Photographer 5 describes himself as, “Fun, enjoying life, having fun – someone who wants to keep on being me, and wants others to know, ‘I’m not dead.’”
I once thought of HIV as a death sentence, really… And then I just said to myself, “Magic Johnson got it, and he’s still alive, and he’s in his 60s. He looks pretty good to me. He’s got it and he still looks good.”
My mom and dad, I mean, my people, they know. My friends…well, not really. It’s none of their business. And for one, I feel like people living with HIV are not sick, for real. I just don’t really define my problems as telling people what I got or what I am or anything. If you tell them, then they move away from you. But when you don’t tell them, they treat you the same.
Weight vest… That’s a 20-pound weight vest. I use that to work out, and I got my balance back from that, too. Because I was at a hospital bed and my leg died, the muscles in my leg died, and I was all… my balance was off. So, I bought a weight vest, and that got me a little bit stronger. I used it to work out, because I used to… I didn’t want to go see a gym and be around people. I didn’t feel real comfortable with that. So, I started working out on my own, in my own environment.
Turntables… It’s by colors. That really helped me out, too, because when you play the game, you got to do different stuff to scratch them, push the buttons, this and this. And that helped me out a lot. It helped my brain. You know how you put a puzzle together and you take it apart? I mean, I hate my injury, but I’m still alive. Thank god for that. My mama said, “Don’t live in the past; live now. So, that’s what I am doing. I live day by day. I’m the same old me.
Boxing game. I love that game because it’s coordination. My game is for me to keep my mind off the stuff I’m dealing with. Keep me focused on something else, basically, is what it is. I stay out of trouble. I play the game.
I’m just like you… That’s where I’m at now. I’m just, living there with (people with) different problems like me. Cancer, seeing, all kinds of different problems. And that’s this place… you just come, you eat dinner, lunch and breakfast, just talk like regular people. No different. We talk about weather, if we’re working, the president. I mean, it is what it is. I mean, I’m just like you. No different. We all do the same things. Play games, puzzles, cards, dice, whatever. I just don’t see no difference between me and you. If you got HIV or you don’t got it.