What if everyone knew that you have herpes? (And I do mean everyone.) Would you feel violated, judged and ashamed? Or would you feel free, truthful and alive?
Deep down, we all know that we live in broken, wounded world full of fear and judgment. So we feel like we have to protect ourselves and hide who we really are just to survive and hopefully live a "normal" life.
My friend Ella is proof that you really can change the world. She’s proof that you can make the world a better place that’s full of kindness, acceptance and love. We met after I was on a panel called "Living with an STI" at CatalystCon back in 2014. She was timid yet memorable, quivering with anticipation, wanting to write and talk about herpes, to do her part to help shift the stigma. Then before I knew it, I saw her everywhere talking about herpes! Mainstream newspapers, giving a TEDx talk, even MTV!
Now you might be asking … so what can I do to change the world? I'm not Ella, you say. Well, the answer is simple (but not always easy).
All you have to do is transform and heal yourself. The reality is, you are not going to live in a loving world until you love yourself. You can’t create a more accepting world until you accept yourself.
Most people who get herpes either suffer in fear and isolation, or they heal, grow and thrive.
And you have the courage, just like Ella, to choose the latter.