I have battled for a while on whether to post this or not. Somewhere in my mind, this blog is to explain the science behind my illness the way I understand it, and that there is no real place for my own feelings outside that. Don’t ask me why I feel that way, I don’t even know but that feeling sometimes restricts me from posting some of my real feelings. But suddenly, after a few things happened over the course of the last few months, it occurred to me that a lot of who I am and what I am struggling with is related to this illness. Whether I realise it or not, whether I admit it or not and whether I want it to or not.
Last year was a very rough one for me as for a lot of people. But it was different for me because I had to ask my self the question ‘how did I get here?’. How did I become this person who desires death more than life, who from being excited to wake up in the morning, was looking for ways to end her existence quickly. Who had lost herself so much that could not stand to see her own reflection in the mirror? Who had nothing to believe in or hold on to, not her faith, or her abilities or family, or friends or wealth? A pretty girl with dreams who suddenly became an average single mother with no hope for tomorrow? It became clear to me that despite my best efforts to the contrary, life was just happening to me. And it was painful, and it was meaningless.
I struggled through severe depression towards the end of last year and mustered the courage to go to my parents’ only to be faced with the realisation that I was not free from discrimination.A few things my mum said made me aware that she would always see me as the child with HIV, that she felt my daughter needed to be protected from me and probably that I was not good enough for my own child. This discovery tore me apart but I returned vowing to work hard this year, succeed and relocate my child to live with me. Then another hit. It turned out my brother’s house which has been my lodging for this while would no longer be available to me, or anyone. He had been owing rent for a year and the landlord’s family had had enough. Why that included launching a vicious physical attack on me personally is still a mystery to me, but when it rains it pours. But for me this was the last straw; if I was broken before, I was totally beaten down now. My property that I had packed up and lugged around for 7 years would have to be lugged around some more. I could never really settle down.
I did my usual blood tests and my CD4 count was the lowest I had ever seen it go in all my years of living with this disease. Despite the ARVs, despite the new treatment centre. They said it was probably the new regimen. Or stress. Stay away from stress, they advised. I would laugh if I could.
But I had lost myself. I have lost myself.
But something similar to a glimmer of opportunity just showed up. I have an opportunity to go to a training program somewhere in Asia for a little over half a year. If I can raise the money. Initially I was not enthusiastic about it because it seemed to be the sort of glamour less opportunities that present themselves in my life. Like an archaeological find that may or may not be valuable, but never the real burnished gem. But now, I see it for what it could be for me; the opportunity to find myself. And though I worry about missing my daughter for so long, and about what future lies for me beyond that training, I will take it if I can raise the money.
And I will give out some of my property the electricals, the electronics; I will discard some, the soft furnishing, the extras; and I will burn some, the artwork and the utensils. Because those things are a sad reminder of who I thought I was. I am looking to see who I could be. Or if being is even an option.