blog post about me the other day, and the seeming “normalcy“ of HIV.
A few days after reading my sister’s blog post, I was riding on the bus to work. For some reason, the bus was extra crowded that morning (note: I say crowded in the American sense of the word… to Zambians or Peace Corps Volunteers all around the world, the bus would still be considered to be pretty empty). Anyways, according to my American perception of things, the bus was crowded, and we were squeezing in and touching up against each other. Nothing really stood out to me though. I was just taking a bus to work, sharing it with others on their way to work or other downtown activities. It was just a normal morning. I was just a normal girl on the bus.
And then my mind started wandering, and I remembered “Oh yeah, I have HIV.” (I had gone for days without thinking about it).
“But none of these people on this bus know that I have HIV. They are all pushed up against me, and they have no idea. To them, I am just a normal girl, on a normal morning, taking a bus to work.”
I smiled to myself. I thought, “Yeah, this is okay. I have HIV… but, so what? Its my life now. I’m used to it. It is my new normal.”
I’m not sure if this post is really making sense to others. Maybe you have to actually go through it in order to understand it. I guess I’m just trying to say that I am at a point where I can find some peace in this. It is becoming old news. It is now simply just a part of my life. It is a pill that I take each night. But I am still me. I am still normal. I can walk around and be myself. I can work. I can take a bus to work, and I don’t have to feel sad when I remember that I have HIV. I can interact with others, whether they know about my HIV status or not. I can smile about it. I can laugh about it. I can talk about it, if and when I want to. I can forget about it for long periods of time, and pull it back out when I need to. It is, and always will be, a part of me, yet it does not define me. I can keep on living.
I am 28. White. A Female. And a former Peace Corps Volunteer. I am HIV Positive. This is my story of how a few months, a few people, and a few events in Zambia changed me and my life forever. This is the story of how I contracted HIV and brought my Peace Corps Journey to a crashing halt... and how I am working now to pick up and put back together the pieces of my life as a newly diagnosed person living with HIV. This was not the journey I had originally planned... my path has traumatically and dramatically changed... but it is the one I am on now. There is no going back. There is only forward. I welcome you to follow along with me as I attempt to explore this new life ahead of me, whether you are someone from the Peace Corps community, or someone living with HIV. I welcome your comments, questions, suggestions, and opinions. Let us go forward together. To start from the beginning, click here He Gave Me More Than A Bracelet.