brownstone houses with a cutaway showing a woman with HIV in isolation in her apartment, looking out the window.

Reflections in a Pandemic....

Hello Family, and I hope all is well. This is Octavia checking in and signing on. I would like to take a moment of your time to share what lessons I’ve learned as of lately. I must admit that at times, I have not been doing so well with regard to living in the era of COVID-19. I have had to sit in solitude more than I ever have before and evaluate what family and friends mean to me.

I’ll also admit that throughout my time in solitude, it has taught me a valuable lesson. A lesson that no books or professors and not even therapists could teach me, but only the solitude of an epidemic could.

The realization of being alone

I have always had close friends and confidants that have been around me at some point in time. They have been there at my highest points. I had told myself that I never wanted to retreat into my head. Because if I did, I would get lost in translation.

But along came COVID-19, and I had to come face to face with the realization of being alone. Even though I have children, they could never assume the roles of having companionship in friends. This was one time that I truly felt alone all while residing with three boys.

Reflecting on the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic

I felt like the stories that I heard and read about from people who survived the HIV pandemic of the late ’80s, early '90s. I often asked myself, "Was this what it is was like to be isolated from family and friends? Was this what it was like to witness close friends die?" You couldn’t be by their sides to comfort them or say your goodbyes?

Was this what it was like to, at one time, be surrounded by those you loved while wondering if this was how you were going to die and not truly be able to tell those you loved how much they truly meant to you?

What isolation has taught me

All these things have crossed my mind and they made me realize that I wanted to be more and do more. I wanted to do more than merely exist, but I wanted to live with a purpose. I wanted to be more than my HIV status while wanting the World to know that my life mattered.

Isolation also taught me the value of forgiveness for myself. I could always find forgiveness for others but never bestowed it upon myself. I allowed myself to sit with my anger and frustration of being alone and acknowledge the fact that they deserved validation.

What I was seeking was already inside me

I have begun to accept the fact that I may never feel whole and that’s ok.  I can thrive, even with fractured parts of me. I learned to not get consumed with my ideas of what the perfect me could be while accepting the combination of shattered pieces - which could be what others need to see in order to have their own epiphany.

So while COVID-19 is not over and it will never be forgotten, it has taught me that many of the things I was seeking were already inside of me. All I had to do was search within...

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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