Taking a Knee During a National Anthem

American Flag

Colin Kapaernick chose to take a knee during the playing of the national anthem at an NFL football game, it has cause huge uproar and much discussion in this country about patriotism, racism and loyalty.

Today, September 24, 2017, the whole country tuned in to watch and see what all of the players were going to do today at the NFL games.  Who would take a knee, and who would support them.  Yesterday Trump lashed out at the NFL, at Kapaernick and anyone else he could think of.  He called them “sons of bitches” and called for the NFL to “fire them” for their protest.  Trump seems to be more concerned with football than he is with running this country.  Obviously he has no idea what the fuck he is actually supposed to be doing in Washington DC.

I served my country in the US Army for 6 years so that people like Colin would have freedom.  I do not see his taking a knee in protest of disproportionate killings of black men by law enforcement, with no justice when it’s due, as being disrespectful to the flag.  I see it as him protesting something he truly believes is wrong with his country.  It’s his right to express himself.  And those players who choose to suppor thim by standing with their arms linked have every right to do just that – support him, and make their voices heard as well.

The United States is in such incredible turmoil right now. In my 55+ years I have never seen anything like what is happening all around me right now.  I fear that things are brewing to become very volatile in the near future.  There is so much talk of race and racism, and I’m hearing it from so many places.  Blacks aren’t happy with whites, whites aren’t happy with blacks, Hispanics feel like they are being thrown out of the country, Asians also fear deportation and violence.  It’s crazy, it’s sad, and it’s scary.  And our “president” Trump is leading the charge to make it as bad as possible for everyone.  He particularly likes to strike out with his hatred of black athletes and Hollywood stars, with his hatred for immigrants pulling a close second.

Just because you do not agree with someone else’s opinion doesn’t mean that you should deny them their freedom of speech.  Freedom means that everyone does not have to have the same thoughts, feelings, opinion, or methods of expressing themselves; it means that we have the right to be individuals and are free to express ourselves as such.

I personally choose to stand for my national anthem.  That is MY choice.  I also choose to support those who make other choices.  As long as one is not desecrating the flag by shitting on it, burning it, altering it in anyway – like putting swastikas on it – and being generally purposefully nasty and outwardly disrespectful to the flag and my country, I am tolerant of civil protest and personal expression.  I do not see Colin Kapaernick’s kneeling as protesting the flag, I see it as it is…his protesting the lack of equal treatment and equal justice in this country.

This video shows both what Trump said, and what Obama’s response to this is…well worth watching.

 

I am proud to be an American.  I am proud of my flag, and what it stands for, and I am thankful to all who have served and who have fallen protecting our freedom.  I am also proud to support peaceful protest and tolerance of other’s opinions.  I stand with Colin Kapaernick and support his right to kneel and his personal reason behind it.

What do you think?  Do you have an opinion of this?

Peace.  ~MB

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My Butch Musings Today

I’m not sure exactly how to write about this, or what I want to say, so we’ll see how it goes as I type on here.  Let me say that I am just me, and these are my personal thoughts and opinions.  I know there are many varying views, and I don’t know that any particular one of them is “right” or “wrong”.  And let me say up front that I love and support my trans friends and allies, and I always will.

Caitlyn Jenner.  She has been the woman of the week in the news, her doing the cover of Vanity Fair, and doing television interviews and stories about her coming out, and she’s been talked about in many of the blogs that I have been reading too.  Friends have asked me what I think about it all. because who better to ask than the local Butch lesbian about this? ha!  I think it’s comical that when anything happens in the news concerning any kind of LGBT issue that people come off with the strangest questions to us just because they see us standing under the umbrella of LGBT.

It’s been a strange couple of weeks watching as Bruce Jenner disappears and Caitlin Jenner emerges on the cover of Vanity fair…and sort of as a sex goddess of a kind.  Annie Lebowitz’s photography is amazing, and I am glad it was she who got to shoot these photos, good choice Caitlin.  Coupled with your association with names of fame, from Kardashain to Jenner, from Bruiser to Caitlin, the choice to reveal Caitlin as this impeccably groomed prima donna cannot be outdone, in my opinion.

I’m not sure how I feel about all of this.  That is my answer to my questioning straight* friends. I give straight the asterisk because I am not even sure about that anymore!  What defines straight now?  It’s all become so confusing, all of the terms and words have changed, all of the prerequisites seem to have changed too.

