Last night my counseling came to an end. Through the William Way Center, I was given eight sessions and last night was my eighth session.
During Pride in June, I took an HIV test and I shared with the guy testing me about my experience. I never had relations with someone after, but because of the circumstances, I wanted to make sure. I was fine; he recommended the Center and I said, “it’s been 5.5 years. Is it too late?” He said, “it’s never too late to talk someone and get the help you need.” I started on 26 July 2019 (almost two months after the test) and when I walked through the red door, I felt overwhelmed and sad. I had a lot going on and I was ready to talk.
Since I started the Happiness Box Project for mental health reasons, I am not ashamed to share my story. I’m proud to say that in the two months since talking to Mitch, I am a brand new Jessica. While there’s still healing to do, I grew and I’m proud of myself. I can finally say to myself, “What happened to me is not my fault. Given the person I was six years ago, I didn’t have the insight to know better, and honestly, given what I know now with hindsight, it couldn’t have been prevented. I forgive myself as much as I forgive his ghost.” I also embraced my feelings because there are still moments where I do cry and get upset, and that is okay. It is better to feel those feelings than hold them in. They may never go away and it is what it is. I accept all aspects of myself and I am not going to deny my feelings or stories.
I’m very proud of myself and I love myself. I was jubilant yesterday and I shared my wonderful stories about saying “no” and placing boundaries. This was my first time in a long while where I felt 100% proud of myself and confident enough that I will be comfortable with this in the future. While I know there might be some struggles, I am confident to know I can say no and place boundaries.
In fact, I had my first test last night, a few hours after my session. Savage is done; my first impression was right and although I gave him a second chance, I was on watch. On Thursday, he asked me for $4 for the train because he spent it on a costume. I gave it to him and I saw him pay the conductor. However, I said to myself, acting on my past experiences, “I need to watch him. I have to make sure that this doesn’t become a habit.” Lo and behold, he asked me for money again last night… to the tune of $160. He was in trouble and you know what my wonderful self texted him. “No, I don’t have that kind of money.” After a lot of guilt trips, I said, “Nope. You need to make better choices. Savage, you need better friends who won’t get you in trouble. No. I am not giving you money. Also, I’m not speaking from meanness, but caring kindness. ” I blocked him too. If I see him on Monday and he asks, I will say, “No. Not my monkeys, not my circus.” And walk away. It’s true; I am not responsible for him and I do not want to get involved. In the past, I always tried to be a saint and help. Honestly, it is not my place to help. The person needs to come to a realization that they need help and need to ask for help themselves. I am very proud of myself and I am actually crying tears of joy that I found it in my spirit to say no. I’m an empath and I think he sensed that; although I am an empath, I didn’t really pay mind to the guilt (surprisingly).
It bears repeating, as it kept coming up in the sessions: I am a strong and resilient person. I have coping skills and once I take a deep breath, look within, and listen to my soul, I know the way. I have bounced back from adversity.
Mitch was happy, he liked working with me, and I can return in a year. I want to and I told him that in the interim, I want to join in events at the William Way Center because after my sessions, I always joined in some of events they were having. I didn’t stay very long, but for the few I stayed for, I met a lot of nice people and liked mingling. I also want to give back and I want to join the community. Mitch smiled and said, “you’re more than welcome to. We have events listed online.”
From the first session, I’m walking to new beginnings:
From last night. Walking triumphantly in:
As this journey continues, I am reminded of the Andrew Solomone TED talk I shared a few weeks ago. I’ve been listening to it nonstop and he mentioned this Bible verse that I keep repeating in my mind: “for when I am weak, then I am strong.” In fact, I want to close this entry with that 2 Corinthians verse:
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.