When I Grow Up I Want to Be...

When you were a kid, you were probably asked at least once, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I never really knew how to answer this question.

Born with HIV

Being born with HIV back in 88' meant my parents never actually planned for my future because no one believed a future existed. In my house were no futuristic questions, and I was never pressured into being the best at anything. All I had to focus on was surviving.

Struggling to stay motivated

What that translates to as an adult though is, spurts of lack of motivation, an extreme struggle to make decisions, and a good splash of lack of self-discipline. I was encouraged to participate when possible.
Some kids grew up building this image of their future selves in their minds.

Perhaps they were influenced by their parent(s), a teacher, or another family member. As we get older there are all kinds of relationships and outer influences molding an idea of who we want to be when we grow up. This can make answers to this simple question to become painstakingly well thought-out stories. I usually just chose the career of whomever I admired at the time.

Planning for the future

There's something very real about reaching 30 and realizing that I've never actually allowed myself to believe there was a future to look forward to. I'm grateful for every opportunity that has been presented to me along the way, but it's all just been one step at a time; maybe if I'm feeling adventurous, one year at a time.

I've reached a point in my life where physically and emotionally all is in healthy order, but I'm beginning to feel limited from a career as I struggle to create a basic structure for myself. I've noticed true gaps in my most basic fundamentals of learning because I spent so much time before the age of 10 just...surviving. School was secondary, no matter how bad I thrived to learn, my body told me I had bigger things to focus on.

Thriving with HIV

I feel being born with HIV gives me a unique outlook on life. One that reminds me my life has purpose; though some days the waters of life get a little murky and at times wild, the heart of a survivor never stops fighting. I am reminded that it's a blessing to shift from surviving to thriving. I stand strong at 31 with an undetectable viral load since the age of 15. The scope of focus is slowly working its way wider, reminding me that living is also a part of surviving.

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