This post was written by BLC intern, Anita Peete. Anita sat down with a long time BLC member, Lisa, to learn her story:
In life we are going to face many obstacles no matter our socioeconomic status, race, gender, or sexual orientation. While we all face obstacles, we know that oppressed groups face far more obstacles than dominant groups due to systematic racism. But even in the face of adversity many people thrive to make their lives better. I had the pleasure of sitting down with a Boston Living Center member who has risen from the depths of despair to living a very optimistic life.
While incarcerated in 1999, Lisa found out she was HIV positive. Upon her release she didn’t receive any information about HIV and didn’t know anything about HIV. She took it as a death sentence and decided to live her life as if she was going to die. After being released from South Bay jail she started getting high again.
It wasn’t until 2001 when she found out she was pregnant with her third child that she decided that it was time to get her life in order. She was admitted to Boston Medical Center for 3 days for medical detoxification. They placed her on methadone and in that time she had her son. Her son was addicted to methadone and Lisa had to watch as he suffered through the detoxification process. . So picture it, a newborn detoxing off of methadone and how hard that must have been for her to witness.
This wasn’t the only challenge that Lisa faced. In 2010, she lost her father and then tragedy arose again in 2015 when her mother passed way. She could have thrown in the towel, but she continued to persevere and push beyond the setbacks. After being incarcerated, losing her children, being addicted to heroin, and losing both parents, Lisa has decided that she is ready “to live and not just exist”.
When I asked Lisa what one word would describe her life, she was a little lost for words, but her first word was “challenging”, followed by “triumph”. Her life is one that was challenging, but in the end she triumphed over all of her circumstances. Lisa seems to have found peace in her past and allows it to motivate her to continue to press toward her goals.
“I would have to say that this is the first time that I am okay with where I am in life. My kids are okay. I am okay. Triumph maybe. I am trying to compare it to where I used to be and it’s amazing. I am optimistic about my future. I haven’t felt like that in a longtime. I am ready to live and not just exist!”
Lisa is currently taking college preparatory classes in preparation to go back to school in September. She is working as a case manager for young adults in the city of Boston. Not only has she worked to get her life in order, but isa is the single mother of 3 and the grandmother of 2 precious grandchildren. She continues to make her life better despite all that she has been through. Lisa is a strong and adored member of the Boston Living Center. I believe I can speak on the behalf of all of the staff and say that we are proud of the progress that Lisa has made over the years!