All my life I could be quoted saying I don’t want kids! Something about the fact that I have never heard any woman brag about how great it felt to give birth. I still cry when I have to get a shot at the doctors! Pain has always been something I ran from, in fact, I would tell people I’m allergic to pain. Following my last relationship an old friend came back into my life and he started to tell me how he was ready for a second child. His first just made it to Jr. high school and he thought this was perfect timing to work on number two. He told me that he thought I would make a great mom because he saw how I was with all the other children in my life. I never thought anyone would seriously consider having a child with me. HIV is still stigmatized heavily and no one would intentionally do anything that might put their child at a disadvantage. So I began to think about it. I do love caring for children, and teaching them, and watching them grow. I will be 30 years old next year, and if I’m going to be a mom, I should get to it while I am still young and energetic enough to run through the park with my child. Plus I am 100% sure that my baby can be born HIV negative. I have many friends that are living with HIV and have beautiful, happy, healthy, HIV negative children.
I spoke with the young man about all the options available for him to safely impregnate a positive woman. We talked about PrEP and the advantages of taking the one pill daily to prevent him from possibly contracting HIV from me while we took the risk of having sex without a condom. We did some research and together found out that chances of me transmitting the virus were extremely low do to the fact that I am adherent to my meds and therefore my viral load is undetectable. He wanted to keep it as natural as possible so he choose not to try PrEP.
Three months after he and I had that conversation I found myself searching the local CVS Drug Store for the best pregnancy test. I’ve now been pregnant 19 weeks and he is still HIV negative! My pregnancy is going along well. I take my meds every day and I see my doctor regularly. I have so many concerns when it comes to bringing a new life into this world, but I feel they are the same concerns that every new mother might have. Will I be a good mom? Can I provide a safe and happy home? I’m not currently employed and the dad JUST lost his job so I’m super concerned about being financially able to do for my baby. I know I have love and support from my family and friends but as mom I need to be able to give my baby the essentials. Its grind time and I’m more determined then ever to make this work. I have watched my mom stretch dollars my entire childhood. She never let the lights go out and we always had food on the table. God was there each day and I know he will be there for me for the rest of my days. I just need to keep my motivation, stay in prayer, and understand that everything will work out in the end. Yes it will be hard at times but I will not give up!
One thing I’m not concerned about is transmitting HIV to my baby. I have one of the best doctors and I’m still undetectable. I try very hard not to miss doses of my meds as long as I keep the virus suppressed in my system my baby will be fine!
I have been without a computer for a few month now but I haven’t stopped forward movement. I have a few major acomplishments to fill you guys in on. If you have been following me then you know about my last relationship. The last thing a wrote regarding my love life was the fact that it was over. Well like most relationships we tried to give it a second chance but Im happy to say it has ended FOR GOOD! I was sad about the fact that I was alone for a minute but you know what they say “misery loves company.” Once I decided that I no longer had time for misery I started to move forward and I didn’t need company to do that! At the end of last summer my best friend gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. His existence prompted me to get started on the self work that I had to do in order to make myself some one that a child would be proud to look up to. After all, she did ask me to be his God Mother, a role I accepted with honor and pride!
I started my journey to become a better person. Don’t get me wrong I know I was already awesome but there is always room for growth and improvement. I found a free GED program and I went to do the practice test. To my surprise I was told that I did so well on the that I didn’t need to come in for tutoring. I put my name on the list to take the real test that following weekend. The test was done on two consecutive Fridays. I was an hour early both days and I sat outside the room asking God to help me through what I thought was going to be a difficult experience. Day one was the english, writing, and social studies portion of the exam. I was the second person done and I left the room feeling confident. Day two was the math and science portion. I was sure I would do well but at the same time I found it hard to ignor the small nagging doubtful voice in the back of my head. I was maybe the fourth or fifth to finish and I left the room nervous yet relieved that it was over. It seem to take forever for the 5 days to pass but Wednesday morning finally came and I called the school for my results. I PASSED!!!! I finally finished something that I started and it felt amazing!
