I don’t know how other girls like me react to stigma and injustices we suffer because of our statuses. I usually beat myself up. Sometimes, depending on the source of the stigma, I’d loathe myself.
But a recent incident opened my eyes to a whole new dimension of reaction. If I am responsible and suffer the consequences of my own actions, why then don’t I let other people do the same? The stigma might be directed to me, buts it’s not about me. It’s about the other person’s ignorance and misinformation, so then why must I punish myself because they are ignorant? It does not make sense at all.
Recently, a person I considered a friend assumed that I’d have casual sex with him because he believed that because I have HIV then I’m loose and cheap. Of course as usual, I pulled out the whip so I can punish myself, and all the insecurities I thought I had dealt with resurfaced. I cried for days on end…until something inside of me snapped…and I had the following conversation with myself.
Inner me: “DK, are you loose or cheap?”
Inner me: "So why are you punishing yourself for someone else’s misconceptions of you?"
Me: "I don’t know."
Inner me: "If someone committed a crime, would you go to jail for them?"
It was at this point that I stopped feeling like dirt simply because someone else thinks I am. I know my worth and that’s enough.