You know, I love the holidays, I really do. But a part of me dreads them as well. I love spending time with my family, both immediate and extended. But a part of me can’t help but feel so alone when I’m sitting amidst the family gathering. I can’t help but want to share my deepest secret…that I’m HIV positive. How is it possible to be in a crowd, yet feel so lonely. Wondering if they would still love me? Would they judge me? Would they accept me? While my immediate family is aware of my status, my extended family is clueless. I was diagnosed nearly three years ago and yet I still can’t share my experience. When I was first diagnosed, my doctor advised against telling anyone I didn’t have to. In fact, he said that I should even consider whether or not I want to tell my immediate family. My doctor had explained that unless I was having sex with someone or sharing a needle – they didn’t need to know. So I have, for the most part, heeded his advice. I told my closest family members (Mom, Dad, Siblings and Grandparents). My coworkers found out because I was diagnosed over the phone while I was at work – yes you read that correctly. But that’s a different blog entry all together. Anyhow, I often feel the desire to share my HIV status with my family, as we sit around talking, laughing and sharing. But I can’t. I can’t find the courage or the strength or even the words. The reason I can’t seem to do this..….my family. I feel the need to protect the people I love so much. I don’t want them to be embarrassed or ashamed. I want and sometimes need their love and acceptance. While this logic may not make sense to some, it is my feelings at this moment in time. Not to say that I won’t eventually share my status, but right now, I’m just going to sit amongst my happy, naïve family and enjoy myself this wonderful holiday season.
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