The Writing on the Wall

Listen to the universe, listen to yourself—and take the next step

by George M. Johnson

Have you ever been told about how there are usually tons of “red flags” before something bad or adverse happens? That you can see the “writing on the wall” but only if you choose to believe in the words you are reading? For me, it took a very long time to understand what this actually meant and how I had to learn to trust enough in myself that what I was seeing, experiencing, feeling, and thinking, all aligned together, wasn’t for naught.

So the universe. I often talk about it on social media how the “universe” is always talking to me and also talking through me. The first years in our life are usually dedicated to learning. As little kids we are taught right from wrong, hot from cold, how to speak, eat, walk, and more. We then go off to elementary school, middle school, high school, and then work or college, learning every step of the way. Most times, this conditioning that is happening throughout our lives is not teaching us how to tap into self, but rather assimilate into a societal structure best fit for acceptance. However, with many of us there will come a time when we start to question what we thought was normal, and tap into what we actually know based on our relationship with the universe.

Through this relationship, we are able to become the best possible versions of ourselves because we stop living for what we were told, and begin living for what we know. It is also through the universe that I have learned that I am a product of my environment, experience, and experiment and, through those things, a better person. These three things taught me that the circumstances that come across in life are all a part of a greater plan that the universe has for you, but only if you are willing to accept its signs.

This awakening began for me about three years ago. I was working a traditional job, doing the traditional things that I was taught to do. I was making good money, able to buy nice things and on paper should have been happy, but I wasn’t. This mask I was wearing was only covering who I actually was while blocking me from accepting the person I knew myself to be. Underneath the mask was someone who was truly dying inside. I was HIV-positive and hadn’t told anyone but one close friend, so I dealt with that all on my own. I was also gay, but not very open about it in social media in the way that I would have liked to be in comparison to some of my other friends. I was still making sure that everything I did was for the betterment of others, often times ignoring my own self-care.

During that time, I finally knew that enough was enough and that if I hadn’t begun to do something, I was going to lose myself. So I began trusting in the universe and opening up my mind to the thought that there was a much bigger purpose for me on this earth. I looked HIV in the eyes and knew that it had chosen me to do the work to make it a better journey for the next generation coming up after me. I left my traditional job, took a pay cut (huge) and went into HIV prevention. From there something was telling me I still could do more. So I tapped into self and trusted the universe again and started writing. Writing at first for myself, and then for other publications. I began telling my story in various ways and it began to resonate. The vibrations the universe had given me were powerful, as long as I trusted in them.

Fast forward to now, the universe is again vibrating. It is giving signs and red flags, and pushing me into the direction I need to go next, but I am fighting it. The leap from one job to another was big, but this time would be the leap from working for others, to working for me. I think I found it necessary to write this story because as many times as we jump out on faith, trusting in the universe and land, we still have moments when we question if the parachute will open every time. I now know that I am ready, as the universe has once again started showing me the next steps. If it is truly one thing that I have learned, it is that everything the universe gives us happens for a reason and that trusting in that is the key to an empowered life.

George M. Johnson is an HIV advocate who works for Us Helping Us, People into Living. Inc., located in Washington, D.C. He has written for,,,, and Follow him on Twitter @IamGMJohnson.