Recently I was asked why am I dating if I have HIV. It took me some time to process this comment and the ignorance in which it stemmed.
As some background information, I recently joined FB dating and made the decision to be honest in my bio. It specifically states "I am HIV+ and undetectable. If you're not sure what that means swipe right or head to google." I guess this particular individual chose to swipe right with the intention of asking me why I am dating if I am HIV positive.
People get so lost in someone's circumstances we forget we all are just people longing to be happy, at peace, full of joy and to just be loved. I initially responded with the obvious, "just because I have HIV doesn't mean I can't date. Seems like you should become more educated on what it means to live with HIV."
Although none of his concern, here's what I wish I would've said:
I'm dating because my diagnosis doesn't define me, just as you shouldn't be defined for the billions of typos on your page. I too am a person no different than you. We each have faced our own triumphs and tribulations. We each have faced our share of adversity, I am just brave enough to spill them for the world to see. I'm dating because I long to be loved, to stop being afraid of the skin I am in and allowing someone else in. I date because in three years I have hidden behind my own sorrows, pain and internalized stigma of a preconceived notion that I'm not good enough. I too have to remind myself that I'm worthy of someone else's intentional and unconditional love.
The stigma that surrounds HIV sickens me to my very core. We live in a world where we are judged for everything, by everyone, which in turn causes us to be our own worst critics, fearful of what others may think or say.
For 2020 I challenge us all to live in our beauty! To accept all that is good and work on what we think is bad, for us and no one else. To look in the mirror and speak life over our being, because our words have power. I challenge us to seek ultimate healing, to go beyond our hurt, our pain and our traumas and to simply be the truest version of our self.
I challenge us all to DATE, be open to love, but first date yourself, love yourself, and the rest shall fall into place.
I still believe in love after my diagnosis. I hope you do too.