"What?" I asked very confused
"Always being the HIV+, Gay man in every group wherever you go, don't you sometimes just want to be Michael"
"You know now that I think about it ... Yeah it really is a bit tiring but I am ok with it."
That thought has sat in my mind for a while now. It really has been an interesting concept that I have found so very hard to break away from ... Labeling.
When it comes down to it I am a son, brother, partner, hiv+, gay, volunteer, coworker, best friend, thirty-something blue eyed, depressive, future writer, photographer, singer person. I wonder though how much people see of me that goes beyond the labels that I myself have continued to promote in a way.
I am always joking stating I am gay or poz, usually jokingly, but lately it has occurred to me that I am so much more that those types of labels. Jacob and I have spoken on many an occasion about the annoyance in the gay culture how we all label ourselves and of all things after animals (i.e. cubs, bears, wolves, otters, twinks, etc). It has popped up with friends when asked what am I? Just like when I am asked in our relationship am I the "wife or the husband", I always state that I am a man and I am an equal part of a partnership.
After Heidi asked me about the labels I realized I love the well rounded -ness of all the ways I could be labeled, it def shows some experience and the fact that I have lived a full life up to this point ... but I completely know that i am more than one such labels and I am truly the sum of all my parts... in an effort to take back who I am I have changed many of my pages like twitter as well as my blog to be Michael Lee Howard.
The one thing I have learned to accept is that I am Michael Lee Howard and all the labels that are associated with that are part of the whole. It has taken me until this age of my life to see it but I def own it now. I think that was the first step that I needed to move forward to the round in my life that I am embracing now.
So to answer Heidi's question, after much thought, I have to answer.... NO!!! I embrace all the Labels as long as no one forgets that when it comes down to it I am me... Michael Lee Howard.