Rob the average man of his life-illusion, and you rob him of his happiness at the same stroke.A video of a syringe withdrawing blood from an arm flashes on the TV screen. Somewhere at the back of my head, the finger of reality suddenly jumpstarted my switchboard. Then the video went on to resonate the voice of a man who testified that he has been doing "that" every three months since he's "jowa" is "positive." My instinct was right.
I checked what was on GMA News TV and as if by fate's design, the trailer for "Positibo" was showing. At the get go, it tugged my heartstrings. Without still knowing what the commercial was, I thought it is something proximate to me.
And so the sneek peek went on, the whole preview ended, and the ominous voice blasted from our speakers, "Positibo. Sabado ng 8:40 ng gabi sa Front Row. GMA News TV. Channel 11."
Tssss, that was all I said.
My mom, who was busying herself with a virtual deck of Spider Solitaire, glanced at the TV while the commercial was going on. If not for her curiosity and due respect, I would have flipped the channel midway through the trailer to Nickelodeon.
Nights before that, I read an online news about CBCP's initiative to host the HIV/AIDS Sunday in order, as the news goes, for people to be more careful and avoid deviant behaviors that cause it, as well as to to solve the AIDS stigma, which continues to grip our country.
Again, tssss, that was all I said.
Weeks back, a friend learned of my recent alliance with a non-government organization. Excited for my news about my dedication to a purpose larger than my life, she quickly asked, "Is it HIV NGO?" Of course not. Why would I be redundant? She thought that it was just apt for me to use my experience to educate other people and make it a sort of support for them.
A third time, tssss, that was all I said.
I don't know why I seem to run from all these HIV talks, HIV movement, and yadda yadda, which is ironic since I keep an HIV blog. I do salute the kind-hearted advocates out there who are willing to shed more than perspiration for them to inspire other people to action. But I guess the skepticism swirling in my chest would not die down, and so, for all the wrong reasons for the right actions, I run away from anything about HIV.
It's been four months since my first take of ARVs. I've yet to see if there is really a proof behind them being wonder drugs since I've yet to willfully sacrifice again another 10cc of blood for my second CD4 count. But amid the hype, yeah, I'll place my stake on them and hope my numbers go up.
But you see, four months into this, I guess the really needed supplement to the anti-AIDS drugs is proper mindset. No. Scratch that. What I mean to say is, an ounce of lies.
I think I am a victim of trauma so much so that I'd like to distance myself from anything that deals with this incurable disease. Call it detachment complex. But I am cornered to borrow Dr. Relling's gibberish, "life-illusion."
We all have lies to cherish. And mine is that, I am healthy. Well I am. Thank God because despite Facebook statuses of friends announcing to the world that they have coughing fits or runny noses or whatnot, I am still spared from all those.
But I've pills that I commit to with the rest of my life and theirs are only for a moment's time. So now, who's sick? Or sicker? Or healthy? Or healthier?
I guess the right lies are the key. For the past months, I've been feeding myself with morsels of illusions in order to lavish the taste of happiness. And what morsels are those? Well, you know, a good book, hitting it with steels, lots of vegetables, 10-hour snooze, quality time with family, a hush of prayer, and even keeping away from this blog. But all these combined plus the pills, when I get down to it, I am still sick. That said though, I stop thinking that I am sick. With all the physical misfortunes of other people while I can still walk up straight and spared from heaving chest, I know that I am healthy.
And having found that lying to myself tastes good, I wolf down a plate of it until I become the lie myself. "I am healthy!" I repeat it twice, thrice, until each words are satiated and the whole sentence loses its meaning. "I am healthy!"
For that, I try to distance away from anything that's HIV because it only reminds me of the futility of the mindset that I wear. It only harks back the honesty that I am keeping at bay. Somehow, I am vexed whenever I see those three letters-slash-four letters because it only recollects the truth that I am running away from.
While other people wanted truth, I want good ol' lie because that what makes me happy.
And without knowing it, Dr. Relling made me realize it too clear. So clear that I wept the moment I brought the book down. I was weeping because my pills are liars. My gym sessions are "lie time." I am lying. To be honest with myself is to admit that I am sick. So lie I tell myself always because I am happy with it.
So just my two cents: whenever a friend of yours, who is notorious for still sticking with his philandering partner despite your repeated advice to break up already, comes banging at your door one night asking for an advice after he caught the other in one of his adventures—pieces of advice that you know will only fall on deaf ears because at the end of a deep inebriating discussion you just know that your friend will remain true to his flirty boy friend—do not castigate him or banish him. Tell him to polish his lie even more. Just let him be. Because he knows the beauty of his lies more than you do. And you are as an average man as him to rationalize the sense of his illusions.
Understand, my kind Sirs, that between honesty and happiness there are insane people who stand, with their balls held and right arms raised, for happiness—even if that means lies. So lie to yourself. Lie for all you want. And do not let others stand in between you, your precious little lies, and your everlasting happiness.
Ah. The beauty of classic literature. Undying gratitude to you, Mr. Ibsen.