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    Posted November 30, 2011 by
    Charlotte, North Carolina
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Have you been affected by AIDS?

    Still Standing! Even with HIV!

    I was raised in a girl’s group home most of my life. The reason being is because my mom was an alcoholic. I got whipped day in and day out. She pulled drop cords from lamps and irons and beat me! I finally got tired and ran away from home! It was me and two other girls from my neighborhood. They swore they were being beat too. I was the youngest. We stayed with this person and that person. Where ever we could lay our heads. The oldest girl met a guy and he offered us a place to stay. He was an older guy. It was about 7 people living in a 3 bedroom apartment. There were 4 older guys and 3 of us. The oldest girl got a job to help take care of us. We were stealing candy bars and chips from the local store to have something to eat. The guys worked and they got drunk all the time. Finally, one day the landlord came to tell us they had received several complaints about noise. They told the guys they had to move. All I could think about is shit what I am going to do? I wasn’t going back with that bitch! That wasn’t going to happen! I had to think real fast on what the fuck was I going to do? I thought tearing up the apartment they would have to call the police. The police would have to find me a place to live. The police came and I went to the police station. My friends went back home. At least I thought they were my friends. How in the hell you going to go back to that shit? They were telling lies…. When I got downtown they called my mom and told her what had happened. She said keep her! Shit I wasn’t shocked she said that but I didn’t know what was getting ready to happen. They called social services and a worker came to talk to me. She took me to a house where there were 4 other girls and a lady. The lady was white! I was kind of scared but it was better than going back to that bitch. I visualized me down on my knees cleaning the floors with a toothbrush. I watched a lot of TV! Seeing the girls in the movies in these homes was mistreated. All I could think about was how could my mother treat me like she did! I was the only child. Her only girl! She didn’t care about me! All she wanted to do is work and DRINK! I never went to the movies or shopping. I wore handy downs. I found out the home was ran by volunteers which were white people! How can they teach me how to be black? They taught me how to wash dishes, clean house, make my bed, hygiene, and cook. They got me back into school; which I was very happy to do. I had to go night school until I was placed in my right grade and that was a headache. Then I attended Independence High school where I graduated. My mother came to my graduation. WOW! I was shocked and pissed at the same time because I still wanted to know “why”? I wanted to know why she treated me the way she did! I stayed at the group until one of the volunteers got me my first job at Carolina Medical Center as a parking attendant and an apartment in walking distance from the hospital. Me being the typical teen!!!!!! Out on my own with a job. I thought it was alllllllll about me. I made the rules! I didn’t have to listen to that bitch telling me NOTHING! I met a guy who also worked at the hospital. Got pregnant! Lost my job and my apartment! Who did I have to go live with? That bitch!!!! Now I haven’t spoken to this woman in like 8 years. Oh my God I have to go through this shit all over again but the difference now is I’m grown. Living with this woman I was stressed the fuck out by her drinking, cursing, and just being a bitch. We had an argument one day where she chased me in the bedroom with a knife saying she would kill me. I have attitude so I was talking back telling her she wasn’t going to do anything to me. And told her if she hit me; she was going to jail because I’m pregnant. I called my baby daddy and told him. Look I could care less about what you do but you need to find me a fucking place to live. He lived with his mother. We ended up moving into a place together. We were together 3 years. We were supposed to get married that 3rd year, but he decided he wanted to deal drugs. I told him that he had lost his fucking mind. So we kept on dating until one day I gave this guy a ride across town and got into a wreck. I called my baby daddy. He came and saw the guy in the car and said I know you don’t have no nigga in my car? I told him I was giving him a ride that was it. He said yeah right. Police came and left. He told me I was going to walk home and that nigga better get where he need to the best way he can. The good part about it we didn’t stay that long of a way where we wrecked. We lived in some apartments sitting on top of a hill. About the time I got to the bottom of the hill. He was going up the hill. He came down the hill and beat the hell out of me. He beat me like a nigga in the streets. I limped up the hill and went straight in the kitchen to use the phone. I got a butcher knife just in case he came towards me. I called my best friend at the time. We talked and she came to get me. We talked and talked. I