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HIV/AIDS Blog Central

Facing the Ugly

By Rae Lewis-Thornton

June 28, 2012

This piece originally appeared in Rae's blog, Diva Living With AIDS.

It occurred to me yesterday that I've given more energy to people talking shit about me on my blog over and above people lifting me up. I will e-mail Markeeda some dumb shit someone says about me in a heartbeat, but I can't remember not one time I've e-mailed her a positive thing.

Now let me be honest, for a moment I had stopped looking at my blog comments, my friend Peter suggested that I take a week off. He said, "Every time someone comes to your blog and tell you, 'you ain't shit,' it's just like your mama has been reincarnated." And he's right, to an extent, there are some women who have the spirit of my mama in this world; and my mother bless her soul is dead and gone, there is no need to keep that spirit around me. Then I got this comment the other day and it got me to thinking that I've been throwing the baby out with the bath water.

"I am 58 years old and and while I was reading your blog, I had my 'Aha moment.' I had an epiphany, an awakening, a heavy weight lifted. Let me tell you something about yourself. You are a burden-buster. You are Jesus-like and comforting to the broken spirit. You are helping to heal the broken-hearted. Now, that is inspired by God, because Satan don't care how hard we hurt, he ain't backin' off.

"Use your holy gifts as inspired by Jehovah!!!I would like to thank you for opening my eyes about something and and now I don't have to carry that s _ _ t to my grave."

This was a wonderful comment. It's why I do what I do!!! So what's the problem in me? Why have I allowed people with small minds run my life and my blog? It's a fact, everything ain't for everybody. I can't really explain why people who say they hate my life so much keep coming to my blog, other than misery loves company, or God keeps leading them back until they get their Aha Moment.


But this blog isn't about them, it's about me. I understand on one level that people will always have opinions of you, based on how they see life and that doesn't really bother me. What has bothered me is the hate people throw out of their mouths and often time in the name of Christianity, when Jesus was all about love. I understand that I can't do a thing about that. I can only do something about me.

ABOUT ME! I've come to realize that you can't run from mean-spirited people. They are everywhere; at your job, in the grocery line and even in your home. You cannot avoid them, but you can determine their importance in your life. You can't always control how much of your physical space they take up, but your spirit and your mind belongs to you. Stop letting people take up space in your head and heart and they ain't paying rent.

You can't avoid them. First off, you won't even know the energy people bring to the table if you avoid everyone. You have to interact to know. You cannot live in a bubble. You can't be afraid to live because you may miss out on the wonderful that will come your way. That's what I had been doing with my blog comments, missing the wonderful trying to avoid the horrible. Last week I did a whole lot of reflecting, no provocative sex and dating blogs, just forward thinking about my life.

Fifty is doing something to me. I feel like I've been reborn again. I'm living out loud more than I ever have and I'm loving it. This Aha Moment hit me like a ton of bricks; don't throw out the good with the bad. The bad will help you be a better person too. There is a lesson in EVERYTHING!

Actually what it's done for me, all the nasty ass comments that is, it makes me more tolerant of others. They say in AA that judgments kill and they do, so now I take a second and look at everything before I draw a conclusion and sometimes I say, you just don't know. That's the truth, you never know what someone's journey might be and how it affects them from what they wear to how that think and act. I'm not trying to break someone's spirit, not on purpose. I see that enough on my blog.

So you can't avoid the ugly and if you face it head on, something good may actually come out of it. The ugly has a useful place in our lives, it helps us to be better people. It should show us what we don't want to be, or do. Take them for what they add, and leave the rest right where you found it. That's what I mean about control "it" in your space. You can't internalize it, nor should you! You know the truth about you and you can't let someone waltz into your life and try to get you straight on what you already know. But don't run from it, take it for what it is and not a tad more. When you run from it you might miss a lesson in it or you just miss that thing that you should have stumbled upon. It's like every time I go for my morning walk, I see a new flower blooming, but if I had never taken the walk, I would have missed it. Something wonderful is always around the corner. Life is taking the good with the bad and doing the most out of them both.

Posted on my Facebook Page this week!

"Wow! I just been sitting here for the last 4hrs watching and listening to your story I have been cry not just for your situation but just you are a phenomenal woman I'm happy for you being able to still be around to tell your story and I love your attitude lol!!! If you ever come to Detroit, MI I would love to meet you in person you are a hero to so many Thank You!"

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See Also
More Personal Accounts of Women With HIV/AIDS


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Rae Lewis-Thornton Speaks

Rae Lewis-Thornton

Rae Lewis-Thornton

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 27 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. Rae has been featured on Nightline, Dateline NBC, BET and The Oprah Winfrey Show, as well as in countless magazines and newspapers, including Emerge, Glamour, O, the Oprah Winfrey Magazine, Jet, Ebony, the Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune, to name a few. She earned the coveted Emmy Award for a first-person series on living With AIDS for Chicago's CBS News.

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