2020 has been a year for us all. I know mine has been met with heartache, joy and so many things in between. But since being diagnosed in 2016, I finally decided 2020 was the year I would date and be unapologetically HIV+.
It was a scary decision but I was tired of thinking about rejection before it occurred. I was tired of thinking about the investment to know someone then they leave when I tell them my status. So I decided I was going to put my status on display for every prospect to see. I quickly learned most people don't read your profile, they just swipe right or left simply if they find you attractive.
So now out the gate when I get a message, "did you read my profile?" is generally one of the first questions I ask, because I'll be damned if I waste my time. Once they realized I was HIV+, some asked me if I was joking, some said I'm lucky they are giving me the time of day because I have HIV, and others were mature enough to admit they didn't know anything about HIV aside from the stigma.
What I've learned as time went on, me putting my status front and center equaled confidence, and men sure do love confidence. But it wasn't about them, it was about me. I had grown to a new level of self love and no nasty comment was going to take that from me!
We each have our own story, we each have our own level of comfort when it comes to sharing our status, BUT what I've learned is you cannot hold something over my head that I publicly share with the world.
Although I'm still single, I have met some pretty cool men whom I still chat with to this day, and I'm certain as long as I continue living in my truth no one can stop me.
If you're HIV+ and dating, I encourage you to know that no matter ALL the nasty comments you may receive, REMEMBER that you are a beautiful person deserving of love, affection and companionship. Words hurt, rejection scars, but never forget the person that lives deep within your soul! This diagnosis does NOT define you.
I was always told the right person will see me for me, not just my diagnosis. Four years later I can finally say I truly believe that!
So as we prepare to enter 2021, release the hurt, heal, love yourself and remember to breathe. We may not have chosen this diagnosis but it's here. Don't allow it to take your life the way society expects it to. You can do anything you set your mind and heart to.