said okay I’m going back. My plan was to stack his papers and get my own place. Which I did. I called my mom and of course she blamed everything on me. As long as he was giving her money he was her child not me. He could do no wrong in her eyes. Well, eventually we stop trying to get back together. We moved on. He took care his son. I wasn’t taught the basics of “how to be a woman.” I have lived my life by guessing and stealing other women’s morals, values, and making them my own. I looked for “love” in all the wrong places. About 6months later I met my best friend at that time, cousin. He was a fine older man. We dated for a year and a half until I got pregnant. He left! I wasn’t even taking care of my son I couldn’t take care of another child. So my foster parents went over my options with me because I didn’t believe in abortion. I decided to give the baby up for adoption. In the process the adopting agency and the Health Department came to my house to inform me I was HIV positive. I told them they were fucking tripping! They explained to me what was going on. The baby had my antibodies and that meant I was positive. They had to know everyone I had sex with. I told no one but my baby’s daddy. They needed to get his information because they had to get him to sign over his parental rights and inform him he had come into contact with a person who was HIV positive. They went to his job and he signed over his rights. They told him he needed to go get tested because he had came into contact with someone HIV positive. He told them NO I been living with it for years. When they told me he said that. I wanted to take my 345 and take his life! He took my choice of living! I was pissed the fuck off! How in the hell could he do some bullshit like this? At that time I found out he was also married! Ain’t this some shit! I went into denial with myself because I wanted to know who was going to want a sick baby. Kept up with the baby until she turned one and she was negative. I told them people they didn’t know what the hell they were talking about because I knew I wasn’t positive. I didn’t deal with it or talked about it. For 10 years I didn’t deal with it. I ended up going to school for Human Services because I wanted to own group homes like the one I stayed in but God had another plan for me. I ended up doing my internship at an AIDS organization as a case manager. Loved it! Five years passed and a light bulb went off. It was God telling me okay you love people and you love to talk. You need to go out in the community and educate people about this dis-ease. All 3 of my children are HIV negative! If that’s not GOD tell me what it is……..
    In 2003 I decided to be more compliant regarding my health. I had been in and out of the hospital for non-HIV things where they told me I wasn’t going to live. I told them they could claim what the hell they wanted but I’m not! It was the least I could do to repay God for allowing me to live. I sought out case management which referred me to a non-profit faith-based AIDS organization called Regional AIDS Interfaith Network. The organization provided me with spiritual encouragement, trainings, symposiums, and the opportunity to share my experiences with HIV with various churches, youth and special events.
    In December of 2007 I was offered a part-time position within RAIN to facilitate a small intervention group for women living with HIV/AIDS called Healthy Relationships. This is the best thing could have happened to me besides having my children. It helps me meet different women from various backgrounds. It continues to assist me in becoming what God wants me to be in the community. Last but surely not least; it helps me be compliant with my health and keeps me sane. The days keep getting better and better. I have my up days and my down days, but the thought of me making a difference in one person’s life keeps me going. I wouldn’t know what I would do if this was taken from me. HIV and RAIN has saved my life!
    On August 1, 2008 RAIN brought me on as a part-time salaried employee with benefits as the Prevention Access/Peer Coordinator. Tell me that’s not GOD!!!!!!!! I’m been transformed from a ghetto fabulous female into a professional woman with a huge heart to make a difference in the community. I wouldn’t give this wonderful opportunity up for NOTHING! It’s a hard transformation but its well worth it! God is AWESOME!!!!!!!! I turned 40 on November 7th of this year. I have been on the radio, newspapers and magazines for the work that I have been charged to do. I received an award on last year for being a Community Activist from the Red Pump Project. This year I received recognition from North Carolina AIDS Action Network and AIDS Alliance for being an outstanding community activist.
    Currently I am a Certified HIV/AIDS Community Outreach Worker and Certified in HIV/AIDS Counseling and Testing. Also, I’m enrolled at Johnson C. Smith University to obtain my Bachelor’s Degree in Community Health. Tell me God don’t have a strong purpose for me? Tell me He’s not AWESOME! It don’t matter what no one says or does because HE created me for whatever reason and I GET IT!!!!!!!!Thank you God

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