Since I was a little boy I remember a certain John Singleton movie called, "Boyz N Tha Hood". In that movie it depicts a young man and a group of his friends who were growing up in the ghettos of LA. Laurence Fishburne played the father of the young man, who had just been moved to LA by his mother, who is played by Angela Bassett. The thing that stuck out in my mind was when Fishburne told the boy that he was the Prince which in turn made Fishburne the King. He also I believe called their house a Kingdom. When it came to chores Fishburne told the boy, "Right now, the king says it's time for the prince to go to bed". I thought a lot about my own Father and how our house was really like that. I got whatever I wanted as long as I took care of the Kingdom and myself.
This got me thinking a lot of us who are HIV positive don't think much about being a Prince for a day for just cherishing life. I decided to go to the Maryland Renaissance Fair as Prince Justinian of Moco (Montgomery County) from the Province of Russett and I loved it. My friends Spike and Lisa got me a crown. I loved it but maybe it did go to my head just a tad. ROFLMAO Okay more often than not. My husband had this look of "OH GOD I hope he doesn't keep it or have it on in the house". Sometimes you just got to treat yourself. I decided to do this because I want people to know that YES you can still be that little Prince of Princess that you wanted to be when you were younger. You can still be whatever you want to be when you were younger. Don't let HIV steal your dreams or your life. Strive to be the best you can be in whatever you do. Be happy and don't get bogged down. I know it's easy to beat yourself up or to think less of yourself but you have to push on and move on up. The more you think more of yourself the more you will better take care of your kingdom. I know I have bad habits of my own and I accept them and try to change them. It all takes time, but I still strive to be better. KEEP YOUR HEAD UP and be that little Prince or Princess you've always wanted to be. Or whatever you've wanted to be. IT'S NEVER TOO LATE.
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Justin B. Terry-Smith, M.P.H., may be one of the most public African Americans living with HIV: He has his own website, and he's even on YouTube. He is a noted HIV and gay civil rights activist and the creator of "Justin's HIV Journal," a popular blog in which he shares his trials and tribulations of living with HIV. A U.S. Air Force veteran, Justin resides in Laurel, Maryland, with his husband, Dr. Philip Terry-Smith, and their son, Lundyn. Presently, Justin is working toward earning his doctorate in public health. He welcomes your questions.
(Photo credit: Don Harris)
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