When I wrote the draft of my last post, I had an introductory paragraph that explained why I was writing the post. My lovely friend Amy edited my post and suggested I eliminate that paragraph or move it somewhere else in the post. She thought it would be much more powerful to open with the line...I have herpes. I got a huge lump in my throat and a pit in my stomach but I edited the post and hit publish before I could overthink it. However, when I shared on Facebook, I did alter the way I shared it. I was still nervous about having the first sentence show up in my FB feed. A minute later, I changed my mind. I knew that if I was going to be vulnerable and not care what other people thought I needed to put it all out there. But when I went back to FB, I was already getting comments and they were AMAZING! I actually started crying...happy tears. The comments were so supportive and encouraging. I'm not sure what I was expecting but I was blown away by everyone who took the time to comment on my FB post and my blog. Then there was the email I received from the student who gave me the extra push I needed, after reading my post...
That's awesome to hear! Thanks so much for your reply back. I went to your site and read your latest blog. Wow. I can only imagine how hard it was for you to post, but I think that you did a very honest, a very brave, and a very important thing. Not just for you, but for others as well. I hope that it has lifted a weight off of you, and I hope that it will help you to open up, as well as reciprocate.
Thanks so much for writing and for sharing the Safe Sex guide! I really enjoy your blog, and you have a wonderful talent as a writer. Good things will come from this. Best of luck with everything in your future.
I also received many private messages from other people who have dealt with the stigma of herpes. They shared how they were ashamed and weren't putting themselves out there for fear of the reaction from a potential partner. I had conversations about other "shameful" things people have done or experienced. It was as if the clouds had parted and the light was shining in. People who felt they couldn't share with anyone, could now share and I imagine it lessened their fear, made them feel less alone, and that they didn't feel like they needed to hide in the shadows anymore. This is what I hope they felt by telling me their story.
My wish is that we can all continue to share our stories without worrying about what anyone else thinks. We can let the light in, be honest with each other and support each other...hold each other up. That is my wish for all of us.
"Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in." - Leonard Cohen