What does it mean to be a woman now?  How is it defined?  And who gets to define it?  I used to think that being a woman is shaped by a certain kind of experience living as a gendered individual, among a community (women) who share those accrued experiences, both positive and sadly many times negative.  It’s always been a sort of uphill battle to survive as a woman in this world of inequality.  And now it seems that there is some re-defining force at work that is trying like hell to change everything.  I’m just not sure what to think anymore.  I guess I have many more conversations to have and reading to be done to figure some of this out.

I do realize that I am walking a thin, thin line between female and male I know.  I am often mis-gendered as a male and it doesn’t bother me.  When I am gendered properly as a female I know instantly that I have taken second place somehow. Women have always been made to feel inferior to men.  It’s been that way since caveman days.  It’s a weird feeling, and one I struggle with daily many times.  Some days it pisses me off, and some days I don’t really care one way or the other.  I am just me in this world, just me.

I read and watch on TV all of this stuff about “living in the wrong body”.  This is something, that as a non-trans person I could and can never understand.  I don’t know what that feeling is like, nor do I claim to know as I have never felt that I was in the wrong body, but I did not like my breasts, so I had them reduced drastically.  My chest is flat now, and my body feels right to me.  I am a woman.  I suffered all of the things that women suffer through gender experience, including the push to be more “feminine” at times.  I never wanted to be male, but I never liked being “feminine” either.  As someone said recently somewhere that I read “nail polish wears off”.  This sounds weird to me, because I think that who one IS doesn’t wear off.  I look into the mirror every morning and I see a masculine Butch woman, raised female by experience and culture.  I see the scars of living in this female body; one that belongs to me, and is unquestionably the right one for me.  The scars of living in the wrong body are more invisible to people, and I am not sure what that looks like.

I look at the photos of Caitlin now and it’s amazing.  What can money not do? According to the photographs I have seen she is strikingly beautiful.  From the perfect hair to the perfect waist and ample feminine cleavage.  It’s hard not to be jealous in a way, she has achieved that perfect female/feminine body; the body that she wants and feels comfortable in from what I am reading/hearing.  This is something many women work a lifetime to get through a variety of sometimes wild and occasionally means (i.e. botox and illegally performed surgeries/procedures).  Caitlin chose professionally treatments and surgeries to bring out her feminine side.  I, myself, chose surgical procedure to be less feminine.  Funny what we will all do to achieve our goals.  And how vastly our goals are from one another in this world.  Everyone has their own agenda and desires, and everyone should be able to act on those desires if they are able.  I feel lucky that I was able to get my chest surgery done, and I always feel happy for other Butches who get it done and like me feel it was the best thing they ever did to improve their body image and divert some dysphoria.  And I feel the pain for those who want it done and can’t yet get there.

Now these are all just my musings; thoughts and opinions of a very socially isolated Butch.  I wish I had someone who could explain many of my questions to me, and help me better understand not only this but myself as well.

Jamie (A boy and her dog) recently attended a conference (see blog) and speaks about this social isolation.  I don’t know why some of us socially isolate.  I know for me it’s partially because I now live in an area where there is no real LGBT community to speak of.  Those that are here are partnered up, settled down and don’t really interact with one another in any type of organized atmosphere, i.e. there are no gay bars, no clubs and no recreation centers or LGBT organized events.  For the first time there is going to be a Gay Pride festival here at the end of this month, WOW!  That is actually exciting to me, and I am sure to many others in my area.  I am planning to go, and I know I will run into many people that I used to see years back at the bars (when there were some here!) and on the softball fields (lesbian cruising spots). If U-haul were smart they would run a special on local moving trucks for the following week!  I wonder if they ever considered having a booth at the Gay Pride festivals?  Now, that’s a funny thought!  (hahahaha!)

At the end of the blog Jamie says:  “I need to stop apologizing for identifying as both butch and transgender. I need to stop apologizing for not having it all figured out..”   This line caught my thought process by surprise.  I do this too.  And I need to stop and realize that maybe no one has it “all figured out” ever.  We are all just works in progress.  Maybe we are all just like worker ants building and rebuilding ourselves daily; doing what has to be done.  Everyone’s brand of Butch is different, and as the world turns it seems to get more and more difficult to decipher where the lines get drawn sometimes.

I have actually been working on my own social isolation alot in recent weeks.  And have reached out to quite a few friends lately.  I am blessed to have some awesome people in my life, that’s for sure.  I’m pleased that I can call them friends and that I feel valued by them.  I’m going to join a couple of them for Boston’s Pride this Saturday, which should be loads of fun!  I’m sure I will come back with many photos and a story or two to tell next week.  I am going to meet my friends in Amesbury and take the T in to the city, that way no searching for parking or looking for the “lost car” at 1 am when we are trying to find our way out of the city!  I’ve done that before, it’s not fun!  haha!

