My name is Marc and I live in London. I’ve been positive all my adult life.
I tried to remember what it felt like to be negative as a gay man or as a young gay man and I’ve probably had a year of it. You know, I was seventeen. I had three boyfriends and I was very fortunate in that I was able to tell my mom, who was the most unbelievable support. I remember sitting down at the table sitting there in floods and floods of tears trying to get words out, and she leant over and calmly said, “You might be knocked over by a bus tomorrow, but with this I know what to do, I know that I can take care of you. So stop your tears, stop your crying, we’ll get through it.” I come from a very strong Jamaican background. You have to be a man. You have to stand up. And I kind of stood up to HIV. That’s what I did. It’s not going to take me out.
I run a peer-mentoring program. I recruit, train, and manage other people who live with HIV to provide 1 to 1 in-group support to positive people. It’s challenging and it’s really, really rewarding. It’s a passion of mine. I love it. I feel like I’ve got some sort of balance in my life now. Day to day life is pretty chill. I’ve got a really close knit circle of friends, black gay men of a certain age, who have all been friends for twenty odd years.
My special tree. I noticed it a couple years ago when it was in full bloom and it was this thing that touched me because it wasn’t perfect, yet it was so beautiful. I share that space with my dog, Travis, who improved my life sentence, because he really did save my life from going down a rabbit hole of drink and drugs and he just filled my life with happiness. We’re up every single morning. Rain or shine 365 days a year. We’re in the park and we’re walking.
I like being solo right now because I’m finding myself and I’m being quite happy in that space. It’s not a bad space to be.