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Tiffany: June 13, 2011

A lot of my friends will read this blog and when they get to my referencing a movie they may become skeptical because they often doubt my love of movies based on their general belief that I am at war with pop culture. Of course this is totally unfounded and meant for another blog entry entirely. Anyway, one of my favorite lines in a movie is from the “Interpreter” starring Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn. Ms. Kidman’s character asked an embattled foreign dignitary to read from his autobiography about the power of the human voice. “THE GUNFIRE AROUND us makes it hard to hear. But the human voice is different from other sounds. It can be heard over noises that bury everything else. Even when it’s not shouting. Even when it’s just a whisper. Even the lowest whisper can be heard – -over armies… when it’s telling the truth.”

This quote comes to mind today because I will have a colleague using her voice in the days to come to speak truth about HIV. I am confident her voice will not be a whisper but a clear clarion to some and the gunfire that will surround her will not just be the dissenting opinion but the voices of others trying to distract us from the issues of the day. She and I come from generational, regional, religious, and experiential differences. Yet my accepting of her truth is easy. HIV is a human rights issue and it requires the voices of many to reach a collective truth one that involves the eradication of HIV, stigma, and poor access. I can only hope that as she prepares to speak that we listen.


4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 14, 2011 11:24 pm

    I love this. I love hearing about women living their life, not necessarily out loud but openly. Here is something I wrote a few months back i’d like to share. I hope that those who are afraid do not take this as an offense but as a point of strenghth.

    I sometimes feel as though i can’t change the world, like it is simply too immense for the likes of me to bear any sort of worth. And so i think about all of the injustices of the world and i think i can not compete. i do not belong in the same vicinity as these vast grievances human nature is prone to. I am merely a single person walking in a world of other singular beings that if we all got together could change the world but…. we don’t get together. We become more secular with each year that passes and we become more aloof as to who we are.

    Sure, we make great strides in self worth, We become happy with who we are and we become comfortable in the routine that is everyday life. Everyday struggle. Everyday joy. everyday death. everyday wage. We become strong human beings that could sustain ourselves in our lonely lives. And we are proud of this, as we should be. These are not simple feats just casually chalked up on the board, they are everyday accomplishments. Mini-marathons. They are definetly trophy worthy.

    We become proud, we hold our head high and we walk in this world like we know who we are. But we do not know each other and there are still certain things we hold at bay. Certain truths that could parlay us into a terrible future of untrust and wretched misinterpetations.

    And then again you must think of the simplistic truths in humans that are not shared. As secular as we become, as we become more isolated in our selves, our games, our chats, our books, our studies, all of the things where we feel really comfortable we do it as singularly as possible. And there are these simple truths we forget to share with each other.

    I grow hair on my chin, i have been ashamed of this for the last three years when the horrible little things started showing up. I pluck, they come back. This time they are a little darker, a little stronger, a little more resistant. I fear that in truth i am a billy goat, misguided in my genes and i am a horrible ugly mess. But if you whisper this to a friend, say sitting in a crick, with a can o beer, and dragonflies, hummingbirds, and butterflies humming around, you find, that she too has a few stray hairs. Low and behold the human factor comes to play. And it overwhelms the isolated cell you have created. You and she are alike.

    I have been living with HIV for 3 years now. I am open with it. It is not something i feel any shame towards. I caught this nasty little virus the same way you will if we don’t talk about it. And then it takes over the world the same way some nasty little zombie virus would without actually getting to whack people in the head because they want to eat your brain. Its a big turn off to whole world being taken over by it. At least for me.

    I have HIV because i had unprotected sex. It is as simple as that. Its like thinking that you will have a boy if you stand on your head after having sex. if you think that because you love someone it couldn’t be true for you. It could. It will be soon enough.

    And there is this giant disconnect because you hear these stories, and statistics, and they are large. Large. Large. And so you think, ‘I understand, this is huge’. And you think about it for a day. The same way you handle the news that a war is going on that you thought for sure would be done by now. In fact you’ve lost friends there. A certain vegetable is the key to not getting cancer. Having coffee or wine is good or bad depending on the day. Someone was murdered. It wasn’t you. Someone has a terminal illness. It isn’t you. We become very accustomed to these sorts of messages, so it is hard to relate to. I mean you get it, but you know, its not that way for you. Thank God.

    And so sometimes, when you are one of those people that is faced with something really extraordinary you look around and you realize there isn’t too many people around willing to hear your story out. We have been spending a lot of time psuedo understanding each other and not saying the truth. And so then you understand how to deal with it. Your understanding jumps to not being a burden, you can take care of yourself, family, friend. And you make it as comfortable as you can for the people who surround you. In fact it is a burden when they try to help, because then it just weighs on you and really you don’t need that right now do you? And you retreat, to benefit the whole.

    The whole is never benefited by hiding. Its what allows bigots to still think that a man is lesser because he has a darker tone to his skin. It is what allows a man to dominate another man. It is what allows a man to dominate a woman. All of these things that we look at as not being PC are the things that exist because we are afraid to be honest with what is happening.

    You are not saving me by being afraid of truth. And you are not saving your self. You are sitting future generations up with a bigger load than they deserve. Be honest with who you are. And be greatful for those that are genuine.

    I am who i am. Don’t be me. I’m like you.

    • Tiffany Dominique permalink
      June 20, 2011 10:06 am

      Thank you for sharing I was inspired reading your piece. Keep sharing.

  2. July 1, 2011 4:06 am

    Yes, it gets hard to think that anyone will want to hear anything I have to say when there are so many other voices crying out too. I think who will want to hear my story, then realize that as I have read and responded to someone else’s story, so might they read and respond to mine. Closets aren’t good places to live in. Cramped, dark and lonely.

    • Tiffany permalink
      July 21, 2011 2:47 pm

      “Closets aren’t good places to live in. Cramped, dark, and lonely.” Angie that is such a powerful statement. I hope there are people who hear such declarations and move from their closets to the light.

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