Choose Health Over Hate

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Bent But NOT Broken
We need to choose health over hate
by Tyeshia Alston

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]n today’s society, everything seems to have been darkened by the trials that each person has to go through in order to fulfill their purpose. With each decision we make, there are consequences, whether good or bad. Oftentimes, when we make decisions we do not consider the consequences attached to them until the harsh results of our decisions begin to tremendously affect us and, most of the times, we make our decisions based on emotions.

We should be asking ourselves questions every time we get ready to go on a new journey and it is vital that we are asking the right questions. For instance, we shouldn’t be greatly concerned about asking, “How will it make me feel afterwards?” A good feeling may give us what we want but not what we need. Instead we should ask, “Will this hurt me in the long run?” It is extremely important to make sure we are asking the questions in relation to others as well as to ourselves prior to making a decision because each decision we make will steer our lifelong journey.

There was an article written in our local hospital magazine that was sent out to our residence detailing a woman’s story with cancer. The title of this article inspired me to write this article: “Bent But Not Broken.”

Now, this may just be my opinion, but I believe that the people of the HIV/AIDS community have been bent by their disease, but one thing for sure is that we have not been broken. We have experienced a lot of hurt and pain both physically and emotionally. Most of us have been judged and some may have even been condemned by the ones who have said they “love you.” Many of my sisters were infected and left to struggle with this disease alone because the one to whom they entrusted their life, love and body made a personal decision to abandon them and leave them to fight this disease alone. Some of my brothers have lost their hope in humanity and have set out to infect as many people as they can just because someone infected them.

I’ve heard stories from other people living with HIV/AIDS who said that their family including their own mother would serve their food using plastic plates and forks while the rest of the family would eat on chinaware. I heard others say that immediately after using the bathroom someone would go behind them and clean with bleach to disinfect the area of HIV. This behavior is not acceptable and no one should have to endure this. However, this behavior goes to show that there is no time to sit back being angry; it means all should jump in feet first to bring education and awareness to others (starting with the ones we love the most).

Believe that you are like a superhero. You have been bent, but you have not been broken. You have been scorned, rejected and abandoned but you have not been cast out. Remember, that with each day you have opportunities to reach beyond the rejection and become relentless in love. Don’t let another person’s shortcomings become your downfall. Get up and be the best person, you can possibly be.

Some people may say that it is crazy to forgive the person who has hurt you the most. Keep in mind, that to them it is crazy and to them it is foolishness but to you it is the first step to living in peace and harmony with others. Forgiveness is taking the control of your life, peace and joy. That is all that matters.

Ask yourself which is more important, is it more important for you to hold on to hatred towards another which does you more harm than good or is the welfare of your health more important to you? Revenge is never the answer. It is a feel-good-for-the-moment solution but when the moment is over you are stricken by a spirit of guilt.

Always have a reason to live. Having a reason to live will help you to do the things that you need to do. For instance, if your children are the reason you are fighting to stay alive then your children will be your reason to do what is good for you and for them. Doing what is good for you will benefit everyone around you. Your children will be your reason to forgive because you will be teaching them the act of forgiveness. If you are living for your children then you are creating lifelong memories of happiness for them rather than memories filled with animosity. Your actions don’t only affect you but those around you as well.

You may have been bent by a disease that you may not have wanted, but through it all you have not been broken. You are like a superhero and you have the power to overcome. Enjoy your life and always remember to strive to live your best life.


 

Tyeshia Alston is an HIV-positive AIDS activist and educator living in Dallas, Texas. Ms. Alston strives to build hope, increase faith, and encourage others to live their best life. Ms. Alston is a mother of a handsome two-year-old boy. She is driven to educate others about HIV/AIDS by creating community awareness programs and providing HIV/AIDS services through her organization, SAAVED INC. Ms. Alston, has traveled to Washington, D.C., to speak with legislators about better healthcare access and how the disease has impacted communities which she serves and has served on panels for National Minority AIDS Council and other local organizations. Lastly, she is known to others by bringing her message to local talk shows and radio stations, working to do her part in ending AIDS. To learn more about Ms. Alston’s work, go to www.saaved.org and if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email her at [email protected].