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Moving Beyond Regrets!

By Rae Lewis-Thornton

January 10, 2013

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

Have you ever had sex in a car or sucked a dick that you wish you hadn't? Now close your mouth from shock and speak Truth To Power! I know I have.

In my late teens, sex in the car was often the only place you could afford to go. It was a hot and steamey clandestine meeting that was worth every minute. Good Lawd, that Brotha was something to remember and I don't regret not one moment of it! But ummm there are something's that I wish I hadn't done, but did. I know I have sucked a dick here or their that wasn't worth my mouth or the degradation I felt when it was all done. I don''t really regret them because it I had not done them, I wouldn't have learned something new. To live is to learn and to die is to forget!

I'm no virgin and sex for me started when I was 13 and I'm 50 now. Yes, I wish I had waited but by that time I had already been taught that sex was love by my uncle and step-brother. So I set out about this world looking for someone to love me with about an ounce of self-esteem. I hadn't thought about regrets until an old college friend dropped by last week and asked, "Other than the obvious, do I have any regrets?" I told him that I had none! Not even the obvious! I keep saying to people that our journey shapes who we are. I can't pick and choose one aspect of my life because it's all connected. If I could choose it would start with my birth parents. Born to heroine addicts set me on this likely course and it is what it is.

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So there are no regrets, but yes their has been some shame. I imagined Bill Clinton lied about Monica Lewinsky because to admit that he had this young girl suck his dick under his desk in the White House was a tad shameful, to say the least.

I've often wondered if Monica regretted doing it. Her life was forever altered. Clinton left the White House to become a millionaire and she struggled to just get a job. It was women who did the most damage to Monica. Women black listed her, like their man was next on her list. Jenny Craig said using Monica in her ads was the worst mistake of her company. Women dropped her diet plan like a hot potato. Monica was a generation too early. If it had happened ten years later, she could have made some money with the right branding like others have done.

At the time, I use to joke with my girls and say, "Hell yes I would have sucked the President's dick and I would have never told!" He's one fine white boy with a whole lot of swagger. For Real! Now stop being all high and mighty, some of y'all know if you had the chance you would drop it for Presiedent Obama. I wouldn't because I was at their wedding and I don't do husbands or boyfriends of friends. See even a hoe got some rules! :)

Today, I wonder, if I had the chance with Clinton, that is the woman that I am in 2013, would I do it? I probably would have done it just three years ago, just for the heck of it! I mean, damn, the President! Make a woman feel powerful even if its misguided, twisted and distorted thinking. For sure the man is the one with the power, but what a sugary boost to ones self-esteem. That is, to be able to say if just to yourself, "I must be a bad bitch that a man that powerful would want me?"

So we do things that are a tad savory at best. You were trying not to go there but in the moment it was hot and steamy and he kept saying, "Just do it baby," and the pressure of wanting more from him takes control and before you know it, you sucking him like a lollipop, hoping that this will be the thing that wins him over.

So yes, at 50 there are some things I've done even as late as my 40's that I know were not cool. Not cool because they only served to chip away at my self-esteem and self-worth. Not cool, because it made a mess of things that still impacts my life. Not cool, because I didn't like me when it was all said and done. Not cool, because others were hurt by my selfishness. Not cool, because I was hurt by my own actions.

I've grown so much since the early 90's during the Clinton- Lewinsky Scandal. Shoot, I've grown so much in the last few years. It's a wonderful thing when you can look at your life and all that's been done and you can say, I learned this from that!

But knowledge is powerless if we don't use it! At the end of the day, it's not just enough to know better, you have to do better. Now, doing better is no easy task. NOPE! Sometimes we find ourselves in the same situation over and again. It's only when we have had enough of self-loathing that we really start to do better.

It's like an addict. In the months clean, they forget how they felt, the self-loathing they felt after they use. That's why they remind themselves in 12 step programs that they are an addict and that all power comes from a higher source. This simple reminder helps to keep them on a course of self-love over and above self-loathing.

The truth is, you cannot run from the things that you have done. All you can really do is learn from them and use that knowledge to be a better you.

I've learned that sex is not love and just because a man makes me wet between the legs doesn't mean that I should give him my innermost self. If the truth be told, you can make your own self wet between the legs. I've learned that just because you have chemistry in bed, doesn't mean that a man will love and respect you.

With this knowledge, I've used it to be a better me, making decisions about my life that are worthy of my worth. But the fact of the matter, we are only human and we have and will make decisions about our lives that leave a bitter taste in our mouth, sometimes literally!

All you can do is regroup and keep it moving. It's not that we fall down, it's not even about how long we stay down, it's about the getting up. When you get up, you acknowledge that you are a child of God worthy of love and grace. All you have to do now is forgive yourself, as God has already forgiven you.

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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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