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.
I feel like I almost have to trick people into being “o.k.” with me. I have started to work a normal 9-5 job and I’m deeply afraid of my HIV status being found out. I don’t know why I feel like I have to be secretive and private about something that is such a minor part of my life. HIV has been a major part of society for so long that I feel like I shouldn’t have to fear rejection any more. Its funny I started talking to a person that I am attracted to and have been for a while. I’ve known this person for a few years now and when I first met them the vibes were strong and I felt like they wanted to explore the possibilities of a relationship with me. This person even made comments about how much they like me. I was called attractive and sexy and the smile that was on my face was as bright and fake as a neon green sky because I felt like as soon as they found out about my illness they wouldn’t feel the same. That person ended up in a relationship that recently ended and I felt like the stars might still be there so with me being the new open and honest person that I am I spilled my guts one night after hanging out with that person. We have been talking daily since then but I am hurt about the fact that the vibes I got in the beginning are gone. No more stars. Just a friend.
I honestly do appreciate all my friends but they don’t fill the empty spaces in my heart. I am truly missing the kind of love that can only be filled by that special person. the one who will have your back no matter what, the one who will laugh and cry with you, talk and listen to you, love and hold you. My last relationship made me fill that space with concrete. but just like the sidewalks that concrete wears down and cracks over time. The emptiness hurts and after a while it will drive you crazy.
What is it about this virus that yells “BE MY FRIEND AND NOTHING MORE!” Positively Beautiful is my motto but sometimes I wish I could drop the “Positively ” and just be beautiful. As I type this out I realize tonight is going to be one of those long lonely nights. Despite the fact that I’m in a house full of people I feel like I’m at the bottom of a ditch screaming and crying but no one can hear me. The quick hugs and pats on the back are cute but not enough sometimes. I feel stupid for feeling like this but I think everybody need somebody.I know a few people who have had children to get the unconditional love that they desire. But for me to have a child would be the most selfish thing I could do. I know the risk of me infecting the man or baby are low as long as I adhere to my medication and keep my viral load at an undetectable level but I still know that I’m sick and may not be around long enough to raise my own child.
I try to drown myself in work and activities to ignore the fact that I’m alone but when the sun goes down and the world is asleep I’m left alone with my thoughts and my nightmares. Dreams that I’m running away from and angry mob of people who wish me harm. I run out of places to hide and I’m tired of running. Ive spent my life hiding and running but what do I do now. I face the mob. Alone. Tired the sad part is that when I stop running they just run past me and I realize that it wasn’t me that they were after in the first place. I am nothing.
A man in Texas killed his girlfriend because she told him that she had HIV after they had sex. Hearing stories like this scares me because that could have been me many times before. I have had moments where I could have easily been that women in Texas stabbed to death because things happen some times and I’m only human I make many mistakes. I often wonder why God has protected me for so long. WHy has he allowed me to avoid people like that man in Texas. After high school I didn’t care about myself or anyone else so I was wild and I did somethings that could have gotten me killed but I was so blessed that God kept me. It wasnt untill my last birthday that I decided to stop trying to live a negative life, and by negative I mean HIV negative and negative as in wrong. I did make bad choices because I thought they were fun. I fell in lust with a few people and had sex and drank and hung out and didn’t tell anyone I was HIV positive. I had an excuse that made all this feel like it was ok even tho I knew deep in my soul I was wrong. Death was coming for me anyway so I decided to live my life the way I wanted to and then when I ended up in the hospital I was going to call and confess to those that I cared about and spend my last days asking God to forgive me. In my head my plan was going to work because I was going to die and if my friends hated me I wouldn’t have to deal with it because I wasnt going to be here any more and they would feel better about hating me because I was going to get what I deserved for deceiving them. DEATH! with some I thought I was going to work my way in to their hearts and then HIV wouldn’t change anything because they would love me for who I am and they would feel bad that I was going to die and mourn me. I now know that I was so wrong to think any of that. but when do you tell? this women in Texas certainly didn’t do it at the right time or place. I have tried telling people at the first hello but that left me feeling like a damaged good. I would hear “oh wow I’m glad you told me. It was nice talking to you” and then they would go away taking a piece of me with them. A painful secret that they didn’t need to know. Disclosure is a big issue I have had my whole life. I never had a problem talking to a room full of strangers but it’s so hard to tell the people who I consider to be my friends, people I hope to have some type of social life with. So at this point in my life I just don’t look for friends. I disclose by telling people to check out my website or google me and then call me if they still want to be my friend or call me if they want to ask me any questions. It took me a really long time to be ok with being alone. I still struggle with it, but I would rather be alone and be a voice to help educate, motivate, and inspire other than to be killed because I didn’t know how to tell someone who I really am.
