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Be the Best You Can Be for 2012! I Will!

December 2, 2011

As an action-packed year for the HIV/AIDS community draws to a close, takes stock of 2011 in a new series of articles, "2011 HIV/AIDS Year in Review." Read the entire series here.

Rae Lewis-Thornton

Rae Lewis-Thornton

There were moments this year when I thought I wouldn't make it. No, not physically, but emotionally. The physical wasn't going to kill me, but it made my life a living hell. It was the emotional that I thought was going to take me out of here. The Bible says as a person thinketh, so shall he/she be; and my thinking had a hold on me because the physical was doing the most.

Herpes ran havoc on my entire body, from my vagina to my nervous system; and I had to be stronger than anything herpes could do to my body. In those moments of despair you wonder how long will it take for things to change for the better … if you will be able to handle just one more day of the misery.

At brief moments in time I just wanted to stop. At those moments when I thought I couldn't take anymore, the little girl who fought for her life as a child would whisper to my spirit, "You've come too far baby girl," and that reminder was just enough to push me to fight just one more day.

Each new day became a day filled with possibilities, and I latched onto it like Gorilla Glue and held on for dear life. I had to remember my history with God. The one that brought me through physical, sexual and emotional abuse as a child and sustained me 28 years with HIV and 19 years with AIDS.

For me, I had to reprogram my way of thinking to see the new days as a blessing, rather than a day filled with pain. And now just two months free of herpes, those days seems like years gone by. It's interesting how resilient we are, more than we thought we could ever be.

Now, as I move into the new year, I'm excited with what's before me! Not one day, but 365 days, 12 months, 52 weeks, 8,760 hours and 525,600 minutes filled with possibilities. I'm excited about 2012! I will be 50 years old this year. That's a milestone I thought that I would never see. AIDS hasn't taken me out of here and I'm not going to squander one gift or moment of my life. I'm moving full speed ahead and using AIDS and all my pain and misery in life as fuel to do something greater than myself.


Yes, I plan to continue blogging -- don't worry, this Diva has more to say. I promise to continue to be authentic and cutting edge, but I also promise to grow. More blogs each week. My site is being redesigned to be more reader friendly. And I PROMISE to get to your emails sooner. This year had me by the balls and that part of my work was an epic fail. You will always be able to find me on Twitter @RaeLT telling it like it is! Facebook will always have updates and I plan to continue to be a voice for people living with HIV/AIDS.

I know what it's like to live in shame and secret. I did it for seven years, so I will continue to do my part every chance I get. Just like the emotional baggage of this disease will kill you, so will the secret. So I will continue to be a voice. I hope that my voice will be a beacon of light until you can find your voice.

What I'm most excited about this year is my new venture. I am taking all of my seminary and life training and opening RLT Life Coaching!

My gift is to help people get past their pain and live a healthy, balanced life. For the last 19 years I've done just that through my speaking and press interviews, TV, radio and print, and in recent times my blog. Now I am expanding that work by giving people an opportunity to have my expertise one-on-one through life coaching.

The areas of life coaching I'm offering are in:

  1. Confidence, which translates into self-esteem, self-worth and self-love;
  2. Balance in all areas of one's life. To pay your bills on time but not take your medication on time, and vice-versa, is lacking balance. I hope to help people get to that perfect Feng Shui, channeling their energies of life to find the perfect balance of health, good fortune and positive living;
  3. And lastly, every area of Relationships from dating to divorce. My practice is not exclusive to people living with HIV, but I certainly hope that many will take advantage of my expertise. I've lived well and balanced in the 28 years I've been infected with HIV.

As we live, we should grow. Having HIV/AIDS should not change our desire to know better and do better; it should make us hungry for living in our life, not just being alive. It is such a blessing to wake each morning, but to wake with a chronic illness is a major gift. I remember the days when my T-cell count was 8 and I was staring death in the face. I appreciate life on life's terms and I'm living in it with everything I have.

As I go into 2012, I'm more committed and determined to touch lives and do all the goodness that I possibility can. I challenge you to live your best life in 2012; and if at this moment you can find nothing of your own to celebrate and live for, celebrate my 50 years of life with me and bask in my joy! And I will celebrate your life, another 525,600 minutes in God's earthly plan!

Rae Lewis-Thornton is an Emmy Award-winning AIDS activist who rose to national acclaim when she told her story of living with AIDS in a cover story for Essence Magazine. She has lived with HIV for 28 years and AIDS for 19. Rae travels the country speaking and challenging stereotypes and myths about HIV/AIDS. She has a Master of Divinity degree and is currently working on her Ph.D. in Church History.

Read more of Rae Lewis-Thornton Speaks, Rae's blog, on

Copyright © 2011 The HealthCentral Network, Inc. All rights reserved.

This article was provided by TheBody.
See Also
10 HIV/AIDS Stories That Defined 2011 in the US
Top 10 HIV/AIDS-Related Clinical Developments of 2011
What's the Buzz? The Top 10 Stories on in 2011
Read More Articles From's 2011 HIV/AIDS Year in Review
10 Things You Can Do to Enhance Your Emotional Well-Being
More on Getting Support From Religion / Spirituality


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