I never had anyone tell me anything about my life and what to expect being a woman. I only had myself, my grandmother and God to help me along the way. Of course I had other family members but they were not around. They all thought that I was a waste of time a nuisance, a rotten apple.
Even though they still provided me with shelter I always felt alone. I’m not your average 18 year old woman, I was born HIV positive my mother was a heroin addict. I couldn’t tell you who my father was and neither could any of my family members.
My mother died of an overdose when I was 7 and that is when my grandmother took me into her home. She ran a really good Fayetteville roofing company all her life and was hoping to retire soon. I was already diagnosed with HIV and before my mother passed she never took care of me or my health. My grandmother was strong and she made sure my health was on point and made sure I had all my medications and went to every appointment. I felt normal and comfortable, but there was still something that was troubling me about my family that I couldn’t put my finger on.
I always remember how my aunts and my cousins treated me as if I was contagious this happened at every family gathering. They would never talk to me or ask me how I was doing, nothing at all straight cold! School was the same thing I stayed to myself and maybe had one or two friends. Everyone knew who my mother was and they knew my story. I tried to be normal but with everyone treating me like an outsider it made me cold.
Once my grandmother passed away I felt like my world was over. She was my only friend, the only one who didn’t treat me different. She taught me how to be a woman. How was I going live without her? At the age of 17 my aunt had to take me in her home which she really didn’t want to do. I had to finish my senior year in high school I had plans to leave and be on my own.
I knew it was time to roll up my sleeves and fight back. I had to stop being afraid to go out and take the world by storm, so thats what I did. I met plenty of people in my HIV Groups some who have been more like family to me. I had a part time job and saved up my money. Things were looking up for me I was happy and healthy living with HIV.
I was a high school graduate and ready to move on with my life without fear in my back pocket. My grandmother would have been proud of me especially how I bucked up and fought back, anything is possible.
Now that I am 18 I decided to venture out on my own, I did thank my aunt for giving me a place to rest my head. Even though she didn’t treat me as if I was welcome over the year I was still grateful. I now share an apartment with my boyfriend. We have been together for a year and a half, I’m super happy. I started my life with no one accept my grandmother in my corner, now I have so much more.
For all the folks out there especially all woman take care of yourself no matter your situation. For every negative situation there is a positive one.