For HIV Long-Term Survivors Awareness Day, June 5: A repost of my personal essay, “Hanging On”. Thank you for reading. Our voices must continue to be heard. 🙏
“For many years, I have had variations of this recurring dream: I am adrift at sea, clinging on to a flimsy life raft, while sailing vessels of all kinds pass me by…
…None of them can hear me; not on the cruise ship, the yacht, the sailboat, the canoe, or the kayak.
“Howdy,” some of them cry, seeing me out there in the deep.
Many are friendly. They mean no disrespect. They just somehow do not see that I am clinging to a raft, alone, and that I am scared. Perhaps it is my demeanor; nothing about me indicates that I am in any kind of pain or that I want to be saved.
“Take me with you!” I cry. But they hear, “Isn’t it a wonderful day?”
They do not understand. They think I am out for a swim.
Every so often, another life raft will come floating by. It is usually occupied by a person from those pre-cocktail years—someone who remembers the horror, who was there when it all started, and who remained as it devastated our lives. We are two souls lost in the night, finding each other floating in the middle of the ocean. And we smile because we have found another person who understands. Perhaps there will be no rescue, but at least there is some comfort.
And, at least for that moment, neither of us feels quite so alone.”
(Click on link for full piece)