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Party of One, or Minor Victories of 2010

White parties held a different meaning for me in the early half of the last decade. Had I not changed things, the black tie would have been incinerated along with the rest of me in the crematorium. At least that was my initial reaction upon seeing the first POV topic of 2011, but I digress.
If you’ve been reading my posts, you’ll notice I’ve been fond of fiction–sprinkled with bits of truth from my life. With the start of a new year, I want to open up a little more and give you something more personal.
2010 was an exercise in reinvention.
When it began, I came down with a case of shingles. Did you know the chickenpox virus stays in your system after you get it? Like many things in my life, I was a late bloomer–I got the ‘pox when I was a sophomore in high school. Shingles is the reactivation of the chickenpox virus. Typically it emerges in folks over the age of 60 as a result of “emotional stress, immune deficiency (from AIDS or chemotherapy), or with cancer.” One night while staring blankly at my computer screen, I felt an itch and noticed a few blotchy spots on my mid-torso and wondered enough to ask “WTF?” after a few days of discomfort.
When I was officially diagnosed, the doctor asked me if I’d ever taken an HIV test to pinpoint why I got shingles at an early age. Again, slow as I usually am on certain things (like the deadline for this post), I said I had not. No time like the present, huh?
Allow me to go off on a tangent. I admit, I’m no saint. If I could blame it all on circumstance and situations I put myself in over the last twenty years, I’d probably downplayed the week-long wait for the results. That morning I walked into the doctor’s office brimming with bravado, until I was left alone in her office for ten minutes. The waiting game reduced me to a quivering mess. I went over names in my head, trying to remember the chronological order of partners I’d had over the years, where, when, how many times. I sat in white knuckled panic until she came into the room with my results to discover I was negative.
The doc believed stress triggered my shingles and because it was caught early, the medicine was clearing it fairly quickly. But I couldn’t hear what she was saying. All I heard being played back in my mind over and over was “HIV negative.” Life began anew in that moment.
Years of chemical abuse (read: white party), irresponsible sexual behavior and general stupidity seemed to have been erased from the chalkboard of my life up until that moment.
If stress triggered my shingles, my job probably didn’t minimize it. If you’ve been keeping tabs, you know I took the initiative to change my professional scenario. Another new beginning. I’m still having a blast with the new gig in case you were wondering.
Summarizing 2010 in 140 characters: Moving onward and upward! I stumbled along the way but realized regression is not an option anymore. I’ve learned from my mistakes.
And here we are. 30pov has challenged me to tap into myself in a way I haven’t done in a long time. I still struggle with the deadlines, but I find myself satisfied with the results when put under the gun (leelee, I’ll work on that). I put my creative side on the backburner for too long. I made too many excuses and got distracted easily. Now my mind is clearer, my stress level is normal and I plan on keeping it that way.
My resolutions are the same every year: read more, write more and appreciate the people in my life even more. For a long time, my world revolved around me and my pleasure. I lost sight of what was important. No more.
Change is here. Stay tuned for what’s next.

4 responses to “Party of One, or Minor Victories of 2010”

  1. I feel the same way about this year. Being irresponsible is exciting but it's very short sighted. Love the post. Here's to making the best of the new year!

  2. Avatar The Tailor says:

    Great example of writing as self-realization.

  3. Avatar disperse says:

    I also got the pox in High School despite my parents best efforts at transmitting them to me from my twin brother.
    No shingles yet although work is definitely trying to give me an ulcer.
    Best of luck with 2011 and beyond.

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Jumpstreet About Jumpstreet

Brian W. Castro's immediate needs are simple: his iPod, a good novel and a bottle of wine. He is a born-again New Yorker living in the Sunshine State whose self-deprecating viewpoint confuses even himself. Once a fan of "sex, drugs & rock and roll," he only revels in one of the three openly. When he's not looking for deep lyrical meanings in Duran Duran's discography, he can be found staring blankly at his laptop--hard at work on his great Filipino-American graphic novel. Incidentally, this stare doubles as an intimidation tool when his children are unruly. Brian prefers to write under pressure, acknowledging deadlines bring out his creativity. But he admits, "Like masturbation, procrastination only ends up with me screwing myself."

Read more by this author on 30POV .


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