Just Keep Walking
By Rae Lewis-Thornton
October 25, 2012
This piece originally appeared in Rae's blog, Diva Living With AIDS.
AIDS is a dark disease that takes me to a dark place some days. I try my best to be better than AIDS but some days are harder than others.
I never know what will trigger an emotionally bad day, but I look up and its just there. These last couple of days have been darker than usual. Now don't be confused, I kept it moving. I went to church on Sunday and worked on the fall/winter designs for RLT Collection all day yesterday, but it felt like I was dragging chains on my ankles.
When I first started speaking over 20 years ago, I would say that I was learning to co-exist with this disease. For sure this has been the challenge of my life.
Trying to keep the pretty in my life, while living in the ugly is some hard shit. Living with HIV/AIDS has been the dichotomy of a lifetime. But yet I know that light and darkness does co-exist, just like good and evil co-exist.
It's a complicated balance that I wish I could master. But if I could master it, then I would be like God. God I'm not. Shoot, I'm just grateful that God loves me in spite of me.
God's wonders are awesome. Isn't it interesting how we have just enough sunlight to the right amount of darkness? God does things so out of our reach. That's what makes God, God.
I find it equally interesting, that when you are going through your dark moments you feel all consumed, then something wonderful happens, the sun starts to rise and you can see some light. Now be clear, you can hold onto the darkness and let it consume you and never see the light. You can be blinded by darkness if you stay too long.
Coexisting is something powerful. It says I will not allow you to take all of me. Some things can't be undone and for sure HIV is one of them. For sure HIV will take what it can; what you have no control over and even the things you have control over, if you allow it.
You have to fight for your spirit! You can't surrender all of you to that thing, no matter what it is. Your dark moment may not be HIV. I never try to equate other peoples' pain. Pain is pain and what is a cake-walk for some, maybe a crawl for others. But I know for sure, no matter what darkness that swoops into your landscape, you can be the master of your garden.
This blog post started out as a pity party and in that instant I started to get it! I thank God for Aha Moments and I don't ignore them.
Control those things that you can, those that you can't don't even try. Some things you have to give to God and let God be God.
And in the spirit of being human, whatever valleys you are walking through, just keep walking. It does not matter the pace, what matters is that you are moving toward the light.
What I know for sure is that stagnation will chip away at everything wonderful in your life. If you stand still in the darkness you will cut off your ability to even see a glimmer of light. The darkness will blind you to the goodness up the road.
So keep walking no matter how hard it gets ... Keep walking no matter how dark it gets ... Keep walking, Keep walking ... Keep walking ... Don't just walk physically, but walk mentally. If you are moving your body but not your mind, you are no better off. Find somethings to help free your mind. Something to take you to a space of newness.
I read, knit and design bracelets and now I'm starting to workout. For sure today is better then yesterday ... So I'll keep walking until I get to a better place ... Another day of bracelet designs for me. If my mind is on my creations, then it can't be consumed with darkness. I search for a balance, a way to co-exist, both in light and darkness, ugly and the pretty.
Each step is a new location. Sometimes, we just need to change our location ... Keep walking ... Keep walking ... Keep walking.
I wrote this one for me too! Love y'all!
Rae Lewis-Thornton Speaks
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.
Rae is an active user of social media -- read "Long-Term HIV Survivor Discovers the Power of Twitter," an article on TheBody.com about Rae's social media activities.
Speaking engagements: Inquire about booking Rae to speak at your organization or event!
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