So the end of another year?!
A what a year it has been!! I have had incredible highs, and some dark lows but all in all, 2013 has probably been the most symbolic year of my life.
It didn’t get off to a great start, I found out shortly after the clock stuck twelve that my boyfriend had cheated on me, and was preyed on by a man who saw HIV as a quick cash scheme!
He then turned out to also be my stalker, and that added to the already incredible strain I was under and directly caused a mental breakdown that saw me treated intensively by the amazing mental health and crisis team in Brighton, whom I owe an incredible amount a gratitude to.
After that my already rocky relationship broke down rapidly and I ended up in a city I thought I was alone in…it turned out I would quickly learn I had made friends that would become not just my closest, but my best friends.
Matt Gartan. What can I say…he is an incredible person. Already dealing with his own problems, which made mine seem trivial, was there at every turn. He helped me through my breakup and gave me the strength to try and make a life in Brighton…even the time I had my bags packed and my train ticket home bought!
He remained a close friend the whole time I was in Brighton and after being with him when he received the tragic passing of his father, I felt an incredible sense of closeness to him. 2013 had given me a best friend.
Then there is of course, and I could never forget my ‘wifey’ Zoe Waters.
Zoe is a person you simply cannot describe nor convey her incredible personality in words!
I wish everyone had Zoe in their life. She, in my darkest hours, made me smile, laugh and gave me hope in a world that seemed utterly hopeless.
Zoe is a woman that cannot help but see the good in people, when others simply can’t.
She has opened her life to people that others would have shunned, and of course, people have seen this as a weakness.
Now however, she is the strongest person I have ever encountered, god knows, she held us both up at times!
I am overjoyed that she is finally experiencing the happiness she deserves!
I loved, and always will love this woman with my whole heart, one that at times hurts because we are now so far apart.
I thank all of my new friends in Brighton…you all became my family for my time there, and you dysfunctional lot were a family I would choose again and again and again!
I also have to take chance to thank four men that continue to be a pillar of strength in my life.
Some of you will know them, and love him just as I do, Luke Buglass, Lee Render, Peter Gracey and Gareth. I love you all, and thank you with all of my heart…I couldn’t got here without your support.
I have now gone back to my hometown after a particularly unpleasant experience…one I am now very much behind!
I have a great job, I am closer with my family than I ever have been and I feel happy and content for the first time in years!
A great thing that happened this year, with the help of you amazing people was raising so much money for THT’s Walk For Life 2013!!
You guys raised an amazing £508.75, which will have already helped people with HIV living in poverty…a moment that in my whole life, I have never felt so much pride!
I hit a low in February when I was subjected to stigma at the hands of a member of staff at my local job centre.
An incident that you guys didn’t just support with on, you in force joined the fight!
My simple little life turned it to a media storm, all be it one I was keen to contain!
I fought for as long as I was mentally able, and I had to take a step back, but only after I was assured that the problem would be not only addressed, but changed!
The training issue would be changed!
An incredible high was receiving a Local Hero award, I think probably the first in my life!
I was nominated by a follower, and now a man I call friend Martin Brown.
After being left devastated by a HIV organisation changing their mind because they felt ‘uncomfortable’ about me hosting an event, it was exactly what I needed to spark a new wave of determination in me.
Of course, as usual, my past was splashed everywhere…a past that they know about because I am so open about it…and I don’t regret that, being open and honest is what makes me ‘Just Jayce’, isn’t it?
I let that bother me, as I have always done…
I don’t have a PR company protecting me, I don’t have a membership to the priory…I am just me…just Jayce…just a regular person.
It seems people forget when they write what they do that I am just a person sitting here…trying to help, make a difference…maybe even save a life…
2013 has taught me a lot about me, about my life…and about this blog.
It has taught me that I can’t, as much as I have tried, prevent people contracting HIV.
I can’t use my experiences to put people off not using protection.
But, what I can do, we can do and we HAVE done, is fight stigma…for me, the worst side affect with living with HIV.
I share with you briefly a comment that was made to me two weeks ago, with someone I least expected it from.
The person had been subjected to Stigma, it was whilst she was that I first met her in 2008.
This person was a pre-op transgender woman, who also, after appearing briefly on The Apprentice, received a gruelling ridicule by the press and by people in the street.
Two weeks ago she said, as I tried to hug her after some 4 years since last seeing her
“I can’t hug you, you know why. I can’t afford to get anything from you”
The ‘you know why’ was referring to my HIV status…by a women who had been subjected to such cruel stigmatisation herself, used such cruel worlds to me.
This time I wasn’t hurt or angry, as I had been at the DWP.
I felt even more determined about the project edUKate Training and I had teamed up with just before.
In my next blog post, I will tell you all about #TrainTheChange.
Sorry to cram all that waffling in to one post…but that was my 2013…totes emoshe!
Lots of Love
A special thank you to my #GayBro, who I know I don’t need to thank, but a man I truly love as a brother xxx