Excerpt: Not in My Family



hiv itself does not limit options for me today. nor am i limited by true intimacy across the board (with all men). i am not talking about sexual intimacy. i would limit myself with a man with hiv in that i would always be waiting for the first symptom, and the next, and the next. i would live in fear. who can love fully when afraid?

i don't have hiv, but neither do i want to specifically join the other non-hiv-positive people or characterize myself as such. i don't want to wear my 'non' status like a badge of honor. it could happen to any of us.

i don't believe that every day beside a loved one with hiv brings heartbreak. i do believe that my experience with david would be a constant reminder of that singular heartbreak and i would always (in any subsequent scenario) be expecting that familiar heartache.

however, in sharing my thoughts, i don't want to limit the hopes of anyone loving someone with hiv or living with hiv. i want to be responsible about this and not perpetuate any of the prejudice that uninformed people fall back on due to fear. i just want to say that the shadow cast on my life by watching my beautiful friend die loomed long after he was gone.

ain't no sunshine when he's gone

i will love and do love men with HIV, but i know i will catch myself before i fall in love, and i will catch myself every time.

i can't stand the rain.

Ivory Brown

ivory t. brown is a lawyer turned literary and a blonde turned serial shades of metallic. depending on the day' you will find the metal matches her mood and mettle.