How People Hurt Me.

Hey Vulnerabites…

If you haven’t already, please go back and read this first… as this is the sequel of my “unpacking” on this journey…

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I left the clinic and walked slowly to my next class. There I was standing in the middle of University of Florida’s campus, surrounded by 52,000 students… yet, I felt so alone. I called my boyfriend and told him what the doctor had said, he denied having herpes, and said I must have gotten it from someone else. I was furious. I could have reached through that phone and strangled him. How could he turn around and accuse me? Where was his sympathy? There was no doubt in my mind that he infected me, AGAIN — he was the first and only person I had slept with in my entire life. So, to all those judging me, I wasn’t some harlot on the corner of 59th street. I was like many young girls, I trusted and loved (so, at the time I thought it was love) my boyfriend.

I went to see him that weekend, so I could show him what the disease was doing to me. He shook his head and said that he’s never had anything like that show up on his own genitals, and couldn’t possibly have been the one to give it to me. Is it possible that he didn’t know he was infected? Why didn’t he want to accept this obvious truth that was staring us both in the face. Neither of us could deny these ‘pimple-type-blister-like-canker-sores” taking over my most intimate space.

The moment of truth came just as we pulled into the Greyhound bus station that Sunday and my phone rang.

It was my doctor, “Your results came back positive,” she said.

I didn’t respond. I handed him the phone. My head began to spin, everything and everyone around me became a blur. As if someone had just laid a bag of bricks on my back, I stumbled to the side of the Greyhound bus station wailing. My legs gave in beneath me, I fell on the curb and I wept.

Needless to say, I didn’t get on the bus that day. We went to a park and talked. We comforted ourselves with the thought, “Well, at least it’s not HIV and it’s not fatal.” It still didn’t take the pain away. “I guess we have to get married,” I said, “I can’t be with anyone else now.” He nodded.

Let me share a few of the painful memories I’ve lived through with this disease:

Memory 1: My roommate and her friend were watching a show on television and during commercials, an ad for Herpes came on << They laughed and made fun of the people in the commercial. Making remarks such as, “Why are they smiling? Who could possibly be happy with herpes?” They looked at me to join in on the joke with them… and I did. I laughed with them. I had moved into an apartment by this time. I turned and walked into my room and cried.

Memory 2: I had gone to visit my friend in her new apartment and the night before she had some friends over, one of them stayed the night. She was doing laundry at the time and said to me, “Girl, I have to wash my sheets… ‘Anna’ spent the night, and I think she has herpes.” I responded… “Yeah girl, you can never be too careful.” Another punch in the gut.

Memory 3: I was walking to class and set up alongside of one of our popular plazas was a mobile “blood donor” station. There was a guy standing outside the bus trying to recruit those passing by. He looked at me and said, “Hey! Why don’t you help us out today?” I responded, “I can’t.” He pleaded and said it would only take a few minutes. I looked at him with tears in my eyes, “Sir, really, I can’t. My blood is infected.”

Memory 4: Taking my medicine in secret. I didn’t want anyone asking me why I was popping pills. Hiding my medicine bottles. I didn’t want anyone googling the names of my medicine and discovering what my condition was. I learned to live this double life, the Mac who had it all together in public and the Mac who was crying her self to sleep at night.

I won’t pinch your heart with anymore of my painful memories. I just want to challenge you to be ‘careful’ with your words. I faced this silent struggle alone, I never told my best friends or my family. Why? Because I didn’t want people to treat me differently, talk about me, be afraid to touch me or start ‘acting weird’ around me. I just wanted to be normal. I’m reminded of my pain everyday, and I don’t need those around me “helping me remember it.”

I became an expert on Genital Herpes. I couldn’t understand, how he had infected me because we ALWAYS used a condom. The doctor explained to me, condoms don’t cover a man’s balls –excuse my colorful tone- and when we had sex, his balls touched the lower part of my vagina.

