Today I'm not sharing just any testimonial with you, as it is that of Mehdi, the blog's illustrator. I thought it was important for him to express himself on his motivations and his commitment to the JOURNAL POSITIF. Needless to say, I am very touched by his words.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you publicly for your wonderful drawings which vibrate, reason and which I find bring another dimension to my words. <3
MEHDI, 29 years old, Paris
A few days ago Remi posted in his Instagram story an open-ended question: "Any topics you would like me to write about?" To which I obviously couldn't help but answer "about Me".
The positive feedback from "Mr Journal Positif" was not long in coming and what he wrote to me was not only fair but also obvious: "So no, what would be interesting is for you to write a text explaining why you are participating in the JP project".
This message resonated with me.
Apart from my name on Instagram and my drawings, I have never expressed myself on the reason for this collaboration.
This is the exercise, far from familiar to me, that I am trying through this testimony.
My name is Mehdi, I'm 29 years old, I'm from Paris and I've always lived there.
If you believe Facebook and its algorithms Remi and I have been friends since November 2018 but that's not quite right. I got to know Remi via our dear friend P. - who has been mentioned several times in the blog - who was still in Paris at the time.
She used to talk to me a lot about Remi and vice versa (I think).
So in 2018 we initiated our friendship in an epistolary 2.0 way through the various media we use and know so well, building the cocoon of our relationship. The second step that allowed our chrysalis to transform into a beautiful butterfly took place in Bordeaux in early September 2018.
Remi and I actually saw each other during a weekend when I was visiting my Bordeaux couple of reference at the time, P & A.
When I arrived at the Bordeaux station, a convoy was waiting for me to spend a day at the Arcachon basin.
This detail is important, I was in the back of the car, Remi was in front of me and like a film that you want to tease, I could only talk to the back of his neck at first.
Then we arrived, and finally faced each other. Everything was natural as if we were old friends. Our media exchanges and P.'s descriptions of Remi were so close to reality that everything between us was fluid. It was as if I already knew her fake princess look that suits him so well. His full-throated laugh. His bitchy side, his bad luck and clumsiness. For the anecdote we were on the terrace for lunch and a bird had the urge to relieve itself by passing over our dear friend. This resulted in a high-pitched scream, enough to make Mariah Carey blush. Followed by a grumpy one wearing a horrified face while waiting for the excrement to be cleaned up.
It's Remi, so the story doesn't end there. A few minutes later, recovered from the emotions caused by the unidentified flying bird, a Grindr notification appears on our friend's mobile phone: a message from a user telling him that he had witnessed the fecal attack and that it had made him laugh.
This anecdote is to tell you that Remi is the kind of person I immediately fell in love with, and that I feel like I've always known him (Yes, it sounds corny).
So this last step of our meeting really brought us together. We then talked about our lives in more detail, our desires, our projects, our struggles, our fears, our weaknesses, in short, a real exchange.
You know as well as I do the trigger that led to the realisation of the JOURNAL POSITIF project.
It remains for me to explain to you why, beyond our relationship and friendship, I wanted to join him in this adventure.
Homosexuality has always been present in my life.
I didn't wake up one day and ask my parents why two men were holding hands, for example. In fact, whether it was in my family, in my circle of friends, or from the people I grew up with, there was never any judgement or stigmatisation based on sexual attraction.
You love whoever you want and that's the way it is.
It was only later that I discovered homophobia. Being heterosexual, I had no idea that it could be so destructive.
I used to struggle with girls and was obsessed with finding a "girlfriend", but I didn't realise what a gay person could go through until friends came to me and told me about the difficulties they had in coming out or dealing with their homosexuality because of the family, societal and/or professional stigma they faced.
And even more so for those who are HIV positive.
I won't go into the details of what I was told but homophobia and serophobia isolate and really hurt. As a heterosexual I want and need to show my support and help people who suffer from it.
I suffered from racial profiling at a very young age.
And I have managed to turn it into a strength, striving to show that it doesn't matter what you look like, it's what you are.
I'm quite tattooed and that doesn't stop me from having a job with some responsibilities.
I do boxing but I know how to listen to my family.
I am of Reunionese and Algerian origin but the only time I light a fire is to grill vegetables and chicken on a barbecue.
This is the guideline I follow and I want to help my fellow man as much as I can. I'm lucky to be able to doodle and Remi's project is one that touches me deeply, which is why I immediately offered to illustrate his poignant stories.
I want to be an actor of change and support it with all my strength with my markers!