Talk About It
August of 2018 was a very transformational year for me. I always did my regular checkup every three months. It was around that time I knew something was wrong with my body. I wasn't eating, and I felt out of tune with myself. I decided to get checked out and that's when I found out I had HIV.
When I was given the diagnosis, I was more worried about my mom’s reaction. I had a gut feeling I was going to be just fine. I have a strong feeling that I was exposed to HIV from one of my reoccurring sexual partners. We had unprotected sex. I trusted him and I got it from him because months later, he got tested and found out he had it. Since my diagnosis, things have changed. When I gained the strength to tell my mother, she thought I was going to die because she had that mindset from the stigma of the 1980’s. Back then, things were extremely hard for the LGBTQ+ community. Things are different now with advanced medicine that we have to take care of ourselves.
A huge part of me feels like, in the LGBTQ+ community, we are trapped in this limbo of how stuff in the past has been passed down from generations. This has put a hardship on all of us. We need to learn to break this toxic cycle and not allow what society thinks we should adhere to. We are so much more than what they tell us we are. We are angelic and magnificent beings. Furthermore, I remember feeling annoyed in the moment with my diagnosis because I had fallen into the cycle, but with my strong mindset I knew deep down I’ll recover quickly. At the time, I was stuck in a mindset of low self-esteem, I didn't love myself, I wasn't able to communicate my feelings or express emotions, and most of all, I felt trapped from within. There was a point that I was suicidal due to my depression and anxiety.
To add to that, I’ve seen my growth development over the years and I’m extremely proud of the woman that I am today. I've calmed down tremendously, especially with taking the hormones. I have one sexual partner. I put my focus into meditating. I have a vision board that helps keep me centered. I am more aware of who I am now compared to the past, and I seek out help when I need support. Broward House has been very helpful. It has supported me in getting more involved, which I like a lot. I want to focus my energy into the transgender community, well actually, everybody because we all need to break the cycle. Being diagnosed with HIV, it humbled me and woke me up. It was a blessing in disguise, and it helped me start to grow into who I am now. My family is still dealing with my transition. I’m learning to not let them get under my skin because then that’s giving them power over me and I refuse to do that. I am who I am, and you don’t have to accept me, but you will respect me.
I want people to know they are going to be okay. It's not the end of the world. Even though at that moment, it may feel like you got hit by a truck. Look on the bright side, there's medication to take care of yourself. Start practicing safe sex and don’t risk yourself for people that don’t fully care about you. Be aware of your behavior patterns and transform them into light and love instead of darkness and hate. For someone that's questioning their identity, continue to discover yourself. Don't rush it. Wait until you're ready because it is challenging. Once you feel free, that freedom that you gain is so powerful and no one can take it away. When you see yourself, the way I am now, it's like you see the glow and, don't be scared. Address what you need to address. Allow yourself to be free. Own up to that freedom. People are going to look right at you when you walk into the room and say “Wow!”