~Peace~

~MB

Our Internet Allegiances and Remembering when…

The last 20 years I have – like the rest of the world most likely – watched and participated in the internet and the world-wide web taking over the world; bringing social networking to our tool box for communication.  It has certainly drawn our LGBT communities much closer; brought individuals into our lives that we may never have met without it, and changed the base-line dynamics of how relationships begin, go on and end.  

My own experience with computers and the internet came to me in my early 30’s….in 1993 actually.  And since then it has become part of my daily life.  Because of this daily access to information, education, opinion, people, and tons of other things, I find that I have personally learned many things along the journey that have changed me in some way.  I imagine that this is true for everyone who has brought the computer into the home, place of business, on vacations and has become the standard everyday user of said machine.  

We’ve grown a whole new vocabulary for using the internet, and for using the texting features on our phones and other devices. Words that have grown in such popularity and usage that they have been added to our dictionaries and allowed on the Scrabble board!  Some are clean cut, some require some experience of understanding with the topic of the word.  We’ve gotten used to it now.  

Twenty years ago we were in a different place in the LGBT community; in our country and in the world.  We found solidarity in Gay Pride parades and events.  We built alliances for support, encouragement and protection.  The world was still much less hospitable to LGBT identifying people than it is today in 2014…but it was making progress every so slowly.  

The internet became our strongest tool in forming these alliances and building on this new-found solidarity as we leaned about one another, learned that we are not alone in our struggles; that others had/have the same experiences or questions about themselves and where they “fit” in the big picture as we do!  And today this wonderful thing we call the web is the primary “go-to” tool for building or forming just about everything.  Computers have helped us do more than communicate, they have enriched our scientific studies, testing, allowed us to see things previously invisible, and allowed us to make things previously unknown – such as 3D copies for example.  Yes, the computer changed life on earth very radically; and the internet changed social interaction around the world quickly, effectively and entirely.

I love my computer experiences.  I enjoy my computers, what each can do, what I have each set up to do for me or with me when the need arises.  I love social media, networking, meeting new and interesting people online and then oft times in person!  I giggle at the funny pictures everyone can now post.  I shed tears for the sad posts that bring a touch of real life agony from half a world away right into our living room.  Yes, for the most part – probably 98% I do really enjoy my computer time and activities.  

There is that 2% of the time that something I see on my social networking, news, blog, or video sites unseats or unnerves me to the core.  I get that freedom of speech is the rule. That people are free to have their own opinions, and to post whatever they wish to post to their “pages” around the web.  And sometimes I am not going to like a post, a picture, or a statement made by someone else.  I am free to not read, look at or interact with those posts – that is my choice I fully understand.  Perhaps maybe today, 20 years down the data-train road I understand that I make my own choices even more fully than I understood it at 32.  That does not mean that I have to enjoy making that choice; or that I ever enjoy stumbling across stuff that I think is mean-spirited, cyber-bullying; or that comes across as hate-speech, sometimes full of stuff that can be outright assaults on others, crude, rude, crass, nasty, or vulgar, etc.  

I understand that when there is a space where I am invited to leave a comment that I am rightful to do so if I choose.  But there seems to be this fairly new internet thing where some use the comments sections to try to start on-line arguments, debates, and just like to post upsetting stuff.  Some of them are what I call “drama queens” (which anyone can be, it’s not a gender specific title!) and “turd stirrers” who like to stir the pot and get people upset and riled up.  If someone verbally assaults or attacks me or any of my friends I am one who will come forward and say something or try to diffuse the situation; perhaps it was just a misunderstanding to begin with and no harm was intended.  But when slander and hurt is done purposefully I consider that poster a cyber-bully; someone who is just rude and probably are self-loathing beings anyway.  

Personally I do not believe that it’s right to use your online space to hurt others, or to post about other’s choices and lives.  I do not ever use photos or video clips of people on my pages to ever hurt them.  And generally IF I use a photo of someone I DO get their permission – unless it’s a viral clip like a dog in a hat, that I am going to say is “cute”.  Those are only common courtesies to me.  And I do not mind others sharing my post or videos if it’s for the right reasons, for the base intention of doing good, and not for defaming or slandering me in any way; not for negative reasons or on negatively loaded sites.  I have much more respect for any blogger or vlogger, who wants to use my posts, when they contact me and explain what they are going to use them for in advance of just posting them.  I would like to think that I have good, decent internet values and mannerisms; and that I am far above having to use other people’s posts to cause controversy that draws views or interest to my posts – but brings them nothing but harm and misery.

