Blog - Wayne Bristow formerly known as ChatJunkie

Wayne Bristow (formerly known as ChatJunkie)

WAYNE BRISTOW SAYS, “IF ANYONE TOLD ME EVEN A YEAR AGO THAT I’D BE TRYING MEDICAL MARIJUANA, I WOULD HAVE LAUGHED.” DUE TO THE NEED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT HIS ACHES, PAINS AND ARTHRITIS, HIS THINKING HAS CHANGED.
WAYNE BRISTOW ENTERS A PHOTOGRAPHY COMPETITION AND SAYS “THIS WHOLE EXPERIENCE AFFIRMED MY BELIEF THAT NO MATTER WHAT I HAVE BEEN THROUGH OR GOING THROUGH NOW, THERE WILL ALWAYS BE SOMEONE LESS FORTUNATE."
WAYNE BRISTOW ON ATTENDING A RECENT CONFERENCE FOR FELLOW SOCIAL MEDIA HEALTH ADVOCATES WHERE HE FELT VALIDATED, ENERGIZED AND INSPIRED
WAYNE BRISTOW AND SCARED STRAIGHT – A VIEW OF HOMOPHOBIA FROM THE CLOSET HE ONCE INHABITED.
 
I have been on the receiving end of it many times from strangers and even family members, but there was a time I embraced it. I practiced homophobia as a means of hiding who and what I was.
Homophobia (From Wikipedia)
WAYNE BRISTOW HAS FOUND HIMSELF A VICTIM OF THE OLD SAYING: “JUST WHEN I THOUGHT I WAS GETTING MY HEAD TOGETHER, MY BODY STARTS FALLING APART”.
 
WAYNE BRISTOW ASKS HIMSELF “SO WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU FIND YOURSELF IN A RUT AND WHAT YOU NEED YOU HAVEN’T FOUND”. YOU CLIMB OUT AND MOVE BEYOND YOUR CURRENT SURROUNDINGS, THAT’S WHAT.
 
 
WAYNE BRISTOW DIDN’T COME OUT UNTIL LATER IN LIFE – AND SO HIS FIRST VENTURE TO TORONTO PRIDE IN THE 90S WAS, HE SAYS, “MIND-BLOWING”,..

