Precious A. Jackson resides in South Los Angeles, and is the author of Revelations: Unveiling the Mask. Born during a time where social prejudices were very relevant, she relied on the values instilled in her to become an independent college graduate, who reached back to lend a helping hand within her community. Teaching others to pay it forward became her motivation, until she was taken on an emotional roller coaster ride when her doctor delivered the devastating news she tested positive for HIV.
Not giving strength to her diagnosis, Precious knew what her next mission would be; to educate both men and women equally on the importance of getting tested, and protecting themselves at all cost.
The Situation Room with Michelle Cuttino caught up with Precious A. Jackson to discuss her new book, and her unwavering objective to empower and educate.
Michelle: Precious, I’m going to start with the incident that propelled you to become the advocate you are today when you tested positive for HIV. What was your immediate response to finding out that devastating news?
Precious: Michelle, I was ashamed, scared and I couldn’t believe this had happened to me. I say that because I’d taken several HIV tests before, and they all came back negative. I will say, I knew deep down inside I was probably HIV positive, because my ex-boyfriend had written me a letter a few months prior to me receiving my HIV positive test results. He had informed me he tested positive as well. While we were together we didn’t practice safe sex by using condoms.
Michelle: I know a few who had given up when faced with the disease. Why did you decide to fight back? What was your motivation?
Precious: When I tested positive 17 years ago in May of 1998, my mother, may she rest in peace, was my backbone. She encouraged me to get tested, and she also told me I would not die, because of the new medications that came out during that time. I remember her saying “baby, look at Magic Johnson he’s living a healthy life.” My mother was my motivation to keep living.
The second reason I decided to fight back, was when I walked into my first HIV+ support group which was geared towards HIV+ heterosexuals. I saw people who looked like me; they were living and thriving. They discussed where they were in their lives—some were going back to school, some were having children. That’s when I made up in my mind I was not going to be defeated by this disease. I gain more and more strength from my peers to achieve all of my dreams, because I was going to be around for a long time. And here I am 17 years later, living and thriving!!
Michelle: In 2015, you penned your biography, Revelation: Unveiling The Mask. Please tell us about the book and its message.
Precious: I was inspired to write this portion of my life by my friend/brother Corey. Once day we were discussing our life struggles, and he was informing me he struggled with drug addiction. During our discussion, he talked about “full flight from reality.” This term means when you’re in a sober state of mind (and this doesn’t just apply to people who use drugs and alcohol), and you make a conscious decision to engage in negative behaviors you know will have a negative outcome. This is when I knew I needed to write about my struggles of making poor choices which lead me to being a survivor of intimate partner violence. During my journey I learned how to love myself, and understood my worth as a woman. My book is dedicated to women who still suffer in silence from intimate partner violence. I want to send the message just because you’ve been through it or going through this situation, there is life after abuse. As long as you’re ready to get out of the situation, and ready to look at the part you played in it. This is the beginning of the healing process.
Michelle: Why did you select that title for your book?
Precious: I prayed for the title of my book. The title is fitting, because I was hiding behind the mask of not wanting people to know I was emotionally unbalanced, making wrong choices, and putting up with drama, because of the fear of being by myself.
Michelle: I’ve read that your personal mantra hails from the extraordinary Maya Angelou: “Courage is the most important of all virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.” In your own words, what exactly does that mean?
Precious: Having courage gives you the ability to overcome your fears. It allows you to be transparent with yourself and others.
Michelle: You’ve appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, The Oprah Winfrey Show, BET News Special, Newsweek, and the list goes on. Why is it so important for you to help educate others about HIV?
Precious: HIV is preventable, and you don’t have to acquire it. I want people to know they don’t have to walk in my shoes.
Michelle: What have you found to be the biggest misconception when it comes to those living with HIV?
Precious: When it comes to heterosexual men who are HIV positive, they are stigmatized as being gay, and for women being promiscuous.
Michelle: Do you have another book in the works? If so, what will it be about and when can we expect it?
Precious: I plan to start writing my second book in 6 months, which will be about my childhood up until the day I tested positive. It’ll probably be finished January 2017.
Michelle: When it’s all said and done, what do you hope people walk away with once they’ve either read Revelation: Unveiling the Mask, or sat in the audience of one of your speaking engagements?
Precious: I pray people will take the time to look within, and take personal accountability for their actions. Also, I pray this book will encourage women who have survived abuse, or may still be involved in an abusive relationship, know they, too, can heal and recover.
Michelle: If you had to give three pieces of advice to someone who is living in distress, no matter the circumstance, what would that advice be? In other words, what can one do to make it through anything life places in their path?
- If you can, get away by yourself so you can clear your head and re-group.
- Be patient with yourself; give yourself time to heal and recover
- Learn from your mistakes; don’t dwell in the past. When we stay in the past, we don’t move forward.
Please tell our readers how they can contact and/or follow you.
Precious: They may contact me at (323) 230-3189.
Facebook: Precious A. Jackson on Facebook
Twitter: Lady P on Twitter
Instagram: Lady P on Instagram
On February 6, 2006, Precious Jackson had to make one of the most devastating choices that anyone has ever had to make; to live or die. Precious’ world was shattered as she peered at it through a broken mirror. Hiding behind a mask of well put together smiles and faces, Precious’ eyes told the story that burdened her soul.
Warding off issues of abandonment, failed relationships, delving into poor decision-making due to a lack of self-confidence; and rescuing others from their problems, Precious was not prepared for the storm that was brewing her way. Not heeding the warning signs that God placed before her, Precious fell into emotional and spiritual bankruptcy. There was nothing left in her; Precious had pronounced herself dead!
In 2015, with a rejuvenated spirit for life, Precious reveals her journey. With a clear view of her authentic self, Precious explores and resolves the roots that kept her bound. Breaking free from past hurt and pain, Precious now experiences; love, laughter, strength and most of all, the courage to share her story. Knowing now that life will throw you curve balls, Precious reminds us that we sometimes create our own chaos.
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About the Author: Michelle Cuttino
Body Positive Advocate Michelle “Big Body” Cuttino, author of six books, works with authors and experts who need free publicity to promote their new releases, and grow their business. Once a month, she emails writing tips, free promos, and information about upcoming literary events. Subscribe at www.MichelleCuttino.com.