Definitely the time in which diagnosis is confirmed is the most difficult. The world collapses, the strength you thought you had suddenly runs out, everything becomes dark even on a day of glorious sunshine.
No one can be prepared to hear that you have HIV and much less, AIDS (the poorly named final stage). No consolation, you're full of unanswered questions, you blame yourself, you get angry with yourself, and decide to hide.
Yes, that simple. I hide from myself. I safeguard from society. I take refuge. Without anyone knowing. Yes, that's best. If nobody knows, no one can judge me or discriminate against me.
And so I did, for many months.
That terrible fear in speaking of our condition, that terrible fear of rejection, discrimination, or being unemployed.
Gradually fears were dissipating. I realized that everything starts with me, in my own being.
I love and accept myself as I am. I could not and should not give up. I was still ALIVE and I SHOULD SEIZE THIS OPPORTUNITY AND LIVE.
It is quite a task. I started saying and thinking,"If my parents see me well, they will be fine and will not have to worry." For me it was and remains essential that my parents and siblings be happy, and that in no way I be the reason for their suffering.
It was a Sunday. I was home alone. I woke up feeling low, I put music on and burst into tears… They were hours and hours of tears. I cried so much so much !!! Until at one point I looked in the mirror and I said, "What are you're doing to yourself?? Why are you like this?? Come on woman, you're alive!! Let's go, stop crying, and let's get out and enjoy!!"
And so it was, that day, I found myself. That day I realized that having HIV was more than a condition, or a virus. From that day, my having HIV means being conscious of life but even more so, death. Aware that I am a mortal being, thanks to the virus, it has allowed me to start enjoying every single moment. The joys, the sorrows, to wake up every day, to feel the sun on my face as I walk to work, to enjoy every look, every hug, every conversation. Since then I only do what I like, I visit whom I want, if I miss someone I let them know, and I incessantly tell those that I love, that I love them!!
"Be happy in each moment,
because each place is 'Here
and each moment is 'Now'."