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Life Is Not a Fairy Tale

January 4, 2011

Life Is Not a Fairy Tale

I grew up watching all of the Disney princess movies, and dreamed that one day I would find my own Prince Charming. Well, I found the man I thought was Prince Charming, but the relationship did not work out. And he gave me HIV. But when does make-believe ever come true? I am now looking for the guy who is right for me.

I discovered that I was HIV positive seven years ago, in 2003. Since then I have learned a lot about what it means to value myself. Ironically, it's been the information I've learned and the experiences I've had since getting the virus that have caused my self-confidence, self-love and sense of independence to shoot through the roof. All of this started when I began to understand that I have value. Not only do I now have a strong sense of self-worth, but I am proud of the amazingly strong woman I have evolved to be.

Of course, most people assume that because I have HIV, I have not been in a relationship. I can assure you that this is not the case. I have had several takers--men who are HIV positive and men who are HIV negative. But unlike during my pre-HIV days, I am no longer impressed with bling-bling and fancy cars. I no longer believe in fairy tales or fairy tale endings. And I am definitely not desperate to have a man.

Before, men used to think my body was sexy; today they are attracted to my positive characteristics. I used to feel good when the man I was seeing told me he loved me. Now I laughingly say, "You should. What is there not to love about me? But thank you for communicating, baby. Kisses!" I used to get chills up and down my spine when a man told me I was beautiful. Now I answer: "I already know that, but thank you for reassuring and reminding me, baby. Hugs!"

I do not settle just because I have HIV. In fact, I would not dare date someone whom I would not date if I were HIV negative. A man actually had a better chance of getting a date with me before I had HIV. These days, I am picky and have standards, and any man I'm going to have a relationship with needs to fulfill all of them. Since I have come to embody strength, courage, beauty and ambition, why would I settle for a man who is lacking in those areas? I need a man with goals and dreams.

After a speaking engagement, a young woman approached me and asked, "Do you think that when you get a man, he will be jealous that you call the guy who infected you 'Prince Charming'?" I told her that I would only date a guy who had enough sense to know that Prince Charming is a fictional character. Make-believe. He is not real. I need a man whose flaws I accept and whose heart of gold I admire, not to entertain a fantasy about who that man really is.

Marvelyn Brown is the author of The Naked Truth: Young, Beautiful, and (HIV) Positive.

More From This Resource Center

Magic Johnson Wants You to Know: He Isn't Cured of HIV

Living With HIV? African Americans Share Their Advice

This article was provided by The Black AIDS Institute. Visit Black AIDS Institute's website to find out more about their activities and publications.

See Also
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