Transcript of Digital Story: Are You Okay?
The following is the transcript for Are You Okay?, a digital story created by Cody Lopez during What Works in Youth HIV’s digital storytelling workshop in October 2017. You can access the video for this story by clicking here.
No one ever asks, are you okay? Keep your emotions in check. Man up. Boys don't cry. Don't be a girl. Who made the rules? What if I'm not that type of guy? Can I be vulnerable? How do I ask for help? Will you even understand? Who's that girl we saw you with? Is she a new girlfriend? I don't want you hanging out with that boy. People might start thinking you're ... they never say it. Like that makes it any easier. What if I told you we had more in common than you think? He makes feel powerful. When I'm with him he sees me and understands me. No sports. No girls. No lies.
Is there really only one way to be a man? I learned to protect myself. To be hidden was to be safe. I thought I'd figure out to how to keep everyone around me happy. It was so stupid to leave my phone unlocked. We didn't raise a girl. Where'd we go wrong? What's everyone going to think? I knew I was breaking one of the rules of being a man. How can I tell you the truth when lies keep me safe? I fell in love with him and he sees me for the man that I am. We learned to protect each other. I found a partner. I put down my shield. He'd be my protector. I believed him. My bae, my boo, my love. It was unexpected but felt perfect. And in my heart I knew he was the one. But where did he go?
Alone in the big city. Alone in the all-white office. Alone, scared, vulnerable. He would tell me if something's wrong. Maybe he's just busy. Was it something I said? Maybe he lied, or maybe I lied to myself. Maybe that was the protection.
How did I even get here?
“I'm sorry to tell you, you've tested positive for HIV.”
“Are you okay?”