Hope is a tricky thing when you first get HIV. This piece is a meditation on the hope gained after one has had a few years to settle into an ARV regimen and represents a sort of self-check in after a few years of painting my way thorough this disease.
Disease....in and of itself is such a problematic expression. Dis-ease. A lack of or opposite of ease. That definitely describes how you feel being bombarded by a foreign enemy that turns your own blood cells against you. It isn't always being "sick" or "sickly" but it is about the lack of ease from knowing meds are required to keep you alive and healthy. It is about the panic that sets in if you get low on meds before a refill is a available. In our recent political climate it is about the dis-ease of knowing the subsidies that make your $35,000/Year medication affordable may not be available because of rescission or budget cuts by a homophobic anti-sex administration. It is the dis-ease of medication side effects like a loose stool or constant nausea.
"Hopeful" is about being optimistic despite disease. It is about looking to the stars with your head up and dreams intact. It is a reflection on the triumph of the self over one's diagnosis and turning dis-ease in to simply ease. Ease with reality, with the steps one takes to manage their health and ease with loving yourself in spite of the constant weight of stigma.