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The final column
by Beau Burriola - SGN Contributing Writer Dear Readers:

Five years ago, I began writing for the Seattle Gay News. The chaotic nature of my life as a young man having just tested positive for HIV gave me an opportunity to speak for a lot of HIV-positive young men who aren't always seen or heard. It was a role I stepped into when I was unsure of myself, but which I threw myself into completely.

Over the years, this column has helped me grow into someone else. In the pages of this paper, I accepted my status and began to find support in a community where I had never felt supported before. In my few inches of space here, I found the energy in myself to change my mind and my community. Each week, I carefully portrayed the stories of those around me in the truest form possible. Over months of columns, I made amends with my family and my past.

I would like to imagine that, through this column, I have been able to return the benefit of change for my community that my community has had for me.

Now, five years later, I am no longer an angry, HIV-positive young man ready to light the world on fire. I am a well-adapted man with a strong sense of self and community. My intuition now tells me that the ramblings I have today are perhaps better suited for my diary and blog than for a weekly column in a Gay paper. Like any good therapy, it's time for me to take the next step, whether it leads to something bigger or smaller. Since I've always trusted my intuition, I'm not about to stop now.

So, thank you to all of you, readers and folks at SGN who have read my ramblings over the years. Your eyes each week were just what I needed to take a better look at myself.

Beau

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