For Auld Lang Syne
A Letter to My New Diagnosed Self
October 3, 2018
BY ISAAC D JOSEPH
Today is October 3, 2014 and you just found out that you have tested positive for HIV/AIDS. Right now you lying in a hospital bed, but I know you would much rather be somewhere listening to Erykah Badu getting higher than a Georgia Pine in an effort to make sense of something that you had already known for 2 years. With me telling you this I bet you are wondering why we didn’t seek treatment then, because confronting the fact that you were HIV positive meant confronting the fact that you were attacked and raped on December 24, 2012 by some who knowingly had the virus and that was something we were not yet ready to do.
On this day you will be instantly thrown into a whirlwind of psychological warfare. Mixed with twenty-four years of emotional baggage you are a ticking time bomb just waiting to explode and you will, but for now you will keep those feeling bottled up and nothing fuels anger better than bottled up feelings. You will be mad at the world and the people around you, but mostly yourself. When you look in the mirror you will no longer see the person that you once were. You will see someone damaged, used, dirty, disgusting, unwanted, and unloved. You will see someone who is finally being punished for all the wrong that you had done to others. You will see someone that is dying and as a result you will go numb and soon fall back into old habits with a few new ones, but remember that powdery confection and that hard candy only purpose is to make you feel numb will keep you from confronting the real issues.
So here we are having tested positive for HIV and diagnosed with AIDS due to fact that that our CD4 count have dropped to 94. What to do? With no manual to instruct us on how to cope or deal with that fact that you are dying, you will begin to crack under pressure so much that you will try to take your life not once, or twice, but six times and unlike so many other you will survive each attempt. Now some would call it luck, but you will call it divine intervention and you soon will realize that God has a plan and purpose for you to fulfill, a purpose so important that you could literally transform the lives and mind of millions. You will see that HIV was not the end or beginning of your story, but it is only a piece. A piece so significant that it had to happen in order for you to become the person that you are today, to become the leader that you are today.
Now there will be days where your will feel alone and you will feel like you are stuck in a hopeless situations. There will also be night when you can’t sleep because you will be too afraid to close your eyes unsure if that that moment will be your last. All of these feeling are ok and rather common to feel after finding out that you have been diagnosed with a chronic illness. Just know that you are not alone because there is someone sitting in that room with you that is going to have your back and be there for through each dark moment. He will become your only friend, companion, and confidant. He will hold to the key to your freedom because he will love you unconditionally and even though you are going to give him a hard time he will never throw in the towel on you. So hold on to him tight and never let him forget how much you love him.
Finally, on December 12, 2014 you will stop being so stubborn an afraid of the virus. You will finally seek treatment and even though the great doctors at St. Luke Episcopal Hospital said that you treatment would probably be ineffective, trust your gut and stand on your faith. Remember that life and death is in the power of the tongue, so speak life and do not fear the journey no matter where it may lead. Just know that year that you were given to live will come with many more and even though you will have your complications with finding the right medications just know you are not going anywhere anytime soon.
See we grew up in world that would not accept or tolerate us for who we are as a person. So forget about all the times that you were called a fag, punk, or referred to as a curse upon the family. Forget about all the times that you were told that being gay was a sin and that HIV is a curse God use to punish the socially immoral. My beautiful black sheep be unapologetically proud of who you are, because you are beautiful and you are loved. Show the world that living with HIV is more than just about battling a virus or disease. Show them that we are still people who deserve to be treated with love, kindness, and respect. Let the people know, especially the millennials, who are being newly diagnosed with HIV every day to know that their journey is not over but it is has only just begun. Let people know that they can overcome anything because “We are all fighters, crusaders, and survivors and at heart with are all positive people because we all try to live positively. We are humans who are Happy, Incandescent, and Victorious.”
“We are all fighters, crusaders, and survivors and at heart with are all positive people because we all try to live positively. We are humans who are Happy, Incandescent, and Victorious.”
- Isaac D Joseph