May you rest in peace Cicely Bolden
What is the goal of my blog? The goal is to let you know what its like to be me. I want to educate you on my life and what I go thru now and what I have gone thru in the past as a person born HIV positive. I want to share my passion for life with you and entertain an adventure thru my mind.
What topics will my blog cover? I plan on writing about anything that comes to my mind. Topics that you will certainly read about will be politics, health, current events, and anything that is going on in my life. HIV affects life in many different ways. I have stories that will make you laugh and stories that will make you cry. Trying to have a social life while positive is very hard because others and their lack of information can lead to discrimination and I tend to tell you guys all about it.
Who is the target audience of my blog? I hope to target those who are going thru the same things that I am going thru and those who know nothing about HIV. I hope to educate some and remind others of how we can stop AIDS.
What do I hope to get from blogging? I have attempted to write my story into a novel but I have been diagnosed with depression for the last 2 years. I have moments when I feel like I can focus and get anything done and I also have moment when I am so sad and UN-motivated that I just can’t think of doing anything that requires my attention. On the sad days I might try to blog about the fact that I’m feeling sad but I honestly choose to ignore life and stare at a wall until I fall asleep. I have started my book several times but those sad days creep in and I look at how much I have done compared to how much I have left to do and I just seems like a never-ending task. I grew up waiting to die so I hate to admit it but I have never accomplished a long-term goal. I jump from project to project and if it takes to long I dump it and move on to the next. With blogging I find I can just do short post to get the idea out and it’s not too much to commit to at once. As I go along I hope to be able to piece my book together using my blogs and just tying them together to make sense.
Even this entry will somehow end up in my book. I hope that I am going about this the right way but even if I don’t end up with a book and even if no one reads my blogs I will feel good about the fact that I have a couple of my stories preserved in text. I feel words are the only way any person can live forever.
EXCITED!!!!! Las Vegas here I come!!!! And I’m not going for fun this time. I just came back from a 4 day trip with my mom, step-dad, and best friend. But in a few days I’m going to be out there again learning whats new and whats now about HIV in the USA. I can’t wait!!! I’m excited to meet new people and network with those who share my passion to end AIDS. Right before I leave I’m going to be attending the LA Womens Task Force Leadership Dinner where I’m going to be awarded the peer leadership award. I feel this is a great honor. I fear I haven’t actually done the work to earn it yet since all my plans are still premature but I will accept it and use it as fuel to push me to success. The Positively Beautiful Fashion show must go on. I feel like I could be and should be fighting harder to make this happen. I have a great team of supporters that is growing into something that can’t be stopped. Things are starting to change for me and I can almost see the light. I pray that I can keep up with the excellent changes that are coming my way!
TRYING TO HIDE
I RIP UP ALL THE DOCUMENTS THAT WOULD CLUE YOU INTO ME. CHANGED MY NAME TO ANGEL DOLL AND STOLE A HALO TO HIDE MY IDENTITY.
I DELETE ALL THE VOICEMAIL MESSAGES AND ERASE THE E-MAIL TOO. I WILL TAKE A MILLION EXTRA STEPS JUST TO KEEP MY TRUE SELF FROM YOU.
IF ONLY THE WORLD WOULD UNDERSTAND I WOULD CEASE TO LIVE IN FEAR. BUT DAY TO DAY IN MY SOCIAL LIFE IGNORANCE IS ALL I HEAR.
IF I TOLD YOU THE TRUTH WOULD YOU STILL BE MY FRIEND OR WOULD YOU RUN AND HIDE. IF I TOLD YOU THE TRUTH WOULD YOU TREAT ME THE SAME OR WOULD YOU FEEL I DESERVE TO DIE.
YOU MAY FEEL IN YOUR HEAD THAT YOU’LL BE THE SAME TODAY AS YESTERDAY BUT I HAVE HEARD THAT BEFORE AND IN THE END I KNOW YOU WILL RUN AWAY.
BEING ME IS DIFFICULT A NEW STRUGGLE COMES WITH EACH NEW DAY. I HAVE GOTTEN TO A POINT WHERE FOR MYSELF I REFUSE TO KNEEL DOWN AND PRAY.
I FEAR THAT THE CREATOR HAS PUT ME HERE AS A SPONGE TO ABSORB THE PAIN. I TRY SO HARD TO FIT IN I JUST DRIVE MYSELF INSANE.
TRYING TO HIDE MY REALITY I DRIFT INTO A ONE PLAYER GAME PUTTING ON MY MASK I ACCEPT THE TASK OF RUNNING AWAY FROM MY SHAME.
I wrote this poem about 3 years ago when I was just tired of being “that girl with HIV” I didn’t want to walk in my shoes any longer so I tried to take them off. I did every thing I could to get rid of those shoes but despite how hard I tried they are still here.
