This is not a question of pity or feeling sorry for myself but I cannot help but wonder why I continue to thrive after 20 years of taking HIV medications and countless more deaths of friends and lovers. And I come to the same conclusion every time! I think the medications play some part but even more so is my outlook and attitude. I do not give in to anything but to enjoy life as it comes. To find laughter even when it hurts. To be thankful for what I have and not to concern myself over what I have not. I've had close friends who have predestined their demise simply by saying things like,” When I get below 10 T-cells I am going to check out". Well life is not a motel and we cannot and should not choose when we will leave this existence .I have found that laughter is a force of it's own that can take away almost any pain I may currently be experiencing.
must laugh because it is better than the alternative.
Certainly I could complain about my childhood, having to get up at 3 am to milk cows when we all know milk can be bought at the store but to be able to laugh about such hard times only empowers us and returns our personal power to us.
Yes it is a matter of personal power and where we allow or power to be focused. If we blame another for our actions we have given or power to them. If we get angry over traffic, or any other minor incontinence, we give or power away and loose those moments lost in the power struggle that need not be. When in fact we should not blame anyone for our actions unless it is to move us toward a better sense of well being. I laugh when someone says to me, "You made me do it" or "You made me mad" when in fact you choose to be upset or mad and choose not to own that moment. How many moments have we given away doing this same thing?
I choose to own my power and say it is my choice and if I choose to blame you then I choose to give away my power and my control in those moments.
SO why am I still here after all my friends and lovers have died before me- perhaps its because I choose to use my power to laugh in every moment and keep it for myself.
Because laughter is the greatest gift we have been given that can help overcome anything within life. I laugh at the irony that I used to work in Clinical research of new medications and now I find myself being a participant in 2 drug trials- how funny how the table has turned.
I laugh that each day I wake up breathing knowing that I will not submit to anything but looking at all that I have in this life and do not compare it to what I have lost. It's funny how I used to record how study participants reacted to certain medication but I do not concern myself with how they make me feel as the option would be not to take them and eventually feel nothing but the cold of death. I laugh when people say that anything would be better than what I now endure when in fact the alternative to life is no laughing matter.
Where does your power lie? Does it lie in the suffering of the moment or does it lie in the possibility that, the next moment, things will be better.
I had hoped to make this a funny article but let me close with this. Its all a matter of perception and how we choose to look at life. SO answering the question "why am I still here" is the same as asking- Does the early bird get the worm or does the late worm get the bird?
M. DeWayne Benson
Comedian, poet, writer, HIV+ over 20 years
and on HIV meds since 4/1/86