It has been seven years since I have blogged with you, my sisters. I had no idea it had been so long. In part, I think it's "ok". No need to judge myself about my absence, but rather perhaps congratulate myself that I have been simply living life. Well, you all know there is nothing simple about our lives with HIV/AIDS.
First and foremost, I would like to re-introduce myself. Originally, I blogged under the profile name "Lynn2011". I updated my profile to reflect my real name. My name is Kristi. It is amazing to see all of you again and to meet the women who have joined in my absence. I have also added a picture of myself instead of a generic image. I am still not completely out to the public about my status, but I want to be. Perhaps that is what is driving me to re-engage in blogging. Situations have presented themselves in which the pain of staying hidden is no longer worth it. I am not helping myself and I am not helping others by hiding my status. My immediate family and all my closest friends know my status. However my extended family and others at large have no idea. I do not need to post a billboard claiming my status, however I want to be able to state it, own it, and name it in any casual conversations where HIV/AIDS might come up naturally.
There is no way to update on all the years so I will start with this year, or the end of last. I turned 50 in December. I am still having a difficult time wrapping my brain around saying that I am 50 years old as I feel like I am perpetually about 35 years old. At the beginning of 2020, my partner of 13 1/2 years and I split up. This has obviously been quite traumatic as he is the father of my son and one of my dear supports. It has only been six months since we split and honestly, I am still grieving significantly. And then a global pandemic arrived, uninvited, at our doorsteps. I do not need to elaborate too much on that as we are all going through something so similar. I have dealt with constant anxiety about protecting the health of my aging parents and my child. I have had questions about my risk level as an HIV positive woman. I have consumed way too much news and I have turned away from consuming news at all to ease my weary soul.
On May 25th George Floyd was murdered by police officers in my community. For being black.
The trauma, the distress, and the pain that this has caused many is unimaginable. Days and weeks of protests and grief have persisted on. As a white person my job is to listen. My job is to learn and read. My job is to use my privileged voice to battle systemic racism.
The personal, community, national, and global energy has been profoundly draining. I work as a mental health therapist so while many are quarantined and working from home, I continue to go to my job every day as an essential worker, supporting the mental health of others while just trying to keep my own mental health in check. I have also continued to go to my part-time job again as an essential worker with no choice to stay home. Amidst all of this, my 11-year-old son has been experiencing his parents' split, his father moving out of the home, the loss of his structure and education as schools closed, and most importantly, the social and emotional support that he receives from friends and teachers.
While 2020 has already brought enough change for the next 10 years, I remain STRONG. Even on my worst days I know that I must keep going. I continue to work, I continue to parent, I continue to be a daughter, sister, and a friend. I continue to have a daily obligation to myself to pursue physical, emotional, and spiritual health as a 12-year survivor of HIV.