Two days before I was to leave I became very anxious because I knew I would be around a lot of women who knew much more about activism than I did. Even though I had quit smoking I bought three packs of cigarettes (bad girl!). I talked to my NA sponsor and she helped me see that with all the things that had to come together for me to go, God meant for me to be there. This calmed me somewhat.
The day before I left I became excited. The fears I had because I haven't been involved in any movements and everyone would know so much more than me faded.
When I arrived a day early I met a wonderful group of women from PWN-USA. I volunteered and they put me to work doing name tags. I felt a part of the group. I got to meet many of the leaders from PWN-USA who were all friendly and full of energy. They all made me feel comfortable even though they all knew much more than I did.
The next day, after I enjoyed the beach during the day, it was time for the opening summit which was very empowering: 200 women from 3 countries, with 2,668 years of living with HIV. We can have happy, healthy lives.
Since I just recently started disclosing after 18 years of living with HIV, I had a lot of respect for these women who SPEAK OUT, and am going to start doing so myself. I learned a lot from the panel of PWN-USA members. I had no idea how much activism and advocacy was happening by women and for women.
I am going to get involved with the local organization here, even thought in St. Louis there is not a lot of support.
Thanks to Krista for this wonderful opportunity. And to all the AGLM ladies, it was a pleasure meeting you all and getting to know you.