I did what I had to do to prove to myself that I was actually smart! I spent so long doing things for everyone eles that I didn’t know how it felt to do for myself. Im glad I started working on me because now I cant stop. I signed up for classes at the a community college and I have been going since fall semester 2013. I finished that semester with a 3.5 GPA which qualified me for the Dean Honors Award. Im so excited about what Im going to create next for myself. Life is so great right now and something tells me it can only get better!!!!!
Yesterday was awful. I started to feel sick on Sunday. I ate oatmeal for breakfast and my stomach didn’t feel right then. I skipped lunch and at 3pm all the oatmeal that I had for breakfast graced my taste buds with and unwelcomed encore. There was a tornado brewing in my tummy. I convinced my body to sleep that night but the next morning at 4:30 am the tornado made its way to my head concentrating all its force on my left temple. I couldn’t take it. I made 6 trips to the bathroom before 5am. I didn’t know what to do. Being HIV positive and now single and living alone who could I call at 5am? I waited until I thought she might be awake and called my mother…. no answer. I don’t have a car so my options were call 911 or chance it on the bus. Hours went by as I attempted to get dressed so I could take the bus to see my Dr. by the time I had my clothes on it was around 2pm and I was sure that I wouldn’t make it to my clinic on time. I changed my destination and planned on going to the E.R. Just as I was walking out the door my mom called me to ask me to accompany her to her appointment for lab work. God is always looking out for me. once she heard my voice she knew something was wrong and came right over. I made it in time to see my Dr. and avoided the hours of waiting in the E.R.
Today I still don’t feel well at all so I’ve bundled up in front of my T.V. and I don’t plan on moving until I feel better. But I can’t help but think about the fact that I’m here alone and my mind keeps wondering to the last person who was there for me the last time I got sick.
Breaking up is always hard but the times when you need that person makes it hurt even more. I was the one to end it but once you notice that saying good bye means your giving it all up, the good and the bad, its too late. I think about her all the times. I loved taking care of her. It made me feel needed. There was so many little things that she said she never had before and I made it my goal to give it to her. Its been a month so the break up is still fresh and I still worry about her. What hurts the most is the fact that I know she isn’t worried about me. No one is. If my mom weren’t going in that direction I would have been on a bus going to the E.R. If I died last night no one would even know. Its hard to feel Positively Beautiful when your alone kneeling over a toilet bowl.
I am so blessed to have had my experiences in life. I thank god that I don’t look like what I been through. There is alot about me that I keep to myself. I’m starting to learn that my past has value. If my words can stop another person from going through the pain that I have gone through then I need to take the key and unlock the vault that I hide all the bad stuff in. Like I stated in a post in the past I could have easily been that young woman in Texas who was killed by her lover. he blamed his rage on her positive diagnosis. People fail to do the research on transmission from woman to man so alot of the times women are hurt out of ignorance and fear of something that is a slim possibility to begin with. when you think about sex I can honestly say I have been there done that. I didn’t care about myself for a minute. I let others tell me what I should do and even when I insisted on condoms I wasn’t strong enough to enforce my wishes. At my lowest point I was one of those women who allowed a man to control my body and and my finances. For 2 months I rejected my own intelligence. I allowed him to dress me up and take pictures of me and sell me on the internet. All because he looked at me and said I was beautiful and that he loved me. I now look at that sad little girl that I use to be and I know what her issue was. She had to learn to love her self. She had to see her own beauty. She had to wake up and determine her own worth. I never really thought he loved me. I never really believed him when he called me beautiful. I was just a soul-less shell of a body aimlessly wondering the earth waiting to live. I can now say I’m proud to have had the experiences that he gave me. One day I just packed my stuff, got in my car and drove away. He called me asking me to come back promising it would be different. He had his other girls calling me trying to talk me into coming back but God made it easy for me to leave with no harm and no trouble the first time. I was not going to fall into the same hole a second time.
Your the instructor, the student, and the dean. Take a note of what grade your in at this moment.
