It’s a new year, and it has started off with more than a little chaos. 2021 will hopefully be a year of major change and extreme growth for so many. So much of my art & writing is inspired by the goodness I experience when I’m living in the present moment. It has been difficult finding the motivation to write or be creative at all until recently. I  have been having outfits made and have performed on multiple virtual gigs over Zoom and other platforms. I’m recognizing my own fear to succeed more now than ever, but it’s time to make things happen for myself—and part of that is writing this here blog.

To continue my story, let’s go back to the summer of 2017. That time sure felt different than our current moment. Back then, I personally felt such a powerful drive to perform and pursue gigs. It was like nothing I felt before. I was in Provincetown, MA, doing an all-male, burlesque, dance show Male Call.

We had quite a successful open weekend in mid-late June with lots of excitement ahead of us. We got into our routines quickly; mine included the gym after a recovery meeting, then some lunch, maybe some sex, some days the beach, sometimes sex on the beach, bike rides, and then get ready to bark for the show after tea at the Boatslip, and finally our show at 10pm.

I also had a major sexual awakening as soon as I arrived. I  felt powerful in my sexuality. I always disclosed my HIV status, and everyone was now on PrEP, so it wasn’t like I’d be rejected like I had years prior. There were certain afternoons that I told my cast mates I’d meet them at the beach or wherever they were going that afternoon, but then I would sneakily stay at the empty cottage because I’d have early afternoon dates planned. Some days I’d have back-to-back dates because why not?

There was one afternoon we were invited to a friend of the producer’s house for a pool party. I remember saying, “I’ll come in a bit, I think I need a nap.” Naturally it was because I was hanging out with someone I had wanted to hang with for years. The sex was incredible and I don’t regret it, but when I showed up late to this gorgeous house on the west end of Ptown, I spilled the tea and it got some chuckles. Why not be super honest and sex positive? I wasn’t ashamed of it. The host’s name was Rob. He was super charming, incredibly handsome, and extremely hospitable. I remember him from coming to our show and remember how sweet he was. We spent the afternoon by the pool, in the hot tub. While the others enjoyed their adult beverages, I had some chilled Pelegrinos. There were many videos made of us twerking in the sun and pictures of booties and splits. It was an amazing day.

I kept getting glimpses of hope and the joys life had to offer. HIV wasn’t ruling me, and stigma was dissipating more than ever for me. I was thriving, I was striving, and in that pool… I  was diving. I was allowing myself happiness as it came in those early parts of the summer, and I wanted to feel free like this all of the time.

I got on my bike and headed into town to get some things done before it was time to work that evening. I was sun kissed and glowing from the inside out. I was ready to shine that night on stage and bring a smile to the faces in our audience. And with my 28th birthday approaching, I felt wonderful.