My name is Jacob de Noailles, and my story begins in a hospital room in Decatur, Alabama on August 18th, 1994.
For the first eighteen years of my life, I knew there was something different about me. I never fit in, I had strange interests, and I never looked at girls... at least not in the way I looked at boys.
I wasn’t supposed to be looking at boys that way, at least that’s what I was taught. My brain was trained, but my body was in defiance. My body felt the magic when I saw them, and though I could pretend, I could not stop that feeling.
I was sitting at the family computer with my hand shaking over “send” on the message. Seconds away from coming out to the first person, I could barely breathe.
I only knew a small handful of gay people at the time, and knowing how they were treated, I wasn’t excited to share my story then. As anyone who is lgbtq+ will tell you, coming out is not a one time affair, you come out many times in life- and each time more and more air hits my lungs. I am even freer than before.
I fell in love with straight best friends and boys over the internet, but more importantly I began to fall in love with myself. All the parts of myself I was taught to hate became my favorite things because they were the truest parts of me.
My story almost ended in a hospital room in Decatur, AL on July 4th, 2018. The virus had me on the edge. My body had not responded quick enough, and I was days away from death. There are around thirty documented cases worldwide of bodies not producing antibodies to fight HIV, and I was one of them. Within a month of contracting it, I officially had AIDS- though no one told me that detail until I had fully recovered because they weren’t sure if I was too far gone.
Again, in an unusual circumstance after a single month of antiviral therapy, I was undetectable... the worst case my area had ever seen, and the fastest recovery. I survived AIDS... something I didn’t even know was possible. Today, I take medicine daily and live my life to its fullest extent. That experience taught me how awful it would feel to have gone without doing all the things I’ve wanted to do since I was a
My story continues here in Southern California, and this is not the end. I’ve seen the most beautiful places and the most beautiful souls, and I’m not finished yet. I’ll keep selling my books, traveling when I can, making the most I can out of this world, and build a family with my friends.
If you’re reading this, thank you for taking the time to listen.
so please pledge allegiance
to run endlessly and for all the time
you have left
along roads and through pavement paths
crowded streets and lonely beaches
please pledge allegiance
that you’ll live in spite
of everything and everyone
that you’ve had to fight
cause they are jealous
of that with which leads
you through the night
and yes everything is temporary
except the love you leave behind
but that love alone is all we need
that love alone is worth the price