Just some thoughts (while waiting and packing)
I lived through being premature, born at 7 months, not expected to live, my parents didn’t even ‘announce’ my birth until almost 2 months after my birth. I was a ‘blue’ baby, having to have my blood transferred at birth, in an incubator for 2-3 weeks. I survived at least 2-3 bouts of Pneumonia which I was not expected to live through. I survived rheumatic fever, at the same time this was going on. I was always having to ‘skip’ gym class, and made fun of, all through my grade school years, made to feel outcast due to that. I was always told I had a ‘hole’ in my heart, which actually meant that I was not getting enough blood through my pulmonary valve. It was Pulmonary stenosis. I had to stay ‘back’ (as they called it then) in 2nd grade, as I had not the previous year, legally attended enough school (Highland NY), to proceed to 3rd grade.
I survived all this. I unexpectedly became the first in my family to attend a full four years, and go on to get a Master’s degree In Library Science, first in my family. After finishing college (first four years, after some stops and starts), I could hardly take 3 steps without having to stop and get my breath and was told I had 6 months to live without open heart surgery, which I had in 1978. I then started to run/job and swim and all that stuff I could never do before.
After this, I came out boldly as Gay to my family and friends, while attending graduate school in Albany, NY. I also survived a fierce ‘gay bashing’ in Albany, by several young white trash types in Albany, summer 1980, who shouted out , ‘Faggot’! while they did this to me. I never reported this nor went to the hospital until a week or two after. I had hidden this so internally, I didn’t even accept it until a few years ago.
I had a series of ‘partners’ (never seeming to have much luck with that), and then getting, quite unexpectedly, HIV, diagnosed in 1995 (had to be an ex- partner of that time) and lived through that, to survive having lived through the ‘AIDS’ 80s and 90s, watching way too many friends and acquaintances die. I was in New York working at Canal and Varick streets in New York on 9/11, and survived that, though I am diagnosed with PTSD from that experience.
Things were quite smooth for, awhile, as I pursued my Library career, 8 years in New York city, and more recently in upstate in NY. Then, in 2008, while working and trying to get over being dumped by an ex- partner (after I took care of him while he was on Chemo for 6 months, and saving his life twice, by getting him to the emergency room twice before he died). All this, and then, I was finally diagnosed with Meniere’s disease, which, added to all the rest of this, forced me to stop working in October of 2008, and going deeper into depression and more, including abusing several very addictive drugs for a few years in an attempt to ‘feel better’. (Trust me, this does not work unless you are trying to kill yourself). I voluntarily committed myself for one week to a psychiatric clinic to get ‘sorted out’ as my doctor put it. During this time, I had bought a condo in Middletown NY, which I then had to let go to foreclosure in 2009, besides not knowing any way to fight this , I am presently in a NYS class action against ‘predatory mortgage’ bankers and such. I survive, and am active in various progressive causes (MoveOn, OWS), while living on NYS retirement SS disability (won after two tries in Dec. 09). I now am putting it all back together again, slowly, and am happy to be doing what I am doing. I guess I can survive for a time yet. While I have always been progressive and and ‘activist’ against the Vietnam war and then, again in the 1990s, mostly HIV/AIDS activism, I am now more ‘active’ than I have ever been in my life, and I am more surprised by this than by anything! In a time, when we are surviving wars still, witnessing ‘marriage equality’, we have massive INEQUALITY in income (increased continually the last 30 years, wonder why?), the destruction of the middle class, continued and increased backlash against LFGBTQ folk, rampant racism, even in the face of our first African American president. And now, we have to revisit women’s rights, contraception, and more? SOS!. And they wonder why there is activism all over these United States, and Wisconsin, leading to Occupy Wall Street and renewed activism everywhere? And, unfortunately, we are still seeing the murder in the streets, of a young black youth, who just went out to the store, because he was in the wrong neighborhood at the wrong time? We have a lot of work to do. We must remain strong, dedicated and vigilant.
Just some thoughts (while waiting and packing)