“All i have to say is that hiv/aids has a grisly effect on the human body and the fact that it can be spread so easy is scary, and im not saying the meds are a bad thing but what people need to understand is that hiv/aids isn’t going to go away any time soon and with the rates of infection so high. I feel that to truly stop this disease a viral genocide has to happen, im sorry for saying it but its the further generations that count” -youtube subcriber graybrian22
Ignorance is still very much alive. Instead of taking the responsibility of getting tested, learning, and passing the information on how to protect ones-self some people have a belief that HIV will go away if we just get rid of positive people. I say to the people who feel like this is a solution. YOU might need to go get tested! it is that type of thinking that makes this virus spread the way it does. Those who feel that the virus will be gone if you kill of positive people I ask this question, do you think a girl who looks like me and feels healthy like me would ever opt to be tested knowing that a positive result would mean she has to be killed? I was born this way. I had HIV before I ever did any thing to put myself at risk so I would run from testing centers thinking I had nothing to worry about. this would be worst than me knowing and taking the proper steps to prevent spreading the virus. The truth is the majority of the people who are spreading the virus don’t even know they have it.
So much to do so little time. I am in the process of trying to find an apartment. This is so hard! I’m realizing that even after being approved for section 8 finding a place is not easy. I must have a working refrigerator and range before section 8 will approve the unit. I can’t afford to buy these things. HOPWA offers a move in grant that will take care of the security deposit and any deposits required for the utilities but gas and electricity must be paid monthly. I’m working with an income of $221 per month which hardly takes care of my car insurance and cell phone bill. God forbid I want to watch TV or use internet at home. I have no idea how having a permanent address of my own is something I can manage with such a little income. My focus is scattered at this point. I want to go ahead and find a place and live like a normal adult with 4 walls that I can call me own but this is hard. I am in need of income, not right now, but RIGHT NOW! I’ve had normal jobs in the past but my illness has made it difficult for me to hold any job for longer then 6 months. When I start to work I begin to stress out and I see a negative change in my health. My t-cells drop my viral-load rises and I end up with blood pressure problems, unexplained stomach pains, and massive headaches, How am I going to buy furniture? What will I sit on? What the heck am I getting into? Sure I’ve lived alone before but I made plans way ahead of time and I had something to start with. How to I start with nothing and create something?
A popular website has decided to create a list of HIV positive people. The list didn’t include any type of prevention message or education. It didn’t include any relevant information on how people have managed to live longer healthier lives, I don’t know how I feel about the fact that this list exist. I wonder why such a list needs to be posted online anyway. I know one of the people named on the list. I contacted her and asked her if she was informed or asked about being added to this list. her answer was no.
OUTRAGEOUS! granted my friend is a public activist and has appeared on numerous PSA’s and talk shows, she wrote a book about her life, and she has made it her goal to inform anyone who will listen about the importance of testing and early detection. Her HIV status is no secret yet this list is not something she would have chosen to be apart of. It doesn’t matter how open one is about their HIV status their disclosure should still be at their discretion. I blog and talk about living with HIV but my disclosure comes with a message to help cure the world of stigma, My goal is to cure this virus thru educating and informing the next generations about the positive choices they need to make in order to remain HIV negative. My goal is to show HIV positive people, that life is still beautiful and full of opportunity. I would never agree to having my name added to such a cold and ostracizing list.
What is the purpose of this list? Is there a list of bi-polar people? Is there a list of people with high blood pressure? What about a list of ignorant people?
So many changes in my life during this last week. just as I clicked “publish post” on my last blog my hard drive crashed. I have been trying to live with no laptop for a week and two days. To my surprise life has gone on with no interruption.
Where do I start?
MY mom…. she is dealing with the chemo so much better. She is able to get up and she hasn’t been as sick as she was the first week. The expected has happened and she took it with a smile. When she told me she was going to be going thru the chemo I told her that I would cut my hair if hers fell out that way we could be bald together. On Sunday June 15th she began to unbraid her french braids. As she loosened her braids her hair was simply falling off her head in clumps. The more she would unbraid the more she lost. There was more hair on the bed then there was on her head. I took a pair of scissors and cut the few strands of hair that were left then I went into the living room and began to take out my 16 inch weave. After I took out my weave I began to call and text my hair stylist friends to see who I could go to and get my hair cut into a cute style. I called a friend of mines named Vera. Vera is a beautiful women who is also friends with my mom. I told her about my moms hair and asked her if she could cut mines she said sure. Vera shaved all her hair off months ago and she has kept it that way for a while. I went to her house later that night and she asked me why I was trying to rock a short cut instead of shaving my head bald. She reminded me that my mom didn’t get to choose a cute cut. She stated that I shouldn’t half support my mom and I should just shave it off.