HAWMC: Day 4 - Dear Kamaria, You Have HIV and it's OK.

This is my 3rd year attempt to do this Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge and see it all the way through the month of November. Third time is a charm, right? I have a lists of prompts, I can do this. I will do this. So far, so good since I"ve made it to Day 4 - that's a first!

Each day, WEGO Health, an awesome empowerment network of over 100,000 health activists, posts a prompt and health activists around the world reflect, write and post their experiences with their health in response to these posts. If you've read this far, I thank you. You'll be reading a lot about HIV for the next 26 days. Let's start, shall we?

So, my diagnosis day...was interesting to say the least. Moreso, the circumstances leading up to it, not so much how I was diagnosed. If I could write a letter to myself for that day, knowing all that I know now...hmmm. I like this prompt because it doesn't ask if I'd change my diagnosis - and for that, I'm glad, because I wouldn't. Changing living with HIV would change who I am today and I love myself WAY more today than I did then. I fought hard as hell to be the Kamaria I am today. So, anyway, here's my letter:

Dear Kamaria,

You just became a mother. Life is looking pretty scary right now and adding this diagnosis to the mix is really going to change your life, but not in the way you may think. You are still beautiful. You are still worth the love you crave. You're daughter is going to be an amazing and better version of you. Believe it or not, living with HIV will actually show you who you're real friends are. There are going to be times where you will question if someone is reacting to you a certain way solely because you are living with HIV, and there will be times when physically you aren't going to know if your immune system is suffering or if you just have a cold. The amazing boyfriend you have now, he's a catalyst in your life to remind you that life is not over and that everything that makes you a woman will be appreciated, valued, cherished and honored. 

Here's some things you may be shocked to know...

  • One day, you're going to realize you are the change you've been waiting for and you're going to speak out. Doing this, will cause some people to leave your life. Oh but beloved, the room they make for all the amazing people is going to BLOW. YOUR. MIND.
  • There's always going to be a fight. If it's not against the stigma, it will be with the insurance companies. If not them, it will be agencies that provide services. If not about you, the fight will be for someone else to be delivered to a place of empowerment. Pick and choose your battles, know you're victorious. Beloved, you are MORE than equipped to handle this.
  • Your values are going to change. Things you believed to be right and true before were based on what you were taught, experienced or exposed to. You are now walking into an opportunity of enlightenment to know the world for yourself and how you want to live in it according to YOUR beliefs. Think about it, an abortion made sense to you at one time, in spite of what you were raised to believe. This doesn't make you a bad person, this makes you human. It's what you do with those beliefs that shape who you are. Continue to love, continue to not cast judgment on others and continue to learn.
  • You are going to see pockets of this world and be recognized for things you never even thought of. A passport is in your future beloved.
  • Hug your family more - especially your grandmother. 
  • People are going to judge you - but guess what? They will do that no matter if HIV is in the mix or not. Your skin is thicker than you realize. Bless them with your amazing smile and keep it moving.
  • Right now, you think you're going to have to take a ton of medications. Honestly, because of scientific milestones, that's true at first. You are being diagnosed in the cusp of some amazing breakthroughs with treatments. So, stick to what they prescribe, go to your labs and fight for the doctor you're comfortable with. Ignoring your health, ignoring these letters of HIV will not make it go away. Trust me.
  • That fight I mentioned you'll be in earlier, don't be freaked out by that. Others in the fight will hear your battle cry and they will support you. They won't always look like you, but you have a common bond of solidarity with them that can't be broken.
  • Please remember to breathe. You're a single mom with a lot of goals. Trust the opportunities that come your way, but don't forsake the memories you'll have with your baby girl. You'll blink and she'll be an adult. 
  • And girl...you're not fat. Keep it that way by speaking life over your reflection in the mirror. Be intentional about what you put in your body. It's ok to love fries, but don't let the fries love your thighs. Virtual 5Ks will become a trend and the medals will appeal to your distraction by shiny things. Do them.
  • Any doubts you have about your family loving and supporting you, wash it down the drain. Learn the basics of this diagnosis, breathe and let them know you're going to be ok.
  • I love you. God loves you. You are enough.
Now, don't cuss out Dr. Jardine. She's new to this too. Your mom is going to worry, but you will find strength together. You are not going to die from this anytime soon. So, cry when you need to, laugh more than once a day, sleep in when you need to and know that you're doing the best you can. 



Me as a new Mom, 2003 a few weeks before my diagnosis.

So, that was intense to write.Thanks for reading. Feel free to comment and share... I actually didn't go back to edit like I usually do. I want this to be the real deal of what I'd say to the 21 year old, single mom terrified of life, me. It's amazing to place myself back in that space and be aware of how amazing life is now. My mental health therapist will be pleased with this blog post. What would YOU say to yourself at the dawn of your diagnosis? OR if you don't have a diagnosis, what's a point in your life that you felt a shift for a huge change? What advice would you give yourself, knowing what you know now?


www.kamaria.org | #embracehealing | #giveinspiration | #livevictorious | #empoweredlegacies