My Herpes Journey

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    The first time I spoke to Dr. Kelly I was bent over crying my eyes out.  I lived in a lonely and isolated world with “H.” I yearned for someone knowledgeable, who understood me and could relate to me.
    Since then I have been on a journey of self-discovery and more so, self-acceptance. I have come a long way from that scared, ashamed and hopeless girl.
    When I found out I was “H” positive, I had an out-of-body experience. How could this happen? I did not live the “lifestyle.”  As much as I was angry at “him,” I believe in taking full responsibility for myself.

    I have disclosed 3 times. The first time I was beyond petrified and agonized over it. I could tell he was torn but he didn’t walk away. We dated on and off. It was a very toxic relationship.  I stayed because he knew my status, so I settled for a less than relationship. But it rips away at your self-esteem. You’re better off alone than being with someone who doesn’t value you.

    Once I walked away, for the umpteenth time, I tried online dating and I met someone. We went on a few dates and once I noticed that things were going to the next level, nervous and apprehensive I disclosed my “shame.” He was ok with it, however, that fizzled quickly. He was just not for me. My dream of being in a relationship was fading. I was disillusioned. I became jaded.
    I decided to give online dating another shot. I put the worries of disclosing on the back burner. I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. Around Thanksgiving, I connected with a gentleman who texted or called on a daily basis. He shared his life and was an open book. That was unique, different, and refreshing. We spoke and texted numerous times daily. By the time we met, I was smitten. Because we had such a connection I decided I would have to disclose on the 2nd date. That bridge was here and I had to cross it. That’s where my anxiety kicked in, more so now than the prior two. I started to have sleepless nights. I listened to as many Utube videos on how to disclose, all the methods to protect your partner, foods, antiviral, just about anything I could find to educate myself. I practiced my speech over and over. By the second date, I was loaded with knowledge and information. We were having such an amazing time, I chickened out. The longer I waited, the harder it became. I knew disclosure was an absolute must on the 3rd date. I needed support and reached out to a friend with “H.” It was such a relief to share my turmoil. She was a wonderful support. I had educated myself to the max! But it did nothing to ease the fear of sharing my “shame,” fear of being rejected.  
    That’s when I had an epiphany. I was ashamed of me. I rejected me. I blamed me. I judged me. So I did what I do best. I pulled up Utube and started searching for motivational videos. And that’s when I found Brene Brown. On Netflix, I listened to her Talk: “The call to courage.” I realized it was never about disclosing to him. It was about me accepting and loving myself. I was enough and “H” did not define me. I had to internalize those words, feel it, visualize it. I had to believe it.
     I had so many amazing things to be grateful for. I was a great friend, a devoted mother, a caring sister, a loving daughter, and a doting aunt. I was a successful businesswoman full of potential and admired by my colleagues. My journey to this place of love and acceptance began with Dr. Kelly, so I reached out. She grounds me. She reminded me that “I’m all that and a bag of chips.” I felt so empowered, I couldn’t wait to disclose. It would sting if he walked away, but I would really be ok with it. He has to see me for the amazing woman I am. If he only see’s “H,” then he’s not the man for me.
     3rd date was the best date I have had in decades. We spent the day together, even watched a sunset. I was a bit nervous but I am also a woman who is much more powerful than a rejection. My energy was different. I exuded confidence and self-acceptance.The time came to have the “Talk.” I disclosed. He leaned in. He held my hand and listened. He acknowledge, like most people, he did not know much about “H.”  I sent him information and reputable sites. I left the date feeling on top of the world. If he walks away it will sting, but it will never take away the feeling I got from facing my fear and taking my power back. I  felt liberated. Having the information, knowledge, and doing the work mentally and emotionally was instrumental in empowering me. What changed? My mindset changed. “I am all that and a bag of chips.” I was vulnerable therefore I was courageous. I leave you with this powerful quote from Brene Brown.
    “Show me a woman who can sit with a man in real shame and vulnerability and fear and just be in that place. And I will show you a woman who has done her work and doesn’t derive her status or power from that man.” 

    PS: He’s away, but has continued to communicate with me every day. I’m looking forward to date #4.

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