a woman smiles while she holds a spider. The spider is frowning.

You Matter

There are so many different feelings you may have about yourself when you live with HIV. But when you have all these emotions about HIV inside, sometimes, you can lose yourself and forget who you are.

I know this because it is something that I went through, and it lasted for many, many years without me realizing what was happening to me. It was like a spider, creeping up a person’s body very slowly. And then, they finally they can see it and start to scream for it to get off.

I made the spider bigger than it was

That is what I did - screamed loudly once I saw what was happening to me. I came to realize that the spider was so small that it could not harm me; however, I made the spider bigger than what it actually was.

Recognizing my worth

How do we shake this spider off us? It feels like no matter how much we jump around to get rid of the spider, it falls but never seems to leave.

Well, I started to see that I mattered more than this tiny little spider. And this thing - this HIV - wasn’t so frightening anymore.

Regaining a sense of self

I want you to know that you matter because you are you. You matter because others around you love and care about you. You matter because you are an amazing human being that deserves to be happy, but that happiness starts with you.

We can sometimes put more on ourselves than we can handle so just take baby steps by telling yourself daily how great of a person you are, and you will start to believe that.

Wake up and make sense of the day by doing things that make you feel good about yourself. You are not the only one with this damn spider you can’t shake off. But, you can be someone who works very hard to kill it in its tracks.

Have an outlet

Pain doesn’t last for long, but it is a very uneasy feeling that can disrupt our lives. Work on yourself by learning to forget what you are feeling about HIV.

Meditate or read some books about the pain can help you work through it. Dancing, exercise, music - there are many ways to block what your brain is feeling. Write or reaching out to someone to talk about it also helps a great deal.

That is what I did. So, I write it out right here, so I can get these feelings out by speaking truth to you. Let it be an outlet. What matters most is not how we allow the world to view us living with HIV, but what we see in us. That is what matters most.

Kill the spider for good

You are beautiful inside and out; I ask you to always remember that.

Seeing ourselves as how society sees us will only keep that tiny spider crawling up your body and you will never be able to shake it off. Kill it for good. You matter, I matter, we all matter and we are loved by our families and friends.

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