A very honourable woman made being HIV positive simple for me. She recounted the story of what happened when she went away into the bush for the weekend. While there, she decided to walk over a log that crossed over a rocky stream. Afraid of heights, she fell and hit her head. Bleeding and in pain, she dragged herself back to camp. She took a pill and Rescue Remedy and, even though still hurt, decided she would not miss out on the game drive that was set to close her weekend.
On the second day of February 2005 I awaited test results from the doctor about my HIV status. At 14:10 that day, the news arrives telephonically that I am positive. My world stops, fear arrives at my doorstep. A tornado of raging emotions hits my home. “How long do I have left Lord?”, is all that I can ask.
At that moment I received a phone call from my mom, my friend and my healer. My mom, stopped dead in her tracks, knew. My friend too, somehow knew, as did my healer. And I knew. Traveling at the speed of light that day I told my dad and my sister, who through the fear of death spun out of control. Self blame came knocking at my door.
I had been ill two weeks prior to that February afternoon and work was on the phone. I took the bull by the horns and told my employer in confidence. But he could not bear this news alone. This affected my working relationship, between me and my employer. I had such a hard time grasping why a company who has an HIV/Aids policy on their employment charter took so long to give me some direction. Ultimately, they never really helped and I was left detached and alone by the company.
I remember, in the beginning, my friend helped me call all the HIV centres; I really wanted to not feel alone. I went to a government establishment where I was shown how to put a condom on. They said they would call as soon as there was a group meeting; eight months have passed since that day. I often wonder what happens to those that don’t have access to the internet, good doctors or a supportive family. There truly are no support systems in place that are strong and that help secure the insecurity.
“…World Aids Day is everyday…”
I knew of only one HIV positive man who I had met along my journey of life and gave him a call. He met up with me shortly after that first week. He introduced me to self respect, self love and compassion. He told that the world had created this disease for those who had to remember how important they really were.
After this initial transition, I decided to embark on a journey of loving myself, loving HIV and loving death. Realising that I really can endure, and that all one really has is the moment – with yourself and others. HIV is a state of mind. HIV is not the end but can be the beginning of something much deeper. HIV makes you aware of truth in yourself and in others. It divides those you hold close to your heart and those you keep at a distance.
I also realised that telling everyone can amount to your inner destruction if you are not ready. Trust and the art of courage secure a new part of who you are, but the HIV itself is only a small part of you, and not who you are.
How did I land up here, you may ask? Answer: I was not self loving. I met very negative people because I was a very negative person looking for love in all the wrong places when love lay closer to home than I thought – within me. I was in an abusive relationship that almost destroyed my soul and introduced me to the virus.
Through this experience, I have realised that many people have been so hurt that they have forgotten how to love themselves and others. The fear of being hurt further has removed truth, commitment and unconditional love from their lives. We broken souls get so caught up in ourselves – protecting our hearts – that we truly miss out on being in the moment. Instead we act out of inner fear.
We are all human and we are ultimately all the same. HIV is here. It is real and it can happen to you. I am 24 years old, educated and intelligent – and HIV positive. For me, and for so many others, World Aids Day is everyday. It should be for you too.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank my mom and friends who have held my hand so very tightly. Love and love again.
Books that helped me along my way:
Paolo Coelho – Manual of the Warrior of Light
Eckhart Tolle – The Power of Now
Swami Narayani – Within and Beyond
A source of inner light:
Sohum Sanctuary – 011 395 1769