We had some very hateful incidents concerning a certain set of blogs and vlogs where the creator was very anti-trans and chose to attack many FtM guys publicly – copying and re-posting their surgery pictures and giving horrific details of why these people were wrong to transition.  Quite a few people banned together and got involved and we tried to get this person banned from vlogging and blogging using pictures without authorization  – or even common courtesy of asking to use them – We got a private investigator involved, we know the person, far too much about this person actually now…and sadly she’s still got people who read and believe all of the sludge that she created; who looks completely past the hurt she’s doing / has done to these innocent people with her vile posts.  I thought most of the world was progressing, but obviously we have some stragglers!  I am sure that some of you remember this time in our online history, those that she didn’t completely shame off of the web, she hurt our community with her poison – which is just hard to forget!

 (((Note:  Don’t even mention her vile name in any comments left, I will not approve them if you do!!!!  She deserves NO more “hits” on her vlogs or blogs, so don’t mention her moniker or name please!)))  

I will be following this blog with another in the next day or two speaking on the solidarity we have created via our online connections, and how those alliances have so positively affected and helped many of us in the LGBT community.  Much more up beat!  🙂 Rock on!Image

The Butch-Femme Friendship Dilemma

I recently had a question asked by two different viewers on my Youtube channel, and it gave me pause for thought, and fodder for a blog and vlog on the topic. The question is “Can Butches and Femmes be just  friends?”  Meaning here, can they successfully navigate the terrain of friendship –  without becoming emotionally involved and without sex becoming a factor or issue in the equation?

Facebook is the prime example of epic failure in the realm of Butch-Femme friendship.  More drama and crap goes across the status bar of that application than I can even fathom.  Personally I don’t let it bother me when someone un-friends me because I tell the truth, hey I know the truth hurts!  And if you can’t run with the big dogs, stay on the porch. If you can’t take the truth, GTFO .  Because I tell it like I see it, and for some that seems to be just a tad bit too insightful for them, they are afraid I may call their bullshit like I see it.  Hell, it has happened and I have been un-friended by both Butches and Femmes  in the past, for doing just that – calling bullshit when I see it.   I don’t care to be a spectator in anyone’s  drama filled exchanges…and why would I?  Nope just not into the drama myself,  so take your “friendship” – and I use the term lightly – and GTFO.  Good riddance.  I don’t need the bullshit believe me – neither do you.

So can Butches and Femmes ever really be “friends”?   I am not sure.  I know that I approach every relationship in my life from an angle of friendship.  I offer myself as a friend.  Sex, when used as a weapon in any relationship from friendship to the romantic realm, is just wrong.  And sexual exchanges of innuendo or as “come on” talk within a friendship is not acceptable behavior from anyone who wishes to just be friends.

What I do know for myself is that Butch – Butch bromances are needed and necessary.  I am sure it’s the same for Femmes, although I cannot speak to their thoughts directly. You often need the advice of someone who possibly thinks a bit more like you do; who has walked the path that you are on and knows the ropes across that wiggly bridge.  Advice and having an ally are valuable tools in navigating this minefield of this LGBT  life.  When I have Butch things that I think only another Butch would be able to relate to then I take my questions to my other Butch friends.  If I am having Femme issues I might consult a Femme friend for insight, but it’s my Butch buddies that give me the most support; needed, necessary and like-minded support.

I do think that Butches and Femmes can be friends without sex or relationship stuff becoming an issue but it takes mature people to make the friendship.  And there is also that category of acquaintance versus actual friend.  Acquaintances are those who you know, but aren’t very close to, perhaps it’s your buddy’s girl, or the girl at work, she’s someone that you wouldn’t persue a real friendship with anyway.

Generally when a Femme puts you into the “friend” category, you stay there regardless.  Any sort of romance that may pop up are usually just fleeting things and you stay in the friendship category, because most Femmes are strong willed, solidly minded and once you are in that category there is no such thing as a “get out of friendship free” pass, it’s lost somewhere between the “go to jail” and the “get 100 condoms free” passes in life.  She wants to be your friend not your lover.  She wants to tell you how to dress better, not undress you.  She wants to talk to you like she would talk to another Femme, not like she would converse with you if she were sleeping with your ass.  Exhibit one…she will tell you about the fabulous Butch she fucked last weekend…a lover or potential girlfriend would definitely not be telling you those things. Because if she saw you as a potential lover or sex partner she would want you to think that you are the only one, so if she’s telling you about her latest conquests then you are definitely in the friend category.  Stay there.

