Oh my god thank you. This is exactly what I needed to hear - “Go, because you want to,” writes Strayed, “Because wanting to leave is enough.”
@lizardjellybean Well, and beyond the overconfidence in one's own immortality, the issue that I can't get away from within this tale is that his blasé attitude extended to the sexual partners he had after contracting HIV.
I mean, he said that he was in denial about having HIV, and I can understand that. But I can't understand or be okay with the fact that between when he contracted HIV and when he got tested, he probably had unprotected sex. He adds a lot of caveats to his account of how he was initially infected that he might have used as reasons not to disclose his possible positive status while engaging in unprotected sex after infection ("...it would've been fine if I hadn't fucked him for so long, or if he wasn’t freshly positive, meaning his viral load was really high."), but how does he know that the men he was barebacking it with didn't have cuts somewhere, or weren't immunocompromised, or or or? Like, just because you are fatalistic about dying from AIDS doesn't mean that you're absolved from telling your partners "Oh yeah, I fuck HIV-positive guys without condoms and I haven't been tested in a few months!". Maybe he did that, but methinks not. And maybe there is a guy out there who is HIV-positive now because of his behavior.
I appreciate that this is Jared's tale, and toward all the rest of it, I'm happy to have a "You do you" attitude. It's a fascinating read, and I enjoyed hearing his reflections about his experience. But in an earlier chapter, he says that his view on sex was "Fuck it man: harm none, go nuts, do what you want, the only thing that's gross about this is feeling ashamed". Having unprotected sex after knowing that there is a possibility that you were infected with HIV is the exact opposite of "harm none", and it made me very uncomfortable to read about it.
@cee See, now, I don't really see this as the same thing. I think a woman feeling the inevitability of rape, this thing outside her own control, maybe correlates more strongly to the idea of... I don' t know, I guess a hate crime? Someone being beaten up because they're gay? Because that's something outside of the person's control, and terrifying, and you live your life in a way that ignores that possibility, because you HAVE to. But having lots of really risky, unprotected sex with people you KNOW are positive, I don't think we can put that in the same category. Those are risks he took himself, that aren't inherent to being a gay man, as far as I can see it. Maybe I'm speaking out of turn, but, especially when you are AWARE that your sexual partner is positive, it smacks of an over-confident belief in your own immortality to not take precautions.
@Myrtle I'm not sure why this would scare any woman out of having sex ever again, unless she were within a community where the HIV rate was similar and were willingly engaging in comparable behaviors without ever having thought about the risks. To explain the other point you bring up, I thought this interview had a place here because I found it a compelling story and generally think of this readership as one that is interested in complex stories that sometimes have nothing to do with our own--I also think Jared's life has been full of things that could resonate with anyone that can't comprehend actually having sex with 1000 people (within my body, I certainly can't): the idea that your inherent sexual desire is wrong, the desire to do wild things along with the shame of doing them, the way strange support communities can crop up at different times in your growing-up life, the super-real need to define for yourself what "self-destructive" means, etc.
@Myrtle See, that's interesting to me, because that's not how I experienced this. Sure, Jared's way more extreme than I ever will be, but I've always been very sexual (in the "masturbating so early I can't remember when I started" way - I didn't actually start having sex with partners until I was almost out of my teens). I can identify with a lot of the motivations if not the acts, and reading Jared's story helps me put my own in a context where my own desires to have a lot of sex doesn't feel so freakish. (And yeah, it really reinforced my desire to be as safe as possible while doing it.) So as a woman, I appreciated this being posted on a women's website.
Most mornings I hate eating breakfast (aka DON'T eat breakfast) because my stomach takes like 2-3 hours longer to wake up than the rest of me. Food makes me feel sick if I haven't been up for a while. And Science can do what it wants, I'm not eating until I feel hungry.
My doctor, a dietician friend, and a personal trainer friend have all recently informed me with some variation of "Look, dude. You're not trying to be a professional athlete. Just eat healthy naturey food that makes you feel good, everything else is inconsequential for normal people."
@sintaxis just as she uses "tranny" towards herself with a ton of self-love, i think she also uses "bitch" towards women (and would use it towards herself) with a ton of self-love (because she is a woman) and love extended in general - gotta say i'd 1000% rather arisce (or anyone with her attitude) say "bitch, ya look good" to me than hear another person call me by my name, or by "miss," or a "lady," with any bit of negativity in their lil heart
@cupcakecore ha ha ha, wasn't it lousy? (SO lousy.)
i would like to add GIRL by Blake Nelson !!
(and I def 2nd She's Come Undone... thinking about rereading)