I spent so much of my life feeling like I was on the other side of a window looking in. Like a window shopper who longs for what is in the window. I found myself wanting to be on the other side but feeling like I would never be able to get there. The other side of the window represented “normal”. This unobtainable thing called “normal” that I could never be because I live with hiv.Sometimes I would tell someone what happened to me and the look of horror or the lack of positive concern would translate to me, that I was anything but ”normal”Making feel like l had two heads or was a dark scary monster.
I know now that sometimes it was more than they cared to know about me. Sometimes it was something they just couldn’t ever understand or identify with. Sometimes it was my own immaturity that made them not want to be around me.
I spent so much of my life feeling so forlorn, cheated, and full of sadness and longing. Longing for what I could never have
My life became a series of disappointments, when the fairytales did not come true. Because I felt so unworthy, so “not normal”, I made horrible choices and let others dictate what my feelings should be. Even if they did not do this directly, I believed that they were always so much more important than I was.
I wore myhiv status as my medal, my badge of courage. I thrived on the drama because it brought me more attention which I craved so much because inside I felt like a “nothing, not normal” and never would be. I took care of others and their hurts were more important than mine.
I went through years and years of this going from one tragedy to another, never realizing that much of the tragedy was created because I had no boundaries or self-esteem.
I began to get angry with myself and told myself I would not talk about it, the hiv.
I realized that I thrived on being a martyr but it was doing nothing to help me get to “normal”.
I began by determining that when people asked me how I was, I would find something positive to say or just "I am fine". For me it wasn't denial, it was working toward "normal". Most of the crisis’s I faced began to be less overwhelming in about 24 hours of time.
I began to let others speak and to listen more. I always had a problem with listening, I am kinda impulsive and act and say things too quickly. Sometimes without thinking or I found myself thinking for others… I learned to let lapses in conversations be there without feeling that I always had to say something. I learned not to volunteer for things because no one else did. When I did volunteer, I learned to say no to more than I could handle.
All these things take time and I learned them sometimes very slowly. Most of all I learned that I have feelings and that the feelings are mine, and my feelings matter. Then I learned how to begin to express my feelings. Somewhere through this process I went through the window to the other side. I am normal; I just have a very unusual story to tell.