When Butches and Femmes cross that threshold between friendship and a relationship one of two things happens.  Either they get together and stay that way, or the friendship goes straight into the shitter.  The second may happen slower, but it will eventually happen as you drift apart, one of you becoming more distant, you talk less, and then poof, no more friendship.

As you grow older in life and you gain experience in dealing with various personality types along the way, you gain insight and intuition about things.  You learn to know the difference between friendly gestures and those with romantic overtones.  You can feel when someone is not telling the whole truth, but is giving you marginal information to keep you in some sort of spot where they can later manipulate you into whatever they wish.  You learn to avoid those people, they are toxic.  Butch or Femme.  Toxic.

Basics of Butch – Femme Friendships

No pet names…once a pet name is given some sort of weird connection happens, it breaks boundaries.

No pouring out of the heart.  Save this for your time with like-minded buddies and other friends.

No sexting, multiple texting, or massive email exchanges.  Each one gives the lead to more, and that leads to a falling off of the friendship cliff.

Respect boundaries, have impeccable manners and general good behavior that will keep things friendly.

No holding of hands, touching or other intimate behavior between friends.

No names.  When discussing recent sexual conquests do not use names or identifying things.

No sexual inuendos, small talk or references to be exchanged or referred to in conversation, both in person or online.  Using any type of sexual or “come on” type language is just a recipe for trouble, with a capital T.  Afterall , it ‘s supposedly “friendship” you are after, not a relationship or sexual escapade, right?

If sexual tension evolves, deal with it head on, do not sweep it under the proverbial rug.  Get it out in the open, discuss it and solve it.  Maybe you are not meant to be friends…but are you meant to be more? If you can’t put the tension aside then it’s time to either end it or ask her out properly…you decide and let those chips fall where they may.  But remember, if she never trusts you when you say “she’s just my friend” after you get together, it’s exactly how you two met…historically speaking.  History says a lot.  She won’t want you having other “friends” of the opposite label, i.e. Butches having Femme friends and visa versa.

No drunk calls, texts or emails…never, ever a good thing.  If you are thinking of your Butch or Femme “friend” when you are drunk then it’s NOT a friendship in your head, it’s turning into something much more dangerous…the desire for a relationship.

Warning signs that it’s more than a friendship.

You start to dress more “her style”, listening to what she likes in her Butch or Femme, you start to look at your wardrobe and think of what “she” would like to see you wear, not what you like.  Never change yourself for someone, especially a “friend”.

You stay up late at night waiting by your computer for her to get home so you can chat or email with her.  This is a definite sign that it’s getting beyond friendship in your head.

Buying expensive gifts…you don’t do this for other friends, so if you find yourself looking at diamonds suddenly and thinking of buying one for her…it’s gone way beyond friends in your head.

Suddenly changing your other friends, because she doesn’t care for this one or thinks that one is too much of an influence on you.  A friend will never ask or suggest that you lose another friend just so you can be “her” friend. A true friend will encourage you to have other friends, and may even want to hang out with you and them.

Isolating…if you find you are staying home more, waiting for her calls, emails or texts then you are not being friendly, you are being stupid.

Jealousy…if you or she starts telling the other who they can and cannot hang with, communicate with or who they should and should not sleep with, or what to do with their hair, nails, brows, etc…then it’s obvious it’s not friendship, it’s a connection going deeper.

Drop off friends.

Signs that a friend has decided that you are too much work, or that she’s feeling pressured and maybe things need to frost over a bit between you before it goes somewhere other than friendship….

She becomes a bit distant, has to work late, has prior obligations and cant’ hang with you.

Phone calls become rare to non-existant.  Your calls go unanswered or to voice mail.

Texts and emails start to trail off, not so many anymore.  And those that do come are short and to the point. Then she finally stops altogether.

Friends with Benefits.

Never a good idea in my humble opinion.  Tried it and failed miserably.  And I find that it’s always a friendship killer because once you go to the intimacy level, everything changes. You may think you are still friends, but you are now more than friends, but less than lovers.  The whole dynamic is different, strained and usually not very much fun.  One of you thinks it’s friends, the other has built a house and put up a picket fence in their mind.  Watch out for this one; tread carefully.

