Going to USCA Was My Form of Self-Care
People were surprised to see me there!
More than a conference, it is a family reunion and place to network and learn, but most importantly uplift each other.
I have been dealing with a lot that I will talk about in my upcoming blogs ... everything from my exes reality and one of the biggest reasons why we ended our 10 year relationship, losing my father who many have read about, and the mixed emotions I am feeling, having to move all at the same time and feeling pretty isolated because of the pain and grief I feel spiritually and trying to hold everything together alone for my very first time.
Let's get back to USCA. My dear boss felt terrible and has always been a lending ear and one of my biggest supports systems, although I am in Florida and Krista, Executive Director for The Well Project, is in New York. Well, she gave me three chances to just stay home and get my head right and have time to grieve my father which has not really happened fully! I appreciated that she gave me the option, but I felt I had to be there to get her love and all of my brothers' and sisters' love and continue to let everyone know about how amazing The Well Project is and what an amazing sisterhood we have. <3 I am so glad I went, although my mind was not 100%. I tried and showed once again that we might not be ok at the moment, but we have to continue trucking and that is what I did!
It was and has been very hard for me to deal with all the bad things that are happening that I will talk about one day. For now, I will concentrate on this blog and the upcoming ones that have affected me on a very deep level! I really don't understand how I am not very ill? Then again I am a survivor and I am in survivor mode and triggered in every way as I write this! Many let downs and dreams that are broken.
Not everything is bad! I am representing Florida in an advisory board with nine states of the South where HIV is getting out of control and as a Latina from South Florida it is very sad for me and I hope we all can make a change.
USCA this year was very special for me. I did notice that people were more loving and crying a lot ... I was too! It was emotional and also painful to see many of my brothers and sisters crying and telling me how this was a family reunion and this is exactly what it was for me. I have a lot of changes in my life happening and am getting ready to move (which had another set of issues on its own, but I found a place). Being with all my sisters from The Well Project gave me hope! We are all going through something hard in life and as you all will soon find out I have been going through it for years and I continue ... but I will not fall if I can help it! If I do, as I have many times, I will get back up! This is my fighting nature until the end. I saw so many of my brothers and sisters that comforted me and I comforted many of them! I wish they all lived closer, or even better, I hope we had a village where many of us could go and live as a family. I would like people living with HIV to get a way to be in this wonderful conference and learn and receive the love and support we all yearn for and I always hear how badly they want to be there and can't afford it.
Thank you as always The Well Project for taking us there! Our presentations had amazing reviews and I can't forget our partner U=U and all the history we have made. <3 I just felt proud and learned a lot from our community and we will forever be family through fights and all! Hey, as I always say: activists are fighters, not only for ourselves but humanity.
I hope to be there in 2019, and that it will be held in Puerto Rico how it was suggested.
Much love and light to all. You will be hearing from me soon.
[Note from TheBodyPRO: This article was originally published by The Well Project on Sept. 15, 2018. We have cross-posted it with their permission.]
Read Maria's blog, Time to Show My Face and Take the Stigma Away.