I’m going to start this off by apologizing to my readers for not posting more often. I re-read some of my first blogs and got caught up on how many typos and errors there were. In the beginning I just had so much to write about and I didn’t care to proof read before publishing a entry. Now I’m so stuck on looking good that I hardly post anything at all. That being said this might have a few typos….. I don’t really care as long as you get what I’m trying to say lol.
Now that I got that off my chest I have to write about the fact that 1 out of every 2 HIV positive women experience Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) HIV and abuse shouldn’t be such a common paring. Tomorrow Greater than AIDS Is releasing a new campaign focused on HIV and IPV. I was one of five women who sat down in front of a camera to share our own personal stories of how IPV has impacted our lives.
Im proud of myself for doing the video and sharing my story however Im not so proud about the fact that I allowed the voice and the control of my ex to still effect HOW I presented myself in the video. A week before the filming of the Video I braided my hair. I made sure I waited till The weekend before so that It could be new enough to look good but not so new that the braid didn’t fall into place. Three days before I was scheduled to head to New York I panicked and took all my braid out because I could hear his voice telling me how my hair wasn’t done. I went and spent money that I didn’t have and I bought a bunch of weave hair and called everyone I knew until I found someone to help me install the hair. I was so worried that I didn’t look good with my natural hair style.
I shaved my head when my mom was going through her cancer treatment. ever since then I made the decision to allow my hair to look the way god intended for it to look. I love my kinky, bushy, thick hair. at time I have no idea what to do with it but the journey to discovering my natural beauty has been a fun one.
During the transition period a few people have managed to make me question and second guess my hair just because they were not as happy with my new found hair texture as I was. My ex would say things like “You’re not getting in my car with your hair looking like that” “Are you going to do your hair?” “You should put a hat on” and the list of insults is to long to even start on.
Looking aback at the video and the pictures from the campaign I don’t even look like myself. All I see is artificial hair and it looks like a rope laying on my shoulders waiting to strangle me if I say the wrong thing about the person who has done so much mental and physical damage to me.
He claimed to have loved me and he still to this day says he cares about me and wants to see me elevated but he says those things as he snatches my confidence , stomps on my joy and holds a gun to my self esteem.
I guess I will end this with a question. feel free to comment with an answer if you wish.
I am at a very painful place in my life, Its the moment that you realize nothing that you have been doing is working for you and your not exactly sure how to change. I have this beautiful, happy, intelligent child who is quickly growing right before my eyes. I look at her and I want to be so much more for her. Right now I feel like I’m fighting my past to obtain my future. How does one overcome a lifetime full of having nothing, being nothing, and doing nothing? Poverty is an infectious disease. I would even go as far as to say that it is genetic. There is a cure but its not easy to obtain. A person has to be driven to break the chains and step outside of the picture that has been painted for them.
In my current situation I am at the point of wanting change. I don’t have the tools to break the chains yet but I know it can be done. My daughter can not grow up and think that abuse is normal. My daughter can not think that the answer to everything that she wants is “No we can’t afford it.” My daughter will not be ok with receiving government assistance in order to eat and maintain stable housing. I really feel let down by all the organizations that are set up to “help” those who are living in poverty. Every place that I have ever gone asking for help has only directed me to where I could go to receive a handout. As an HIV positive youth I would ask for information on GED programs and HIV peer counselor trainings or training to become an HIV testing specialist so that I could qualify to help others get through the difficulty of testing positive, I’m no longer considered a youth but I still haven’t been pointed in the direction of where I could be trained for any of the things I’m interested in. At this point I know that the places that appear to be there to help us get ahead are really there to help us have just enough to survive. Every Social worker I’ve ever dealt with only has information that will help me stay poor. The system is not designed to change lives it’s set up to keep everyone exactly where they are.
I call this transforming victims into survivors. Victims are not happy with where they are. Victims see a problem and want to fix it. Survivors acknowledge the problem but they don’t give it any power to make them feel negative. Being a survivor is a good thing when there is nothing that you can do about whatever the issue is. THEY want you to think there is nothing you can do about living in poverty so they offer you food stamps so you can be poor and still buy food. They offer you a few hundred dollars every month so that you can be poor and pay a bill or two. There is low-income housing which encourages you to remain below the poverty line because if you make too much money then you no longer qualify for the nice apartment that you live in. There are perks to being poor so that you can be a survivor.
My goal is to overcome, and defeat poverty. Im at a place in my life where I know it is possible but I’m not certain where to start. It makes me sick to my stomach to know that it took me so long to realize that I’m capable of so much more. I can be a champion. I look at my daughter and see a champion in her. I made her so why don’t I see a champion when I look at myself? She is just a baby and I know there is nothing that she can’t do. I have to do better so she can have a chance to see her own potential before she gets to be my age and relive my story. I love my mother but I hate the fact that I have allowed history to repeat it self by reliving her story. I have given up my power, my joy, my love, and my potential by holding on to the chains of what I saw growing up.
I’m happy to say that my mother is now doing better then she was when my siblings and I were kids but I wish I would have seen her doing well when I was a child so that I would have nurtured the spirit of a champion instead of aiming to survive.
I’m standing at the gates, still on the side of poverty, trying to discover how to make it to the other side. I don’t think its going to be easy. As I get started I plan on documenting the journey so that others can pull strength form my struggle. I believe it all starts with education. I have earned my GED about 3 years ago. I haven’t done anything with it yet but that was the start. I have a few college courses under my belt but right now my focus is finding a source of steady income. I give myself 6 more months to make this happen. I’m hoping that should be more then enough time. I’m not sure if this is the right thing to be focused on right now but that’s the beauty of being in control of my own destiny. If my plan isn’t working out I have the power to change it and try something new.