We started off talking about Ashley’s ex-boyfriend who introduced her to drugs. I asked her if she forgave him and she told me this.
Ashley: Yes, I forgave him. I forgave everyone who did something wrong to me.
BW: Who else did something wrong to you?
Ashley: My birth dad.
BW: What did he do?
Ashley: He raped me when I was younger. Sold me to many men for drugs.
BW: Oh no… How old were you when all of this happened?
BW: Have you seen him as an adult?
Ashley: He’s in prison.
BW: For doing what he did to you?
Ashley: No. Drugs. He had a meth lab and a bunch of other charges. He actually gets out next year. I haven’t talked to him in a year but we write each other back and forth.
I also got kidnapped last summer in July and was held in an abandoned house off Kennedy for fourty-five days. He had me handcuffed to bricks. He raped me repeatedly. Different men too… gave me HIV and HPV. It’s cancerous. He really screwed up my life. But I still forgive him too.
Ashley: You have to forgive people. Not forget but forgive.
BW: [Long pause] Are you on drugs for the HIV? I know they can minimize it now so much that it’s not even present.
Ashley: Yes, my numbers are really good and right now it is undetectable.
BW: Is there any part of you that feels like you’re out here intentionally killing yourself because of all that shit that happened to you?
Ashley: Yeah. The HIV really [hurt] me. I was going to go to rehab and everything and then I found out I had HIV and that ended everything.
BW: HIV is scary because everybody grew up with it being a death sentence but it’s absolutely not a death sentence anymore. It’s something you can live with.
Ashley: Let me say this. People who don’t have HIV think it’s not a death sentence but do you know how scary it is to try to fall in love or try to be with somebody because you don’t want to pass it to them?
BW: I don’t know… but I know couples who are in a relationship where one person is HIV positive and the other is not and they love each other enough to get through it. It’s just another thing.
Ashley: One day hopefully I’ll feel like that.
But let me say this. People need to learn how to forgive, even if it hurts so bad to forgive that person, you gotta try. Humble your heart. To me, if you don’t forgive people, how are you gonna live your life happy? Even if you’re on drugs or homeless, you have to be happy somehow.