It's been a long and difficult process, but I think that at this point, I've weeded out most of the toxic people in my life, or they've weeded themselves out.  I've lost a lot of friends during the last three years.  And it has hurt a lot.  I hate saying goodbye to friends.  There are many people that I was rather attached to that are no longer a part of my life.  Some walked out of my life, and some I shut out of my life.  Just as treating a wound can be painful, so too can be the process of eliminating unpleasant people from one's life.

But the thing is, I am much happier now.  I don't have the angst and conflict that I had when I first came out.  I don't have the constant arguments, trying to get people to understand that I'm still the same person.  I don't have to explain how being gay is different from contracting HIV.  The people who are in my life now accept me and love me, and I love and accept them.  I have many many new friends over the last 3 years.  It's good to be surrounded by people who care, and who support you in life.

I've noticed that I don't get angry as often as I used to.  I don't lash out as much.  I feel much more at peace with myself and with the people I associate with.  I'm much calmer, and probably more fun to be around.  No, I don't agree 100% with everyone on everything.  That would be silly.  I have friends who disagree on many things, with many different world views.  But the important thing is that they all care about me and accept me the way I am.

I don't have any more uncles who threaten to come after me with a gun, protecting me from their children.  I don't have any more friends who send me false information about how quickly gay people spread disease and have sex with 400 different partners a year.  I no longer feel attacked, nor the constant need to defend myself.

Anyway, I just wanted to share that.  And to offer the suggestion.  If there are toxic people in your life, think about cutting them out or limiting contact with them.  It may help you be a more pleasant person.