look and barely recoginize who you are - and not in a positive way - I totally understand how you feel. I guess we need to continue to look at the "big picture". Today, we have friends, family, people who love us and we love them and we get to spend another day with them and hopefully impact them in a positive way.

  3. Ok... you might not like this. But its honesty from someone who does not know you. STOP. If you were not gay i would be all over you..... but i would never have a chance because your mental strength is far greater than my own. 1. If you did not have hiv would you be so vane? 2. Being fit helps your medical condition by fighting back. If you had hiv and did not work out your lifespan would be so much shorter. If a bus ran you down right now people would not know you for that gay guy with hiv.... you would be that fine dude who got hit by that bus. My opinion...... you need to face your past and confront the guy on your two major questions.... why didnt you tell me and why did you walk out? Do that and watch your world change. My unlce used to sneak in my room for years.... fill in the blanks. Family did not believe so i had a rough time making friends in school..... it was a fact of my life i liked to drink away. The only thing that ever started going away was my liver. I was told i could never have kids.... my 4 year old son saved my live. I dont drink anymore. Things happen for a reason. Ever bad comes a good somewhere. You have to find that.... and only you know that place. Reconnect...... typing from my nook.... daniel, i wish you the best!

  4. Anonymous,

    Thank you for sharing! I can totally relate, and while you may not be HIV, I believe this 'vanity' addiction plagues a lot of people. I have to remember we are definitely lucky to have the friends we do have who are their to remind us how beautiful we are just the way we are. I needed to hear that! Thank you for sharing!

  5. Anonymous,

    Ha! Thank you! (You just made me blush!) Now on to the mental strength - while I have the courage to share my story and to be blunt about what I have faced in my life. . . I still deal with struggles mentally and emotionally - thank god for therapy!

    One of the issues I am dealing with, to this day, is the fact I may never get answers from my ex partner - I have not seen or heard from him the day he walked out. . . and have no idea where he is. While I would love to confront him, I feel like chasing him down would divert me from trying to rediscover the beauty inside myself today. Does that make any sense?

    Thank you for taking the time to read and to share your thoughts. They meant a lot!


  6. Ok.,so now it is time for all friends and followers of this blog that are over fifty to chime in! Daniel,remember one of the first things I said to you upon meeting? It was that you "are a beauty"! You were Poz then and you are Poz now. You were a beauty then and still a beauty NOW! Evidence of this is how you still charm the pants of of people we run into when we are together.I. E. Those ladies at "SisterAct". They ain't getting all hot and wet sitting next to me!!! But , they used to! Yes they used to!
    It is called "getting older"! It happens to all of us, if we are lucky enough to have a long life!! But it doesn't always feel good. That glance in the mirror you speak of is magnified a hundred fold for me. Butstoll you go on! Some days the reflex- shine says " hey not so bad today"! Some days I still feel pretty "hot". Daniel,on my best day I was never as hot as you are on your worst, which makes it even harder for you to cope with what falls away over time. But that is going to be easier with your new embrace and understanding of living positively! So what I wish for you. My friend is a long, long journey where your inner beauty grows as your outer beauty gets compromised.!!!! Oh and please don't forget to come and wipe my chin at the home!!!! Love you! Rock on!!!!

  7. I just do not fell that a person who is so self-obsessed with his/her looks can ever be truly beautiful.....
    Beauty radiates from within without, at least to me...
    And, quite frankly, you look just like any Celsea muscle queen that I have ever seen, Hiv poz or not.....
    Just sayin'......
    Maybe you should try to cultivate and nurture some beautiful attributes that are more than just physical; as your 50-something friend said to you: Beauty does fade, darling as age increases, and probably those of us who were not necessarily deemed "Beautiful" have an easier time of it when old age creeps up on us.....
    Try to live a beautiful existence, and possibly develop a beautiful spiritual side, wherever it comes from.....
    Again, just sayin'..........

  8. Anonymous,

    Thank you for taking the time to comment. Firstly, I agree, beauty does come within and that is something I am striving to achieve. This is why I asked for comments to help guide me in how to jump the hurdle of being comfy in my own skin. . . so thank you for taking the time to post!

    Now, with regard to your comment about the "Chelsea boy" - I hope that we could get past labeling (cause god only knows, I do not need another stigma attached to me!!!)

    I am working towards cultivating the inner attributes, as you suggested, this is exactly my mission here. . . and I needed to hear what you had to say - it will keep me focused on the heart beat. . . I am chasing after. . . the love for myself today!

    Again, thank you for reading and commenting. I needed to hear what you had to say to remind me to focus on the "inner" and not the "outer"!



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