[dropcap]Y[/dropcap]esterday, I was hit by another vehicle on the road. Although I had a major set back on my way home I never lost focus on where I was headed and I made it home several hours later. Oftentimes we hear that “trials come to make us strong,” but sometimes it seems as if trials come more often for some than others.
As a woman with a child, I like other mothers know that we can not allow anything to hold us down and we have to get back up because we have someone in our home that needs for us to nurture them daily. No matter how bad we have been hit, or how high the level of pain we may be experiencing (and we may have even been broken so to the point that it is hard to adjust and move), mentally we must get back in the game. The game that I am speaking of is called the game of Life.
Throughout your lifespan, you will be tested. No doubt about it. The truth is, it does not matter how major or minor the test is, what truly matters is its outcome and how it affected you. Was the test so hard that you went backwards instead of forward, or are you simply at a standstill? Did you yield to temptation or did you make a U-turn and go back to the situation you were fleeing from? Was the test so drastically hard that you are stuck in a ditch which caused a momentary delay because the only way you were able to get out was by the helping hands of someone else; or did the test lead you on a road to suicidal thoughts, where you are now facing a dead end?
Well, the one good thing that I have to say about that is that at a dead end you can look in your rearview mirror and put your car in reverse and turn around.
In my opinion, getting an HIV/AIDS diagnosis was a major test and every time an AIDS Awareness Day comes around, it reminds me of the day I received my HIV diagnosis. Being reminded of something is not always a bad thing. It’s like sitting at a red light; it gives you a moment to think or enough time to reach out to someone. What makes it bad or good is what you do once the light turns green.
March 10 is the National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and you may see a lot of information on the issue of HIV/AIDS on your local news broadcasting station or you may hear about it on your local radio station. Therefore, you will have the choice to get bothered by it and turn the channel, or you can listen and share the information with others in your community. The choice is yours.
Like so many others, I’m sure that I may be sitting at that red light with many of my sisters, but when the light turns green, mentally and physically I will be back in the game. I made the choice ten years ago to be a mouthpiece to those in my community by telling my story to the world and I vow to myself that I will encourage others who are now living with the same disease as I am. My goal is to encourage them to live their best life. However, those are my choices. Choices which were not only best for me but for those who were around me.
Once again, when that light turns green you have to make the decision to do what is best for you and your family. The choice is yours. Keep in mind that you can live well with HIV/AIDS.
I will close by saying these words. It takes courage to be who you are and to love the person you are even with a disease such as HIV/AIDS. In spite of how others may view you (and some may even try their hardest to change you to fit their needs), at the end of the day you still have to love you and be you. Keep in mind, sometimes others try to change something about you because they see something wonderful in you that they envy because they lack it. We all have to find our gifts and, just like a child, we must nourish those gifts.
Don’t take anything for granted because when you are least expecting, someone could enter your lane and hit you so hard that it may require someone else to pick you back up.
Cherish everything about you, even your HIV disease. After all, things could be worse. Yes, I said to cherish it because HIV is now a part of you and you, my sister, are beautiful. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Therefore, celebrate you.
Tyeshia Alston is a native of Dallas, Texas, and an HIV/AIDS activist, who “will go anywhere where people will listen.” She has done everything from travel to D.C. to speak with legislators about better healthcare access and how the disease has impacted communities to serving on panels for NMAC and other organizations and bringing her message to talk shows. In 2005 at the age of twenty-five, Alston was diagnosed with HIV and she has been on a mission since 2006 to educate people (especially our youth) about HIV/AIDS. Visit www.saaved.org to learn more about her community-based work. Also, if you have any questions or comments please feel free to email Ms. Alston at firstname.lastname@example.org.