Writing this is a bloodletting. My pen pierces an hematoma of shame that swelled until holding it in became too painful. This is how it had to happen: the pain of not telling became greater than the fear of what would happen if I told. When too much vital life force collects in an unnatural place it can’t be contained. It turns fetid and festers – infecting the person who holds it with a vicious disease. Eventually it explodes outwards.
The flood of relief following the sting when the secret is lanced is replaced by the awkwardness of staring at the mess the release has created. Will you look at that? Now what have you done? Who is going to clean it up? But ultimately you are healed. The virus threatens death but stigma surely kills. Other people’s fear and ignorance about what is nothing more than a retrovirus deny my dignity. And there is not point in living without that.”
Regan Hofmann: I have something to tell you
Atria Books, New York - 2009
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