Life can sometimes seem like an endless barrage of accolades and admonishments, with each propelling you from one moment to the next. Whereas the thrill of achievement is fleeting at best, the fallout from a mistake can seem like an endless freefall. When it comes to HIV, those who live with the virus can often feel as if it is the ultimate mark against them; forever diminishing any future good deeds or successes to come. But this feeling, whether it stems from HIV or any other moment or action you regret, is merely a result of self-induced shame and guilt.
And it is complete and total bullshit.
Just think about it. A life without mistakes or missteps is not a life at all, or at least not one that sounds very exciting. Conversely, a life worth mentioning is filled with excitement and regret, love and heartbreak, adventures and mistakes, and maybe even an STD. Of course, it’s best to avoid anything that is bad for you, sexual or otherwise. And while that is a nice quote to stitch onto a pillow, it is all but worthless to you in real life. Because in the Technicolor world, personal growth comes from the aftermath of doing things we sometimes regret.
Unfortunately, the social stigma and blinding fear associated with HIV often hinders people from growth. Instead, many people choose to live in the shadow of their former selves and rest on the notion that they will never be able to have the life they once had. They do this even though all of the pieces are sitting there just waiting to be but together again. No, nott just put back together, but improved upon. Restored, renovated and upgraded.
Living with HIV can be like learning to hold your breath under the water. At first, your lungs feel as if they will explode and you want to escape to anywhere but where you are now. But after a bit of practice, the feelings of suffering and desperation begin to subside. Soon enough, you begin to find peace under the surface and you can explore depths that you once thought were impossible to get to.
I have met too many people who remained frozen in the moment when they found out they were HIV-positive. Two years, five years, even ten years later, they have yet to peek from behind their tightly clasped hands that remain firmly over their faces. This self-imposed imprisonment is the new tragedy of HIV and is an affront to the people who fought so hard to live and still lost the battle
Unless you are superhuman, which you probably wouldn’t be reading this if you are, you are flawed by divine design. Embrace the beauty of mistakes by forgiving yourself immediately. Don’t waste one minute you don’t have punishing yourself for something that cannot be undone. Instead, find the lesson in it, however difficult or hopeless you think the situation may be, then tuck it in your pocket and get on with it.
Learning to forgive yourself, be it for an HIV diagnosis or anything else, is the easiest way to be freed from the opinions and judgment of others. It is a way to open up and allow the thing you want to into your life by giving up control of the things you don’t. Do not just give up your claim to happiness, fight for it.
Breathe. Dive deep. And come up for air.
Source: HIV Equal