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Why am I alive?

(This is a writing assignment my case manager gave me after one of our regular meetings. I know he's trying to challenge me on my perception of myself. I was hesitant to even participate but once I gave it a shot I saw how much I got out of it than I believed I would initially.)




Well, the easiest answer to that is because Bennie and Patricia met, fell in love and had me. But, I’m sure there are plenty more reasons that answer the question why I’m STILL ALIVE.  Those, I believe, are more important…

I’m alive because my birth mother and father loved me enough to allow someone else to give me the life they felt they wouldn’t be able to.

I’m alive because I have an aunt and uncle who loved me enough to feed me and keep me healthy and happy.

I’m alive because at some point I learned to love myself enough to do what I knew would keep me healthy and happy.

I’m alive because at some point I began to love the things that life brings, the friends, experiences, road trips, etc. And I thrived on wanting to know what new thing was around the next bend or corner or door.

I’m alive, as I’ve learned in my study of History, because of ancestors who braved unthinkable conditions and treatment from the Middle Passage through the pain and humiliation of slavery at places like Middle Plantation.

I’m alive because of maids and cooks like my grandmothers, who kept their mouths shut in order to help make a living and care for children that they prayed would never have to face the same injustices in the world.

I’m alive because I have something outside of just myself to live for.  I have family and friends who would be deeply hurt if something were to happen to me. And if, at times, I find myself not so sure about whether or not to continue living I know I can be sure that their answer to that question will always and forever be “Yes.”

I’m alive because I have a man who loves me enough to look past my mistakes and bad choices, past my lies and half-truths, and is still able to love whatever he sees that’s left over.  He’s picked me up when I was lower than dirt and has kept me by his side in every moment whether I wanted it that way or not.  He’s kept faith in me when I’d given up and he continues to be my biggest fan in a sea of people that I don’t always have the guts to trust.

I’m alive because something deep down in me won’t allow me to give up. Believe me, there are days when I feel like throwing in every towel I can get my hands on. But for some reason, maybe a few hours or days or even weeks later, that spirit of giving up isn’t as vocal anymore and that other voice comes back just loud enough to get me off my ass and at it again.

I’m alive because crack couldn’t kill me as a baby, and because drugs aren’t stronger than my spirit even now.

I’m alive because The Almighty saw that my Aunt Bert deserved a son, and whether I see myself as a good son or not, I’m special to her and I give her life something that she gets from no one else.

I’m alive because I didn’t think HIV was a death sentence back in 2005, and I still don’t think it is today.  I made up in my mind back then that I still had things to do, and I’ve accomplished many of those things if I give myself the freedom to look back objectively.  I accepted what I needed to do, and I was determined to do it all. And I did.


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