Tela L. Love
Journey Through My Truth
Yes. I’ve been the hurt one, sad confused and afraid.
Believing for my promiscuities; for my insecurities; for my impurities there was a price to be paid.
I’ve lain down with the wrong man and arose to find I now carry a deadly strand taking the form of HIV inside of me.
What do I do now? I’ve lost my will to live.
That’s what I first thought when I tested positive.
I fought with myself.
With my emotions I did wrestle with how this virus somehow crept into my vessel.
I cried constantly using drugs to cope.
My dealer became my doctor; he kept me supplied with dope.
I ran from the truth, destroyed any proof, I had HIV unknowing it was the truth I needed to set me free.
With no one to blame for this mind numbing pain, I isolated as I contemplated ways to die.
Tired of suffering and living this lie.
In public I wore baggy clothes and a hood covered my head.
There was a vacancy in my eyes while I roamed as the walking dead.
Then one day I fell to my knees and belted out a cry.
Why Lord why?
The Great Spirit said, “Hold on, be strong. I’m not ready for you to come home.
You were living recklessly and we’re running out of time.
You were moving much too fast and I need you back in line.
I’m preparing you to do things you never thought you would.
Just know, My Child, all things are working together for your good.”
So today I don’t blame the man whom I thought for certain held my life in his hand.
Cause truth be told; he broke no law.
It was my decision to let him to enter me raw.
Today I say:
Protect yourself, don’t infect yourself.
Protect yourself, don’t disrespect yourself.
Protect yourself, don’t neglect yourself!
Because in 2016, If you fall weak to temptation and give in to lust…
Please remember to play it safe and wrap it up.
Minister Tela LaRaine Love is an artist, advocate, and activist from New Orleans, Louisiana. She is co-founder of New Legacy Ministries, a grassroots organization striving to raise the voices of marginalized communities, including transgender women of color. Through her experience and passion as a media personality, peer counselor and youth mentor she has excelled in maintaining a positive online and in-person community presence for transgender women of color. She has served on the New Orleans Regional AIDS Planning Council and is a member of the Positive Women’s Network, a volunteer at NO/AIDS Task Force, and an ally of Women with a Vision, BreakOUT, Center for Ethical Living and Social Justice Renewal. Tela has participated in a Human Rights Watch data collection effort in New Orleans to stop the unfair harassment of transgender and commercial sex worker populations and to support access to syringe and clean needle exchange in New Orleans.
This poem is not previously published.