I’m a hypochondriac.
I don’t need Web MD to freak me out. I convince myself with every little change in my body the worst has come, and the end is near.
So naturally the last time I had unprotected sex, even with no symptoms, I convinced myself I had contracted all the STDs, every single one.
If you’ve followed my blogs at all you know that it’s been over a year and a half since I’ve been sexually active (for spiritual and personal reasons), and that while I hope to see the path of purity until marriage I’m gracefully taking it day by day. So far so good.
But back to the purpose of this blog.
I made my STD screening appointment exactly 2 months from the day I last had sex. Why 2 months? Oh, because with my research, I knew that it could take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months to test positive for HIV after contraction.
For 2 months I wrestled with the fear of that three letter acronym. I learned how the South is plagued with this virus from rural areas all the way to the ATL. I learned how a lot of churches want nothing to do with it. I learned of the medical advances they hope are bringing them closer to a cure. I learned the demographics, and how realest the risk was for my black brothers. I learned that children in America are still being born positive, and thus balled my eyes out after watching the documentary ‘Wilhelmina’s War’.
At the end of those 2 months I was ready to face either fate. If I did test positive all I could do was cling on to my identity in Christ. I had to let His name be bigger than anything, even this.
The day came, and I couldn’t have been any more relieved to test negative. A clean slate. Except for I couldn’t shake what I now knew.
There were people out there who felt the same anguish I did except for on the other side of their testing, HIV stopped being just an acronym and instead became their lifestyle, and truthfully there was nothing positive about it.
Maybe there was a part of me that always cared about this. My heart went out to AIDS stricken Africans, and I bought product (RED) when I could. But it was when God used my sinfullness, my mess ups, and my fears, that helping this community became my passion.
I just knew that even though I couldn’t understand what it’d be like to be HIV+ I wanted anyone who was to have the opportunity to develop such a faith in God that their diagnosis couldn’t even begin to tarnish the loving image they were created in.
I’m not going to Africa anytime soon, but God has definitely led me to Atlanta where this is practically becoming an epidemic. And being involved in the church, one of the things I first noticed is the lack of a bridge between these two groups.
It is my dream to build that bridge. In the biggest form of that dream I hope to have my own non-profit ministry.
But there’s just one problem. I’m still in Fayetteville, NC.
After spending so much of this past year applying for job after job and trying to save money, I became so frustrated that I didn’t realize I was pushing myself further and further away from my new found passion. All I ever wanted was to have such a flame for something that I didn’t give up on it at the first sign of setback.
I had to ask myself the question. What can I do today that will get me where I want to be tomorrow?
I couldn’t get in touch with the only HIV non-profit in town, and it didn’t seem like they’d been very active in the past year so I set my eyes towards Raleigh.
If I truly believed in this I could afford to put some gas money on it. I filled out a volunteer application with the Alliance of AIDS Services Carolina, and it was at the orientation I knew I was stepping foot in the right direction. I opened up to the volunteer coordinator about my why and my intentions, and she literally said to me how very needed it all was.
The next day I was on a plane to Minnesota.
I visited a friend, and her 3 year old niece, who said the darndest thing about not being able to give us powers because she left her magic at home.
I never wanna leave my magic at home again. I never want to become so obsessed with not being where I want in life that I forget how much power I have in my now.
As for Atlanta. I think I’m just gonna go all Coyote Ugly and go for it.