I have made a few mistakes in my life.
Who am I kidding?
I have made MANY mistakes in my life.
And I ain’t even been alive that long.
Some of those mistakes, I can effortlessly push underneath that figurative rug somewhere and pray I lose the memory.
That way, no one else knows about the mistake.
I can just act as though it never happened.
And keep it moving.
But then you have those others.
You know, those other mistakes, which are a little more difficult to conceal.
They make themselves known.
There ain’t no running or no hiding from these type.
Contracting HIV is one of those mistakes for me.
This one I can’t escape.
Sure, I could have kept the secret to myself.
But in order to live healthy and well, I would have had to address it at some point.
It wasn’t noooo hiding, shoving, or pushing this one, nowhere.
I call it a mistake because I knew I should have used a condom.
But I didn’t.
I call it a mistake because people had attempted to guide me to safer choices.
But I opted to do my own thing.
And as a result, I contracted this virus.
I contracted this dumb, stupid, ugly virus.
<insert ALL of the coulda, woulda, shoulda’s>
If only I had done this or that, I would not be HIV positive today.
For other people it may look like:
… if only I had studied for that test, I would have passed that class.
… if only I had ordered a rideshare that night, I would not have to serve the sentence attached to a DUI.
… if only I had used a condom, I might not have contracted chlamydia.
I am not ashamed of my HIV positive status because, we have all made mistakes.
They may not all look the same, but a mistake is a mistake is a mistake.
We all have done something that we wish that we could take back.
The HIV mistake makes itself known daily.
The reminder comes in the form of a once-a-day pill that I struggle to swallow.
Other people may still be able to push their biggest mistakes to the back of their mind.
I can’t. I gotta face mine.
I’m tryna live and sh*t.
Anyways, I’m sure that if we could go back and avoid making these mistakes, we would.
And to me, that sounds like growth.
So I must ask, what is there to be ashamed of in growth?
The Well Project is a non-profit organization whose mission is to change the course of the HIV/AIDS pandemic through a unique and comprehensive focus on women and girls. Visit their website, www.thewellproject.org, to access fact sheets (English and Spanish), blogs, and advocacy tools, and to join a global community of women living with HIV.