About ten years ago, my life imploded and I felt completely out of control. I was in a relationship that was killing me. My friends were telling me that I was going to die and I could not see it.

He pushed me into the bath. My head hit the taps. He was standing above me and there was blood running off his hands. Suddenly, I realized that he had scraped all the skin off his knuckles, on my head, and it was his own blood that was running down his hands.

He kept yelling if the HIV that he gave me didn’t kill me that he was going to kill me.

I need to be clear that today I don’t believe that anyone should be prosecuted for HIV transmission, as he was. I do love him and I do pray for him. Wherever he is, I hope that he’s at peace.

I made a commitment to myself this year to reconnect with my own creativity. In making my “Bag of Shame,” I realized that someone has to give me that label and I can choose whether I take it and stick it on myself. I come from chaos. I was brought up in chaos and, in my adult life, I didn’t realize that I didn’t need to repeat that. So creating order in chaos has been a long-term project of mine. It is really important for me to quiet my head because I felt that my head was killing me, and in trying to make sense of my life and my journey, I had distanced myself from humanity quite a lot. In the last few years I have come out of that.

I realized that I have way more choices than I thought I had and I can choose moving forward.