The aftermath and education...
I made it through. I am Clean! Off these drugs taking my serenity from me. I notice as days turn to weeks just what my part in stigma is. I am disappointed I have allowed myself to become a Stigmatizer myself. I found that by being ashamed of my status I was giving power and fuel to the ignorance of others. I self-medicated to numb the feeling so I could move forward with my advocacy, now I see how wrong I was.
I accept my status and I love and accept myself as I am. I am not a bad person. I made bad decisions. I took a more colorful route than most choose. I am not alone in my struggle to find inner peace upon finding out my status or others knowing my status.
Being clean has given me back my brain. IDGAF what others think of me; what I care about is educating those who want to be educated and learn how not to transmit or even put themselves in high risk situations. PrEP being available is BIG as is U=U.
I AM SO HAPPY TO FEEL LIKE I CAN HANDLE LIFE AGAIN ON LIFE'S TERMS.
THE STIGMA HAS GOT TO LESSEN AS I AM NOT ALONE IN THE VERBAL, EMOTIONAL, AND PHYSICAL ABUSE WE HAVE TO ENDURE FOR LIVING WITH UNDETECTABLE VIRAL LOADS, ADHERING TO MEDICATIONS, AND KEEPING UP WITH OUR HEALTH, NUTRITION, SELF, BALANCE OF LIFE...
We must care for ourselves always to be strong to fight; we are compromised but nothing a good diet, exercise, and good living cannot help.
It's sad to see that HIV is swept under the rug unless it’s to hurt others (in public I find this too often). My girlfriend is laying down to go to sleep. She just told this guy she was afraid of me because of HIV. Bitch got AIDS. WTF, I ask myself. Whoot Whoot this shit is funny. Sleep well as my inner soul says to be kind. To teach to love, guide, experience and share, to educate or learn how another gets by day to day; minute by minute. Stigma ain’t shit without fuel. #dgafwyt #HIVISNOTACRIME #U=U
In other settings we have advocates kicking HIV’s ass and Stigma's ass all around the globe.
I have high hopes our hard work, sharing of stories, and personalizing the faces of HIV will be helpful in taking the STIGMA out of living with the virus. Being able to say: Yes, I know my status and my body. I am well aware of my risks both to myself and others. You don’t care so I have to.
Living with HIV has changed some aspects of my life. However I have fun. I live. I love. I laugh. I have a gorgeous negative man and a wonderful family. You can find me swimming (in public pools) eating at the same restaurants as you. Helping in my community or being lazy on a Saturday afternoon texting my granddaughter. I live just like any other person. We all have issues and if you think you don’t you probably need to get a second opinion.
I am the happiest I been in a long time. Acceptance would not come because I was hiding in fear of what the main stream "Normies" thought. Well how about what I think of myself? That matters and I refuse to let anyone put a Stigma to my name. I am Angel. I am Human. I will not allow another person who will not take time to educate or protect themselves in a universal way steal my Joy! I deserve to be happy. I take care of my side of the street so if you are afraid, ask. If you don't understand, research. Again… or ask. Look up the CDC for accurate information. #thebody.com #agirllikeme Please don't belittle others. That, my dear, is an inside problem you have with yourself.
Just wanted to update I'm doing well. I am excited to be going to Positive Living Conference.
See you all there and thank you for being with me on my journey to better health, body and mind.
Glad you are here!
I can identify with you, as I too used substances to hide from my shame, pain, and fear. I am glad you are here and able to share your story. It took many years but with the help of others, I learned to love myself, accept my status, and enjoy life. I cannot change what others think, but today I know it is not about me. Their fear and hate are about them. I can only control how I act or react - as long as I "keep my side of the road clean" I will be okay.
Congratulations on your journey and know that you are an inspiration to others. Sharing our struggles helps others know they are not alone. We are never alone!
Thank you Vickie
Yes, getting myself off substances has been a long horrible learning experience. Thank s for your kind words and support. It also was my pleasure presenting with you and Maria. at Speak Up 2018.