Never would I ever think that I would be the one telling the story from this side.
But they told us never to say never anyways, so I guess that is where I first went wrong.
The second misstep happened when I slept with that dude without a condom.
This guy that I barely knew and probably didn’t have no business messing with in the first place had convinced me, through no major provoking, that I was safe with him.
And I believed it.
That was my bad.
Many of us have done it though.
You know, slipped up.
But this slip up was more like a punch to the throat.
Sometimes, we get fortunate in these circumstances.
We admit to our doctors a lapse in better judgment, anxiously succumb to a STI screening, pray extra hard and somehow all the results come back negative.
We learn from our mistakes (hopefully) and then keep it moving.
But then sometimes, we test positive for something.
Most of the time, it’s something that can be treated and forgotten about.
I don’t know, something like chlamydia or trichomoniasis.
You know, something nobody ever has to know about.
You take your treatment. It goes away. And you can act like it never happened.
But then other times, that positive test result is heavy.
In my case, it was the HIV test that came back positive.
Still a lesson.
But definitely not one I thought I would ever have to learn.
NEVER did I ever think that it would be me.
Not that I thought I was special or nothing…
… but that was the thing – I wasn’t special at all.
I wasn’t doing anything different than anyone else around me.
Nothing that I thought would put me at risk of contracting HIV.
I was just having sex.
Sex that rewarded me with a lifetime of medical treatment and regret.
That was over a decade ago though.
Over ten years of me having to relive bad decisions I made so long ago.
I’ve had to learn how to fight for Love of Self in a world that gives me so many reasons to be ashamed.
But I got it.
And I’m holding on tight.
Isn’t it beautiful how we still find a way to smile after all that we have gone through?
We all do.
HIV doesn’t define me.
Neither does the abuse.
Or the depression.
Rather, I see them as bruises that I wear boldly and proudly as they are pieces of what has molded me into the woman I am today.
And for that, I am grateful.
Of course, if I could go back and do it all over again, I would have done at least two things differently:
I would have insisted that the guy wore a condom
and refrained from sex with him until we had both been tested for HIV.
But HIV was never gone catch me.
When them folks tell you to, “Never say never” –
I would listen.
Cus sometimes, never is closer than you think.
+ Ci Ci +