Posted on behalf of Leslie Wilkerson:
Belize: You have been spending too much time alone.
Prior: Not by choice. None of this by choice.
Belize believes that, due to Prior’s loneliness, he is seeing visions of angels. Belize also thinks that he has been spending too much time with his thoughts. The effects Prior’s loneliness has taken a toll on his mental health and overall well-being. This is when Belize expresses, “You have been spending too much time alone”, and Prior then makes it clear that him being alone wasn’t an idea he cultivated; he never wanted Louis to leave but that is something that happened that wasn’t in his control. This exchange highlights the ways in which control and choice can both be complicated as internal turned into external expression. Control for Prior starts with the way that social constructs that regulate Priors position as a gay man. The conflicts that control his loneliness are all dependent upon his positions in society. This connects to control because society has conditioned people to understand heterosexuality as the only assertion of healthy performance of sexuality, thus deeming it valid. In this social conditioning the people whose identities contradict these stagnant ideas, which further leads to the breaking the cycle of control to construct identity the ways they deem appropriate. This deconstructing and disrupting heteronormativity is the assertion of agency, bodily and sexual autonomy. In disrupting dominant ideas upheld through society one is not only choosing to present themselves as authentically as possible, but one is also choosing to take full control over their actions and the influence this has on their navigation of space. This assertion of control that Prior makes in expressing his sexuality is an active choice he makes to navigate space as a gay man. Control over agency is making the choice to pursue the life that one deserves. This then trickles down to the way that Prior asserts his sexuality and expresses it through sexual acts. The way his body is being controlled by the disease speaks to the internal conflict he deals with because of his sexuality along with the way control has been used to create a stigma around the disease. The internal conflict that Prior battles with Aids is essential in understanding why loneliness is such a large worry for Belize. The control he has over his sexuality complicates his contracting of Aids and the idea of control. In him saying, “Not by choice. None of this by choice” he is saying that not only is Prior leaving him not a choice but he is suggesting that the circumstances in which he lost Louis. His external conflict has manifested in way that now alters his idea of control, especially because he believes that his current situations is not a result of the choices he made, but a result of those events over which he had no control over.