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Dallas Buyers Club: My Life In A Movie

Matthew McConaughey as Ron Woodroof in  "Dallas Buyers Club"
Matthew McConaughey as Ron Woodroof in "Dallas Buyers Club"

The Oscars® are over and the winners are partied out. Statues given and hangovers cured. Now the members of the Academy are looking at who will win next year. “12 Years a Slave” won for best movie, and I’ll admit to not seeing it.

For me personally, there was only one winner, “Dallas Buyers Club”. Based on an original interview by Bill Minutaglio for The Dallas Morning News where he sat with Ron Woodroof for hours. According to Wikipedia, 10 scripts were written.

Other actors had been approached to play Woodroof; Woody Harrelson, Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling and finally Matthew McConaughey. With the direction of Jean-Marc Vallée the film went into production. But there is so much more that went into it.

If you haven’t seen the movie I may spoil some stuff for you, so stop reading now. If you have seen it, then you know the physical transformation that Matthew McConaughey went through. But even with the interviews that he has done, I wonder what the actual mental transformation was.

You see, 13 years ago when I was diagnosed, and I was so thin that it mentally scarred me. Even today I have issues with my weight. I’m a little overweight at the moment and my doctor wants me to lose about 15 pounds, but I’m scared to look too thin.

In the movie Mr. Woodroof is also a sexually active, drug addict, and alcoholic. Which is very similar to my story. The relationship between; sex, drugs, and HIV are so close knit that unless you are in it, it's very hard to understand.

Shame, fear, and anger are the best fuel for self-destruction. You want to forget the situation you are in so you cover it with drugs and alcohol. Then you get mad at yourself and hide and drug and drink and hide and drug and drink… Get the point?

Mr. McConaughey went through that mental transformation, along with the physical, which forced me to go through the diary of memories in my head. It wasn’t a pretty trip, but one that was overdue. It's helping me move beyond that point in September 2000 when I felt like nothing.

I’m very fortunate to be able to speak to young folks, in high schools and universities, about my journey with HIV, a member of the Laguna Beach HIV Advisory Committee, and host a podcast show about HIV & AIDS, called "Vita Positvum".

Those venues allow me to confront the demons in my head every chance I get. It has allowed me the opportunity to see my own personal transformation, the highs and lows. The same changes I saw in Mr. McConaughey during the movie.

So even though some of my friends were upset that during his speech he didn’t thank the HIV/AIDS community, I argue that his commitment to the character was all the thanks I need. Words come and go, but we can forever see him on film.

He did during his speech say, “… So you see every day, every week, every month and every year of my life, my hero’s always 10 years away. I’m never gonna be my hero. I’m not gonna attain that. I know I’m not, and that’s just fine with me because that keeps me with somebody to keep chasing.”

I understand that, I am still chasing after ‘Me’ that was there before I was diagnosed. Before the drugs and alcohol. Before the sex and sexuality. Before I knew my potential, the potential that I may find 10 years from now.

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