This Blog Is Too Good Not to Post
I have another blog where I talk about fitness. I wrote this for that blog, but it didn’t work…too many HR issues, no matter how much I’ve edited. Caution: mature content and triggers (rape).
One of my hardest moments was unveiling the statue of Freddie in Montreux. Obviously it’s a very nice tribute and the ceremony was very moving but I just suddenly became overcome by anger. I thought, “This is all that’s left of my friend and everybody’s thinking it’s normal and fabulous but it’s actually awful that I’m looking at a piece of bronze which is … [sigh] the image of my friend, and my friend’s not here any more.” ~Brian May, Queen guitarist, about Queen front man, Freddie Mercury, Q magazine, March 2011
For those too young to remember, the 90’s were a time of fear. Magic Johnson announced he had HIV in October 1991, and America was shocked; it was no longer just a gay disease. By 1993, more and more stories of hetero transmission came to light. The days of the free-loving seventies were over, or they should have been.
One such exception was an eastern Iowa high school graduate who decided to run a gambling ring based on how far he and his friends could manipulate teenage girls. Whether he was the ringleader or just a participant, I don’t know. I didn’t know enough about him and what I did know were lies, like a false name and employer.
The details of our date and the month leading up to it are unnecessary. Let’s just say I was worth a lot of points because I was naive and sheltered. He took me on a date far away from home with no chance for rescue. That’s when he decided to cash in. He raped me. Without a condom.
It was one thing to survive the ordeal and make it home in one piece when the whole time I expected him to pull over and beat me to death with a tire iron or something. It was another to wake up the next morning realizing that I could be not only pregnant, but also dead in ten years or less, thanks to one night of pain.
At the time, the testing period was six months. HIV could stay dormant in the human body without producing antibodies, and while it would usually show by three months, doctors would retest at six months to be sure. I waited seven months. Those were the longest seven months of my life.
To get by, I prayed. I grew up Catholic, but the Catholic Church doesn’t exactly have a Patron Saint of HIV tests. I prayed to Freddie Mercury, the one person I knew had died of this disease. “Dude,” I promised, “Let me live. I’ll buy all your music, learn everything I can about your life, and do whatever I can to make this disease go away so nobody has to die like you did.”
The test came back negative. Say what you want about it being Iowa in the mid 90’s: I still feel incredibly lucky, and thankful.
I started living my life, and I forgot my promise. I mean, I went to see the AIDS quilt, and I tried to join a Pride group in college, until I realized it was a thinly-veiled hate group. That was as far as I got before my personal life took center stage.
I had almost given up by the second semester of my freshman year. Then, something wonderful happened. I found my “Somebody to Love,” on a blind date. We watched Highlander 2 that night. Yes, it’s a horrible movie, but the soundtrack is still Queen. I knew my future husband was the one when he bought me A Kind of Magic without even knowing the promise I made. Since then, I have purchased every Queen album produced, and I have read every (legitimate) book published about Freddie’s life and about Queen.
The second half of my promise has taken longer. I have what I feel is an understandable fear of public places, strangers, and anyone who is nice to me for no reason. How can someone as broken as I am make a difference? I started with a donation to the Mercury Phoenix Trust on World AIDS Day: December 1, 2012.
I started writing M/M Romance in 2003. I didn’t know it at the time. I was writing about a kid raised in a KKK family who moved to Minnesota to escape his past only to find a neo-Nazi group waiting to embrace him. While garnering their acceptance and taking over their group, he falls in love with the main object of their bullying, a Jewish kid who is the son of their English teacher. How does he hide THAT from his new friends?
Well, according to my beta reader, the book is so dark that he still hasn’t forgiven me. But, as with anything, it was a start. It was also a continuation of my love for Freddie Mercury. This is how I can uphold my promise. I’m a M/M Romance writer. I may not be published yet, but this is where my heart is. Freddie believed hard work and practice lead to success.
So do I.