A tree with roots, a small person looking up into the branches

Nothing Stands Without Support

Any engineer will tell you that you can’t build something successfully without support. Just like the mighty oak must have a strong system of roots to grow and flourish, someone living with HIV must have support to truly thrive.

I would not be where I am at if it weren’t for the love and support that I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by every day. All the work that I have accomplished, I have done with the help of my loved ones: family, friends, and co-workers alike.

Keeping my head above water

Doing everything I do takes so much investment of my time and energy that I can quickly become overwhelmed and exhausted. The constant strain to keep my head above water financially takes a serious toll.

Thankfully I have my grandparents that raised me to fall back on as a safety net. No matter what happens, I will always have a home to go to if I need it.

Support of friends keeps me going

Keeping my pace and staying motivated to keep striving in my career can be rough. Sometimes I feel like I run out of steam. Fortunately, I have a network of friends, both online and off, that are proud of the work I do and the progress I make. They are always there to remind me of everything I have accomplished and how they are excited to see what comes next. Their excitement helps give me the drive to continue achieving.

Sometimes they even find opportunities for me. If it weren’t for a tip from a very good friend of mine, I would not have started on the path in public health and advocacy that I am on right now.

Co-workers who look out for me

I, of course, also have a career in public health and work in the HIV field. My status is always staring me in the face. That fact alone starts to wear me down over time.

I am always grateful for the people I have the pleasure of working with, past and present. I always have at least one person keeping an eye on me and watching for signs of burnout.

Even though I know the signs well myself and I warn people against them, I am still very capable of falling victim without noticing. My co-workers check on me and remind/encourage me to take breaks and not drive myself to the point of falling out and harming my health.

The love and support of my spouse

As always, I have my spouse, the loving negative pole of our magnetic relationship. The literal and figurative heart of my life.

She is at the center and reminds me every day of all my success. I love her dearly. Our marriage is far from perfect, but so are we. I could not have done all that I have without her love and support. I am thankful every day I have her in my life.

The wonderful souls within my life

On paper, I have done much in my short career of a few years, with plenty more in the future should the fates find me in favor. However, the paper fails to show that it was always more than me. The sleepless nights, the exhaustion, the blood, sweat, and tears, the depression, the anxiety, and sometimes the feelings of failure and hopelessness.

Any of it could have caused me to topple were it not for the wonderful souls I am gifted within my life. I thank each and every one of you. That includes anyone reading this - thank you so much for your time.

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