LIVING POSITIVE

Having a positive outlook in life has always been something I've tried to abide by, probably inherited from my amazing mom. But a couple years a couple years ago, something happened that only strengthened this perspective and became the only way for me to see life.

A few years ago, on a brisk autumn day I found out I was HIV positive. It wasn't a surprise to be honest, and I was expecting it after hearing that one of my partners tested positive two weeks prior. This was a two week period of being in Limbo. I thought maybe I had a special type of blood or enzyme or cell that could possibly lead to a cure since my results took longer then usual. It was nice having this fantasy because then I could've helped lead to a cure for everyone affected by the virus! But nope, those two weeks of dreams came to an end when my results finally came in.

I didn't think I was going to cry but I ended up bawling my eyes out. I remember calling my cousin, one of my best friends, being really lax about it at first but then the tears just came rolling down. I was overwhelmed with so many emotions in that moment, although anger was never one of them. I'm not mad at anyone, it's not anyone's fault this happened. If anything it's my fault as much as theirs, no one is to blame.

For me the most difficult aspect of being diagnosed positive is knowing that I now have an extra layer of "man repellingness" on top of my already man repelling fashion. So thoughts of being alone and never finding love streamed through my head, which at some point I just accepted. I already accepted the possibility of being alone forever due to my exterior presentation so this extra layer was a simple hill to get over. I know people with HIV can date and find love, but whatever, if it's meant to be, it's meant to be. 

Thanks to today's modern medicine like PrEP, being positive is no longer a death ticket as it was 10, 20 years ago. People are living long happy and normal lives. It's still not an ideal situation and there is still a negative stigma behind the virus but all we can do now is educate others about the virus in today's world. Hopefully within our lifetime a cure will be found and all the people that had hopes to have a biological family without the complications of HIV can have one and people that want to resume a "normal" life HIV-free can. Although you can have kids in alternative ways, you can also still have biological kids being HIV positive thanks to modern medicine and practices. But many people still see having the virus as a death to that dream. But that's not the case, you just have to do your research!

Living with the virus hasn't been difficult, I just have to take my meds every night before bed and for the rest of my day I just continue to live as if nothing ever happened. I'm perfectly healthy and undetectable just like Magic Johnson! I'm completely open about the subject and have found much solace in expressing this period of my life to my loved ones. Fortunately, I have received nothing but love and support but sadly for some others, they face remorse and disownment. It really saddens me to hear such stories--no one should have to face disdain and negligence due to being HIV positive. When a person is "sick" it's an innate reaction for beloved ones to be concerned and do all they can to help them feel better, so this negative situation is something I will never understand. People need to wake up from their narrow minded worlds! If anything positive can come out of that situation, it just shows that those people don't value you and love you as you may have thought, which helps filter those people out of your life. Whether it's previous best friends or even family. But I can be here for you! I'll help be one of your pillars of support. I may not be enough, so reach out to an organization or attend a support group. Don't be scared to reach out for help and support.

Many people have called me brave but I just think I'm living my life. What else is there to do? Give up? Be sad and mope around all day depressed? Absolutely not, I still have dreams and aspirations to achieve, I can't just give up on life because of some measly virus. I won't let it beat me down. Don't ever let a virus or person take over your life, just keep on living for yourself! The next day after getting my results, I resumed work and continued to live life as usual. 

I tell myself everyday, stay strong, keep your head up, and smile because you're alive. It's not the end of the world so make your life worth it. Being positive is the only life path I can and should take and I am totally cool with that.

x d

Blazer: Zara (Similar Here) | Top: Nasty Gal (Similar Here) | Pants: Zara (Similar Here) | Shoes: Senso (Similar Here) | Earring: Sorelle | Watch: Daniel Wellington | Rings: Shahla Karimi

Photography by Linda Chow
Edited by Trace Otsuka