Hello there, readers.
I want to thank those of you who emailed me with your words of encouragement and support! Please know that I am grateful that anyone reads my words. My intent is to share my life with you from behind the walls of a place filled with sadness. Hopefully, you will see that not all of us in places like this are bad.
I hope I can make a difference in the way people with HIV are perceived, the way we are treated and the way we treat each other. We are still human beings just like you are. We just have a disease that killed some of us early on. The rest of us will live healthy lives thanks to life saving medications and better life choices. I'd like to have 25 more years on this earth, but not in prison. I want to advocate for those that I can help!
There are amazing things I have learned since becoming HIV positive, way back when. I never used to value relationships with people, but now that's the most important thing to me. I would take each day for granted.
Let's say that you drive by a maple tree in the fall when the leaves are changing. Do you stop to admire all of the beautiful colors that are going on or do you just drive on not even noticing?
How about living with your significant other, do you tell them how much you love and appreciate them each day? Or do you just take for granted that they will always be there?
That is the difference of letting life just pass you by versus actually taking the time to appreciate and enjoy it. Go outside and watch a sunset with someone you care about and appreciate the gift of life whether you have HIV or not!
Each day we are alive is truly a gift given to us!
Another thing I'll try to do when I encounter someone who is negative toward me is I'll ask myself this question: "In the grand scheme of my life will the words of this person mean anything to me in a day, a month or a year from now?"
If the answer is "NO," then I won't give them the satisfaction of living in my head.
Life is too short to get caught up in other people's negativity whether you are in prison or out there in the free world. The only words that should impact your emotional state, feelings or moods is from those people who have any meaning in your life. Why would you care what someone says that does NOT have a special place in your heart? Like a spouse, a parent, a child, a sibling, they matter to us. I notice that people get into their emotions way too easy and they lash out in anger with hurtful words or violence and don't think it through. When I was younger I would negatively react to hurtful words or actions and it usually hurt more than just them. Now I pull back, analyze the situation and weigh all the consequences both good and bad. This has saved me a lot of headaches. This is good for my mental health as well!
Speaking of mental health, this disease has crippled mine at times and I just wanted my life to end. How many HIV-positive people have we lost and we didn't have to? What are those statistics?
One life lost is too many!
I know that people just finding out about their status think that life is over. That is most likely when they'll do something their loved ones will be left behind regretting. Guess what? It is now just getting started and now is your time to shine! Don't you see what you have to offer the world? I do!
Reach out to those newly diagnosed or someone who has lived with it for years and listen to their story. Wipe away the tears and just be there for them at the capacity you are comfortable with. Share your story of how you became HIV positive to ease their fears letting them know that they aren't the only one who has made mistakes. Make a short-term plan of things you have to accomplish, then reward yourself with a spa day or your favorite ice cream.
What are your long-term goals you will set for yourself?
One of mine is to make friends around the world who will look at me now and not judge me for past mistakes. I have dedicated my life in prison to advocate for those who can't do it for themselves. I'd like the chance to do the same out there if I am ever released.
I want to encourage everyone to be kind to yourselves. You'll get through whatever seems impossible right now. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger! I believe in you all and I have faith in human nature too! Blessings to you all!
Stay healthy and stay safe!