Meet Winged Woman: Kalee Garland

Please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your story.

Hello, I am Kalee. At seven years old, in 1993, I was diagnosed with full-blown AIDS. Up until that moment my status was unknown. I became positive though my mother, my father and brothers are negative.

What has been the most challenging part of coming to terms with living with HIV?

When I heard about my status at seven it never phased me that my HIV was a "bad" thing. It was something that just was part of me that I know had to deal with.

It was hard for me to understand as a child that people were fearful and scared of HIV. It was not scary to me but the way people acted towards each other was scary to me. I was shown how I do not want to act at a very young age.

What inspires, or helps you be your authentic self and being unapologetically you, even during times you feel otherwise?

I am inspired by other people! We have two ears and one mouth, there is much wisdom out there. I wasn't able to really connect with my peers on an emotionally intimate level growing up so I outwardly sought to learn from others through arts. Creativity is so beautiful. Human expressions and putting things into the world that people will be inspired by is what I live for. Knowing that I inspire people brings me the greatest joy.

What is the biggest piece of advice for someone having trouble with self-acceptance?

Self- acceptance is a personal battle, that you must never give up on until you have conquered. Battles can be long sometimes but you are worth it. It's so important to surround yourself with people you love and things that bring you happiness. That step itself can be a journey.
I feel when you have a strong set of boundaries and sense of what you deserve it starts getting better from there. Everyone is their toughest critic I believe, and if you were to question yourself when you are being self-negative, " would I allow my best friend to hear this B.S. from some bully?" Most likely (hopefully) you would stick up for them. And your best friend would not let someone speak that way to you.
It's important to train yourself to be your own best friend because sometimes your friends cannot always be there- but they would.

How would you like to see the direction of conversations about HIV go and what are you writing and speaking about to promote this?

I am here to shatter stigmas. I want people to be aware HIV is not gone away but it is also manageable. Life is beautiful, sometimes is crazy and hard. But we can choose to be kind to each other.

Be empathetic. Have compassion. Have hope. For each other and ourselves. We have the power to show/ teach each other through our actions. HIV can affect anyone, I want people to be aware children are affected by ignorance and stigma.

Lastly, what makes you a Winged Woman?

I am a Winged Woman because I soared into my power. I strongly believe in the Law of Attraction, as well as the medicinal effects of CBD. Shortly after I started my social media I was drawn to @wingedwomen.

Like magic, I was connected to the powerful women of Winged Wellness. I am proud and honored to be a Winged Woman, I have fully taken flight and have my powerful sister's @wingedwomen Flying with me.

Thank you so much, Kalee, for sharing your story. To learn more about Kalee, keep up with her at @aidsbaby86.