Instead of filling you in on the next part of the Philip story, which I was planning on doing, I feel compelled to tell you what happened last night.
Sometimes, out of the blue, I will be hit with a single thought. I am HIV positive. This thought strikes fast and strikes hard. The reality of living with this disease presses upon my entire being. Everything that I have ever seen or heard about HIV or even worse, AIDS, begins to fester in my mind. Feeling like an outcast in my own community. Feeling like I will never get my Jane Austen happy ending, which I, being a hopeless romantic, am desperately looking for. For me, it is almost like reliving the day that I tested positive.
These mini breakdowns typically happen directly after multiple rejections. This was the case during my vacation to Provincetown, MA, last summer. After being shot down because of my status on several occasions, I plunged into the depths of despair (just like Anne with an E). I would wake up early, hop on my bike, put in my headphones and head to the bike trails. I would work myself so hard that I would break down into a breathless, heaving cry. This was a perfect time to do this. There would be no one on the trails and I had free reign to let go as much as I needed to. Ok, that’s a lie. I was interrupted once doing my best Sally Field impression (you know the breakdown during the funeral in Steel Magnolias). A family of bikers with matching bikes and helmets started to approach. I quickly composed myself. When they rode past, this adorable little girl smiled and waved at me. For some reason this sweet gesture made the tears flowed even more vigorously. Damn you, you cute little girl and your optimistic smile!
But somehow after these mini breakdowns I am able to face the rest of the day with my typical cheery disposition and more importantly, a little more acceptance of myself .
Last night in yoga, yes I am still practicing, we were finishing up class and I was preparing for savasana. For those of you who do not practice yoga, savasana is the pose at the end of the class where you relax your body and more importantly your mind. I always have a hard time in this. I never can turn off the swirling thoughts the flow through my brain. Lately the act of quieting my mind had become much more easy and quite the welcome escape.
As I was laying there in corpse pose, ready and willing to escape into nothingness, one thought popped in my head. I am HIV positive. Where is this coming from. I am HIV positive. I know I am. I am HIV positive. I get it! I have been for over five years. I am HIV positive. Stop it, stop it, stop it, stop it. I am HIV positive. The more I tried to denied the thought, the more it appeared. I am HIV positive.
I must have tensed my body so much that the instructor came up and pushed my shoulders back onto the floor. There was something so gentle and yet at the same time so forceful about her touch that I gave into her hands and eventually, I gave into my thought. I am HIV positive. She then started to message my temples and my forehead. Could she see my inner struggle? Could she sense I was about to break? The instructor left my side to address another student’s struggles. As she walked away the tears started to trickle down my cheeks. I am HIV positive.