How do you love yourself!

Deloris Dockrey

How do you love yourself! 

When you are told that you are worthless, no good and lazy.

When you are told that you are fat and useless.

When you begin to internalize people’s opinion of you.

You rise above people’s opinions and you rely on you.

You see the beauty in your life.

You see the joy of your family.

You experience the love of family and you revel in their warmth.

You reaffirm that you are kind and caring and that you support your family.

You know you are always willing to help others.

You know you share your gifts and talents.

You see the beauty in your life.

You experience the love of your son.

You see his love for you and

You know love!

You begin to reflect the love you see, and

You begin to experience that love for yourself.

You begin to see the joy, the courage, the heart that is you.

You begin to love you! You are love!

My name is Deloris. I am a survivor of early childhood sexual trauma, and I am a woman living with HIV.  At 59 years old, I have become very reflective of my journey to find joy in my life. In 1994 at age 35, my hope was shaken when I found out I was HIV positive. I had not considered that I was at risk for HIV.  After 24 years, it is still very difficult to express how shaken, devastated and angry I was with that diagnosis. I felt that all my hopes were dashed. I have come to learn that my desire to live and the deep desire to raise my son sustained and strengthened me. HIV changed my life! My now deceased mother told me that when life gives you lemons – you make lemonade! That lesson has sustained me over the years. I have learned to deal with my self-loathing, low self-esteem, guilt, and shame. I have addressed these stressful feelings through mental health therapy, family, social support and poetry. It has been through my writing that I have discovered more about myself, who I’d like to become and what I needed to do to get there. Understanding the disease was crucial to my acceptance of living with HIV.  

There are so many experiences in our lives that make achieving self-care arduous.  When I reflect on my life, I have struggled and I have survived. But it was easier to take care of others, to be helpful and to make sure others are getting the care they need than to take care of myself. In my journey I have learned lessons that have assisted in my progress toward true self-care. I affirm that I love me, spending alone time reading and writing works for me, meditation and praying helps to build my spiritual core, and participating in spiritual retreats help to build a community of support. I share this piece for Love Positive Women as a testament to my journey, with the hope that it can inspire others. 

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