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I'd like to say that the Positive Prevention Train the Trainer was the inspiration for me venturing into the world of social media and sharing my story but I can't. I can say that the course empowered me to do it. I've confessed several times, when I went into the course I had my mind made up that I wasn't going to do anything with it, I didn't have the confidence to do anything, my mind wasn't as open as it needed to be even for my own good. But I had the ability to change.
Homophobia is an illness; it can be prevented, it can be cured.
As I mentioned in the previous blog, ("Homophobia Gets Me Angry") I believe I can get over the homophobia I've had directed my way from a family member but I failed to say how I know I will do it. I will because I am empowered now, I have learned the tools I will need to deal with all that happens in my life in my future. I still have a great support/care team and my future is looking pretty darn amazing.
I "came out" to my family about 21 years ago and it all went well. I felt privileged that it went so well. I wished for everyone to be so accepted as I felt I was. I've met people who feel they can never tell their family or their friends, so they live double lives, for fear of rejection. So often I've asked myself, how can one person receive so much support and others are given none? I've never known how hard it is for them, what they felt. Sure living in a closet until your 37 can be confusing and emotional sometimes but I chose to do it.
Last September I wrote about having some success with my hobby. When I was diagnosed HIV positive and left my job, I needed a hobby so I used some of my money to buy a decent digital camera and get back to my love of photography. I take most of my photos in colour but black & white are by far my favourites. If I think one of my photos would look good in black and white, thanks to digital technology, it’s just an extra click on a photo program.
What does being "sex positive" mean to you?
I was following ACG's Twitter (@AIDSGuelph) a while ago and I notice that Megan had put this out to the online world. She recently told me that it didn't get any responses. This surprised me. The subject used to stump me. How do you answer this; what is it?
To be (a PHA) or not to be?
How I answer that question:
In the last couple weeks I have been a part of a friendly debate about being called a PHA and naturally I am the one who makes it a debate. While others don't like the the acronym, I don't have a real problem with it. For me its what I'm known as in the HIV community, at my AIDS Service Organization, at training sessions, at HIV conferences or anything else that I do as a person living with HIV. But that is just a small part of who I am and a small part of my world.
Anyone who knows me well, knows that I spend a lot of time online following social media. Many hours I'm on Facebook and Twitter reading and sharing things I think are important to me and ACG and my peers. One of my many passions is searching for more information on HIV and aging. Being someone who is living with both, it's becoming important to me to make sure I can live out my senior years with dignity like anyone else. What I'm learning is that the healthcare system isn't really ready for me as a gay man, or as someone who is living with HIV.
There are times when I'm asked what message would I like to give to people about HIV. It stumps me. So many things run through my mind and I always forget a few. I have learned so much in the last couple years, so now I have a list of messages. I know by the time I finish this I will have forgotten some while trying to remember others. It could be just a normal aging thing or it could be part of the HIV and aging process I'm currently learning about.
First of all, this information is intended for those who are able to take Vitamin D and other supplements. I have heard from people who say they can't or shouldn't take them. Checking with your doctor is always the best advice.
In this posting I'm going to talk about something I've been doing for a year now and haven't blogged about it yet. Last year about this time, I was just finishing up the Positive Prevention course and had done a couple blogs on here, when I was approached on two occasions to see if I would be interested in sitting on the ACG Board of Directors. I was informed that there are two seats on the board for community members or....us, PHAs (persons living with HIV/AIDS). Honestly, being asked took me by surprise but they told me to think about it.
I have never wanted to have any of my photos put to paper or enlarged....yet, but I think it is time for one of them. It feels kind of weird to be doing it but I think I am going to start a portfolio, oh yeah! I wanted to create something with my hobby that I could share with others and hope that some would actually like it. I had tried to do things like this years ago with a good film camera but I failed about 95% of the time. However, I was very good at taking pictures of people, kids in the family and events.
Wow, it’s almost Labour Day. Where has the summer gone? I wish I could say that with some sort of loss, but with the heat I had to endure, I am so glad to see it go. "Bring on the Fall", my favourite time of year.
A year ago this month I was in the second installment of the Positive Prevention Train The Trainer program not knowing where it was going to lead me. I honestly had my mind made up at the start that I probably wouldn't do anything, I didn't feel I could go out and facilitate workshops, do public speaking or even advocate for HIV and ending stigma. Within two weeks of completing the course, I had written my first blog and I was hooked.
On May 24, 2011 I facilitated my first workshop called, "Photography as a hobby" and it went very well. I say my first because there may come a day when I would want to do another one, if I find a topic I know something about. Hmmm, maybe .........ummmm, blogging?, hmmmm!
Wow, it has been a long time since I wrote a blog for ACG, so I apologize for being gone so long and get busy here.
Again, just one more time, I really have to thank Megan DePutter and the ACG for running the Positive Prevention - Train the Trainer course. I was able to take it the second time it was going and then I volunteered to help with the third installment. When I started the course, I had no real plans of doing anything with it when it was over except to use the tools that I learned to help me take better care of myself and my health.
When I took the Positive Prevention - Train the Trainer course I heard someone say "I have HIV, HIV doesn't have me". This statement has really stuck in me and made me realize, there is still a lot more to me than this disease. HIV is in my blood, not tattooed on my face. I can get out there and do whatever I want to do, whatever I need to do to take care of myself and my health. I don't have permission to say his name in here but I would like to take this time and thank him for saying it.
In early January of this year I signed up for a workshop called "Speaker's Bureau". I told myself last year that I would take as many workshops as I could fit into my schedule, I wanted to learn more about HIV and "Living" with it. I never even thought about it, or asked what exactly it was all about. Speakers Bureau is learning how to go out into the community and tell your story to groups of people and try to put a face to HIV, not letting HIV be just a number, just a statistic. People out there need to know who can get HIV.
On January 19th the ACG held a workshop on "Resiliency" so I signed up to take it, not really understanding what exactly it is. I don't even use this word. I don't use the vocabulary that most people seem to use. I was once described as being or having a "fiduciary" something something. I learned it meant something about the job I had done as a caretaker or being a caretaker, I don't know. See, I can't even explain it.
Over the past few years I have lost part of the support team that I had in place or thought I had. The hardest part of finding the right support people is finding people I could trust. During this time I have had to re-evaluate who were my friends and who were just acquaintances and question who in my family I could count on. When I had a falling out with some of them my HIV status got passed around so fast, most of it on the internet and to people I don't know.
In the Positive Prevention - Train the Trainer Course, the subject of HIV disclosure & the law was covered with a facilitator from HALCO- HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic (Ontario). After the presentation we were all asked how we felt about this information. My reaction was that it scared me. Unless I can prove I disclosed to someone before having sex, then I can be prosecuted, and I could go to jail. How do I prove that I disclosed?
Thursday December 2nd was the last day for the third installment of Positive Prevention - Train the Trainer, and my second time going through it. This time though, I was the volunteer helping Megan. The purpose of the course is to hopefully get people involved in a volunteer role or advocating healthier and safe lifestyles for people living with HIV.
Over the past couple months I have attended the Opening Doors Conference and The AIDS Awareness Symposium and have seen a few workshop/speakers talking about HIV and aging. I realized that I have not even given much thought to this aspect of my life. In other workshops I have met people who have lived 25 - 30 years with HIV, through all of the hard times dealing with the old medications and treatments. These people talk of getting their diagnosis and being told they may not live very long but are surprised somewhat to still be here.
I have been involved with the AIDS Committee of Guelph pretty much since I was diagnosed in 2003 so I’d like to talk a little on what it has meant for me.
By ChatJunkie
There is a lot of stigma attached to poz people in chatrooms.
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Ontario
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