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Who We Are: Opportunities, Survival and the Ability to Dream

April 3, 2017

I am a grown adult who lives with a compromised immune system brought on by HIV infection, and one who, like many others, has had to come to terms with not only HIV itself but also myself as a person. This involves forgiveness, both of myself and others.

We are our parents' children or we are parents ourselves. We are husbands, wives, lovers, partners, friends, family, strangers and enemies, and we are humans. We wish to belong, to fit in, to love and to be loved in return. We are from every social and economic background, of every religious and spiritual belief and conviction. We are failures, successes and everything in between. We are straight, gay, black, white and from all parts of this big world. Sometimes, we find ourselves financially strapped and at other times with a few extra dollars or worldly possessions of homes, land, vehicles, clothing or other things that make us seem just a bit better than the next, at least in the eyes of our fellow man. But, in the big scheme of things, whether we have or don't have all these "things," eventually we pass, and it's all left behind.

As I grow older and approach what many consider the midway mark of life, I find myself being myself and liking who I am, and who I was born to be. I am not a parent; I am not one of wealth; I am not in a position of high power, as determined by man. I am my parents' child, however, and a creation of one higher than all. I am loved and I love in return. I have friends and probably enemies, although they may disguise themselves. I have former co-workers and acquaintances, and I, like them, am just human. I may not measure up to the standards of others because of who I am or how I live my life. My views may be different, whether personal, religious or regarding what it means to be a success. I find myself, like most others, I'm sure, looking back over my life and wondering about the "what could have beens" or "what should have beens." But, if I constantly look back on all that, I'm failing to look forward at "what might just be," and what dreams and hopes for a good life are still mine, while realizing that what's good for me is not always what's good for the other person, or what that person sees as good or best for him or her may not appeal or apply to me at all.

We all want to be well liked and respected; that's just human nature, I suppose, but it seems many of us are always trying to be what the other person thinks we should be or following the leader, when sometimes the leader may be just a leader by title, not a true leader at all, but merely in that position for the recognition and praise conferred by society. We sometimes just follow because it's what we've always thought we were supposed to do, taking what the "leader" says or does as the way it should be without thinking or investigating further to make our own determinations. I have probably been guilty of making my own path and not following what was/is expected, and that has, in some cases, not always been the best thing to do. But, at least I took a path and have been able to think and decide for myself. I may have learned along the way that, just because I'm the only one on the path, doesn't mean I took the wrong route. It was just a different path with different scenery that leads to the same destination.

What all this rambling means, I'm not sure. Perhaps, they are just points to be pondered by me and those who might read them. Sometimes in life, I have felt that, just because I am who I am, with different views and ideas about life, and not always the "normal" person that others have said I should be, that it must not be right. I have been told it does no good for me to pray, for prayers from people like me are not heard. But then I remind myself that I am a creation in God's image, my parents' child, I am me, I am loved, I love, I feel and live, and I am who we are.

As a southern boy who grew up with a Church of Christ belief, I often think of these verses in the Bible: Psalms 139:13, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my Mother's womb"; and Jeremiah 1:5, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you." We are all human, passing through this world on a journey that was laid out for us before we came into this thing called life.

With each new day come opportunities, survival and the ability to dream beyond any obstacle that may come my way.

Harold "Scottie" Scott, 27-year survivor of HIV/AIDS.

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Positive and Beyond: A Rural Perspective

Harold R. 'Scottie' Scott

Harold R. "Scottie" Scott

Harold R. "Scottie" Scott grew up on the family farm in rural Jackson County, Tennessee, which has a population of less than 10,000. On October 24, 1991, he learned he was infected with HIV via a phone call while at work. This set into motion a personal journey, which would include a very public announcement that he was living with HIV while a featured speaker at a 1994 World AIDS Day program. He has since gone on to volunteer in various capacities, representing the rural person's voice on HIV/AIDS and the issues that are sometimes unique to rural versus urban life. Among other roles, he is a speaker/educator who lives openly with his status while serving as a resource for the newly diagnosed in rural Tennessee. He currently resides some 30 miles east of Nashville, Tennessee.

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