Lost Over and Over but Finally Came Back to Me!
It was 1987 I was 17 years old when I lost my best friend due to a shooting and on that day, I was lost and torn, but when I found out that she would be a vegetable and they had to pull the plug was a day I will never forget. There are times when I still find myself crying being so young and having to watch what happened to her. The man she introduced me to became my love he was 22 tall dark and handsome with beautiful long hair we had a bond because of the friendship we both shared with her. From that day, I never would have thought what was to become of my life.
He and I had a child I was 21 years old when she was born she was 8 pounds 2-ounce beautiful bright skin baby girl with black hair and tight eyes. She kind of looked like a small china doll. I loved her more than I loved myself. It’s something how a child can change your whole outlook on life. The way I saw life was different and the things I use to do was no more. I was now living for my baby girl and that’s when I started to see my relationship change. The love I thought I found didn’t like this new me he felt he was losing control. The teenager he met was different and she was someone he couldn’t control anymore. He became abusive the fighting was getting worse as the years went by but I stayed and again I was lost. Why did I stay? What was the control he had over me? Soon I realized that I had to leave and once I did I felt alive again like I did when I was 17 years old. Ten years I stayed and every year I lost more of who I was.
I was now 27 years old and I finally left him no more control, no more abuse and no more tears well that’s what I thought. Until months later when I was tested for HIV weeks after the results came back I was called into the doctor’s office and sat in that dreadful chair and heard you tested positive for HIV. Here goes another day I was lost, scared, in shock and numb. When I thought, I was now free to smile my smile months later turned into sadness once again. What happened to be being happy, what happened to me being able to feel free, what happened to the abuse that was over and now I can start over, what happened to me raising my baby girl and living with smiles. To me, it was all over. My daughter now 7 years old I left her with my sister and hibernated in my townhouse for months I didn’t go to work I slept and cried I didn’t even want to answer my phone not even to talk to my daughter. I gave up shit I was going to die anyways so why did it matter. Scrubbing my skin red as I showered sitting on the shower floor just crying. Take me now I don’t want to suffer, I don’t want my family to see me sick well not like those who were dying from AIDS that’s what scared me the most. I knew nothing about this thing they call HIV at all not one thing. All I knew was that gay men were dying from it and I didn’t understand how I contracted it when I was in a relationship.
I was going to leave my daughter and she needed me, so I finally woke up and knew that my daddy wouldn’t want me to stay this way. I can hear him speaking to me as I sat on the edge of the bed he says I raised you to be strong and you get up God doesn’t put more on you than you can handle. That was the day I woke up and started life over again. I was put on ARV’s so many pills, so, so many pills and they made me very sick. Who wants to live this way always at the toilet, always nauseated, dry mouth, numb tongue, and a headache. I wasn’t sick until I had to take these toxic pills. What kind of life is this and why am I going through it? Did I do something to deserve this? I found comfort in having a drink, yes, a drink a drink of alcohol it soothed the feeling I was getting from the ARVs it turned into one drink, then two, then three and the next thing I knew I was drinking every day as much as I could.
Lost over and over giving up once again and not even realizing it. Hiding behind the smile I carried daily putting on a face for all those around when in fact I was no good. I started sleeping with men for money the alcohol had turned me into someone that I wasn’t. I was gone I wasn’t taking my medication as prescribed. some days I would take them and some days I wouldn’t. Who cares? I don’t, I just wanted to drink and as long as someone had alcohol I was there. Going to work started to become much more difficult and I was soon fired and ended up on unemployment by that time my daughter’s father had passed away.
I was 29 when I met a man I fell in love with I stopped drinking and we were married. We raised my daughter and his son together. I was happy once again the beach, movies, the park we did everything together happy to be loved, happy to meet a man who was HIV negative that loved me for me in spite of my HIV. Soon after my husband started to use drugs. I was married, but alone raising my children he became abusive physically and mentally he even told me I was going to get AIDS and die anyways. Once again I was lost and I was depending on my husband financially because I was extremely sick from the new meds i was put on and I was having issues with my body that no doctor could figure out I was always in pain. My family was struggling with my husband only giving the minimum so he can support his drug habit. This story is so much more, I couldn’t give you everything in such a short writing.
Out of all that I have been through as a child, teen, and adult, being married to him was the worst choice that I ever made in my life. There was constant adultery, mental abuse, physical abuse and there was no respect for his family. His thinking was I’m the man of the house and he can do whatever he wanted. By the time I was 42 years old the marriage was over I had surgery to take care of the pain I was having years before we ended. I was working full-time and caring for my children. His son was now 21 and was 7 when we married, my daughter 22 and was 8 when we met and our little girl together was now 10. I stayed almost 15 years, it was years of hell, years of giving my children a life they didn’t ask for with him. I could have left and didn’t because I thought I could save him and have this wonderful man back that I met years ago. That man was long gone a year after we were married. It didn’t matter that he was evil, mean or even disrespectful. I wanted to keep our family together I never saw myself divorcing. I made up excuses saying til death do us part no matter what, but I think deep inside I was just afraid to be alone being diagnosed with HIV. I didn’t figure that out until we divorced.
Today It has been almost 5 years since we ended our marriage our daughter together is almost 16 years old. I haven’t dated, I didn’t speak to any men and I shut my eyes, mind, and heart to even being involved with a man. I needed to stay alone so that I can learn who I was as a woman and why did I choose to fall in love with the same kind of men. Myself and my 15-year-old daughter moved in our own place, in 2013 I started school to get my Bachelor’s Degree in Public health, went to a little counseling, evaluated my life, started speaking educating and advocating for HIV. I have to say that just because we are living with HIV doesn’t mean we have to stay in a relationship that doesn’t value who we are as a person. It doesn’t mean that we have to be treated like crap because we are afraid to be alone. We all must realize that we must love ourselves first and smile at the beautiful person we are when we look in the mirror. I am a better woman now. I am happy and I love me so much that I can squeeze me and be happy with that. My mind is so much different today and I will not accept any kind of abuse mentally or physically. We have to have standards of who we want in our lives even when it comes to friends we meet and we need to stick to those standards. Do not let any negativity even be a part of your circle. Not even from your family! Stand up and take control of being diagnosed with HIV. You are not less than, you are better than! When you shine on the outside others will see it and you will be a magnet to individuals who are positive people inside and out, loving, happy and caring. Be free from those you don’t need and be free to love who you are diagnosed with HIV. I did I finally came back to me!!