What Makes Us Stronger

How did I get here? Tell my story
My parents passed away by the time I was 18
I did drugs and crime and did time—I was lost
And the virus found me because I’m human

You’re not my judge—I have nothing to prove
Except that silence is equal to fear
Were you there for my self-destructive behavior?
Were you there when I decided to live?

They say God works in mysterious ways
Could He use a virus to unite all of us?
Wherever it came from—it’s now in our blood
What doesn’t kill us—only makes us stronger

But we’ve lost a few—a moment of silence
Many more survive—you can lean on me
There was a time when there was no medicine
We pray for a day when they find a cure

Here is something only we understand
We’re the living proof of hope and faith
As it’s been said now let it be done
If we could unite we might save the world

What do I mean? I speak of redemption
Haven’t you heard? There is power in numbers
No matter what race or creed or gender
Or political party or religion can divide us

If you came to help, bring mercy, not pity
Had to learn to love myself to love you
We could be an example of how to unite
We have work to do—this is our world peace

We could give positive a whole new meaning
Let HIV-negative share in our miracle
Don’t get me wrong—I want you protected
But I also want us not to feel any shame

We wake up every morning—give thanks for a new day
You take your vitamins—and we’ll take ours
You have a question—and we have an answer
Of what makes us one nation—we share the same wisdom

We ask you to join us—witness our victory
There is no retreat and no surrender
We are not alone—there are millions of us
On this World AIDS Day—our spirit is one

What three adjectives best describe you?
Intelligent, spiritual, hopeful

What is your greatest achievement?
Won first prize in poetry on the site ’Cosmofunnel’ for May 2013

What is your greatest regret?
Three prison terms between 2000 and 2010

What keeps you up at night?
Fear of failure

If you could change one thing about living with HIV, what would it be?
There would be less ignorance and less discrimination

What is the best advice you ever received?
That all I can control in this world is myself

What person in the HIV/AIDS community do you most admire?
Magic Johnson

What drives you to do what you do?

What is your motto?
That, which doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger

If you had to evacuate your house immediately, what is the one thing you would grab on the way out?
My manuscript

If you could be any animal, what would you be? And why?
An Eagle—to fly without fear of any predator