Occasionally, I’m asked where I get my motivation. Be it in the gym or in life, there have been many moments that have become catalysts to change not only my life but also my behaviors.
How I was handling everything
It was a small satellite clinic attached to the case management site that I had chosen for it being away from prying eyes which, with as open as I am now, seems funny; but at that time, I wanted privacy.
Like most clinic spaces, it smelled sterile and uninviting. During my appointment, my provider took a moment without the audience of a nurse or case manager present to check-in.
“How are you doing emotionally?”, she asked with her back to me. When I replied that I was ok, good, or whatever adjective I chose, she turned around and asked “How are you handling everything with such a good attitude?”, she asked, noting that the other on-site staff had made mention of my normally cheery disposition.
Facing more than an HIV diagnosis
My diagnosis wasn’t the only trying thing happening. I had found myself in an abusive relationship and feeling poorly that my business was failing, and it felt as though HIV were the smallest of the problems I was facing.
Don’t get me wrong. When I first came in, I was upset, frightened, and even a little angry. But, I always knew not to direct those feelings towards my provider or any of the other staff.
Something good will come of this
I was raised with the belief that no matter who we become, we must be kind. While so much of those early days feel like a blur of appointments, case managers, and a never-ending stream of my blood into test tubes, what I responded I remember clearly.
Somewhere from deep inside of myself, I replied “Something good is going to come of all of this.”
How I stayed motivated
I don’t know where that kind of confidence came from, but I said it and I had to make it come true.
At that time, I could barely say "HIV" without my voice trembling.
Opportunities that have come my way
I had no idea in 4 years' time I’d travel the country, speaking to hundreds of people, that I’d work with real-life patients during their own difficult times, or that I would be sitting here writing this.
For me, I found stability in taking my medicine every day; it gave me a point of focus in a time where everything felt chaotic. Now when things feel tough, I think back to that time, to that statement I made and look at just how far I have come.
Living life to the fullest
Anything in life can change with the right mix of commitment, persistence, and a good attitude.
There is so much power in the ability to choose. I hope you make the choice to take control of the narrative of your life and live it to the fullest.
At what age were you diagnosed with HIV?