I believe some people are born with their glass half full, and some are born with their glass half empty, and mine is kinda full and brimming – more than full. So I would say that I have kind of a positive outlook.
I’ve been positive since 1988. I learned about my status when my partner was HIV pos– well actually, he was progressed all the way to AIDS. He was severely sick, and then I just assumed I was positive, and then I got tested a couple weeks later.
I had pretty bad experiences with my first partner, from a medical setting perspective, so I shunned away from the medical community. But when I was really sick I went back to the medical community and I was told, “You have six months to live.” This was in 1995. And in my mind I says, “Well, at least I’m going to make it to the year 2000. I don’t care if I’m gonna be lying in a bed with my bed pan under me. That’s my goal.”
I think over time you just become more resilient and realize your positivity is actually quite a powerful tool. Also, you just learn how to live better, how to cope better, and understand that resiliency is a skill that you can develop.
Everything fell into place for me when I saw my first partner take his last breath. His family was there and I was sleeping in the room next door, and they said, “Oh, come come come!” And I had just walked in the room, and then I just saw him taking his last breath. And you know what? You don’t have a second last breath. You only have one last breath. Like this is final final final final final. And to see that moment in time when life has expired, and then the quiet after that… It just, it was sad, of course, but at the same time, it’s such a peaceful thing to see. And you know what? After that, I’m okay to die. I’m gonna live my life every day the way I’m gonna live my life and I’m gonna have no regrets. And the day that is gonna come for me to die, I will die with a smile on my face. I really will.