Peace and Disclosure: How Sharing Your Story Can Unburden Others

Hello Family and Friends,

 

I’m back, and as always am so excited to have been asked to write blogs for Gospel against Aids (GAA) I would like to give honor and thanks to God, GAA, my friends, and family for allowing me this opportunity of sharing information and inspiration, please enjoy this blog regarding peace.

Have you ever heard of the phrase “Let there be peace, and let it begin with me”. In the back of my mind I often wondered what that phrase meant; did it have to do with world peace or individual peace? I believe that this phrase may be speaking about an individual peace and this is why. When I first derived at my personal inner peace it was a warm June afternoon, my colleague and I were doing recruitment for our job at an AIDS awareness conference. The speakers were various women from around the world who shared their individual stories on how they contracted the HIV virus and how they have come to have inner peace with themselves as to knowing that they are still women worthy of loving and living life to the fullest.

I thought how very brave they were. I was so overcome with emotions for these women who were sharing such personal information about themselves to a roomful of strangers. I thought how they could have found an inner peace with themselves when they are living with this deadly disease and this person who gave them this disease goes unpunished. The more they talked about what they have had to endure while living with this disease, my heart got real heavy when I thought how society makes people who are living with HIV at times feel a since of shame and often times the person who is living with the disease feels a sense loneness . It was in that moment when I heard the Director of the program for the event asked if we could join in prayer for these brave women who came to share their personal stories of living with HIV.

It was during this prayer that the Director stated that the Holy Spirit had placed within her spirit that there was someone within the audience that had been withholding a secret and that secret was making them feel such a burden that the spirit told her to tell that individual that it is safe to share that secret here and that God is with them. In that moment I moved slowly toward the front, I heard my co-worker asked where I was going and I didn’t answer it was as if I were in a trans or something I walked slowly to the podium and the Director hugged me and said, “it’s alright baby, say what’s on your heart”. As I stood there in front of these strangers I stated my name and that I have been living with HIV for some time, I told these roomful of strangers about the night of the rape that had occurred in my hotel room after my arrival for a conference in which I was there to provide a training for my job.

I told them about me going for some water down the hall from my room, and I had my room key and I heard the door go click behind me. When I returned to my room, I took a shower, looked over my notes for the training that I was scheduled to present drank my water and left the television on, as I slept someone came into my room had on dark colors looked like a ski mask and placed a knife to my throat and said that if I screamed that he would kill me. Of course I cried and stated that you don’t want to do this, as I felt my pajamas being pulled roughly away from me I stated that you can take this body but you cannot take this sprit, you can take this body but you cannot take this spirit. It was then I felt something hit me over my head and I saw stars and that was all I remembered.

When I woke up, I saw that my room had been ransacked and I was naked I got up from the floor and I hobbled to the bathroom and cried, cried, cried I saw the blood on my bed and on the floor. I turned on the shower and I laid down in the bath tub as I let the water run over my body and I cried; When I got out of the bathtub dried myself off, put my clothes on got my favorite backpack caught a cab to the airport called my Mom and Dad told them when my flight would be arriving. When my parents picked me up from the airport I ran right into my mother’s arms and told her this man had hurt me as I told my parents of the brutal attack on my persons my father was like most fathers became angry and wanted us to go back immediately from where I had come from and make out a police report.

I went into hysterics as I told my father absolutely not I cannot have strangers judge me and make me feel more shame then what I’m already feeling. I won’t do it, my father hugged me and said calm yourself daughter of mine, we will need the doctors to look at you will you at least do that for us. I said yes, our family doctor ran all manner of test on me and said that the results will be in soon. When the day came to share the results of the test I thought that my heart had skipped a beat when our family doctor had stated that I was HIV positive. I wanted to die right then and there. I thought why God? Why? As I finished with my story of shame there was not a dry eye in the house, and everyone that was in the room came to give me a hug. The women who had shared their stories earlier had stated that was a very brave thing that I had done by sharing my story I had gained my inner peace the burden of carrying that secret within me had been lifted and my spirit was free once more.

I thought in that moment, “so this is peace the quiet tranquility this peace of mind that I have been missing why had I been so afraid?” When the Director of the program invited me to share my story with others, I said ok but not really understanding by sharing my story just as these women had done prior to me, I have found peace that is a result of retaining my mind to process life as it is, rather than as I think it should be. I think John Lennon said it best when he stated “Peace is not something you wish for; it’s something you make, something you do, something you are and something you give away”.

In that group hug, I foundpeace within myself by sharing my stories in the hopes to let others know that they are not alone, they have the right to live and pursue their dreams and they do not have to live in shame or the agony of loneliness. The prescription I use to give myself such peace of mind for a purposeful living is:

P I plan and brainstorm

E I educate and gather information about HIV that will keep me healthy

A I take action through prayer

C I create and develop my ideas or complete my plan

E I evaluate and celebrate life and reward myself for a job well done!

 

 

When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others. Yes, my dear friends, I did forgive my attacker for the vile attack he placed upon me. My peace begins with a smile, my acceptance of what is, brings peace and I create a daily anchor that cultivates peace.

 

Ms. Edith