"The White Rabbit put on his spectacles. `Where shall I begin, please your Majesty?’ he asked.
`Begin at the beginning,’ the King said gravely, `and go on till you come to the end: then stop.’"
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
When I got the email that Positive Lite would be stopping publication I was in shock. Shock, and I suppose, grief. Any loss is a loss and this site has provided so much valuable information by and for people living with HIV from all over the world. The "death" is as real as any.
Bob had asked me to contribute so many years ago and I opened my first article with the same quote which now I end my time on this blog. It has been an honour (and occasional frustration) to contribute to the many voices and I hope that my small offering has provided a place for people to think about what living with HIV means. Like many writers and artists, I often wonder if what I have to say is relevant or meaningful.
"... this was a place where I was comfortable: a place where I was encouraged to be one of many voices - a place to live out loud."
Positive Lite offered a space where people living with HIV could offer opinions, ideas and information. We could ask significant questions about our experiences. In a world where the voices of positive people are often paid lip service, this little corner of the internet made sure those voices were front and center.
And this is, perhaps, why I'm feeling grief over its loss. Of course, there are many other blogs and Youtube channels and what have you, but this was a place where I was comfortable: a place where I was encouraged to be one of many voices - a place to live out loud. Losing that is like losing a dear friend.
I think the value and power of our voices, both individual and collectively must never be underestimated. "Nothing about us without us" is an empty phrase unless we insist on inclusion and meaningful involvement at every level and in every organization that affects our lives. Positive Lite was a publication that was insistent on that inclusion.
Inasmuch as this little space will be silent now, I sincerely hope that other voices will rise up and take up the challenge to continue to speak out and speak up. Whether or not we agree on everything is beside the point - people rarely agree on everything. Maybe smaller, local blogs will start up, discussing and debating our experiences living with HIV. Maybe another national voice for positive people will pick up where Positive Lite leaves off.
I know one thing: silence equals death. And we're all very much alive!
Goodbye, dear friend. I will miss you.