Maria T. Mejia

This article was originally published on Nov. 5, 2014.

This is the physical transformation I had.

First pic I was a little girl who felt loved and cared for by her mother. At the same time this little girl was getting molested by her uncle and grew up being told she was worthless and that she would never amount to anything. Whore was a common word she heard in her home towards her and her mother! She had many material things which her father thought was being a good father. My father was darkness in the home and light of the streets. Forgiving my father was part of the transformation. I love my father.

Second pic I was 15/16, in a street gang. I hated the world and myself!! I was so sad! And I was already HIV positive and did not know it!

The third one I was already diagnosed with HIV. I was 19 years old there ... living in Colombia and with a death sentence over my head! The caterpillar was transforming into the butterfly I am today. I was scared for my life, but it also was the time where I was living with my mother, brother and grandparents, a house of morals and love. Most importantly I was becoming the spiritual person that I am today. I was learning to love myself inside and out. I no longer hated my body or the world and this is when I realized I was worthy and became the caregiver of both my grandparents until they passed, and this filled me up inside.

The last pic is the woman who overcame all those obstacles and the person who continues to fight for herself and others. I am in the light now! And I made my trials my testimony!

Love and light.