As imperfect as I am, I am perfectly able to better myself.
I have been HIV+ since the early nineties. I must admit that after living in survival mode for so long, I have found the transition to just plain living to be somewhat difficult.
There is an underlying fear that the other shoe will drop. As someone who witnessed the shoe drop on so many people, it is often hard to not feel like running and hiding. I know I am not alone.
When I mention this transition, I feel that for me it is mostly filled with acceptance. Acceptance that there is a future. Acceptance that I can be seen as lovable and sexable, not a pariah. Acceptance that though the extreme in the worst of ways can happen to people, extreme in the best of ways need not be the goal. And finally, acceptance that I am in fact the one responsible for making this transition.
While I am being healthy, I first do the things that are necessary to keep me healthy. These are rudimentary, but important parts of my life. I take my pills, every day. I see the doctor regularly, and I even subject myself to some of those necessary, yet nasty procedures that sometimes I would rather forget.
I have found that one aspect of relieving the worry that the other shoe will drop is to take those steps in order to make sure that the shoe doesn’t drop unnecessarily. I am surrounded by intelligent people, both behind the prescription pad and behind the scenes advocating for little old me. So when I am told that I need to have regular anal pap smears, I do it (begrudgingly), not only because it is the right thing to do, but because, as I said, I am responsible for this transition into living.
And when my responsibility sometimes tips into irresponsibility, or I feel guilt for those times when I may not have done what was best for my health, be it drugs or worrisome sex, I try to keep in mind that this transition has no clean cut start or finish. I am here to improve upon something, constantly. As imperfect as I am, I am perfectly able to better myself.
So, with that, I must say I do not intend to lay a heavy hand here. I only intend to point out that for me, health is so much more than how often I take myself to the gym (enough) or how many miles I hike (a lot), or how much fun sex I have (almost enough). It is often about how much I am willing to allow myself to enjoy living this plain ol’ life.
-- H. Boden Gregory
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