As the student did you get moved up, held back or are you right where you should be? Do you ask for help? Once you understand the topic do you keep the information to yourself or do you lend a helping hand to the other life students that made be struggling? Are you teachable?
As the teacher are you effectively using all the tools at your disposal to educate? Are you stuck with those tools or do you create and invent new tools and techniques to teach the lesson? Do you settle in to the role of teacher or do you believe that you have to step back and learn from other? Are you teachable?
As the dean do you feel your able to speak to both the student and the teacher effectively? When a problem is bought your way do you act immediately? Or do you consider multiple solutions until the best one is found? Are you fair? Are you mean? Are you teachable?
There is one question that is present in all three roles. Are you teachable? I feel that no matter what role you are playing Life is a lesson and you MUST remain teachable. No mater what second of the day it is there is something that you can be learning. even during your sleep you dream, sometimes of things of which you have little to no knowledge. It was during a dream that I learned that I find beauty in bon fires at the beach. It was one of the most poetic dreams I’ve ever had. I was at one with all the elements. Sand was the earth, ocean was the water, the breezy wind licked the flames of the fire and I just sat there watching spirit dance. It was positively beautiful. I woke up with a sense of peace and serenity. the same peace and serinity that I get when ever I take a spur the moment trip to purchase fire wood and head west to watch the sunset as the heat from the fire warms my soul.
I’m extremely teachable.
I’ve looked up some catchy quotes on this topic that I would love to share with my readers.
“What I believe is that all clear-minded people should remain two things throughout their lifetimes: Curious and teachable.” ― Roger Ebert
“Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.” ― Meister Eckhart
“To hold the same views at forty as we held at twenty is to have been stupefied for a score of years, and take rank, not as a prophet, but as an non-teachable brat, well birched and none the wiser”
We moved from the 2 bedroom house behind my granny in south-central LA, to a 3 bedroom apartment on the west side of LA on the outskirts of Beverly Hills. It was another major change. I went from a place where I didn’t have many friends to a place where everyone smiled and said hello. My school was in walking distance. The first day I thought my mom was going to drive us to school but she didn’t she told us to pay attention to what she did and where she turned because she wasn’t going to come pick us up and she expected us to be home within 30 minutes of school letting out.
My older sister, older brother and I were afraid that we would get lost so we drew maps of the neighborhood as we walked to school with my mom. As the days went on we would take different turns just to see what was where and to add to our maps. We marked streets, the homes of our new friends, the candy stores, and streets with hills that we could ride our bikes down, big trees, parks, libraries, and strange looking buildings. By the time we finished making our maps the first pages were torn or lost.
My days at Shenandoah Elementary were fun. I was still very shy but I had a few friends. No one messed with me and I did well in my class. I was the type of student who wanted to get all the answers right. I raised my hand to answer every question and I cried if I didn’t get the answer correct. I was in the third grade. Only seven years old and I had a secret. Like all kids I wanted to share my secret so I told a girl that I considered my best friend. This was the beginning of the discrimination. I told her I had a big secret and that I would tell her if she promised to keep it between us. I told her and she stepped back and said to me “Your gay and your gonna die. My uncle has that and my mom said hes gay and deserves it.”
“Gay? Whats that mean?”
She just ran off and I never talked to her again. I didn’t want to tell anyone that I told my secret so I kept this conversation to myself. I think that was the day I began to keep everything to myself I didn’t want anyone else rejecting me. I tried hard to fit in. I didn’t have an opinion and anytime any one asked me to make a choice my answer was either I don’t know, I don’t mind, or it don’t matter. I didn’t want to make any wrong choices and give anyone reason not to like me. It became my major goal in life to make others like me. I was always polite I always smiled and I never tried to stand out. I didn’t want anyone to notice me because I thought they would somehow discover that I had a secret.
