Monday, October 21, 2013

Hello! My name is Zoey, I'm a 27 year old MtF translady #HIV #TRANSGENDER

Hello! My name is Zoey, I'm a 27 year old MtF translady, and I've been transitioning for the past 3 years now. As of next month, it will have been 2 years since seroconversion.

I just became part of the group, and I wanted to start with sharing my story. It's a little bit lengthy, so I'll post the first part of it now and the rest tomorrow, if nobody minds.

It's February 2012. I was still getting used to being somewhat stigmatized over being openly transgender, at the time. The reactive test was honestly the last thing I was expecting to get, having gone in before to be tested, and getting so used to always being cleared.

Looking back at it, the night I tested positive was almost Hollywood surreal. I was joking and laughing with the guy administering the test for the entire 20 minutes it took to register a result. Then suddenly, his expression darkens and he tells me that he needs to run another test strip.

Me: *still smiling and laughing a little, joking about breaking a pen while filling in my information* “Aw, what's wrong? Did I break that too?”

Test guy: “Well... No.”

Me: *smile fades into a really nervous grin* “Uhhh... You're scaring me.”

Test guy: “I'm not trying to scare you, but... this strip seems a little foggy, but it looks slightly red. There's a chance that you may be positive, I want to take another one to be sure.”

Me: *blindsided* “Uhh... sure...”

The next 20 minutes were the stillest, quietest minutes of my life. You could hear the guy's tiny desk clock ticking loudly in the silence. That might have just been my heart pounding out of my chest though. I couldn't think, I couldn't speak, and I barely breathed. The only things I knew about HIV came from my laughably inadequate understanding brought to me by the people that used to come talk to us when I was in school. At that point, nobody had formally talked to me about HIV since 7th grade, back in 1999. They used to talk to us like it was literally the Boogeyman. If you were careless and didn't do everything right, it was going to get you. And suddenly, here it was, breathing down my neck.

I watched him check his watch, and then my adrenaline spiked, not unlike the way it does when you're bracing for impact when your car's brakes are at full lock and you're hurtling towards an impending collision.

He checked the strip against the desk light. Then he set it down and clasped his hands together.

“Your tests came out reactive. It's highly likely that you are HIV positive.”


He was still talking, but I couldn't hear him. Something about help being available and there being ways to... something. His words fell away into the ether. All I could hear was a dull ringing, kind of like those scenes in the movies when a bomb goes off, and though the hero didn't die in the impact, they're terribly wounded and their hearing is gone.

He continued on, and my brain kept reeling. This has to be a mistake, right? No. Not this time, kid.

Then the dam broke. I started crying, and I couldn't stop. He needed me to take another test, this time a scrape of my inner cheek. The time was 7:32PM when zero hour hit, and it was just shy of 8pm when I was finally able to stand up again to leave. Tears stained my cheeks, and I tried to get past the lobby as fast as I could. My face told the whole story as I left the exam room. And there were more than a few people still waiting to get in there to get tested that night.

I held it together as I got in my car, and I silently started it to drive to my folks' place. I promised myself that I wouldn't break down sobbing when I called my mom to tell her I was coming by, but I failed miserably at that. The rest of the drive after that was silent. The music I played lingered on the radio, Dear Agony by Breaking Benjamin a grimly fitting thing for my phone to shuffle to as my old car trudged down I-4.

~ I'll post the rest tomorrow so I'm not putting a full novel up at once. x3 Thanks for reading!

~ Zoey Reynard
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