I didn’t even know I had rights as someone living with HIV.
All I knew was that this old lady down the street was going around spreading all of somebody else’s business cus it sure as hell couldn’t have been mine.
In a block meeting one day, the issue of drugs came up.
Yes, on the same block that the kids go out and play; drugs, shootings, and break-ins are ALWAYS a topic of discussion.
So anyways, the issue of drugs come up and I ask openly, “What are drugs exactly?”
Note: I had to ask this question because all drugs were not created equally.
It seemed as though this white-haired older lady was the only one who heard me, because she took one hand and clutched onto her cane and used the other to accentuate the syllables of the words that made up the bullshit she was about to say.
This lady gone talk about:
Drugs come from AIDS.
First of all lady, what are you talking about?
Second of all, I felt like it was a shot.
And it was.
I knew because she furthered the ignorance by asking if I had been downtown to go register?
TF I’m registering for Mrs. Stupid? 😒
Well, in all of the nonsense that was being lashed out against my favor, it became very clear that she was serious.
This older woman, like my grandmother’s age, really believed that there was some type registry for people living with HIV. Like the Megan’s Law list or something.
She thought that I was a threat to the public’s safety.
She thought that I was breaking the law.
Welp, needless to say, I have never said as many curse words to an elder, hell anybody, as I did that day.
I wanted to lash her with my tongue just as she was doing to me with hers.
Like, she was for real tripping.
And my mom had the nerve to get mad at ME.
Tip: Listen to your children. At least hear them out. As parents, we are not always working with all the facts.
All my mom saw was me being extremely disrespectful to this poor old lady with the cane. She didn’t feel what I was feeling.
Mommy didn’t possess the same sensitivity I did when it came to the words HIV and AIDS being thrown around.
Mommy hadn’t experienced blatant isolation because of her immune system.
So Mommy didn’t catch the shade.
But I did.
All of it.
That day, I knew I would have to stand on my own. Like for real for real.
So fuck you, old lady and fuck what you talking about Ma.
<insert passive aggression>
I politely contacted the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania and it was only then that I realized that people can’t just be out here doing/saying whatever.
The organization drafted a letter for me and sent it to that old woman’s house.
I don’t remember exactly what the letter said, but it was enough for her to leave me alone.
The lady thought she was going to put me in a corner.
She thought she could use her outdated concept of what it meant to live with HIV and project that onto how I would live on the block that she called herself protecting.
What not to do: Do NOT “think” yourself into a legal situation. Research the facts and keep it moving.
It’s been three years since I have murmured a word in that lady’s direction.
And to tell you the truth, I couldn’t care less.
I’m living and shit.
… AND I still ain’t registered no gosh-darned where cus it ain’t no such thing. 😎
+ Ci Ci +