So those are my thoughts and ideas on Butch-Femme friendship.  I do have a few very sweet and good Femme friends.  I adore every one of them, but I also keep them at a distance socially,  out of respect for them, their Butches and for myself.  I want to be a good friend, and sexual fantasy about a Femme friend would not make me a good Butch…it might make me typical to some, but not good!

Shaking the Umbrella

It seems, unfortunately in 2012 that being comfortable in just being who you are, and allowing others to do that same thing, not policing them in return – even when they do it to you – has just become the sort of “norm” way of thinking inside of the LGBTQ  community   I am saddened by stories I hear about individuals (and groups) being put down by others inside of the LGBTQ umbrella for expressing themselves as individuals, and not being swayed by “stereotypes” or “rules” of how to act, be or present that appeases our seeming need to be seen as normal in the world at large.

Since I began questioning the ideas of gender policing, transphobia, and hate from within the LGBTQ community itself, I have recieved quite a bit of input from others.  Some telling me their horror stories of incidents they endured, or that a partner or lover went through.  Some lamenting the by-gone days when it was “ok to be gay” and we all carried the rainbow flag together – Butches, Femmes, Dykes, Queers, Bisexuals, Trans people and those still seeking their identity.

Be that.  The LGBTQ community has become so hostile towards it’s own “members” in recent years; no longer affording us a “safe space” to just be the unique individuals we are intended to be.  But trying to “police” us and set “guidelines and rules” for who can and cannot claim an identity, a lifestyle, or just their own unique style.  For some reason some have gravitated toward more rigidity in how others are “supposed” to present to the rest of the world, which lends heavily to the “one bad apple” thing that happens so easily when you are already part of a group that is already viewed thru the eyes of skepticism.

Remember the Toronto Gay Pride chair who wanted – paraphrasing here – us to tone it down – ie no “Butch” lesbians or “Flambouyant” gay men, but for the crowd to exhibit a more “family friendly or normal” presentation in the parade?— Yeah, like let’s all pretend we are “normal” like the rest of this fucked up world’s inhabitants! SMH

God forbid that we take “pride” in who we ARE, in our own families and in our community as a whole.  I remember that incident very vividly, because, as a Stone Butch myself, I felt completely negated – within the so called “safety net” of the community that I loved – and represented.  And by someone who was supposed to be leading a showing of PRIDE and fighting PREJUDICE.  It felt to me like a direct insult; a frontal attack and left a very very bad taste in my mouth that I have yet to be able to fully rinse from existence.  I only wish I had the opportunity to address the person who spewed those words into the air with such whimsical ease; to say, “HEY, wait a damned minute!…”

I have so much more to share related to this topic of hate and discrimination experienced under the umbrella.  I thank those who have taken the time to contact me with their painful recollections -L, G, B, T, and Q’s!  And please if you would like to share I am wide open for hearing your experiences and opinions!  More to come…

Doctor’s Visit – The Results

So today was the sort of “final” visit  – at least for a few months – that i had to make to the doctor.  This was the visit to discuss my blood work results from last Friday and how I was doing on the four new HIV medications.  

First, I weighed in and had gained 5 lbs in the past month…I knew it cuz I could see and feel it!  Yikes!  I once again have broken 130 lbs.  I need to now just maintain, stay right where I am just get more physically fit.  I feel good at this weight, healthier and stronger, so I am really hoping to be smart, watch my diet, exercise, work and maintain!  I tend to snack on some seriously caloric snacks sometimes, guess I need to watch that a bit closer.  

Secondly, and most importantly, I have been tolerating the new drugs very well.  Two weeks of sickness from them and I seem to have made peace, settled in to a routine and got it down.  Thus, my viral burden (also called viral load) has dropped from 344, 310 on 2/22/12 to 190 on 4/13/12…which is a DIRECT result of the medications stopping the replication of the virus in my system.  Yay!  That on top of the increase in T-cells to 400 is kinda the perfect picture of my body fighting the virus, with the help of medications, and getting healthier.  

The doctor was very pleased with my progress and is also psyched that I have decided to try to return to work.  

So I have been poked, prodded, scanned, and tested from head to toe and I am pretty damned healthy once again!  I return in 3 months for follow up blood panels, rechecking the T’s and VL, and a check in with her.  Hopefully, I will be at a ZERO viral burden/load by then!  

Thanks to all who have supported me, encouraged me and pushed me on during the trying few previous months of me being so sick and down.  Special Thanks goes to my parents, they have been an incredible source of love and encouragement through all of this.