January 8, 2018
I was raised in an abusive home where I was very uncomfortable and I was struggling with identifying myself with society or my community. I used to lock away. I knew I was different from a young age which led me to run away from home.
Being homeless is one of the worst things that can happen to someone. I know because I was in 2012. Nowhere to go at the age 18, I was made homeless because of my sexual orientation. I was kicked out of school because of it and it broke me. I felt no one wanted me. School, Home, Community. I was rejected by all because of how I truly express myself, at that time I tried committing suicide. After being caught in bed with my lover in a community where my uncle was the Don cast shame and guilt, I know I couldn’t survive the small-town gossip.
I went to live on the streets where I tried my best not indulge in alcohol, drugs or commercial sex. It was hard on the streets trying to think about your next meal, your shower, school etc. It’s like existing in a world and you knew about nothing that’s happening. It was rough when guys ride bikes and tried harming you and the hardest part about surviving on the streets was surviving against your peers. Your meal might not be yours after being bullied for it. Being on the road was fun sometimes knowing you have people who identify as you and face the same obstacles were intriguing and makes you comfortable.
Being homeless I wanted to be back in a boy’s home, it wasn’t fun but at least I would have a meal. I went to St. Ann to live under a tree at one point to go to a workshop that was being held there, this is where I met my soon to be ‘gay mom’. Living with this person was a breath of fresh air until I was asked to be his girlfriend. I never liked this relationship and I was only doing this for a stay. I ended up leaving to my church brother’s home where he and his family lived and I had fun, however, as a flamboyant person I was verbally abused ‘boom-bye-bye’, ‘fish’, ‘Batty boy’ all the derogatory things you can think of to describe gay people. I was told by my new family to be careful of the streets at nights and I got uncomfortable and moved to Kingston to a church house.
Living here was not easy at all I had to pretend to be who I am not. Yes I was a spiritual person but I never agreed with some of the teachings etc. I had to put on a cover at church and I was not worshipping the almighty out of love but out of fear of hell. I remember when it circulated that I was gay, I decided to testify that I got a girl pregnant and the church was stunned.
I attended a Capacity building session which built my self-esteem build up and I was getting more confident. Then months later I got my HIV test result it revealed that I was positive, this was after 3 negative results, I honestly did not cry it was like I saw the light of the new me.
I wanted to be an advocate and had a passion for persons like me. I wanted to make a change in doing so I helped to form two Organizations that’s helps to tackle HIV issues and stigma. I was then being noticed by the NGO’s where I started doing a lot of Volunteerism. I was basically sofa-surfing during all of this.
Ever since the day I was told I am HIV+ my confidence has grown and grown, I now know who I am and I'm very proud with how I've turned out. It wasn't until I was around I was 20 that I felt like I knew who I really was (An Advocate for Change). I woke up one day and thought to myself, I don’t care anymore It's my life and I'm going to live it for me and as someone once said ‘haters gonna hate’.
With a stable job I could rent somewhere some time later and I gained more qualifications by attending a lot of training. It took me a while to get here, but you can't rush perfection. I believe everything happens for a reason, whether it be good or bad. I wouldn't be the person I am today if they hadn't of happened.
If there's one thing I've learnt it's that life really is too short to worry about what others think. We need to live our lives for ourselves and we deserve to be who we want to be whatever.
We can be our own worst enemies sometimes and try to please everyone else but ourselves and yes life can be tough at times but trust me when I say things will and do get better.
I live by my quote ‘I am life’s greatest miracle’ everyday.