This post is part of Blogging from A to Z April 2015 Challenge.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary gives the following definitions for NONCONFORMITY:

1 a : failure or refusal to conform to an established church  

   b often capitalized : the movement or principles of English Protestant dissent

   c often capitalized : the body of English Nonconformists

2 : refusal to conform to an established or conventional creed,  rule, or practice  

3 : absence of agreement or correspondence  

This word nonconformity annoys me because all my life I have been told that I needed to be something I am not. So I fall into definitions 3 & 4. When I was young at the age of 6 I knew that I was different in regards to how I looked and members of the same sex and how I did not look at members of the opposite sex.

When I was in my twenties I spent some time in the Holiday Hilton courtesy of the Great State of Texas. While there I was always open about my sexuality and I caught a lot of flack because I refused to conform to what others felt my role in prison should be! I refused to be someone’s bitch so to speak. Did I have relationships with other men while there, yes I did and they were based on mutual respect for each other and the knowledge that I was not going to be pigeon holed nor was I going to be disrespected by others. That being said I was one of the most respected gay men on every unit that I had been on, and I have been on some of the rougher units.

When I got diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 1997 the conformity was to just deal with your medications and not really talk about it and to be ashamed. I started off that way but as the years passed, I knew the only way for others to get past the ignorance and stigma of the disease would be through people like myself talking about it! Today I am proud to say that I am THRIVING not SURVIVING with this lifelong disease. I am currently non-detectable and that is a miracle in itself considering how much alcohol and how much cocaine that I did from 2011 up until February 13, 2014.

Again that nonconformity in regards to alcohol and cocaine. I had always drank and my partner knew how much I drank. But for some reason in 2011 I felt the need to touch something I had not thought of in 10 years. It took me less than 20 minutes to score my first bit of cocaine and after that I spent the next two years basically trying to kill myself. I pulled all-nighters and go to work when I could get there and still do my job, while doing it very well. But when I starting stealing time from my job I became a liability because I was being nonconforming to the policies and procedures regarding attendance. 

Well guess what I have a new nonconformity that I am committing! I am no longer conforming to the attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors of my alcoholic/addict self!! So JUST FOR THIS ONE 24 HOUR PERIOD, I WILL REMAIN A NONCONFORMIST AND REMAIN SOBER AND CLEAN!!!!

Have you ever been a NONCONFORMIST? Until next time, that’s “What’s Rattling My Cage!” 



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