Herpes is spread through SKIN to SKIN contact. That is it. No penetration. No exchange of bodily fluids or saliva. Just SKIN to SKIN contact. Did y’all hear me? Just SKIN to SKIN contact (of the genitals).

I didn’t need to let him “hit it raw” to get it. Genital Herpes is a viral disease, like HIV, it’s in your blood. You won’t always have an outbreak, like I did, but once you get it, you have it for life. You can even go 10 years without ever seeing any physical signs of the disease. So, please… if you’ve ever played “just the tip” or have ever had sex with someone … do yourself a favor and go find out where you stand. Especially if you’re a woman and you want children, doctors will need to handle you with special care during the delivery of your child. 1 out of 6 people are infected. So, yes… by the time you count your mom your dad, your brother, your sister, your cousin, and your friend — ONE of them is infected. 

So, what do you even say if someone would ever trust you enough to invite you into this space?

Tell them, “I Love You.” — Hug Them.

And then ask them, “How can I be a friend to you through this?”

I don’t need any sympathy. What I do need from you, is for you to share this “page in my book” with six of your loved ones… Just six of them. Not people you “think” might have it, just six people in your circle. I’ve put this out on the internet and I want people to know they’re not alone. So help me to do that please… Go ahead and share, reblog.. however it is you do what you do. Thank You Vulnerabites. I Love You.

PS. Be patient with me please as I unpack this… My story isn’t over. I’m trying to keep these entries “bite-size-able”… Look for my next entry in a few days or subscribe so you’ll know the moment it’s released.

Yours Vulnerably,

The Naked Writer

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22 Comments Add yours

  1. Catheryne says:

    Very transparent and informative . I really appreciated you sharing the painful memories… it makes your story FEEL real

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much hon! Glad I could bring my reality to life in this blog!

      Like

  2. Oh Mac I didn’t even know it can be transmitted so easily (just touching of the genitals). Thanks for sharing/ absolutely no judgement whatsoever xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep! Skin to Skin! Just like that 🙂 … Thank you for not judging me! Big Hugs 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow! What an amazing gift you have to write with such…life! Your words have a way of taking us along with you, as you share! I can’t imagine how painful those memories were then, and how painful it must have been for you to revisit them, as you wrote this post. Thank you for being sooo transparent and vulnerable! I imagine it’s very freeing!! Thank you for letting us in. Bless you, bless you, bless you again! You’re incredible!😘

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very painful… as some of those hurtful comments came from people I am still in touch with. Extended grace and forgiveness to them as they couldn’t have known they were cutting me with their words.

      Thank you for being so faithful in journeying with me 💖☺️

      Love you girl!

      Like

  4. #2 says:

    Ouch! Ouch! As I read through the various instances you shared above. I felt every emotion …. [exhale].

    Thank you for teaching us a more suitable approach in which we can love and support someone who is affected by this or anything else that is so personal.

    My dearest #2, I’m so proud of you. Wow…..sending you hugs! This post was thought provoking, gut-wrenching, refreshing, and just so darn inspiring.

    There is someone out there that needs to read this. My prayer is that God would divinely place this blog along their visual path.

    Standing with you always!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aaawww thanks #2! So glad I could inspire YOU… lol I am standing in agreement with your prayer. I hope the one who needs this, finds it. Big Hugs friend!

      Like

  5. Once again, so incredibly wonderful! (Not the Herpes, but your bravery and strength). I sit here with my coffee in hand, scrolling through my feed to see if your second post on this subject was shared, and to my delight, here it is.
    Your words are so encouraging, your strength is so inspiring, and your commitment to others is life changing.
    If this is the end of your “sequel” on this subject, brava! If you choose to continue to “unpack”, I would love to hear about how you slowly adapted to self-acceptance, and what that process felt like for you.
    You are supported, my vulnerable friend!
    T.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “I sit here with my coffee in hand, scrolling through my feed to see if your second post on this subject was shared, and to my delight, here it is” — Wow! That really warms my heart. That someone is actually LOOKING for my post. Tear!