I was in the 4th grade and I’m not sure why but my mom had to tell my teacher about my illness. Ms. Magana is one of the nicest teachers I ever had. Im not sure if she was so nice to me because I was HIV positive or if she was just that way by nature but I felt like she smiled just a little brighter when she looked at me. She was the first teacher who didn’t question my intelligence. I always felt smarter than the other kids in the class because in New York they teach you at a faster pace than in California. I knew how to multiply and divide in the first grade. Ms. Magana let me do work from the 5th grade books and she also let me help her grade papers. I was helping her make copies one day and I got a paper cut. She asked me if I could clean it and bandage it myself or if I needed her to help me. She didn’t want to send me to the nurse because she understood the stigma and rejection that may have followed. I told her I could do it myself. I washed my hands dried them and tried to put the band-aid on. She saw me trying and came over took the band-aid and put it on my cut. She explained to me the my blood had germs in it just like everyone else’s and any time anyone got a cut we should always make sure to protect ourselves from their blood. She explained to me that she was not afraid to help me clean and cover my cut because she could do it without touching my blood. She put the band-aid on me and said “see all don’t and I have nothing to worry about. She got a bottle of cleaning solution from the cabinet sprayed the table I was sitting at and wiped it down with a paper towel. That made me like her even more because now I felt like I had a friend.
Shortly after the death of the baby my mom was told that if she wanted to survive with AIDS the best thing for her to do would be to move back to California. She pack up the things that we were able to carry including the goldfish my siblings and I got while trick-r-treating and she bought 5 grey hound bus tickets. I don’t remember much about the trip across the USA but I do remember getting off the bus in Los Angeles and meeting my grandma she was so happy to see us she took turns hugging and kissing all of us over and over again. Now that I think about it I know that took love because we had just spent 3 days on a bus and there were no shower breaks.
Even thou I was born in Los Angeles I felt like I was in a very different world. It was warmer and it felt less crowded. I was in awe at the grass that lined the sidewalks and to openness of the streets. My older sister and brother and I were bused to school. In New York our school was a short walk away. Living with my grandma was fun in the beginning but then I started to realize how mean she was. She asked us to do things that my mother never expected us to do. Like hand wash her clothes and do yard work. In New York we didn’t have a yard and my mom took care of all the laundry. I began to dislike my grandmother. I thought she tried extra hard to make life hard. But even thou I didn’t like her I loved her. She didn’t hit my mom and she didn’t hurt me like Willy did. Despite the fact that she always found a reason to whoop my siblings and I, I did feel like it was unfair or wrong because she was equally unfair with everyone.
My mom checked us into school and then left us with our grandma while she went to take care of something’s in New York like selling our old furniture and getting rid of the rest of our belonging. During this time my grandma was our care taker. Looking back now I question my mom’s judgment. She left us with a woman who abused her when she was a child. My grandma didn’t even raise my mom. My mom was raised by her aunt. My grandma was and still is an abusive drunk. She is mean for no reason and I remember trying hard to please her as to no avail. I can remember trying to do well in school and she never noticed. My teachers would praise me more than she did. I do credit my grandmother with teaching me how to stand up for myself. I was bullied a lot at school because I was very shy and very quiet. Granny told me to keep an old sock with 4 double d sized batteries in it at the bottom of my backpack, and she said if anybody messed with me to just take it out of my back pack and wrap the end around my hand. She told me to keep it ready and if they swung at me take that sock and swing it at them as hard as I could. She advised me to keep swinging until they backed away from me for good. I had to do this one time ever in life and I cried the entire fight. But winning that fight showed me that I was able to defend myself against the bullies and that even thou I was a small and skinny child I didn’t deserve to be messed with.
I can remember my first spelling test at Loyola Village Elementary School. The teacher informed us to sound out the words in order to spell them. I never had that instruction from my teachers in New York. We were taught that cat was spelled C-A-T we were taught to remember it not sound it out. Sounding words out was hard for me. I had a New York accent and every word I said sounded like it had an “A” at the end of it. When I got my graded test back I earned an “F” because each word had that extra “A” at the end of it. My granny told me to pick a switch off the tree so she could use it to spank me. I only did what I was told and I didn’t understand why she was so upset with me. I never really understood my granny like I said I didn’t really like her but I loved her with all my heart and still do.