What does this mean? I have had to ponder this question after reading the tweets of Rae Lewis Thornton, Diva living with AIDS.Thornton relentlessly tweets about living with AIDS including herpes and other illnesses and challenges that come along with the disease. IVs, pain, condom’s and the RLT Collection (bracelets) are the main topics of her tweets. On the weekends she is particularly poignant reminding women and men to use condoms and avoid an incident that could change their lives forever.
Her message is powerful- Protect yourself because AIDS is NOT the life you would choose for yourself. I am amazed at her courage and commitment to prevent the spread of communicable infections. Reading her tweets and blogs makes me wonder what the world would be like if more of us openly talked about our “illnesses” be it mental, emotional, or physical. Thronton tells the world when she is on her way to her doctors appointments, the results of her different tests, and the intricacies of her medical process. Overwhelmingly, her followers express their appreciation for her honesty.
I often ask myself what prevents me from revealing the worst of me that has led to the best of me. I use this description because I realize that by learning the “worst” things about myself, I have been able to encourage, understand, and motivate others in a way I was unable to do so before. Despite the pain, Thornton has embraced her illness as an opportunity to educate others. Why is this SO difficult for the rest of the world to do? Who are we protecting? I recently read a book by an up and coming rapper/writer/poet, who alluded, that often things are not a secret; we just choose to keep it to ourselves.
I assume that we think we are protecting our families and loved ones. For example, how will this reveal affect my mom or my best friend, or my boyfriend? Although our families mean a great deal to us, when is the right time to decide that a reveal is more beneficial for the greater good rather than the secrets we keep to “protect” the minority (family). In 2011 (when hardly anything is secret) is it worth keeping secrets?
As I write this I am asking myself more questions in my head as well as answering some of them as I go along. But even as I contradict myself and find reasons as to why the world is not ready for the reveal it all boils down to deciding if the reveal will cause more stress or more pain, more freedom or more boundaries.
Rae Lewis Thornton and her advocacy for AIDS prevention proves that honesty is a solution, and for that I appreciate her.
How has honesty impacted your life?
Below is a link to some quotes on honesty. Enjoy!