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I Will Survive

By Philip D.

April 12, 2012

I am tattoo free. Saying that, along with having little or no desire to visit Facebook (never say never) can make me feel like the odd man out, at any given San Francisco event. (not an easy thing to do, if you've ever attended the Folsom Street Fair). But recently I have entertained the idea of permanently marking some of my skin with ink. Although you might be sporting full sleeves or a Komodo dragon that envelops your entire back, I'm thinking something a bit more discreet. I'm not completely decided on its placement but it's really just for me and it's really just one word. Not so much a statement but a personal reminder.

The word?


If you've read any of my earlier posts, you may have gathered that I'm sorta big on self exploration and discovery. Since heading West, over twenty years ago, I have had quite a few opportunities to learn from some pretty amazing teachers. Whether it was a workshop, a series of classes or a retreat of some kind; whether it was yoga-based, figure drawing or Creative Writing; whether it had a tangible end result or not; that precious little word comes up again and again.


Don't bother checking the dictionary. Some words are just too big to define. But if you did you might be disappointed. I was. But if ever there was a word that I want to remember it's this one.

In a world that's moving at an accelerating pace, it's easy to forget to ask ourselves before we begin anything: What is my intention? The answer doesn't have to be long or involved but taking 30 seconds to ask myself the question often yields some interesting discoveries. More than a few times. my intended course of action has been rerouted based on my answer. A few times I didn't like the conclusion I arrived at, but I can't think of a single instance when I had wished that I hadn't asked it; especially since getting snagged by HIV.

For the first weeks after first testing positive, many of my decisions were made on auto pilot but my intention was clear. The Human Immunodeficiency Virus was not going to destroy me. Once that was understood, the plan unfolded. I'm not going to tell you there haven't been glitches. God knows I've fallen in a few manholes (that's one word ... look it up, rural folks) but somehow, I find my way out; if I remember ... you guessed it, the "I" word.

I'm still not 100% sure if I'll actually follow through with putting the ink under my skin but it might come in handy as I age, to have those important things "on me" at all times. Sort of a daily reminder.

Maybe we can we keep that part about Facebook, just between you and me.

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See Also
10 Things You Can Do to Enhance Your Emotional Well-Being
Depression and HIV
Feeling Good Again: Mental Healthcare Works!
More Personal Viewpoints on Coping With HIV


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A Positive Spin

Philip D.

Philip D.

After testing HIV positive in 2007, I promised myself that I would make something "good" from all that I was handed. From the very beginning, each time I was presented with an obstacle or challenge, I also received some help. Usually in the form of a person, sometimes an opportunity; but I have grown so much, it has made it impossible for me to call the past few years "bad." Although I've never written much of anything before, I have been so incredibly fortunate, I feel like I must pay it forward somehow. Maybe by sharing my experience, it will help those starting later in the game, on the fast track to HAART, or anyone that's feeling a bit isolated or "stuck" with their diagnosis.

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