      T, I am still “unpacking”…I THINK I have just ONE more post left in me about this and I will try to answer your question in that one… A VERY good question.

      I love questions, they challenge me to tap into places I probably wouldn’t otherwise… that’s why it’s so nice to hear from my vulnerabites.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am so glad you are going through this process, if at all possible, I would love to have a conversation with you about it “offline”, if you’re willing?? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hey T! I’m happy to. I sent an email to your yahoo account. Chat Soon!

          Like

  6. Melludi says:

    You are amazingly brave. I sat here with tears in my eyes feeling the shock and heartbreak for 18 year old you. At the same time I’m amazed at your candor and willingness to share your story in the service of others. Yes, your transparency and even the “colorful language” is a service Mac because Herpes often gets filed under “unprotected sex” in most people’s minds. I also love your exploration of our responses to people and the effects they can have on others. So important! There are so many layers to this post…I need to read it again to process it lol. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Tears?!?!?!??! Seriously! You are tugging at my heart strings girl. So humbled to hear that my story tapped into your own ‘vulnerable’ space… that is always my hope when tapping into my own ‘soft spaces.’ —- SO many layers girl… hence why I had to break up this experience into multiple posts….lol. Thank YOU for being so faithful on this journey with me. Love you girl!

      Like

  7. katsiaa says:

    Thank you for sharing this information. Your transparency is helping me to be mindful of what people are going through and not be so quick to judge. We all are humans and make mistakes. We all want to be loved and not judged. Again, thank you.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes! Yes! Yes! “Let us be mindful of what others might be going through AANNNDDD not be so quick to judge.” That’s exactly right! Because the notion is that if someone has an STD, they must be sleeping around — that’s another blog. Yes… We all just wanna be loved… You got it friend! No, Thank YOU for ‘nudging’ me to share my story! Let’s see what God would do through this blog 🙂

      Like

  8. Joelle says:

    A little scientific knowledge for ya…I can’t help but share this to help people understand…I hope no one thinks I am being condescending or minimizing their knowledge, I just like to inform.

    1) 50-80% of the population is infected with herpes. If you’ve ever had a cold sore, you have herpes. It is a viral infection that lies dormant in nerve cells and in times of emotional stimuli, ie, stress, great joy, etc. you can see an outbreak. Usually people that have cold sores have herpes simplex 1, HSV-1.

    2) Genital herpes is usually herpes simplex 2, HSV-2, but either strain can inhabit either area of the body.
    The main difference between the strains is that one tends to lie dormant along the nerves of the head and neck, while the other lies dormant near the genitals, and HSV-1 usually causes minor discomfort.

    Many are infected and simply don’t know. You can have an outbreak, such as having the sores, or it can simply lie dormant in your nerves, but you can have it and not know. It can lie dormant for 10 years without the individual ever showing any symptoms.

    Exactly as mentioned in this post, it is through skin to skin contact, more specifically mucous membranes is where the infection takes place. This means oral sex, kissing, birth, anything that allows the mucous membranes to come in contact can potentially cause infection.

    Does this mean you can’t hug your loved ones or your friends, or kiss them on the cheek? Nope! Hug and kiss away!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “Many are infected and simply don’t know.” — That’s exactly right! Which is why I hope me sharing my experience will encourage people to just go and find out!!!

      Thank you “Google Joel” for this very thorough explanation of the disease. Just absolutely love having your Encyclopedia brain around Dr.J! You’re the best!

      You have become one of my faithful Vulnerabites! I appreciate you! Hugging and Kissing you away! 🙂

      Like

  9. 3000 says:

    You have a huge heart to be able to share this. Looking forward to the next entry. Excellent work Mac!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Huge heart? Very very very kind of you to say 🙂 Just hoping it helps somebody…. anybody. Next Entry? Lol.. Yeah, I should get to writing 🙂 Big Hugs!

      Like

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