I have been builiding up so much tension in the last days. P. is away from work and I have 3 days alone... alone but not lonely, at least not yet. I did feel strange last night, all sorts of thoughts were popping up as I made my way home from the gym. I saw this town as I saw it when I first moved here. And especially as I saw it during those horrible months immediately following my disgnosis: the warm inviting interiors, so cosy and gezellig, that I could never be part of. Well, slowly slowly, inch by inch, the elphant f****ed the ant. I don't feel like that anymore, I do feel a hundredfold more at home and belonging, but nevertheless, I feel dependent. I think all my panic from the last days, and even from last night when i was downright bullimic while sitting in front of my laptop watching Anchorman, comes down to that. I'm scared. I'm scared and quite probabaly I project this fear unto P., even though our communication has resumed it's lighthearted, jokey vibe.
There was a dinner with collegues, where I felt comfortable and right at home, although I ate way too much (I didn't drink, and maybe that was an outlet instead). We were having this work-related discussion, and I realized all of us were partnered, even the gay ones. I realized we are adults, set in our ways. I know people here who have relocated with a partner, indefinately or for a fixed amount of time like my own contract, and the partner hasn't got much to do here, since it is extremely hard for a non-Dutch to get employment. I know of an awful lot of long-distance relationship. And I know that I don't want to have one. Complicated. I had a meeting with my social worker T. If I need to "call on someone" to support me in hard moments, I always call on her in my head. She is mid-50s, and doesn't have children, and I think he partner is dead. She is a tough woman, and when I look at her, I don't feel sorry for her at all, but I don't want this. I want to hang on to my dream of having a family. Next week is my birthday. And so much is unclear. In many ways, nearing my mid-30s I am as helpless and as insecure as I was in my 20s or even teens, a tad bit less self-destructive (a thought that was crossing my mind as I gave in to binge eating last night after P. called and we had a lighthearted if slightly forced jokey exchange). I am still reading Keidis' bio and it's mindblowing the amount of pure poison the man put into his body, which I must say doesn't look worse for wear. And the amount of unprotected, no-holds-barred sex... which brings me to my second topic ---
T. said, that my suspicions are most likely right, and that there is a good chance that I was infected with HIV by the medical "professionals" in that clinic. And since then I have been walking around with very mixed feelings. Part of me is releived, I have always thought it odd that out of the 20 or so HIV+ non-heroin addict heterosexuals in a country of 7 million, a large part of are Africans, I would bump, so to speak, into the one who would infect me. Especially that back in the day the number was even smaller. What are the odds? I said this to P., and he agreed. Given that, it is highly likely that I was infected through this unhygenic procedure. T. said, from her experience working in hospitals, there is no way that they could have "done" that many women in such a short time while sticking to rulebook sterilization protocols. And that blows my mind. They just didn't give a shit (which would have been obvious to anyone there seeing the tiny locker room packed with dazed, vomiting women right after - the discharged us all at once). The thing is, I would have never ended up in that place, nor would it have been so crowded, if the public system didn't go on sudden strike the day that the abortion was scheduled.
I trust T. and I know she is a dedicated professional working with HIV from day 1, and she wouldn't say something like this lightly. Even when I told her about B. being infected, she left pretty large margins of doubt as to whether or not it was by me. But here she was much more decisive.
Of course, I would never be able to prove anything, especially since 9 years have passed. If it was a recent event, I would sue their ass. But I can only imagine what it would be like now, with me living overseas for so many years, and only me knowing who I had sex with, and only my word about having used a condom. And with my having a tattoo made that year, and traveling in third world countries. But I know the needles for the tattoo were clean, I saw it with my own eyes, and I know that I had unprotected sex with very few partners, and I know most of them are negative, and the only one that I don't know, that bastard living in the States, I know he has a girlfriend. Not that it means anything, I have a boyfriend, but again, what are the odds, given the statistics... And even with him, we had only had unprotected sex a few times (actually, it was protected against pregnanacy, but I got pregnant anyway, which is a story that should be told some other time... I was using a contraceptive called the sponge, which was prescribed by a gynocologist and was a kind of unrecyclable diaphragm. And while I was pregnant and waiting for the abortion I read that it had been taken off the shelves, so to speak, by the Health Authorities who found out that in the heat conditions of the Middle East it had a too high failure rate. Talk about irony... talk about a theme in my fucking life. And talk about finding safety... it was the first time I had sex after 2 years, and it was the first time I felt semi-normal, in my new job, attending university, surrounded by friends... I was such a good girl then. I was so hopeful, and I thought this was my one and only last chance to be normal, I wasn't even drinking or smoking cigarettes then, I was just hopeful, I started studying psychology, I thought I could fix my life, and others', and [and this really makes me sound like a burned out old woman] I was pretty as hell and had less than zero confidence. Which was a lethal combination. I have never been in love like that before or since. I gave everything I had to this guy. I was his forever, and he s**t on me. But that is history... and here I am now, wounded, scarred, still moving in the same circles literally and symbolically. Still afraid of getting hurt. Still giving men what I think they want and not putting myself in the focus. Still hoping, still hating myself for hoping. Still so bloody afraid, except older, much older, at the age when I definately should have a family of my own, playing games cut out for much younger and healthier people. In love and having to hide it from someone who can't take it, who can only be with me "accidentaly", on his own terms. And of course, with HIV. No wonder I want to kill myself sometimes. No wonder I get filled with dread from the approaching winter. Even if on the surface everything is cool, and I am doing my job and getting into it, and I have friends who are like me, well, as like me as anybody could be which is quite off the mark. When I write this, I realize that the point isn't how I was infected with HIV at all, although they are complete bastards in that clinic and should go to hell, but all the decisions I have (not been) taking in my life, and the way I lived it, so afraid of everything and so helpless I ended up hurting myself over and over and over, and letting others do it for me. I need to stop that. I can't carry on like this. But I don't know how.