My partner Richard and I met almost twenty years ago and have been together as a couple ever since. I remember the first time I saw him... his long chestnut hair, wonderful hands, and most of all his twinkly squinty eyes. But when he opened his mouth I knew I had found the person I was meant to be with. A gentle voice, a great sense of humor and style, and an appreciation of all things fine and good, are ways I defined him then and now. He's pretty great.
He told me right from the start that he was HIV-positive and probably had been since 1982. As a person who is and remains HIV-negative, I freaked but replied by saying "Hey, we all have 'baggage.'" He has always referred to my response as the answer he hoped to hear from a potential mate particularly in the late 1980s at the height of AIDS hysteria. But on my end, when he told me he was positive, I thought he was so brave.
Many years into our relationship we look back and laugh, because while he was so forthcoming, I probably should have been as revealing. It took me years to reveal my junk to him... my personal insecurities paired with a truly whack-o, "stranger than fiction" family history. As much as he feared I might run after his disclosure, I feared he might speed away had I actually showed him my baggage when we met!
We now live together and keep our home as chemical-free as possible. His 30-odd medications a day are keeping him healthy, but often reeling from side effects too numerous to mention. So together we figured, why add the toxicity of household cleaners to the mix, when it was so easy not to.
He and I have greatly simplified our cleaning regimen and only use nontoxic combinations of baking soda, borax, lemon, white vinegar and salt to clean our home. There's nothing new or unusual about any of them, and, in fact, they've been used for cleaning for centuries. They're pure, wholesome and natural and none will hurt you, your family or your pets. Sure, I'm usually touting these recipes because they are good for the environment, but for households like ours with people with compromised immune systems, it's just plain healthier.
And while Richard often thinks our house is freakishly clean (an obsession of mine) we're both happy and healthy and do everything we can to remain so...me in my (HIV) "negative" way and he in his (HIV) "positive" way.
Life isn't perfect (whose is?) but ours works.
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