A lot of people have said to me, “AIDS and kidney failure nearly killed you.” And I can understand how they could think that. From someone looking from the outside-in, those are life-threatening, life-ending diseases, that have wrecked horror in some people’s lives. And I did technically nearly die in the initial stages of it.
But for me, what’s the most true is that AIDS and kidney failure didn’t nearly kill me, they wholly saved me.
Because before they came, I was killing myself. I was stuck in such a toxic shame pattern of feeling not enough, and unlovable. I also didn’t enjoy my life, because I wasn’t being my true self out of fear of not being liked, not being accepted or loved for it. So I suppressed many aspects of myself to try and avoid the rejection and withdrawal of love – the quirky aspects of my personality, my same-gender-loving sexuality, and my intuitive and psychic gifts. I suppressed so much of myself that my life began to feel like a prison. It felt like bondage. Like I couldn’t really stretch out inside of it, or truly take a deep breath within it.
I also held a lot of shame in my being. I felt like my body wasn’t attractive enough to be liked/loved by the men I truly wanted (I felt too fat), and I was starting to feel like I had failed at my life because I wasn’t “successful” yet and making a lot of money, like all the magazines, and media ads, and cultural propaganda said I should be since I had graduated college. I began to feel inadequate, and like something about who I was and where I was at that point of my life wasn’t enough. – like it was wrong.
Basically, I was hurting myself daily with my beliefs, my emotional state, and my choices. Because through them, I was withholding myself from the vibration/frequency of Love. And Love is the very vibration our bodies need in consistent doses to survive, and be well.
So, I was killing myself actually, and didn’t even know it.
But when I got diagnosed with AIDS and kidney failure, I had to wake up. I had to realize that the way I had been previously thinking about myself. and the way I had been approaching living my life, was not healthy or happy. And more importantly, IT WASN’T ME. And that not being myself, not loving myself. was making me sick. And if I wanted to survive and be truly well, I was going to have to turn all of that around to a more loving way of thinking/feeling about myself, and a more joyful and relaxed way of living my life.
This meant changing my self-talk and my internal stories around my body, my sexuality and my spirituality from ones of shame/fear to ones of love and acceptance. It meant changing my behaviors from one of suppression and hiding aspects of myself to expression of myself, and bringing those things that I had previously kept in the shadows directly out into the Light…and keeping them there. It meant focusing my life on what brought me joy and nourished my soul – my passions, the people I loved being around, what I found truly fun and exciting, etc – instead of menial work and unfulfilling relationships that brought me money and togetherness, but also brought me stress and drained/depleted my Life Force Energy.
It meant freeing myself. It meant finally basing my life on joy.
So no, AIDS and kidney failure didn’t nearly kill me.
They saved me.
They woke me up, and taught me how to truly live well.
And deliciously so.
AIDS and kidney failure were my gurus – my holy soul-appointed teachers – and I thank God for their arrival.
I know being grateful for the arrival of a disease, especially a “terminal/incurable” one, is not a popular perspective to hold, but it’s the deepest truth I have to offer.
Was some of it painful? Yes. Do I have scars from my journey? Yes. But only on my body. My heart is clear and my vibration is high, and I cam promise, all the pain I went through was worth it. Because every single painful episode I’ve experienced through my journey with these diseases brought with it a gift that expanded me somehow, by deepening my ability to love myself, and enjoy my life.
With the bodily pain, gifts came. With the emotional pain, gifts came.
There was gift and a blessing behind every chapter of my journey with these diseases.
And because of that, there is nothing about AIDS or kidney failure that I look back upon with disdain. I am grateful. I wouldn’t have the life I have today without the experience of them. I couldn’t. And I love my life today. My life truly feels nourishing and fulfilling these days, and I enjoy falling into the days of it. And I love myself today. What I have, what I don’t have; how I look, and how I don’t look; what I’ve achieved and what I haven’t, I’m at peace with and and appreciate it all.
I am healed today.
I feel whole, and happy, and enough.
And none of that would’ve been possible if AIDS and kidney failure hadn’t come to wake me up from sleeping.
Disease was the most powerful wake-up calls of my life.
And what I now know for sure is that it came not to kill me (even though that’s what my doctors and my entire family thought), but it came to help guide me back home to myself. Back home to the love of myself. To the ease of myself. To joy of myself. To the higher Frequency of my Soul Self.
Or more plainly put, back home from living in fear/shame, to living in Love.
My life is steeped in Love these days.
It’s rooted in worthiness and joy.
And I love the taste of it so much better than what it tasted like before.
My relationships, my work, my bank account, my health, ALL have transformed for the better because of my journey back to Love.
What I now know is that being diagnosed with a disease is nothing to fear on its own.
It’s not a punishment or betrayal by our body, but an invitation by our body to transform. To stop who we’ve been being and how we’ve been living, and start doing the work of truly being ourselves, and living a life that is saturated in joy and love instead.
What AIDS and kidney failure taught me is that disease is just a cocoon. And that when it shows up in our lives, if we truly take it’s invitation to come inside and do the healing and self-loving work of becoming our True Self and creating a joyful and delicious life that we truly love to live, we will come out of that cocoon a different person than who we were when we went in. We will be transformed. We will be more alive. And we will shine. And gloriously so.
Who we become during the cocoon is where the real gold is, the real gift that the disease(s) came to bring us.
I’m a living witness and testimony.
So, today, when people express pity when they hear about my journey (as if something horrible, instead of magical took place in my life), I understand. But, also, if they’re willing to listen, I tell them my truth: that it was a blessing, not a curse.
If they’re not, I simply smile and nod my head, whilst whispering silently to myself:
“Thank you AIDS and kidney failure. I couldn’t have done it without you.”